Andy Liegl’s use of social media helped him find the latest outlet for his love of a more venerable medium, comic books, as the new owner of Brave New World Comics on Lyons Ave. in Newhall.
“I saw on Facebook that the previous owner, Mike Hill, was planning to close the store,” said Liegl (which is pronounced like legal). “We got talking, and before you know it we’d agreed on a price, and I owned a comic store.”
After more than a decade working in various aspects of the comic business, Liegl now for the first time owns a comic shop.
“I spent five years with Collector’s Paradise, managing their Pasadena location, founded ComicAttack.net, and was an assistant editor at ComicBookResources.com.”
He also worked at BOOM! Studios, a comics publisher, where he planned displays at more than 20 annual conventions, then at Valiant Entertainment, where he worked with comic store owners, regularly visiting stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
“Greater LA has some of the best comic stores in the world, and I’ve learned that each one finds its niche and does something unique,” he said.
“I’m going to do that in Newhall. I’m into it and I have a kid who’s into it. I’m aware that I’m here in 2017 selling products printed on paper. I don’t feel like I own a store. I own an experience that I get to share with the community.
Liegl, father of a six-year-old comic-loving daughter, said his overriding goal is to create an atmosphere that’s friendly to all ages. “There’s a stigma about comics store owners that they’re all like Jeff the Comic Book Guy character on the Simpsons,” he said. “A third of the time, that’s true, but two-thirds of the time, it’s not, and I’m part of the two thirds.”
During a stint as an actor, he spent a year with Prairie Fire Children’s Theater in Minnesota. “We put on a student production in a different town every week. I worked with thousands of kids and I loved it.”
The shop has already held a Dark Knight event, and on Saturday, Aug. 26, will have a signing event featuring Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle artist Chris Johnson, a Santa Clarita resident, and DJ Awesome Time. Issue 73 of the current Ninja Turtle comic series comes out this month, making it the longest-running series for the shelled characters.
Another event this fall, yet to be scheduled, will feature Shea Fontana, who writes the DC Super Hero Girls series and Wonder Woman. Fontana also lives in Santa Clarita. “People don’t realize how much talent we have here,” Liegl said.
He’s planning a series of weekly events which will roll out over the next few months.
On Fridays, there will games of HeroClix (“think chess meets Risk,” with players who have super powers, Liegl said), while Saturdays will feature Pokemon. On Sundays, families can take part in one of three role-playing games with a resident game master: Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinders, and Star Wars.
For teens and adults, Mondays will be Blood Bowl night, for players of the fantasy football parody, with Monday Night Football playing in the background. Thursdays will be family board game night, with Munchkins, Super Fights, and Smash Up, along with other games.
The store will put a greater emphasis on graphic novels, including a reading club. “I’d like to work with local schools and libraries to help curate their graphic novel holdings,” Liegl said. “I don’t see them as competitors. They help encourage kids to learn about the medium.
Comic enthusiasts can expect plenty of new stock and a rearrangement of current offerings.
“Santa Clarita is hungry for comics, and I’m here to stay and to provide them. It may be my first time owning a shop, but not my first time running a shop. I know how to talk to customers and I’ll make sure my staff does too.”