Monday, April 02, 2012

It's the Magic: Standard Tour of San Antonio - Heroes and Fantasies

While the internet is full of ways to find game stores in your area, it does very little to tell you about the real character of those stores: their atmosphere, their product, their staff, or anything else a curious gamer might want to know. To help others out, I've started a week-by-week survey of the stores in my area, playing a Friday Night Magic at each one as a way of familiarizing myself with it.

This week I went to Heroes & Fantasies, located at 4945 NW Loop 410, nestled along the back of a shopping center just off the I-410 frontage road, just off Evers Road.

The tag for Heroes & Fantasies is "Where families collect." I don't think anyone can contest that. This place is chock full of collectables. Statues and statuettes of every variety dot the store, ranging from simple, desktop busts of Rorschach to a five-foot Spider-Man (complete with webs). If there's a famous comic book story line, there's probably a statue of it at Heroes & Fantasies. Of course, it wouldn't really be a wonderland of nerd collectibles if it didn't have action figures. They have new figures, like Matt Smith's Doctor Who), still-packaged action figures for characters I thought I'd never I'd see (like "Klingon" from the Deep Space Nine episode where they went back in time to Kirk's show), and used figures. The used ones were my favorite, as they consisted of banged-up X-Wings, vintage Star Wars guys, and a metric ton of toys I actually had back in the day. There are even separate displays dedicated to fantasy-inspired merchandise and baseball cards.

To many people, comics are collectibles, and even if you're one of those people, you'd consider the Heroes & Fantasies comics section to be something apart. It's got the standard package: a spread of the latest issues, the wall of trade paperbacks, and a display with recent runs of featured titles. It also boasts two tables of back issues and a counter with individual collectible issues, two things I haven't noticed at any other local comics shops. It also has notable bundles of comics. If a comics collector wanted the physical issues of Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four or the classic first few X-Force issues, they could get them all, convenient bundled for a reasonable price.

Of course, no set of collectibles would be complete without that most lucrative and volatile of commodities, customizable card games. Heroes and Fantasies' dedicated gaming counter has sealed product, accessories, and individual cards for Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh. I'll get to their event hosting next week, but they manage pack a full-sized card store into a well-stocked corner. More than that; they've got a wall of essential roleplaying books, dice, and gaming aids, plus a freestanding shelf with board games and the latest HeroClix. Did I say "full-sized card store"? I meant "modest gaming store." Counting in the arcade worthy pinball machines they have for just a few thousand dollars, and you've got "gaming store."

Just like last week, I'm running short on space, so the rundown on the Magic game I played there will have to wait for next Monday.

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