Comic relief: New store expands collectable culture in Casper

Chris and Steve Howe pose in Seidr’s Den in North Casper. The new comic book store will open soon. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

Steve Howe had something of an epiphany during the first-ever Casper Comic Con last month.

Howe had a booth at the show, where he expected around 500 participants.

“They had almost 2,800 people come through the doors,” he said, and he estimates a good 10 percent of them spent money at his stand.

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Steve says he fell in love with comic books at age 7. By the time he was 14 he knew he wanted to run a comic book shop, and the enthusiastic comic book fans at Casper Comic Con gave him the confidence to open his own store.

Steve owns Norse Vapor at 304 North Center, and a few years ago found success after he started selling some comic books and games there.

Now, inside a former convenience store in North Casper, he and his son Chris are preparing to launch Seirdr’s Den, which he says will be Casper’s only full-service comic book store. He’ll also offer games and magic.

Steve says a lot of Casper comic fans regularly drive to Denver for their fix. He hopes to tap into that market and create a “community” with the store.

Chris will bring games and magic into the mix.

He became enamored with Magic the Gathering at a young age. “It’s everything I do now,” said Chris.

Steve Howe holds up a vintage Spider-Man comic from 1964 and a Fantastic Four from the early-1980s. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

“We’re able to put them both together in a way that builds a community and starts to intermingle both of the products between both of the communities,” said Steve. “Being able to have people here for Magic and then move them to Dungeons and Dragons and then comic books, you can build a bigger community and have a lot more fun.”

Among some of Steve’s plans for the store include events for children, comic book swap days where people can bring in collection and swap with other collectors, and movie nights.

Steve says the store’s personal expertise can help novice fans dig deeper, or simply get started in a genre that has seen steady growth recently.

“We’ve had children come in that want to get into comic books but weren’t sure where to start,” said Steve. “We know what is age-appropreate and can help parents understand that there are comics that aren’t meant for 10-year-olds.”

A 1987 Amazing Spider-Man features his wedding to Mary Jane. (Dan Cepeda, Oil City)

“You have to know how to introduce someone to a good comic book, or a point in the story with a good key issue.”

Steve says he’ll have over ten thousand comic book editions inside the store, including current and back issues as well as vintage and collectables.

Graphic novels, collectable toys, Magic the Gathering, and Pokemon are other offerings as well.

Steve plans a grand opening for Sept. 1, but may do a soft opening at some point before.

Steve says the blockbuster comic book movies have made younger people interested in comic books. He expects them to visit the store and help them discover the world of comics.

“Now we get to teach them,” said Steve. “It’s hugely rewarding.”

Seidr’s Den is located at 933 North Center. Their hours will be Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 8 p.m. They can be reached by phone at 307-288-1213

(Dan Cepeda, Oil City)