Clobberin’ Comics co-owner Tommy Crane began Tuesday morning by pouring over boxes and boxes of comic books from a large collection that had recently been purchased.
Crane and Clinton Dalton, co-owner of the store and Radcliff native, said they take an aggressive approach when it comes to consuming inventory in order to reach the vision of what they want the business to be.
“Our goal really is to be the largest, sorted, searchable comic bookstore in the state of Kentucky,” Dalton said.
Originally open at the Towne Mall, the business moved from that location to downtown Elizabethtown last Wednesday. Dalton said the move was necessary since they needed more space for their inventory.
The original location at the mall opened on May 5, 2021. In October 2021, they began looking for another location.
Crane, who originally is from Leitchfield, said he met Dalton, an avid collector, through a former business partner in February 2021, who was also interested in opening a store.
Crane said he began tracing comic books when he was a child, and studied at Georgetown College on a partial arts scholarship.
He said he intended to open a comic book store for a few years now, and has been consistently buying books and collections from all over.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he ended up moving on from a marketing job and then ended up in a sales job, which he said he was unhappy with. It was the right time to open a store, he said.
Dalton said Crane is extremely knowledgeable in comics book of all different kinds of time periods and genres. He said Crane’s experience of him as an artist has helped put the comic book and its art on a pedestal, and has led to the store looking nice, clean and pleasing.
“He’s so immersed in this. It’s just a pleasure to work around,” Dalton said.
Crane said Dalton is emotionally invested in the business and is passionate like him.
“Absolutely one of the best business partners I’ve ever had in my life,” Crane said.
The store contains a Joker portrait that Crane painted on the left wall when one walks in. In the middle there are open boxes that contain stacks and rows of comics people can sift through.
The right side of the store contains framed posters and art prints with racks of face up, brand new comics. Crane said he is going to be rotating these comics every week when possible, and said they carry almost 100 facings per week of new comics.
On the left contains more framed art and “key issues,” which are comics that are sought-after by collectibles due to the books containing something remarkable, like the first appearance of a famous superhero.
Crane said the store currently holds around 60,000 sorted books, but they have about 60,000 more books that are unsorted in the back.
“I would be very surprised if we didn’t already have the largest sorted inventory in the state of Kentucky,” Crane said.
Dalton said through luck and persistence, they’ve been able to get good collections on sale. As large as their inventory is, Crane and Dalton said they want to keep customer service at the forefront by providing the right books at the right time for any customer that comes in or calls.
Crane said there are two types of collectors: Those who are “key collectors” that only care about “key issues,” and completionists who want every book in whatever series they’re working on completing.
“We try to put the right books in the right hands with the right people,” Crane said.
Bobby Haguewood, a paramedic living in Elizabethtown, visited the store on Tuesday to purchase some books. He said he has been collecting for the past seven months.
Haguewood said he reads everything he buys, and finds that it’s a good way for him to decompress. He said Crane keeps a good rotation of books.
“I can walk in here any day of the week and I’m gonna find something new every day,” he said.
Crane said they hit a record in sales last week after opening. On top of their foundational customer base, the new location is also attracting customers that they had previously never seen.
He said they have been planning and talking about possibly franchising the business, and have been targeting locations around Shepherdsville and Bowling Green.
The Elizabethtown location at 120 W. Dixie Ave. is closed on Mondays.