Upon entering The Big Bang in Dundrum, you’re greeted with a relaxed ambiance and a level of curation rarely seen in comic stores. You’ll pass sections for music, the LGBTQ, historical and autobiographical work. And if you come by on a Tuesday, you’ll usually find owner John Hendrick on his hands and knees, filling shelves with the latest books.
Hendrick’s dedication has seen The Big Bang bloom, from its humble beginnings in a 700sqft unit to a store four times that size. Key to its success is a determination to bring newcomers to the medium. When customers enter the store for the first time, they’re asked what films, books and music they like, vital when finding that perfect recommendation. In the process, Hendricks and his team introduce people to the breath of great work outside the realm of superheroes.
In addition to creating a first-class retail experience, The Big Bang fosters emerging talent in the local comics scene by hosting a wide range of Q&As and portfolio reviews with comic professionals. Best of all, the store has become a space for writers and artists to interact with one another; Hendricks points to a recent anthology, Project Crossroads, that was produced by four people who met in the store.
As the store enters its seventh year, it finds new reasons to celebrate; recently it received its second nomination from the Eisners (the comics equivalent of the Oscars), making it one of the five greatest comic stores in the world. A legacy award that highlights retailers who push the medium forward, it’s a well-deserved nod for a store that strives to find new readers and voices in comics. As Hendrick himself says, “Nobody who works in the store doesn’t love comics. We’re always trying to do the next thing. We just don’t stop.”
Unit 2.3, Sandyford Road, Dundrum Town Centre
Words: Jack O’Higgins