Monday, June 15, 2015

If Disney Made Comic Shops, It'd Look Like This

On Saturday John and I went to check out the grand opening of Gods & Monsters here in Orlando, claimed to be the second largest comic and toy shop in the U.S.

 So you know this is gonna be gooooood.

Gods & Monster is located in what used to be the Festival Bay Mall. The mall never took off, though; it had something like 30% occupancy for years, despite it being big, pristine, and beautiful. So, last year the owners revamped it into Artegon Marketplace:

 It's kind of like an upscale Flea Market, with rows of metal-caged stalls rented out to local artisans:

Plus there are still some big department stores on the edges: a sporting goods place, some restaurants, etc.

Even this has been dead, though, and the times John and I've gone to browse it was a complete ghost town; too depressing to stay long. I think the shop keepers have been banking on Gods & Monsters (which kept pushing back its open date) to bring in the crowds.

From what we saw on Saturday, I think that's a good bet. 

Ready for the photo tour? 

Here we goooooo!

The front registers greet you immediately to the right as you step inside, and the "Arkham Dispensary" theming is flat-out incredible.

Barred windows, Riddler graffiti - and check out all the security cameras and spot lights pointed at you on the upper right. 

[Hit the Read More for the rest; lots of photos ahead!]

Through one of the windows you can glimpse a vault door in the back:

We worked our way down the right side of the main floor, which flows around these circular comic book displays:


Looking back towards the entrance:
Lots of great art overhead - and all hand-painted!

In the very back there are two food/drink counters with a Blade Runner theme, lots of lounge-type seating, and a game playing area complete with free board games to choose from.

Eventually they plan to serve alcohol here. (See the booth seating to the right? Very cool.)

Here's a shot of the entire food & gaming section, taken from the far left:
That's going to be a noodle bar at the far end, to fit with the Blade Runner theme. Overhead there are lots of star lights and those fun cascading bar LEDs.

(For the grand opening they had a bunch of extra tables set up for local artists - you can see one in the foreground there.)

Further down, the seating switches to more of a Skyrim/Game of Thrones vibe:

I love how they've given the booths a sense of privacy with those low walls.

More great theming: these dragon sconces have color changing light crystals:

There's a lot to look at everywhere you turn in Gods & Monsters, but I was especially drawn to all the overhead art designs. This LotR (or is that WoW?) silhouette had a shimmering light effect behind it that was just stunning:

Coming up the center of the main floor, we found a bunch of high-end shelving stocked with more collectible figures than I even knew existed:

The way they're displayed - no boxes, no clutter - it feels more like you're in a friend's badass nerd cave than an actual store:

More goodies in a lit glass case:


Those are just a few of my favorites; there were plenty more to drool over.

There are huge support columns around the store, and each one has a different theme with some fantastic props:

That's Pyramid Head's head up there, and I think those glass pendants had Edison bulbs in them.

Mad Max:

Indiana Jones & Jurassic Park:

Terrible shot, but that's Aquaman's trident under Superman's cape:

And my favorite:

Check it out: you've got the Infinity Gauntlet, Spidey's web, Thor's hammer, Hawkeyes's arrows, Cap's shied, and Gambit's playing cards. SO COOL.

(Did I tell you guys I saw Age of Ultron in the theater? 'Cuz I did. Earplugs, yes; panic, no; bragging, YES. :D)

Coming back towards the front of the store, here's possibly the prettiest overhead art section:

It even has color-changing LEDs tucked behind some of the cut-outs, making it EXTRA colorful.

Below this is a custom decal counter, where you can order any of a gillion nerdy designs in your choice of colors.

Back to the center, there are plenty of tempting toys, even for non-collectors like me:

A whole line of Doktor A's Mechtorians.

 I was THIS CLOSE to buying this vintage style Toucan Sam:

Only $20! (Maybe I should go back and get him. Hm....)

Oh, this was a fun find: Remember this art from my last roundup?

I didn't know Ant Lucia even offered decals & glasses!

And finally, coming full circle (square?) up the left side of the store, there's the art gallery:

That's right, you guys. This place has an art gallery. Woot!

Not only that, it's filled with some fantastic art:

There are even 3D pieces, from crocheted dolls to wall sculpts, like this:

All told, I'm incredibly impressed with Gods & Monsters, and I hope it becomes a staple for local geeks and tourists alike. (It's not too far from Disney, so worth the detour if you're planning a trip.)  I love that they've created big, beautiful areas encouraging folks to linger and play games, and once the store gets their Noodle Bar & liqueur license, I can see it becoming quite the hub for geeky hangouts.

I'm also looking forward to going back when it's not quite so crowded, so I can do some more shopping. :)

Best of luck to you, Gods & Monsters!

And I hope the rest of you enjoyed the tour!


