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Comics Relief: Earth Prime Comics 

click to enlarge MATHEW THORSEN
  • Mathew Thorsen

Do you dream of bounding over tall buildings, or spending your days conquering evil? Maybe you just appreciate great stories and masterful illustration. If so, Earth Prime Comics, on lower Church Street in Burlington, is the place to be. Comic lovers, underground artists, toy fanatics and collectors have long depended on this small shop for their pop-culture fix.

Owned by Christine Farrell, Earth Prime has been a downtown institution for 20 years — and in its present location since 1989. Amble in and let co-managers John Pepe and Jason Andreasson guide you through the racks, stacks and shelves in search of the perfect issue. From local icon James Kochalka to internationally distributed titles such as X-Men and Spawn, Earth Prime focuses on providing a large and varied selection. Whether you’re an indie snob or a kid-at-heart in search of classic editions, the staff takes the time to show you around the shop and assist in any purchase. “We believe that there is a comic for every customer,” claims Pepe. “We are here to help them find it.”

The unpretentious attitude of the employees is one of the most appealing aspects of Earth Prime. “Our main goal is to be non-elitist and accessible,” Pepe emphasizes. “You should feel comfortable as soon as you walk in off the street.”

Though it’s located mere paces from the chain stores on Church Street Marketplace, Earth Prime has a casual, used-bookstore atmosphere. Recent publications are displayed on large wooden shelves, while back issues are crowded into stacked boxes, free to be browsed. Action figures and collectors’ items comprise an ever-growing pile in the center of the shop. While the majority of Earth Prime’s customers are in their late twenties to mid-thirties, this is truly an all-ages store.

Recent comic-book issues average a couple of dollars, while rare editions and “trade” collections are typically $10 to $25 and more. Packaged vintage action figures are $40 for packs of two, $16 for singles. Harry Potter is represented with games and figurines in a variety of prices. If you’re a collector or just feel like pampering yourself, 90 bucks buys a limited-edition silver Batman pocketwatch. If that’s not enough, illuminate the skies over your own private Gotham with an authentic Bat signal for $150.

Like any store, Earth Prime has new merch arriving constantly and encourages special orders. With comics having become Hollywood’s it-thing lately, the popularity of the art is exploding. “Comics are really entering their heyday,” claims Andreasson. “Yeah,” chimes in Pepe, “we want comics to be huge.”

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About The Author

Ethan Covey

Ethan Covey

Bio:
Ethan Covey was the Seven Days music editor from 2001 until 2004. He won the 2004 John D. Donoghue award for arts criticism from the Vermont Press Association.

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