December 2018 12 OFF CAMPUS by Callahan Jones I n a small village, wedged between a dive bar and an up-scale antique shop, a man dressed in bright red pants struggles with his keys, trying to unlock a door. His worn-out beanie doesn’t do much to protect his head from the pouring rain. Finally, he succeeds at unlocking the door and enters his beloved Super-Fly Comics & Games. “This place is a mess,” Tony Barry says to himself with a sigh. He flips on the lights. Super-Fly Comics and Games is housed in a small and dimly lit building. The carpet is old, worn and doesn’t get swept very of- ten — it’s hard to get to that when the store only has one full-time employee and two part-timers. Music fills the space, sourced from a Spotify playlist that is thousands of songs and hundreds of hours long. It’s a varied collection of underground hip-hop, ambient noise, indie rock, polka covers of popular songs and Metallica. The space is packed with product. Every wall is lined with shelves that contain rows upon rows of dusty, hard-to-find comics, detailed statues from skilled Japanese modeling companies and popular Funko Pop figurines. The newest comics are on display near the entrance, while older and less valuable comics are stored in nearly a hundred long, cardboard boxes, each containing 350 is- sues, that cover tables set up against most of the walls. They line the space beneath the tables as well. In the back of the store are some tables and chairs, where weekly role- playing sessions and low-attendance game tournaments are held. Many of the gaming regulars moved to a store with more dedi- cated resources a little over four years ago. Novelty card games and even more loose comics cover the floor and tables be- hind the counter and fill the display cases around the register. Also on the floor is a leopard print witch’s hat, which Tony says is for his Halloween costume. It matches the leopard print jacket and shoes he’s current- ly wearing and that he wears almost daily. Tony sets about conquering one of his tasks for the day, sorting through a box of comics and looking for price changes. “You never know when collectors sud- denly decide a book that never sold is worth something,” he says. Tony and Super-Fly Comics & Games, which most regulars call Super-Fly, are kin- dred spirits in ways. Super-Fly is a strug- gling comic book and gaming store located in Yellow Springs, a small Ohio village. Tony is a communist small business owner, which explains his beanie. The beanie, which features the hammer and sickle logo from Superman: Red Son — a renowned comic book series that explores the idea of Superman having been raised in the USSR instead of in the United States — is his subtle statement on where he stands. “Well, in American politics I’m a bit Super-Fly Struggles Small-town comics and games store on brink of survival Photo courtesy of FA Comics Super-Fly Comics & Games in Yellow Springs is struggling financially, but owner Tony Barry is optimistic that he can work things out and keep his dream store open.