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"Best Comic Store 2002 - 2014"

Thanks San Francisco Bay Guardian readers!

Comic Making Classes @ Isotope University

Since 2011 the Isotope has hosted a series of comic making classes designed to ensure success in the comics industry for students. This May is two new classes, WRITING FOR COMICS with Devin Grayson and MASTERING CROWDFUNDING with Alex Woolfson.

All new classes in May 2015

Click here for more info

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The Isotope Communique
Daily news and updates by Personality James Sime and the Isotope Staff
APE AFTERMATH with Ed Piskor

The Isotope is honored to be kicking off our annual Alternative Press Expo APE AFTERMATH celebrations with Eisner Award nominee and New York Times best selling cartoonist Ed Piskor!

Known for his historical graphic novel explorations like the fictional look at the early world of computer hacking WIZZYWIG and also THE BEATS: A GRAPHIC HISTORY with comics legend Harvey Pekar, Piskor’s most recent works are exploding in popularity and also his most funky-fresh in the flesh boks to date… HIP HOP FAMILY TREE, documenting the birth and history of the early rap scene.

In honor of Mister Piskor we will be throwing a truly old school themed bash with SF’s own DJ Grandmaster Bearzbub getting the party jumping with the best pre-1986 bodyrocking beats and Mixologist Kirsten Baldock serving up her unique maxin’ and relaxin’ libations based on Piskor’s latest works. For your uprocking needs, be sure to prepare your crew with this great resource. And don’t be shy about to breaking out your freshest gear… we suggest your furry Kangol buckets, your favorite Puma track-suit, your Carrera Porsche 5620 shades, and your Adidas shell-toes. See you then, b-boys and b-girls!

Ed Piskor @ Isotope
Saturday, October 4th 2014
8pm – Midnight
21+ por favor

Harassment Policy

APE AFTERMATH 2014 also features the one and only Paul Pope on Sunday 10/5 !

Harassment Policy

There was a time when I didn’t think our little comic book shop needed to have a Harassment Policy. I was wrong. As a leader in the comics industry it’s up to folks just like us to step up and let our industry know what behavior is socially acceptable, and what is not. Here at the Isotope it is our goal to create an environment where everyone is treated with dignity, courtesy and respect – and I know that people who regularly attend our events, shop at the store, or know any member of our Isotope family even a little can be confident that if they tell us someone is behaving poorly we will ask that ill-mannered person to leave. But what of those people who are at the Isotope for their first time? Our industry is going through some radical changes and the Isotope wants to be part of a positive change for the better. So we’re putting this in writing.

The Isotope will not tolerate harassment of our guests of any kind. This includes unwanted, unwelcome or uninvited physical contact or attention, offensive verbal comments, inappropriate jokes or propositions, stalking, harassing photography or recording, or any other behavior which makes a person feel humiliated, intimidated or offended in regards, but not limited, to their race, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, disability, appearance, body type, color, creed, origin or simply who they are.

People who violate this policy will be given an official First Warning by either a member of our staff or any member of our community. This warning may be phrased in an official sounding capacity such as “that is a violation of Isotope’s Harassment Policy” or it may be phrased in a more casual manner such as, but not limited to, “that makes me uncomfortable” or “that is inappropriate” and even “hey not cool, man.” These too are considered an official First Warning. There will be no Second Warning. If the behavior does not change, the offending party will simply be told they need to leave and be politely escorted out.

We realize that even the best of humans are flawed, imperfect beings, and with so many of our visitors coming from different parts of the world and walks of life, that some cultural differences may occur. And different people might have conflicting definitions of what “harassment” is. So everyone here is afforded the chance to correct a social faux pas. But you won’t get two. Those who can’t muster up the decency to respect each other, our community, the Isotope and also themselves just aren’t welcome. Officially.

And because the Isotope is *your* community as well as ours, we deputize each and every one of you to take part in the enforcement of this policy. Which means that your Harassment Policy warning is just as official as mine is. In the event of an uncomfortable or awkward situation we still ask that all parties treat everyone at the Isotope with the kindness and respect they are due as fellow human beings. Even if they are jerks.

Our policy applies to all guests, including featured creators and also ourselves and staff. And even the music we play. Simply, if it’s gotta go, then it’s gotta go. This Harassment Policy is in effect at the Isotope always and forever. We will be adding a link to this post on every special event we announce so that this policy is clear to one and all.

