Eitan Manhoff doesn’t put much stock in the stereotype of the “geeky white guy” comic book fan. Manhoff’s customers might be geeks, sure, but he’s seen firsthand that comic book lovers are a much broader and more diverse group than most comic retailers realize.
Manhoff is the owner of Cape & Cowl Comics in Oakland, California. He grew up reading comics alongside his dad, whom Manhoff admits is “not your prototypical comic book fan.” Manhoff’s dad is a rabbi. He fell in love with comics as a kid, lost interest as a young adult, but rediscovered them after he became a father. Nowadays, Manhoff says, “my dad might even read more comics than I do.”
Comic book stores, Manhoff explains, have an unfortunate reputation for being unwelcoming to anyone who doesn’t resemble a typical, die-hard fan. Manhoff hopes his small business helps change that. “What we want to do at Cape & Cowl is offer a place that’s welcoming to all of these different types of fans,” he says. “Our goal is to be totally and completely welcoming to everybody, and to offer a place that comic book fans and other geeks can be proud of.”
Manhoff’s favorite way of hooking new customers is by connecting them with stories they’ll love. “I truly think anybody who walks in the doors here, I can connect with some story that’s going to work for them,” he says. “And if I can’t, then I will make it my mission to find out what that story is and bring it to them.”
Watch the video for a look at Cape & Cowl’s incredible collection, and learn more about how Manhoff is spreading his love of comics through Oakland.
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