Outer Planes: More than just a comic shop

Devin Schwarz, Assistant A&E Editor

“Rocks fall, reflex save or die.” “I bolt your bird.” “That resolves.” “Seven to you.” Outer Planes Comics and Games is abuzz with nerd jargon every day of the week.

For people who consider video, card or tabletop games a way of life rather than just a hobby, a social life can be hard to come by. Outer Planes Comics and Games about a mile away from Santa Rosa Junior College manages to bring together gamers from all genres and encourage a social and open atmosphere among them.

The store recently moved to its current location on Mendocino Avenue where they expanded their floor space and created a more welcoming game zone.

Dan Radovic has owned and operated Outer Planes for 11 years and said it really hasn’t changed much since its inception. “When comics are down, games are up; when games are down, comics are up,” Radovic said.

Comics may seem like the shop’s main focus at first glance, Radovic said, but “Gaming makes up two-thirds [of our sales]; card-gaming takes up about half of that.” Games are slowly becoming a major portion of the business and its community, Radovic said. The owner is constantly working on creating a stronger gaming atmosphere and promoting the formation of themed groups. Of course, the business does have a massive selection of comics.

In the future, Radovic said, “I’d like to see them make more good comic book movies.” He’d like the shop to appeal to both the gaming and comic community equally with more signings and guest appearances, when the budget makes it possible.

For Outer Planes’ customers, the shop is a haven for games, comics, cards and just hanging out with like-minded people obsessed with the same things they are. “The community here is the most welcoming to new players of any card shop I’ve visited,” said longtime customer, card gamer and SRJC student Elijah Murphy, 18. He commutes from San Rafael to SRJC and loves that Outer Planes is so close and easy to visit when in town for class. Magic: the Gathering, a popular card game played almost around the clock at Outer Planes, is what Murphy spends most his time playing while there.

Tanner Kohl, another player of the same card game, is new to Outer Planes but feels there is a strong community that welcomes new people and encourages social interaction. Kohl describes the business as having “a really friendly atmosphere. I really enjoy the people.”

Getting paid to do what you love is everyone’s dream and is one that has become a reality for Outer Plane’s employee and longtime customer Josh Shroyer. He marvels at the fact the average customer has a lot of reasons to not leave their house and not come to a store like Outer Planes with the advent of the internet and everything at their fingertips. Despite this, Shroyer says they have a lot of dedicated customers.

“The general philosophy has always been the same…to make the customer No. 1,” Shroyer said.