Breaking news: Ralph Johnson and Bob the Dog have come out of retirement.
(Update: Bob the Dog barked his last in Aug of 2013.)
I wrote most of this back in September, and forgot to post until December after I had made up a whole page on Fantasy Books and Games. So they are a little redundant, but the page has lots of pictures of the vast array of products for sale.
Bob the Human (I haven’t asked permission to use his last name) owns this amazingly well-stocked comics, toys, and games store in Livermore. He’s been working alone for 364 days a year – for a long time. I’ve encouraged him to hire someone for years, and there are many legitimate concerns that go along with that, so I understand his reluctance. But he’s got things to do every once in a while, so Bob (the dog) and I are filling in a couple of days a week for the foreseeable future.
Livermore is on I-580 about 45 miles east of San Francisco, and the home of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Between Pleasanton (Oracle), Dublin (Sybase), and Livermore, there are probably 50,000 tech industry, or tech-dependent jobs, so it’s a small version of Silicon Valley. AND there are 42 members of the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Association within about 10 miles. Fantasy Books and Games is surrounded by wine bars, restaurants, fountains, and little parks. The city has tried to spruce up the downtown neighborhood, and they’ve actually done an amazing job. (If the BART extension ever gets done, there will be a lot of people taking DUI-free wine wine excursions from San Francisco to Livermore!)
FBG has been at the same location since the early 80’s. He has an enormous stock of graphic novels from Marvel, DC, and the rest of the superhero publishers. He has a respectable stock of “alternative” comics and books, although, with no major college in the neighborhood, sales of many of the black and whites and other alternatives are fairly slow, so his stock in this department does not compare with Dr. Comics or other, more “urban” stores. But, when it comes to Magic the Gathering, Pokemon, and Yu-Gi-Oh collectible card games, there are over a million cards in stock! (Perhaps I exaggerate, but I don’t think so. It FEELS like a billion!) This is not my strong suit, in the working knowledge department, but then again, I’ve been out of the new comic business for 8 years, so I’m asking the customers about what is going on between the covers of the new comics, which are still released Wednesday (unless a Monday holiday delays them). There are also hundreds of Star Wars and superhero action figures, comic character statues, inexpensive back issues, sports cards (mostly packs, not singles), D&D and other role-playing games, Mage Knight, Halo, and the Marvel and DC HeroClix figures.
So for all you people in the Tri-Valley (I don’t like that term, but Dubliners, Pleasantonnites (I made that up) may not like “Livermore Valley” like the winemakers and I do), if you want to meet Bob the Dog come in on Tuesdays for the foreseeable future. If you want to ask hard questions or have items to sell, come in on other days and talk to Bob the Human. Tell him he should be collecting your email address. And get a cell phone. (I’ll work it from my end!)
2247 1st St
Livermore, CA 94550
925-449-5233 Wed-Sat 11-7 – Sun-Tue 11-6