Brainstorm Comics: A gateway into another world


Nick Killway

Brainstorm Comics opens a portal to the world of comics for Frederick County residents.

by Nick Killway, Editor

Brainstorm Comics has been a staple of downtown Frederick for almost 40 years. They are a small and fun store that, for many people, has become a portal into the world of comic books.

Comic books have been around for many years, evolving and changing books as demand arises. For nearly four decades, Brainstorm has evolved with the industry.

The original owner, Dan Webb, opened Brainstorm in 1984 and eventually sold it to the current owner, John Frazier. 

Frazier explains that the comics industry has changed a lot since 1984. 

“I started reading comics in 1992 with the death of Superman, and I would say that we definitely see more mainstream access for stuff [than] when I first started collecting. People were not as inviting. It was much more complicated back then,” said Fraizer. 

The comics industry is not the only thing that has changed since 1984, Brainstorm Comics has moved from its original location on East Patrick Street to its current location on North Market Street. 

According to Frazier, the first time walking into a comic book store is a unique and memorable experience.

“A kid came in and his eyes were…big, and he was just like this must be what heaven looks like,” said Frazier.

When one first walks into Brainstorm Comics, it can be overwhelming because of the sheer volume of comics available. There are so many comic series, and most have issues numbering in the 100 range. A multitude of new comics lines the wall near the entrance, while side walls further in are lined with various collections of completed comic book series, collectibles, and manga. In the middle of the store are long boxes made specifically for storing comics and tables filled with back-issues of previous weeks’ stories. 

The employees at Brainstorm know what would appeal to the different customers who walk in their door. The store’s diverse collection seemingly has something for every taste.

“[Comics are] definitely trying harder to be more diverse with their characters and appealing to a wider range of people with different backgrounds,” said Frazier.

Over time, pop culture has also become more accepting of comic book nerds. There are now many TV shows about nerds and nerd culture. This was not the case in the 80s and 90s. This is partly why there are a lot of comic book fans that gate-keep the fandom. They wish to protect the culture.

“I think ‘Big Bang Theory’ and shows like that have definitely helped [to get comics] more into the mainstream culture … now don’t get me wrong, ‘Big Bang Theory’ definitely made fun of a lot of stuff that we’re into, but I think it also does help break the ice a little bit in terms of getting people familiar with this kind of stuff (comics),” said Frazier.

Getting into comics is challenging, but the reward of being immersed in a whole new world of entertainment is well worth it.

Brainstorm Comics is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Wednesday to Sunday. They are located at 117 N. Market St. in Frederick, Md.