WINONA, Minn. -- Four internationally renowned comic book creators will visit Jimmy Jams this Saturday as part of the Winona store’s 20th anniversary celebration.
Bill Willingham, Christopher Jones, Pat Gleason, Gordon Purcell. The names might not ring a bell right away, but to anyone who reads comic books, these artists are household icons.
Willingham writes “Fables,” “Fairest,” and other series. Jones illustrates “Young Justice,” Gleason’s artwork is seen in “Batman and Robin,” and Purcell creates artwork for “Star Trek” comic books.
Jimmy Jams store owner Jim McCauley said it wasn’t particularly hard to get these superstars to come visit his store, sign memorabilia, and create commissioned sketches for customers. They live nearby, and were familiar with McCauley’s store.
“I suppose being around 20 years kind of helps,” McCauley added.
The artists will also spend time at River City Hobbies in La Crosse, a similar store McCauley purchased earlier this year. River City Hobbies is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, so it’s an apt combination.
For folks who aren’t familiar with the comic book world, McCauley was quick to say how much the anniversary event — and his store in general — has to offer.
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On Saturday, he’ll have sales on board games and other items. A charity auction benefiting Winona Volunteer Services will feature items related to comics, games and movies.
The store itself has plenty of DVDs, video games, board games, cards, and of course, comic books. Since McCauley started carrying DVDs about 10 years ago, he’s noticed they are almost always a hit. He’s tried to carry something for everyone, comic book fan or not.
After 20 years in business, McCauley said a major highlight has been seeing patrons grow up. He’s watched some folks who came into the store as 8-year-olds now bringing their own kids to browse the shelves.
“Being around that long is kind of humbling,” he said.
McCauley said his loyal customer base has kept the store going — even though Winona’s not a metropolis. “It’s not easy to make it work in a small town,” he said. Jimmy Jams customers typically frequent the store for game nights or to try out a new game with some friends. Tables and demo games are available any time the store is open.
“It’s kind of its own little community,” he said of the store’s regulars.