5003 Ross Street
Open Monday - Saturday
Amazing Fantasy (Bookworm's Den) opened its doors in July of 1980, initially as a second-hand bookstore. By the fall of 1984, Red Deer's second comic shop had closed its doors, and I approached Lynn (the owner of Bookworm's Den) with the idea of becoming the third. She liked the plan, but was leery of alienating her book customers with all that "kid's stuff" and proposed I open my own store with her financial backing.
In the early part of 1985, "Dadawerks, Ink." became Red Deer's third comic shop. It was at this point that we learned the valuable lesson of "Location, location, location". When it became apparent that no one could find us and the store would not survive, Lynn finally accepted the idea of incorporating new comics into her store, and by summer of 1985, Bookworm's Den had become Red Deer's fourth comic store.
I soon left town for further education, forced by circumstance to abandon my dream of running the comic end of things at the 'Worm. In the meantime, Lynn did a thriving business, cementing the store's reputation as the place to shop in Central Alberta for comic-filled goodness. In 1989, she sold the store to family friend Gerri, who took the store to even greater heights.
In the meantime, I had done my time in the comic trenches elsewhere, working for a year at the largest comic shop in Alberta (the Comic Castle in Edmonton), followed by a three year stint at the Diamond Comic Distributors branch in Edmonton. Having gained thorough inside knowledge of the industry, and seeing the market booming, a friend and I decided the time was right to open another shop in Red Deer, the much-beloved Fourth World Comics.
Well, the time wasn't right. It wasn't long after that the industry began its descent into near-collapse, and two years later, in 1995, Fourth World closed its doors for good. This sad turn of events was soon followed by tragedy: in early 1996, Gerri, owner of Bookworm's, lost her seven-year battle with cancer.
In the months prior to her passing, Gerri had approached me to purchase her store, but in hindsight, I think we were delaying the move as it seemed to acknowledge that she would be leaving us. After she died, I was called in by her husband to help run the store, and the sale of ownership was put into motion. On May 1st, 1996, I became the third owner of Bookworm's Den.
There have been many changes over the years, not the least of which was the store name. In April of 2007, with the on-going phasing out of second hand books and the steady growth of the sales of comics & trade paperbacks, the time was right to reposition the store as a full-fledged comic shop, as opposed to a book store that sold comics. Premiering the new store name at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo, Amazing Fantasy was born anew.
Why Amazing Fantasy? As any geek worth their salt knows, the first issue was the first appearance of none other than Spider-Man, but it holds even deeper significance for me. If it hadn't been for Spidey, I would never have met the love of my life, the lovely and talented Lady Di. Having recently moved to our fair city and on a quest for some back issues (her son had pestered her into buying him a Spider-Man comic and she was the one who ended up reading it), she came into the store and messed up my backstock and stole my heart. (Awww......)
Oh, right, and Amazing Fantasy also has the largest selection of science-fiction and fantasy novels between Calgary and Edmonton, @4,000 books in stock and growing. There is also a nice selection of Classics and various quality non-fiction, reference, and esoteric books on hand, even if the majority of the other books that were here have since moved on to the Red Deer Public Library and other homes.
So, where do we go from here? Well, first of all, I gotta get this web site up and running. This baby is long overdue! After that, who knows? Check out the newsy-type section on the home page (click on the "Meanwhile" graphic) to see what's new.