Let’s work together, like Zan and Jayna, to co-activate our Wonder Twin powers for a better world of comics! The Isotope has grown over the years as people and an entity, and we will continue to evolve for the betterment of ourselves, our community and the greater comics industry. So let’s join forces… my fellow comic fans, fellow retailers and industry leaders… for a higher community standard and a greater, more welcoming comics industry for all.

Thank you to all of you for helping us build and better our amazing Isotope community.

UPDATE: I’ve had several folks ask me about this policy and a couple express dismay to hear we “need something like that.” We’ve literally only had to toss out two people in the last eight years for their rude behavior, so you folks can decide if this policy is something we needed or not. But it’s clear to me, given the current state of such things in our changing industry, that we all need to take time out to think about what each of us can do to make the entire world of comics a more welcoming place for everyone. And if the Isotope can make one tiny ripple to help contribute to the tsunami that shifts how we as an industry all treat each other? Then this is a ripple worth making. It is my hope that eventually the whole comics industry agrees such things would be helpful and decides they need to create and/or refine their own official Harassment Policies too.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” ― Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

Celebrate Those You Love, San Francisco

That gorgeous Will Sliney artwork from Marvel Comics’ FEARLESS DEFENDERS above really just fills your heart with smiles, doesn’t it? (sigh) I loved that series.

Speaking of things we love, it’s time to give a little thanks to the wonderful San Francisco Bay Area and to take a moment to celebrate what makes it such a fantastic place to live… it’s time to vote in the SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay reader’s poll. As much as the city changes, it’s great knowing that there are still so many of the businesses, personalities, places to go, and unique events that continue to make SF special. Let’s show those folks we adore them, they will no doubt appreciate being told how much it means to us to have them around. So join us, dear friends, in honoring the people and places that make our home the greatest city on Earth.

Celebrate those you love, San Francisco! Vote here:

SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2014

Here’s some of mine and the Isotope family’s personal favorites:


Best Street Fair – BYO Big Wheel
Best Hotel – SF Sleep
Best Tourist Attraction – Tonga Room & Hurricane Bar
Best Tour – Localite Foodie Walking Tours
Best Event or Venue for Kids – Chabot Space and Science Center
Best Overall Website – sfbg.com
Best Style Website – Curbed SF
Best Nonprofit Organization – Build SF
Best Locally Produced TV Show – Check Please!
Best Radio Station – Radio Valencia
Best Tattoo Parlor – Body Manipulations
Best Tattoo Artist – Tex
Best Local Animal Rescue – Rocket Dog Rescue
Best Pet Groomer – All Creatures Healing Network
Best Veterinarian – Dr. Rao @ Nob Hill Cat Clinic
Best Alternative Healing – Jaden Rose Holistic Bodywork
Best Motorcycle Repair – TokyoMoto
Best Bicycle Repair – Matt Aimes @ Market Street Cycles
Best Salon – Hair of the Gods
Best Hairstylist – Donnelle @ Hair of the Gods
Best Massage – Justin Hall Massage
Best Gym – Live Fit Hayes Valley
Best Amateur Sports Team – Bay Area Derby Girls
Best Public Sports Facility – Trapeze Arts Oakland
Best Beach – Baker Beach
Best Public Park – Golden Gate Park
Best Campground – Point Reyes
Best Park for Dogs – SoMa West Skate Park and Dog Play Park
Best Skate Spot – SoMa West Skate Park and Dog Play Park
Best Surf Spot – Ocean Beach
Best Place to Watch the Sunset – Camera Obscura of SF


