By Bob Shallit
The Sacramento Bee
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Two comic book aficionados hope to share their passion for comic books with other likeminded folks. Sacramentans Neil Estaris and Laura Benson have an idea for a coffee shop where comic book fans can peruse the latest offerings from Marvel, DC, Image and other publishers. Their idea/company “Oblivion Comics & Coffee” is a finalist in the “Calling All Dreamers Competition” sponsored by the downtown Sacramento Foundation. The Dreamers contest awards more than $110,000 worth of free rent and other incentives to help the winning team.
Want a little Green Lantern with your latte?
That’s the novel — or should we say graphic novel — idea behind Oblivion Comics & Coffee, one of five new business proposals selected as finalists in this year’s Calling All Dreamers competition sponsored by the Downtown Sacramento Foundation.
Oblivion is the idea of Sacramentans Neil Estaris and Laura Benson, who think there’s a market for a shop where comic book fans can peruse the latest offerings from Marvel, DC, Image and other publishers, and engage in spirited debates about superhero films while sipping caffeinated beverages from Chocolate Fish Coffee.
“There’s a huge amount of interest and passion for these characters we grew up with,” said Estaris, 32. “No one else is tapping into it.
The Oblivion name comes from a fictional bar, located in a “pocket dimension” and appearing in various DC Comics stories, that’s considered a neutral area where superheroes and villains can hang out peacefully.
Will Oblivion have that same sort of mellow vibe?
“That’s the concept,” Estaris said.
The Dreamers contest awards more than $110,000 worth of free rent and other incentives to help the winning team. Among the other finalists this year: entrepreneurs proposing a fashion shop, a restaurant featuring Argentine empanadas, an upscale dog boutique and a business selling fresh-rolled ice cream.
You can view one-minute promos of each of the finalists at http://downtownsac.org/start-a-business/dreamers-welcome/calling-all-dreamers-contest/meet-finalists/
The five finalists will make presentations to a selection panel in June and a winner will be announced soon after. Since the competition began three years ago, 11 participants have ended up opening businesses in the area.