There are a number of fun factoids about Ann Arbor. One of my favorites is that Ann Arbor has more bookstores per capita than any other U.S. city. And I’m not talking about your traditional large chain booksellers. These are the treasured, independent and specialty stores with dedicated customers. In recent years, there’s one story that has gone from underground to Main Street (literally) — Vault of Midnight.
Not your typical comic book store, Vault of Midnight has been in business in the Ann Arbor area for 20 years, succeeding in lean times when other comic book stores were shutting their doors. Now, with the resurgence of superhero, science fiction, and fantasy themes within mainstream media, Vault of Midnight is more than another retail shop along Main Street — it’s a destination.
For a truly unique experience, plan your next visit to coincide with Free Comic Book Day on Saturday, May 7. A retail event like no other, hundreds of costumed fans of all ages will line up around the block to participate in what feels like a mini-comic con in the heart of Downtown Ann Arbor.
The line starts to form around 8 a.m. as fans anxiously await the doors opening at 10 a.m. In 2015, more than two thousand folks visited the store during the twelve-hour day. While waiting in line may seem like a drag, Vault staff entertains everyone with games and general shenanigans.
Once you enter the store, your first stop will be to the free comic book shelves. The sheer quantity of selections to choose from is exhilarating as you scan the titles and covers for something that piques your interest. At Vault of Midnight, fans are invited to select up to three free comic books which is excellent for those who appreciate a variety of comic genres.
After selecting your comics, explore the store! Check out the famed Vault of Midnight Sale Grotto, or the wall of hand selected first volume trade paperbacks at a discounted price. Finally, special Vault merchandise will be available on that day only.
Once you’re done at Vault of Midnight, check out some of these other specials at local businesses who are also going to participate in the fun! To receive the special offer, just present your Free Comic Book Day sales bag.
Free Comic Book Day illustration by Carolyn Nowak