Big Planet is very clearly laid out. They actually store comic collections and graphic novels by author in many cases, very handy if you’re looking for say, works by Frank Miller or Alan Moore. They also have an extensive independent comics section of comics and collections that’s logically laid out. Most surprisingly, they have a great deal of foreign comics – French, German, Spanish. They also had a nice selection of new comics.
But they had more than “fancy” comics. They also had an extensive section of superhero graphic novels. I picked up two things (I can’t resist supporting a good store!) — The collected Earth X and Conversations with Charles Schulz. Both were worth the purchase. Earth X is beautifully done – but a bit heavy-handed and self-important. But it’s a fun read. The Schulz book is a collection of interviews with the Peanuts creator. The conversations span decades, and it’s a good read so far.
Now, about #1 and #2 in my “list” of Best Comic Book Stores. The best comic book store I’ve ever been to is Golden Apple Comics in Los Angeles/Hollywood. They’re on Melrose Avenue, and have a tremendous selection of comics and magazines and toys and oddities. It’s also well laid out, and has lots of events with artists. A great store.
The second best store on my list would be Comic Kingdom, which was on University Avenue here in San Diego. I used to go to that one when I was younger (say, 17 to 25 years old?). The problem is, several years ago they went out of business. But they were great. Massive numbers of back issues, all the most current comics, books, collectibles. It was a great messy goulash of a store. Then one year, in my periodic trips to San Diego from Virginia while I was in RT school and working as an RT, I drove to the store and poof! No more store. That was a heartbreaker.