Best New Restaurant – Papito West Mexican Restaurant
Best Splurge Restaurant – Opaque
Best Late-Night Restaurant – Sauce
Best Romantic Restaurant – First Crush
Best Food/Drink Festival – Domingo de Piña @ Smuggler’s Cove
Best Food Truck – Cosmic American Voodoo Van
Best Farmers Market – Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market
Best Pizza – Patxi’s Pizza
Best Sandwiches – Fatted Calf
Best Burritos – Gordo Taqueria
Best Burgers – Jardiniere (shhh… it’s a secret!)
Best Barbecue – T-Rex
Best Sushi – Nojo Sushi
Best Seafood – Oyster Happy Hour @ Waterbar
Best Soul Food – Brenda’s French Soul Food
Best Indian – Chutney
Best Mexican – Nido
Best Thai – Jitlada Thai
Best Vegetarian – Greens Restaurant
Best Breakfast – Lunchpad
Best Brunch – Straw SF
Best Lunch – B Restaurant @ Yerba Buena
Best Appetizers – Alligator Tail @ Boxing Room
Best Dessert – PB&J @ Sauce
Best Food/Drinks Website – EaterSF.com
Best Cup of Coffee – Blue Bottle Coffee
Best Cup of Tea – Samovar Tea Lounge on Page
Best New Bar – Muka Hayes Valley
Best Dive Bar – Molotov’s
Best Swanky Bar – Smuggler’s Cove
Best Wine Bar – Rosebowl Florist & Wine Bar
Best Brewery – Speakeasy
Best Creative Cocktails – Kirsten Baldock @ Isotope
Best Butcher Shop – Fatted Calf
Best Cheese Shop – Gourmet & More Store
Best Chocolatier – Christopher Elbow


Best Movie Theater – Kabuki Theater
Best Rep Film House – Vortex Room
Best Performance Space – SF Jazz
Best Film or Arts Festival – Noir City Film Fest
Best Museum – The Exploratorium
Best Art Gallery – Cartoon Art Museum
Best Artist or Collective – Comic Strip Club
Best Filmmaker – Jesse Kerman
Best Author – Jason McNamara
Best Zine – Wuvable Oaf
Best Publishing House – Image Comics
Best Arts or Music Website – brokeassstuart.com/sf
Best Record Label – Prank Records
Best Band – Deathtrap America
Best Singer-Songwriter – Bob Mould
Best DJ – DJ Bearzbub
Best Music Festival – San Francisco F*ckFest
Best Overall Dance Party – Breakfast of Champions
Best Rock Club – Thee Parkside
Best Jukebox – Tosca Cafe
Best Overall Queer Party – Pride Week
Best Gay Bar or Club – The Eagle
Best Lesbian Bar or Club – Lexington Club
Best Club for Trans People – Divas Nightclub
Best Drag Show – Daytime Realness
Best Drag King or Queen – Art Kahn
Best Burlesque Act or Show – Pickles Kintaro & the Hubba Hubba Review
Best Magician – Victor Van Scoit
Best Open Mic Night – The Riptide
Best Literary Night – Writers With Drinks


Best Overall Bookstore – Borderlands Books
Best Used Bookstore – Green Apple Books
Best Comic Book Store – Isotope
Best Magazine Selection – Kayo Books
Best Record Store – Grooves Inspiralled Vinyl
Best Clothing Store (Women) – Acrimony
Best Clothing Store (Men) – Artful Gentleman
Best Local Designer – Autumn Adamme
Best Shoe Store – Gimme Shoes
Best Furniture Store – Zonal Home Interiors
Best Toy Store – JPN Toys
Best Bike Shop – Market Street Cycles
Best Gift Shop – True Sake
Best Staff – Pirates Press
Best Quirky Specialty Store – Costumes on Haight
Best Sporting Goods – Purple Skunk Skate Shop
Best Flower Shop – Rosebowl Florist & Wine Bar
Best Place to Buy Fetish Gear – Dark Garden Corset Shop

Please do feel free to add your own suggestions in the comment section below, I always want to know about the amazing people and places that we might be missing out on! And check out our recommendations from previous years too for even more people and places to love in SF. Don’t delay on making your voice heard, voting ends on Wednesday, September 24th.

SF Bay Guardian’s Best of the Bay Reader’s Poll 2014

UPDATE: I added a couple more great businesses to this list on 9/23

The Athena Voltaire Isotope Edition Is Coming

This December Dark Horse Comics is releasing the first-ever ATHENA VOLTAIRE hardcover by Eisner Award nominee Steve Bryant. And, for you lucky Isotope customers, here’s a first look at the exclusive bookplate from the signed & numbered ATHENA VOLTAIRE ISOTOPE EDITION that will be available nowhere else on Earth. Get your pre-orders placed, this limited edition version is sure to go quickly. Out December 10th!

Check out a free preview here.

All The Love To Whitney Matheson

Today, let’s raise our glasses and toast Whitney Matheson of Pop Candy fame for her 15 years at the forefront of bringing internet people together and making nerd culture mainstream. We will very much miss her daily dose of on positivity and cool culture each morning.

