Celebrate Local Comic Shop Day with Mission Comics & Art

On Friday, more than 385 locations across the United States will celebrate Local Comic Shop Day, a new event in honor of the independent comic book store. It’s a celebration of comic book stores as purveyors of pop culture. As expected, collectors can expect to find limited editions and exclusive offers.

One of the three SF venues that are part of this event is Mission Comics and Art, a local establishment that has been supporting artists and satisfying comic book-hungry customers and providing them with the latest and greatest publications since 2008.

We caught up with the man behind the plan, Leef Smith, owner of Mission Comics and Art, to learn more about the store’s history. Find him and other comic book fans on Saturday, November 28, from noon. Click here for more information on the event.

Where did you grow up? Was there a local comic book store you frequented?

I grew up here in fabulous San Francisco and bought comics all over town, from the corner store when you could still find them there, the best of both worlds on Haight & Masonic and the San Francisco Comic Company on 23rd Street. But my regular for over 20 years was the store that is now Amazing Fantasy on Irving St.

When did you start Mission Comics and Art? How did it all start?

I was laid off in the fall of 2008, I didn’t know what to do and felt burned out after working in tech for over a decade. I was also into the art and gallery scene, and the idea of ​​combining the two and creating a comic book shop/art gallery seemed natural to me. So I gathered the money I had borrowed from friends and family and opened the shop on a shoestring budget.

The Mission hadn’t had a comic store for a few years and I had been saying for a while that “someone” should open a new store.

What are some of your favorite comics? Or maybe something you would recommend to someone totally new to comics.

I had the chance to read watchmen and Return of the Dark Knight as they came out of the stands and these totally blew my mind so they will always be a favorite. And I’m a huge fan of artist/writer Paul Pope. For someone just getting into comics, I would absolutely recommend the immensely engaging Sagawhich I described as Star Wars meets Romeo and Juliet with more swearing and sex, but just recently the focus has started to shift.

What exclusives could comic book fans find at your place for Local Comic Book Day?

It’s the first year of Local Comic Shop Day and the publishers have created quite a few cool items. Some of my favorites are the giant treasure editions of Invader Zim and Rick & Morty.

rick and morty double size treasure edition for the local comics day 2015

SpaceRiders-HC_LCSDspace riders Hardcover Vol.1 to be released on Local Comic Shop Day 2015

I know you recently moved to the new location on Mission St. What prompted the move to the new location?

It was a proactive decision so I could have a lease where I knew what my rent was going to do over the next few years. It seemed super important because rents keep skyrocketing, and my landlord at my old location wasn’t willing to do that. Looks like it’s used as an office space now, go figure. But my new location is bigger and has better foot traffic, so hopefully that will keep the business growing well.

I noticed that the name of the store included “…and Art”…and you do a lot of art events and artist book signings. Looking back on the year, what were some of your favorite art shows that took place at Mission Comics in 2015?

I continue to do a lot of community events, including art shows highlighting art influenced or inspired by comics. Some of my favorites from last year were the Mad Max tribute show, the Degenderettes show and our Henry & Glenn art exhibit!

2015 was a great year for the store, but I have to ask you…any goals set for 2016?

Keep spreading my love for comics and working with amazing great artists!

Daniel K. Denny