PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Katie Proctor isn’t ashamed to admit she spent most of her life savings on comic books.
Her terrifying move two years turned into a successful business she says is challenging the stigma about so-called “geek spaces.”
Proctor used to work in tech, in schools — but it was a book store gig that stood out.
“My favorite high school job was working in an independent book store in Monterey, California,” she said.
Her passion for comics dates back to the 1990s and she opened her own store — Books with Pictures — in 2016.
At her shop in Southeast Portland, Proctor’s vision is pretty clear.
“I wanted to create a space where anyone wandering by could look at the shop and say ‘hey, that looks like a place I want to visit. I wonder if there’s something there for me,'” Proctor said. “And not ‘oh, I don’t read comic books so I shouldn’t go in that door.'”
Inside it’s bright, open and organized. It’s also women friendly and full of diverse comics.
“I want to make sure I’m stocking stuff that looks like me and my customers so people feel represented here,” she said.
There are super hero, queer and handmade comics.
“Comics are this very particular medium that are immersive in a different way and I love that,” she said.
The shop also has zines, children books and sex ed sections.
“Literacy education was very anti-comics and I think a lot of it still is there’s a sense they don’t count as real books, that reading comics is not real reading,” she said. “But at the end of the day, if giving a kid a book about Batman is what gets that kid to develop a habit of reading, give the kid Batman.”
In Proctor’s shop, when stories and art collide — it can be life changing.
“And if giving a kid a book where they see themselves is what gives them a sense of belonging and acceptance in their school, give the kid the book.”
Books with Pictures is located at 1100 SE Division St, #103 Portland, OR 97414