  1. You went to the movies??!! Awesome, Jen! Love the pics -- that is quite a store. You are so lucky to have one close by.
    Maureen S

  2. I think the large painting you attribute to WOW may actually be boar riders from The Hobbit. Which would certainly be fitting :)

  3. or possibly the boar riders from warhammer

  4. Holy cow! This is really fantastic.

    Also, huge congrats on going to see Age Of Ultron in the theater! I'm so happy for you!

  5. Congrats on seeing "Age of Ultron!!" This is such a cool store! I wish we lived nearby...

  6. 1) I add my congratulations on seeing the movie! I thought it was super fun.
    2) This place looks AWESOME. I need to come to Florida....

  7. Ok I live in Florida... I must visit this place. It looks amazing!

  8. LotRs, Hobbit, WoW or so many more possibilities. I think it is suppose to be ambiguous so that it can fit into so so many different geeky/nerdiness as possible.

    1. not WOW though. No boar mounts in WOW

    2. SO many boar mounts in WoW! At least 5!

  9. Ooh. Will have to take my uber-geek daughter there before she goes back to school for the fall.

  10. This place looks amazing, possibly even overwhelming. (I prefer the cozy neighborhood store vibe myself). And way to sneak YOUR awesome news in there, Jen! You go, girl!

  11. They also have a full line of statues based on Ant Lucia's DC Bombshell Art Jen! I'm a huuuuuge fan and own most of them. They are awesome!

  12. That mall gives me the heebie jeebies. The aisles of emptiness. I feel like zombies are going to pop out from every low-lit corridor. And you're right, it's a beautiful mall. I don't understand how it's always been dead. Have not been back in a year, but it looks like I need to pay a visit again.

    1. Agreed. It always feels like I'm walking around in some post-apocalyptic scene when I'm there, because it always seems so dead. I hope they can revive it!

  13. Is this place hiring!! Dang it looks cool

  14. Oh my gosh! We'll be at Disney and Universal in August and this is like... right there! So adding this to the trip somehow.

  15. You went to the movies!!!!! YAY!!!!!!! That is honestly the most exciting thing about this post (not that the rest of it was bad or boring or anything...).

  16. That is so awesome! We are taking a trip to Orlando next month and I think this will be one of our stops. I will be secretly hoping you show up at Harry Potter World.

  17. Wicked awesome!!!! 1. Yay movies!!! 2. Is it a card shop too? With MTG/Netrunner/other games my brother plays I can't think of the name too lol. It looks wicked cool. I would love to take my broski he would mucho appreciate it. I would like to walk the art gallery and other booths in the flea market area n.n.

  18. Congrats on the movies! :D Ah, if only this wasn't on another continent I'd love to go there. SIGH. I shall have to live vicariously through your photos instead.

  19. I'm trying to convince my boss to send me to ALA in Orlando next summer. I think I will need to ratchet up my wheedling. Though, I'd come back with full suitcases and an empty bank account...

  20. I've never heard of this store before, but wowie, zowie does it look amazing! I would love to go there!

  21. I DIDN'T KNOW THIS WAS HAPPENING. When I left Florida they were still doing construction on the outside. Boo. I'll have to stop there when I come back for visits!!!!

  22. Must. Have. Buffy. Figurine.

    I think I could get lost in there for a couple of hours.

  23. Wow this place is awesome. Such great thought they put into it! Could spend all day there! :)

  24. this place looks amazing. but i was way more excited to hear that you went to the movies and it went well!!!! congrats :)

  25. Heh, I love the nonchalant, "Oh, btw, I was in a movie theater...for an entire movie viewing. Anyway...". I am so excited for you!

    Oh, and the Gods & Monsters thing is pretty cool, too. ; - )

    -Just Andrea

  26. Yay for you seeing the movie panic free!!! Huzzah! Despite earplugs, I hope you were able to enjoy the perfect silky-creepiness that was James Spader's voice for Ultron? :). So hard to believe he was the original nerdy Daniel Jackson in Stargate.... He plays and jerk so well!

    1. This is gonna make me sound like an old lady, but as loud as movies are these days, I can hear everything perfectly through earplugs - if not better! Ha! So, yes, Spader voice came in loud-and-clear, but it was weird picturing him in the suit the whole time. o.0 (LOVED him in Stargate.)

  27. Holy wow! This place looks incredible! Hope it does well. I will add it to my list of places to go when I take a trip to America! Those columns though! Its just so imaginative! And the fact that it has an art gallery! I would so buy local art from there.

  28. Looks like a cool place, and congrats on watching Age of Ultron panic free! I haven't seen a movie in theaters since The Hunger Games was released, and it was a very panicky experience to say the least. I really, really want to see Jurassic World in theaters, so I might finally break down and see it despite my fears. (Though when The Force Awakens comes out in December I'm definitely seeing it no matter how panicky I feel, but I do expect I'll be too busy fangirling to panic!)

  29. This place is so far from me, i am so jelly! Yay for the Ultron viewing, i thought it was awesome!

  30. Must own all of the Tim Burton figurines. Must have them.
    Do they ship to Washington? :)

    -- Piper P from Washington State


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