FARGO — Comic Junction in Fargo is nearing its 40th anniversary. Kip Marvig, owner and comic connoisseur, has been there for all the twists and turns.
Situated right between a vape shop and barbershop, up a moderate set of stairs and around the corner is a hidden gem with endless avenues.
Marvig opened up shop in 1981. There wasn't anything like it in the area at the time. His father was his inspiration for starting the business.
"Anytime I bought comics, my dad would read them first, too. 'Just to make sure they were appropriate,' is the excuse he used," Marvig said. "Reading comics gave me a love for reading, it got me started and gave me the interest."
He collects all sorts of items from all corners of the world, even collectibles dating back to the 1950s.
"There's nothing in these boxes on this shelf that have more than a 25-cent original cover price," Marvig said, pointing out some of his treasures.
Through the pandemic, Marvig has found various ways to keep the lights on, like offering curbside pickup, keeping things clean, and still, and the patronage of regulars making their routine stops.
"When my distributor was shut down, I didn't have new bills coming in, I just had to make rent," Marvig said. "Sure, my sales weren't what they were last year, but they weren't so bad that I had to declare bankruptcy."
He'll hit the 40-year milestone in June. His passion for art, and sharing that passion with others is what keeps him motivated. Just like in his childhood, he hopes a comic, novel or magazine can inspire another young mind.
"There's a thing called Free Comic (Book) Day, and we can buy comic strips cheap from the publishers to give them away free, and I always order heavier on the kids ones," Marvig said. "I just want kids to enjoy reading; no one wants to read a textbook, they have to."
For now, he's reflecting on the journey with the rest of it yet to be written.
"You rolled right through and now you're here, is that surprising?" Marvig asked. "Yes, I want to keep doing this as long as I can get up them stairs."