Megabrain Comics is a new business in Rhinebeck, tucked away on Garden Street (the block behind Upstate Films), owned and operated by Jean David Michel and his wife Alexandra.
It’s an activity space as well as a retail outlet. Complete with a plush carpeted lounge in the front room and a larger gaming hall in the rear of the store, it offers patrons a fun, inclusive, walk-in gaming experience that ranges from traditional board games such as Scrabble, Clue, Risk and chess to fantasy RPG gaming like Dungeons & Dragons, Pathfinder and the Red Dragon Inn. Customers will be able to sign up for scheduled Magic the Gathering, Pokémon and Yugi-Oh tournaments, or just walk in during normal business hours and pay for gaming time by the hour. Many tabletop games, RPGs and card games will also be available for purchase (or special order, if they aren’t available in-store). “Playing tabletop games with each other is a great way for people to put their devices down and engage with each other,” say the Michels.
As a comic-book retailer, Megabrain is organized with a floor plan that separates books according to an age rating system. Younger readers can explore the “Rated G” section for books that are appropriate for customers of any age; the “Rated PG-13” section features familiar DC and Marvel superheroes; and the “Rated R” section is where adults can find comics and graphic novels with more “mature” themes and imagery, such as The Walking Dead, Sandman, Preacher and Saga. New comics are delivered to the store every Wednesday, and you can also find related toys and collectibles.
Comic geekdom used to be considered mostly a guy thing, but Jean David and Alexandra are clued into the fact that girls wanna be superheroes as well – and that the industry is beginning to respond to their demand for more relatable role models in the various comic-book universes: “One of our goals is to empower young girls to show them that comic-book stores are for them, just as much as they are for boys. When everyone arrives at the shop, they are greeted at the door by the faces of some of the most powerful and brilliant characters in Marvel & DC Comics, who also happen to be women. Comic titles with strong female leads are featured prominently throughout the store to show everyone just how cool it is to ‘Fight like a Girl.’”
Sounds like a progressive approach to a vintage hobby. And the couple have expressed their intent to showcase Hudson Valley-based writers and artists in the field who are looking for a place to connect with their fans in person. To find out what events are being planned, visit www.megabraincomics.com. or www.facebook.com/megabraincomicsrhinebeck. Or just stop in at 20 Garden Street in Rhinebeck between 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, or 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Sunday, and check out this new community resource.