Hear Ye! Hear Ye!
Welcome to another edition of the OTC Blog. Did you know that since the 1930s, there has been a universal battle happening, which has sparked the question of Marvel or DC? Even Rachel and I are split on this topic. I’m a huge Marvel fan, where Rachel has been a DC fan since she was a kid.
For so many decades, fans have anxiously waited for the newest issues of a favorite comic to arrive at their favorite stores. Nowadays, we can find copies of comics in big box stores, online or specialized comic bookstores.
In 2019 when Rachel and I release our first book, Raven Naelo and the Artifact of the Stolen Souls, we knew that we had to find ways to reach our target audience. While researching venues, I was so excited to see that near my small hometown of St. Clair, PA, a new comic bookstore called Alchemist Cove had open. We reached out to the owner, Aaron Driesbach, to discuss doing a book event there. He said he had an even better idea and asked us to come to his store and be a part of Schuylkill Haven’s Borough Day. We gratefully accepted and had a fantastic event.
Since meeting Aaron and his crew, we have formed a great relationship and are looking forward to doing events again this year with him. To help us, he purchased several copies of our book to sell at his store. So when working on ideas for our blog, I knew I wanted to showcase Aaron and his store to thank him for the support he has shown us. So I spoke with him recently to learn a bit more about his journey in opening Alchemist’s Cove.
Can you tell everyone what made you decide to open up a comic book and game shop?
AD - I’ve been in the gaming hobby since I was a little kid, so I’ve always had a passion for games. Comics grew on me more as I started reading more and listening to my brother talks about heroes and ongoing stories that he would read. To be truthful, though, my decision to open a store came from me being tired of working for corporate America and working in jobs that wouldn’t allow me to excel to my potential. I had what I thought was a dream to become a teacher, but life showed me that wasn’t meant to be as I got turned down by countless districts after interviewing. I worked for big Pharma for a while to save up, and one day I just decided I didn’t want to do that anymore, and I needed a change. A change that I wanted to do where I could succeed or fail on my own accord. I thought being my own boss is what would be best for me. So, naturally, what better business to run than something you feel passionate about?
When did your store open?
AD - I opened my store to the public for the first time on January 9th, 2017. I’ll never forget the date.
When did you first become interested in comic books, board games, and role-playing games?
AD- As I mentioned before, I’ve been a fan since I was a kid, so I’d say the early 90’s. I loved fantasy and fiction—Make-believe worlds and stories where your only limitation is your imagination.
What merchandise does your shop specialize in?
AD- The shop specializes in a number of things. We’re very diverse, which is what makes it such a great place to go to. Our biggest is Magic: The Gathering and comic books/graphic novels. We have a pretty large table-top community, though, and we carry a lot of table-top miniatures for wargaming, and Dungeons and Dragons are very popular.
What types of events do you hold?
AD- We host a number of events and tournaments every month for all kinds of games like Magic, Bolt Action, Kings of War, Warhammer 40K, and more. We also host in-house open play and demos for many game systems. In addition, we participate in Free Comic Book Day every year and many town gatherings and events. We’re always open to hosting nearly anything as long as the interest is there.
Does your store do any types of community outreach?
AD- Absolutely. We make many donations to various nonprofit organizations and local school districts. We’ve also helped sponsor a number of youth athletic teams and other activities.
DC or Marvel? Why? Favorite Villain and Hero?
AD- I always get flak for this one. To be very clear, I love comics and superheroes in general from all publishers. I’m an avid movie-goer and have seen every comic movie out there regardless of association. That being said, I’m a DC fan at heart. Why? For one, my brother is too. Secondly, I grew up in the ’90s during the premier time for cartoon animation, and the pinnacle of that animation for any comic character was Batman, the animated series. I watched that show religiously. There were so many different heroes and villains in that show alone. DC, in general, has a lot of darker backstories to it, and I like that. I like the appearance of a lot of the heroes and oh so many villains. To pick a favorite of any of them is difficult. I don’t want to sound cliché, but my favorite villain would probably be the Joker. A hero is more difficult. I like Batman, but I also like the Green Lantern (Hal Jordan and John Stewart) and The Flash (Barry Allen).
Anything else you would like our readers to know?
AD- Keep reading! Whether you’ve read Raven Naelo and the Artifact of the Stolen Souls or not, there’s a book out there for everyone. Don’t allow the age of digitalization to overtake our books!
We will be at the Alchemist Cove on August 14th, 3 pm-6 pm, for Free Comic Book Day, giving out a copy of our comic strip inspired by our Raven Naelo book series. And on Saturday, September 25th, we will participate again in Schuylkill Haven’s Borough Day.
If you would like more information about our books or merchandise, please visit our website and follow us on Instagram and Facebook.
On behalf of Rachel and myself, We thank you for joining our adventure. Until next time, fare thee well, friends.