New Comic Book Shop: Dragon’s Lair Finds a Home in Mililani
Dragon’s Lair is finding a comic book market in suburban Mililani.
Photo: David Croxford
In a time when bookstores are closing their doors across Oahu and the rest of the country, a new shop that specializes in comic books is finding a surprising amount of success in, of all places, Mililani Mauka.
Owners Lucas and Randee Martin of Dragon’s Lair say they’re selling so many comics, it’s hard for them to keep the shelves stocked. Their shop carries an assortment of new comic books, Japanese manga, independent publications, board games, vinyl figurines and little plushies.
The Martins have comic book cred.
Just 10 years ago, Lucas Martin worked as manager of the comic shop Last Sanctuary on Kapiolani Boulevard near Ala Moana Center, where Nordstrom stands today. When Sanctuary closed in 2005, he considered opening a place of his own. But finding a new job and starting a family meant that years passed before the idea could take shape.
Lucas’ partner (and now wife), Randee, helped craft a business plan in 2012. Her father advised her through the process and offered to kick in the startup capital to launch the shop in May 2014.
Why suburban Mililani? “Hawaii is home and I grew up in Mililani,” says Randee. And she’s seen small businesses flourish there when they find the right niche.
So far, it looks like comics are the right niche, hitting a sweet spot for a mix of teenagers and college students, military personnel and parents sharing comics with their children. The popular Big Bang Theory TV series with its comic-store-loving characters doesn’t hurt, either.
While online sales have boosted the popularity of comics, fangirls and fanboys seem happy to find a brick-and-mortar location that offers what they’re looking for just down the street without extra shipping costs or delivery delays.
The Martins plan regular in-store events to build the comic community. “Sometimes you hear people say they love Hawaii, but that there’s nothing out here for comic fans, like there is in cities like Los Angeles or New York,” Randee says. “There’s no reason Hawaii can’t join that list.”
Dragon’s Lair, 95-1840 Meheula Parkway, E-10, 597-6981, facebook.com/dragonslaircomics