Her daily column on USA Today was one of the first of it’s type on the web and always one of the best. A true innovator, Whitney created a massive social community around pop culture media years before “Social Media” was a multi-billion dollar industry or Chris Shipley even coined the term. And anyone who has been following her column for a while will attest that she pretty much made the mustache popular again, which is pretty damn cool.

Even cooler… Whitney was instrumental in bringing graphic novels to the masses way, way back before the mainstream media outlets were paying attention to such things. And for that she will always be a true hero to our industry. Over the years it was never a surprise to see her talking comics on media outlets like CNN and VH1. And Whitney has fantastic taste in comics! Check out her legendary Comics Crash Course series of articles (part one, two, three and four) for some of her comic recommendations. She and I served as Eisner judges together in 2007 and helped develop what I think is the coolest list of Eisner nominations the award has ever had (but I’m probably biased).

Aside from her never ending evangelism for comics, Whitney specialized in oddball pop culture explorations and unearthing hidden gems. Her interests varied from tea time interviews with Pee Wee Herman to her discovery of heavy metal music to the yummiest candies ever to best music podcasts to attending Lebowskifest.

We were honored to host her first fan meet-up here at the Isotope (with BATMAN: LONG HALLOWEEN artist Tim Sale) here in 2008 and the Isotope staff was always happily on hand behind the scenes to help her run her annual San Diego Comic Con Pop Candy Parties.

Whitney has a magical knack for making the internet a much happier place to be, which is definitely not an easy thing to do! There’s not a doubt in my mind that she’ll be finding a new home for her work soon. We wish her some well-earned relaxation in the meantime and look forward to her next adventure.

Thanks for the smiles, Whitney!

Today @ Isotope

Launching Oni Press’ latest graphic novel hit THE BUNKER with author Joshua Hale Fialkov!

Fialkov also writes a bunch of other fantastic comics we love, like THE LIFE AFTER, ELK’S RUN, ECHOES, CATACALYSM, TUMOR, PUNKS and the sleeper hit of the New52 I, VAMPIRE. We’ve been fans of Josh’s work for years so we’re very excited to finally have him in!

We will also be doing an in-house raffle in honor of the occasion for the rarest comic of Fialkov’s entire career, a vintage 2003 first printing of Josh’s mini-comic POORLY DRAWN ANIMALS!

See you later! Click here for more info.

Live from The SECONDS Bash

Bryan Lee O’Malley @ the Isotope was even better than you heard! Fans came in from all over Northern California & beyond to meet Bryan and get their SECONDS signed and sketched in. People were literally bouncing w/ excitement all day. The after-party went LATE. Despite it being a long day, Bryan clearly was having a blast with everyone… he was early to his 3pm signing & stayed at the after-party until almost 3am. Mister O’Malley outlasted *everyone* at the party!

Here’s photos for you to enjoy:

Fialkov Does SF @ the Isotope

It is with great smiles in our hearts that we announce an in-store event with Joshua Hale Fialkov, to launch the graphic novel collection of one of the coolest science fiction books of all, THE BUNKER!

THE BUNKER is a psych horror science fiction tale like no other. “When a group of friends discover a military survival bunker what they find will change their lives forever” is about all that can be said about the actual plot without spoiling the many surprises within. It’s a great exploration of the juxtaposition between pre-determined fate and freedom of choice, hapless young people in way over their heads, and of course a voyeuristic peek into the end of the world itself. No surprise this book has been so popular among comic fans.

Fialkov’s resume of awesome comics runs deep. From his new creator owned hit THE LIFE AFTER to his breakouts ELK’S RUN and ECHOES, to his latest Marvel work on ULTIMATE FF, AMAZING SPIDER-MAN and CATACALYSM (starring the grandest planet-eater of all Galactus) to his acclaimed DC work on ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN and the sleeper star of the New52 I. VAMPIRE, to the madcap cutup humor of PUNKS with Kody Chamberlain and one of our favorite crime noir graphic novels ever, TUMOR… the man just keeps putting out fantastic reads!

We here at the Isotope are absolutely thrilled to get to have him in. We’ve known Josh for a long time, back when that mighty resume was just a mad twinkle in his eye, either 2002 or 2003 when we were buying up armloads of his hilarious POORLY DRAWN ANIMALS mini-comics at the Alternative Press Expo. Watching his career explode since then has been nothing short of glorious.

