A red-brown brick wall. Two sets of windows are upstairs, and a door downstairs. Next to the door is a painted silhouette of a man pulling his outer shirt open and revealing the Superman symbol beneath it. The window above it has a scratched-up painted figure of  Spider-Man stepping out of the window. On the sidewalk below, a (real) woman walks by.

I recently found myself in Culver City and spotted a familiar-looking wall. Not because I’d been there often, but because I remember seeing it from the passenger seat of a co-worker’s car over a decade ago as we drove past on the way to…lunch? A bakery? I can’t quite remember. But I do remember Spider-Man climbing out of the upper window, and Superman changing in a painted phone booth. And I remembered having seen other signs of a comic shop in the building at the time, and the sense that I’d snapped a photo with my phone.

The same wall. The door's different, the paint on the Spider-Man figure is in better condition, and there's less graffiti around Superman, and there's a drainpipe next to the windows. You can see the reflection of someone holding up a phone because I didn't open the window, but otherwise not much has changed.As it happens, I’m enough of a digital pack rat that I was able to find the older photo in less than 15 minutes! The photo itself didn’t reveal anything new, but I’d named the file “Dreamworld Comics.jpg,” which gave me somewhere to start.

Weirdly enough, when I found the current website and Yelp entry, the address looked the same as the one visible on the door…but it was definitely a different building.

It turns out they moved down the street several years back. From 12402 Washington Boulevard to 12402 Washington Place. If I’d gone one block north I would have seen the current store!

Google Street View shows them in the corner storefront back in 2008 and 2012, so when I snapped the photo in 2011, I would have seen the name a few seconds later.

A squareish hand-painted metal sign with the words 'Coffee,' 'Espresso' and 'Wifi' stacked vertically. The letters and border are black on a bright yellow background. The sign hangs from an ornamented wrought-iron-style stand above a planter and is viewed diagonally from above. Between 'Coffee' and 'Espresso' there's a drawing of a cup and saucer with steam rising from it.

When I took this photo back in 2016, it was a combination coffee/Chinese food restaurant: they sold coffee in the mornings and Chinese food for lunch and dinner. The owner had previously run a separate coffee shop (The Bean Counter, IIRC) in the same shopping center, then combined the two businesses to save on rent. It was one of our go-to Chinese takeout sources, and I’d sometimes grab coffee in the mornings if I was in the area or on my way somewhere in that direction.

The old coffee location sat vacant for a few years until a bakery (with coffee on the side) moved in. Amusingly, the bakery — with is still there today — also chose a pun-based name: Redondough (as in Redondo Beach).

In early 2020 — and I mean early, either January or February — they were offered a really nice buyout price by someone who wanted to turn-key convert it overnight to a Hawaiian restaurant. I imagine when mid-March rolled around and the initial Covid lockdown started, they were extremely relieved to have accepted it!

I never did get around to trying the Hawaiian place, even for takeout. Eventually it was taken over by a Hawaiian-style fast food chain.

Photo taken February 27, 2016 and originally posted on my Instagram account a few days later with this title, but no commentary.

Drawing of a silver person standing in the desert in front of a flying saucer.I really enjoyed the original run (Saucer Country) at Vertigo and the second run at IDW (Saucer State)…that ended on a cliffhanger, and I’m really looking forward to being able to read the conclusion!

Saucer Country is a dark thriller that blends UFO lore and alien abduction with political intrigue, all set in the hauntingly beautiful Southwest.

The comics by Paul Cornell & Ryan Kelly follow a presidential campaign whose candidate believes she has been abducted by aliens, what that means to her and the country, and weaves through every aspect of UFO conspiracy mythology you can think of.

The first volume ran from 2012-2013, and the second volume picked up in 2017…and it was really weird to see how prescient the first run had been, as well as how the 2016 election season influenced the second part.

Finally in 2022 they ran a crowdfunding campaign at Zoop (launching on election day, of course!) to fund the concluding chapters and a collected edition.

And now: It’s done! It’s printed! It’s shipped! I got my copy in the mail today! (And it’s been long enough that I’m going to want to start at the beginning anyway.)