Comic Book Hideout owner, Glynnes Pruett frequently hears stories from her customers about what got them into comics, but her favorite is her dad’s.
As he was growing up in rural Georgia, he and his grandma used to go to the market and pick them up when they were only 10 cents. Pruett’s father would sit on the floor of the passenger seat with the glove box cracked open as his light when he read.
“That was always such a wonderful image of my dad as a little kid, just really enjoying the hell out of some comic books in a place where your imagination is everything because there’s not a lot of TVs and cell phones and all that nonsense. When you had to experience things tangibly,” Pruett said.
For Pruett, a Cal State Fullerton radio, TV and film alumna, her experiences with comic shops as a kid left something to be desired. She found it crazy that comic shops didn’t feel like an accepting place to walk into as a kid and especially as a girl when comics were a hobby with great potential to be uniting.
“I’ve been reading comics since I could read, and even before that,” Pruett said. “I was kind of bummed out that more shops weren’t friendly to people. So I was like ‘If I had a comic book shop it would be friendly to everybody.’”
She also used to help her dad with their stand at Frank & Sons Collectibles for 15 years, but often found herself sitting there all day helping blank faces of “stinky old” middle-aged comic book collectors.
Comic Book Hideout was opened a little over five years ago on Nov. 11, a date Pruett picked specifically in 2012 in reference to her mother calling 11:11 “open gate time.”
“I thought it was silly but it’s the only time all the numbers are the same on a clock. 11:11 you make a wish and the hideout was my wish,” Pruett said.
Pruett especially takes pride in the environment she has created within her shop. Visitors are usually greeted with her neighborly smile, a lovable Husky roaming the shop along with a vast display of comic books to be explored.
Long Nguyen, 23, is an intern at Comic Book Hideout. He came across it when he was an officer in the CSUF club, Titans of Comic-Con Society, and reached out to Pruett about a sponsorship. The answer he received was a “Hell yeah.”
“With comic book shops in general, as long as they have a loyal customer base they’ll still survive,” Nguyen said. “What I really like about this shop compared to other shops is that it caters toward the creativity, the arts.”
A diverse group of people file into Comic Book Hideout throughout the day as regular customers pick up their indie subscriptions, casual browsers with passing knowledge from comic films delve into the library or young kids have their first exposure to the medium.
“I try to cater a little bit to everybody and part of that is just knowing my customers, being engaged, actively listening to them, seeing what they are interested in,” Pruett said.
Along with building rapport with her customers, Pruett checks social media every day, while also hosting a show called “the weekly What’s Up!” on the store’s YouTube channel where she excitedly talks about notable comic picks and brings light to events happening in the community.
Comic Book Hideout doesn’t only sell comics, either. It also has become a space for music, art, card and gaming tournaments and pin trading. Pruett even has her own skate gang, the Hideout Hunnies who don Comic Book Hideout attire as they skid through Fullerton.
“Essentially all comic book stores are selling the same thing. We are all selling the new issues that come out every week,” Pruett said. “I wanted to celebrate, not just comic books but art and literature, theater and music and be a hub for the community for all those things.
Pruett finds that being a part of the comic book business often feels like a gamble because she has to make decisions on what will sell and what won’t long before they are released. Adding different facets to what her store can provide ensures fewer people will leave empty handed.
A music studio within the store has been open for over a year, where Lark Music Lessons resides. John Lovero, a guitar and bass instructor and a friend of Pruett, said that the store needed to fill a space and he needed one so it ended up working mutually for the both of them.
During her time at CSUF, Pruett was the music director of Titan Radio and emphasized her studies in screenwriting and radio engineering. After her graduation in 2008, she did sketch comedy and improvisation in Los Angeles for seven years but she gravitated back to comics.
“You never judge a book by its cover — except for comic books because you can kind of judge a comic book by its cover— but you never judge people like that either,” Pruett said. “It’s really wonderful because you never know who’s going to come in.”