What better creator to continue our Year of In-Store Amazement with?

Josh Fialkov @ Isotope
Wednesday, August 6th 2014
4pm – 7pm

Come celebrate with us!

Isotope Proudly Presents: SECONDS!

Bryan Lee O’Malley at the Isotope… the launch event of the year!

In celebration of the most anticipated book of 2014, Bryan Lee O’Malley’s upcoming SECONDS from the brilliant folks at Random House… the man himself and we here at the Isotope will be rocking San Francisco’s collective worlds with an event of truly mythological proportions!

SECONDS continues a truly stunning body of work by O’Malley. Including the most influential comic of its generation, SCOTT PILGRIM, and his two amazing graphic novels LOST AT SEA and HOPELESS SAVAGES: GROUND ZERO. And this return to store shelves sounds like his most ambitious work yet! SECONDS stars chef entrepreneur Katie, a woman gifted with a second chance at everything, thanks to a magical mushroom-enhanced ability to rewind existence and fix any damage done. But ambitious Katie can’t help but tinker with fate, even it it’s against the rules, and who can blame her? When you’re just that close to a Perfect Life what’s one more little tweak?! We’re definitely looking forward to reading this!

And in celebration, Bryan Lee O’Malley and we here at the Isotope are teaming up for an event to celebrate. Two events, in fact! As Mister O’Malley hasn’t made very many SF Bay Area appearances this past decade, we know his visit is going to be *very* popular. The Isotope staff wants you all to have a wonderful experience meeting him and for everyone to get to create amazing memories of Bryan’s visit together. So we’re doing a duo of events to make everyone happy! First up is a daytime signing event for the under 21 crowd, and then an epic celebration later that evening for the folks who like our mix and mingle, bring-your-ID, after-dark events.

3pm – 6pm, Wednesday July 16th
An all-ages autographing session completely free of charge because we love you! This is sure to be a popular signing and we definitely want everyone to get time to actually talk with Bryan so we kindly ask that you bring no more than 3 items for Bryan to sign. On behalf of all of us, thanks in advance!

8pm – Midnight, Wednesday July 16th
A 21+ event as only the Isotope can do! If you’ve been to an after-hours party at the Isotope before you know the great atmosphere and amazing crowd that will be turning out for this. This event has a casual backstage-after-the-show vibe and gives you all an opportunity to actually hang out and get to know Bryan the way we think an in-store appearance should truly be!

Featuring the exclusive Bryan Lee O’Malley SECONDS Cocktail Glass, an ultra-limited low-ball designed specifically for this event by O’Malley and the Isotope. Available nowhere else on the planet!

Also starring San Francisco’s famed DJ BEARZBUB, spinning his famous brand of exotic grooves, hot b-sides, booty shaking nöyze, and rare beats to

And of course, the man of the hour himself, Bryan Lee O’Malley!


As of sometime last Saturday our after-hours evening event reached Maximum Capacity, and no more spots available. Congrats to everyone who acted quickly and gets to attend, we’re looking forward to seeing you there! For everyone who missed the chance to attend the after party, don’t worry, we still have our daytime signing with tons of SECONDS for you!

In Honor of Princess UGG

Isotope is sacred ground for this first of our two PRINCESS UGG celebrations of epic proportions with two-time Eisner Award nominee author/artist Ted Naifeh!

Following up in the footsteps of his celebrated COURTNEY CRUMRIN and POLLY & THE PIRATES works, his latest series completes a triptych of Oni Press awesome, and proves once again why Naifeh’s unique brand of distinctly beautiful comics are truly the pride of the industry. Summoning a fresh cauldron of epic fantasy adventure, Naifeh’s coming of age yarn both rejects many of the trappings of traditional Disney-ified YA princess fantasy while celebrating all the cool stuff the genre promises. PRINCESS UGG is truly the finest breed of Best New Releases of 2014 AD.

Starring Warrior Princess Ülga, a wild young barbarian with an axe-swinging taste for adventure and action, finds herself shipped off for tribal duty… can even she survive the nightmare-inducing terrors of the fine ladies’ finishing school? Or will that rebellious glint in her eye and her sharpened steel end up spelling doom for all?

Grab your Viking helmets and ride your woolly mammoth steeds to come join us for this daytime all-ages event launching PRINCESS UGG in high Isotope style!

Preview PRINCESS UGG here.

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