Geek out at Outsider Comics

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Photo by Lindsey Anderson
Photo by Lindsey Anderson

Geek culture is as innate to Seattle as the rain, with superfans of all kinds flocking to the city. While Seattle is full of many unique bookstores, it can be hard to find one that caters to every nerd's specific interests. But geeky Queers have no fear, we have found the ultimate one-stop shop for all nerdy needs: Outsider Comics.

"A community touchstone"
"Ideally, on our best day, it's a community touchstone," store employee Monty Rozema said of the comic store and "geek boutique."

"We have lots of regulars who come in. We like to have a lot of conversations with folks that can be anywhere from ten minutes to an hour. That's our vibe. We like to collect people's stuff that they're boosting on our little freebies shelf. We like to create a community atmosphere. We always invite people to sit down and read, even if they're not going to buy anything."

Rozema has been working at the store for a little over a year and fell in love with Outsider Comics for many of the same reasons customers have. "I love comics, and I respect the ethos of the store. Creating a space for people to enjoy comics and graphic arts culture with other Queer people, with people of color, with women, in a space that doesn't feel like some guy's creepy basement. Do you know what I mean? Comics is a wonderful culture that is all-inclusive, but comic shops are not so much, so we're trying to change that."

At its core, Outsider Comics is a haven for anyone who has felt left out or misunderstood in the comic world. The founders set out to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ and BIPOC people, and other comic fans who have felt alienated by more mainstream comic stores.

"From what I know, part of the reason the store was founded was that there were so many Queer nerds in Seattle who felt like they didn't have a comic spot that was their spot, especially now that Comics Dungeon is gone. There was a community need, and the owners were like, hey, we can do that, let's be that for people," Rozema explained.

Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

What's hot this summer
Because Outsider Comics has LGBTQ+ and BIPOC readers in mind, the store features several displays of comics specifically centered around both communities. "But it's also everywhere," Rozema said. "We have this shelf where we put exclusively LGBT stuff, but then we have it mixed in with the rest of the content around the store. This is some of our LGBT stuff, but by no means all of it."

LGBTQ+ comics have also been some of the best sellers in the store this year, Rozema explained. "Since [Green Lantern: Far Sector] came out earlier this year, everyone has been... raving about it. It's a new take N.K. Jemisin, the very prolific sci-fi writer, so that one is very popular with people," they said.

"[Mañana] has also been popular since we got it in. It's an anthology of Latinx-inspired utopian tales — like happy future sci-fi instead of scary future sci-fi — and we have it in English and Spanish, which is cool. That's been pretty popular with people, especially bilingual families."

Outsider Comics sells titles for readers of all ages. One of the most popular books for younger readers has also been an LGBTQ+ story. "[Magic Boy] has been popular with kids, which is super awesome. It's a Trans take on the magical-girl genre of anime, like Sailor Moon and that kind of stuff, but it's about a middle school-aged Trans boy who discovers that he has matrilineal magic-girl heritage, so he is a 'magical girl.' But he's not a girl, so it's about him dealing with that. It's cool. I've found younger people connect with that one."

Photo by Lindsey Anderson  

More than just a comic book store
What makes Outsider Comics unique is that it has more than just comic books. "We're a comic book store, but we also are a boutique and have a lot of gift stuff," Rozema said. "If you look around, you'll notice we have a ton of clothes. They're very popular with people, especially because this brand, New Works, which has a lot of the big, loud patterns with the color blocks, is based out of LA, and [it's] a cool, sustainable, arts-based, women-owned company that doesn't have a lot of outlet stores across the country. We get people coming into the store specifically to buy the clothes from this brand."

Outsider Comics also hosts events. "We did a lot more before COVID," Rozema admitted. "We used to host game nights, like an Intro to D&D. We're trying to get back into that, but since COVID, our biggest events have been author signings, which happen more on demand."

Last month the store hosted local authors Dorian Alexander and Jeremy Raab, who wrote Heretics of the Fathomless Realms. In September, the store is looking forward to welcoming Shea Fontana, author of the DC Super Hero Girls series.

"We also participate in Free Comic Book Day, our biggest event of the year. People love that one!" Rozema said. That brings even more foot traffic to the store and often encourages new comic readers to dive in.

For those who might have missed Free Comic Book Day in early May, Outsider Comics is still full of great reads, many of which are under $10. The store tries to keep a diverse collection, so that there's always something for everyone, no matter what they're into.

"We have a good mix of graphic novels, comics, YA, traditional, niche, indie/local, manga... we try to do a little bit of everything," Rozema said. "So, for instance, we don't have the most comprehensive new floppy comics wall in Seattle. Other comic stores have that niche taken care of, so instead, we try to give people a little taste of a lot of different options of what comics can be for them. Some people love manga, some people love one-shot graphic novels, and some people love heroes, so we try to bring a little bit of everything."

Outsider Comics is a haven for all of Seattle's nerds — with a little something for everybody! Whether you're looking to get into a new genre, pick up a beautiful graphic novel, or maybe update your wardrobe, a trip to Outsider Comics is never dull.

Outsider Comics and Geek Boutique is at 223 N. 36th St. in Fremont, Seattle and online at