Two new shops recently opened at 1100 SE Division. Both are totally different and unique to the Division streetscape.
Book With Pictures (see below for second store Voyager)
The good news is that comic books are making their way back into mainstream children’s and adult literature and are no longer just focused on pleasing specialty superhero followers and collectors.
In the fifties and sixties, comic books were part of life’s entertainment. A certain crowd will remember reading Looney Tunes, Disney Fantasy, Superman, Archie, Blondie, Millie the Model etc., etc.
For 12¢ a copy you could enjoy an afternoon reading about characters who are battling the forces of evil in the world of comic books even today. Long-lasting super heroes who still appear in monthly comic books include Superman (1938), Batman (1939), Wonder Woman (1941), The Phantom (1938), Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner (1939).
Katie Proctor, the owner of Books With Pictures, 1100 SE Division St., became a convert to modern day comic books when she saw the expansive metamorphosis they had undergone in the last twenty years.
They appealed to her nerdy, arty, action seeking side and to some of her friends so they started reading and collecting them.
One topic of their conversations was always about opening a comic book store to feature newer versions of comic books.
Proctor worked in the tech industry and when she came to the end of a project, she seized the opportunity to share her passion for comic books and open her own comic book store.
As a teenager, Proctor preferred to read Doonesbury and Transmetropolitan by Warren Ellis – political satire and an ongoing story of a future dystopia, and her mother, a graduate school professor, was an avid reader and kept a stock of comic books around that she encouraged her daughter to read too.
“During the eighties and nineties the industry narrowed the focus of the comics, appealing more to the angst in young men so I wasn’t that interested,” she said.
The times and new readers interests have changed today’s comic book formats. They have become the historical gatekeepers through which a multitude of stories are being told.
At Books With Pictures, Proctor focuses on comics featuring woman super heroes, people of color, feminists, queer creators and diverse protagonists. “I don’t do the collectibles part of the comic book industry. That’s a whole other area,” she said.
A Ladd’s addition resident, Proctor lives with her two children who attend Abernethy Elementary School. She has made an effort to expand the kids’ comic section and begin introducing the young ones to this great fantasy world.
Chairs and cozy rugs are geared to making customers comfortable while hanging out at the store.
If someone doesn’t really know much about comic books and what characters and authors might appeal to them, Proctor begins by asking them what type of shows they like to watch on TV. This can bring her close to recognizing what type of genre a reader would prefer.
To fans of Mad Max: Fury Road, Proctor would probably recommend the feminist dystopian satire Bitch Planet, or the long-running science fiction epic Finder.
For a fan of the television show Sex and the City, she recommends the Southern California Latina soap opera comic Locas. It’s a sexy-but-not-prurient super-powered farce about sex criminals. She may also invite them to jump into one of comic’s longest-running super hero soap operas, The X-Men, via Astonishing X-Men #1.
As for Proctor, she’s hooked, and reads as many as thirty books per week. Currently she’s interested in the The Wicked + The Divine, a contemporary fantasy comic book series written by Kieron Gillen, illustrated by Jamie McKelvie, and published monthly.
Portland has the good fortune of having the writers of Captain Marvel, Iron Man and DC Comics (including Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash) located here in the City.
They are very supportive of the store and have even given signed copies of their latest works to her to sell.
There are ten new, accessible books coming on the market, Proctor said, and she is excited to discover the characters, their missions and to see the art.
Making Books With Pictures is a welcoming book store that encourages reading, appreciation for drawing and community dialogue. The comic books range from a few dollars to around $25 for bound books. It’s an affordable source of entertainment.
The intention of Books With Pictures is to encourage community and to provide a place for an ongoing dialogue about the characters and people in the comic book stories which are, ultimately, stories about us all.
They can be reached by phone at 503.206.4369.
Currently there are several events that happen in the store too. Each Thursday, there’s a creators group that meets from 6 – 9 pm. On third Sundays, knitting from 6 – 6 pm.
Sunday drawing for elementary and junior high kids from 10 am – 12 noon. Saturdays Deep Geek, PSU’s comic book study group meets from 4 – 6 pm,.
A women’s gaming group is run by the organization Games to Gather, and meets the first Monday of the month from 7-10 pm.
Interested folk should reach out to Jay Sylvano at firstname.lastname@example.org, as dates sometimes shift with holidays and other conflicts.
The name of Lisa Raymer’s import store, Voyager, 1100 SE Division St., is a good indicator of the selection of items she has searched the world to sell.
She is not new to the import business and has spent years building connections with people and businesses around the world. Each item she sells has an interesting backstory that makes it special.
Rayner’s intention after leaving Dallas, Texas was to introduce Portland to a unique floor/counter covering product she had developed. Her samples are amazing and relatively simple to apply but there was no audience for them here – yet. (You can purchase a how-to video online at artfloors.net)
In figuring out what to do next, she fell back on her connections to Fair Trade dealers as well as adding her collection of vintage objects to her sales merchandise making Voyager a truly one-of-a-kind shop.
The display of curiosities Raymer sells has dramatically changed the interior of the industrial space the store occupies. All the natural light makes the vivid colors and unusual shapes and textures glow.
The Pupattan scarves with their embroidered sequins and beads are the perfect accent for a night on the town, hung on a wall or used as a table runner.
From one of Portland’s original rug masters, James Opie, she procured semi-antique Afghan rugs. Their patterns and hues make any room in a house complete. From Nepal, felted kids booties are made in charming animal characters, bright, warm and comfortable.
No import store would be complete without a selection of exotic jewelry – the collection of Kuchi and Turkaman tribal jewelry is exquisite and resonates with that ancient soul in all of us.
For those of you who look forward to building a Day of the Dead altar and making sugar skulls, here’s the place to go.
Skull molds are available in various different sizes and as that holiday gets closer, Rayner will have frosting in-store and ready.
Interspersed among the foreign objects is a touch of vintage, both foreign and Americana. There’s a cool cigarette case and matching ashtray from Thailand, carved bone from India, Native American woven pine needles; vintage tins; film reels and even… a pair of roller skates?!
Looking for that perfect gift, need some Asian yoga pants, collect African masks, need some worry dolls or just curious? Be sure to make Voyager one of your destinations.
Store hours are 10:30 am – 5 pm, seven days a week with extended hours during the holidays. NT