By Brad Harper
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Lashawn Colvin is a comic book editor and artist, as well as the creator of her own comic. As Brad Harper reports, “This fall, she’ll become one of the first Black women to own a comic book store in the South when her geek shop, café and gaming lounge opens.”
Lashawn Colvin hit pause on her family’s VCR. The 11-year-old military brat recorded episodes of “Sailor Moon” when they aired in her new town of Montgomery and watched them every chance she got. There was something about how the girls transformed into superheroes that fascinated her.
That transformation was on screen in front of her, frozen. She studied it. A few minutes later she was bent over a piece of paper drawing what she saw.
Colvin had started her own transformation, through a childhood of filling shoeboxes with handwritten “Power Rangers” stories and watching shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Xena: Warrior Princess.” Now, the Jefferson Davis High School graduate is a comic book editor and artist, as well as the creator of her own comic.
This fall, she’ll become one of the first Black women to own a comic book store in the South when her geek shop, café and gaming lounge opens in her adopted hometown. But she wasn’t thinking about any of that when she decided to take the plunge. She just wanted a place to shine a spotlight on other artists and creatives like her.
“I know the struggles of trying to get seen,” Colvin said. “It’s very important for my store to represent the community, where we try to help each other get ourselves out there.”
Her own comic, “Beautiful Soldiers,” takes inspiration from the shows and comics she’s loved over the years. It follows a multi-racial team of four teenage girls who each draw power from their own element of nature, as they try to follow the teachings of their mentor and save the Earth while juggling boys and high school.
It took her six years to develop the comic and spread the word. She gained attention, made connections, and formed partnerships with national artists, all while working as an editor for independent comics publisher Short Fuse Media and holding down another full-time job as a retail store manager.
Her story reached a turning point in April, when her mother died. Her two sisters had moved away. She could have followed them.
Instead, she decided to take her interest to the next level while helping continue a transformation within Alabama’s capital city. She’s setting up a store at 1264 Perry Hill Road that can highlight independent comics and local artists, while also giving geeks here another option for a place to hang out.
One wall of the store will carry mainstream comics, and the opposite wall will hold an array of independent titles alongside a section dedicated to a creator of the month. Mannequins are being dressed in the latest geekwear, accessories and crafts, including facemasks, from those independent creators.
There’s a smoothie and coffee bar that will serve drinks themed after “Beautiful Soldiers” characters, with custom artwork on each cup. It’s connected to a lounge where people can drink and read, while surrounded by artwork from Montgomery-area artists.
“People can come in and use the Wifi and just enjoy the environment,” Colvin said.
A gaming area in the back is ringed with monitors that will each be connected to a console. She’s saving one section for the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles that launch this winter. Colvin, who’s also a hardcore gamer, has plans for tournaments as well as time for kids and families.
She expects to open by Oct. 1. Just a few days after signing the lease, she was already getting attention in the comics community.
The buzz for “Beautiful Soldiers” took a lot longer to build, but she always expected that. Colvin said multiple publishers are now vying for the rights to the book.
“I went into it with the mindframe that this is an investment, and I’m not going to see a turnaround on my investment for five or six years,” she said. “And I did.”
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.