Big Planet Comics founder Joel Pollack loves to be compared to Jeff Albertson, the comic book guy from the Simpsons.
“Oh, you mean my idol,” he says with a laugh.
But in many ways, Pollack, who opened the first Big Planet Comics location in Bethesda 29 years ago, has surpassed his role model.
Since founding the company’s first shop, the 65-year-old comic seller has grown the company to include its own in-house publishing company and four locations — one of which resides in the upstairs space at 1520 U Street NW.
That store, along with its sister locations in Bethesda, Vienna and College Park, celebrated the company’s 29th birthday last weekend with a big sale.
Over the years, Pollack says his clientele has changed.
Though comic collecting was once thought of as the chosen hobby of basement dwellers, its appeal has grown to include businesspeople, educators and families.
“I’ve had many parents come in and thank me for getting their kids interested in reading again,” says Pollack.
When will Pollack stop selling comics? That’s debatable. But he adds the shop is doing so well that it might just outlive him.
“I still have people shopping with me from day one,” says Pollack. “I wish I was as healthy as the business.”
Image via Big Planet Comics’ Facebook Page