ASHEBORO — Do you just want to escape from the everyday stresses of a COVID-19 world? Then you might consider a visit to More Fun Comic Studio.
Opened just this past August at 312-C Sunset Ave., the shop caters to collectors of comic books, vintage toys, novelty items, jewelry, apparel and much more.
It’s also a place to just hang out.
Owner Rick Davis, associate pastor at First Baptist Church of Asheboro, has spent almost 30 years in the comic business. That included a friendship with Jeff Lamb, who, right before the pandemic began, closed his Comic Conspiracy shop after 42 years.
“I do a lot of counseling, a lot of it with young people and small groups,” Davis said. “People have heightened anxiety, with COVID restrictions and isolation. I felt the need to have a destination place to de-stress.”
That place is More Fun Comic Studio, which Davis calls a “hybrid retail/ministry. It’s a great place to minister, especially to younger people. Some of them refer to themselves as the Anxiety Generation.”
First Baptist owns a building next door that includes Heart Space Ministries. Groups can go there for music or just to talk.
More Fun Comic Studio is a safe place people can go to browse the comic books and other items or just talk.
Davis is a 1974 graduate of Asheboro High School and studied commercial graphics at what was then called Randolph Technical College (now Randolph Community College). He then apprenticed with Sam Grainger, an artist with Marvel Comics.
“I worked with him for nearly a decade,” Davis said. “When he passed, I continued comics for about 20 years. I did my last comic artwork in 2007 for DC Comics, Super Girl 19.
“I was already a pastor for a little church in Level Cross,” he said, adding that he’s been an associate pastor at First Baptist for 13 years.
With nearly 30 years in comics, Davis said, “It’s a culture I know about. I can fill a need for people looking for comic books or be there just to talk.”
Davis said comics and fantasy can be escapism for those tired of the 24/7 news/entertainment cycle.
“We’re bombarded with it and it can increase our anxiety,” he said. “This is a chance to escape, with comics and gaming. People of all ages can relate to one another. We have older comics and new comics. Multiple generations can find common ground.”
According to Davis, a study by Duke University found that comic books help youth with their reading skills and lead them to a love of reading. “Hobbies can be beneficial in a lot of ways,” he said.
“We’re trying to create a safe place to leave all the antagonism at the door and learn to live life together,” Davis said.
Proceeds from More Fun Comic Studio, after expenses, are donated to First Baptist’s missions for those in need, including emergency housing, clothes, food and medicines. He said they’ve paid for two cremations of homeless persons or those without family and have provided for gravestones.
“We’re either helping people directly or purchasing resources,” Davis said. One resource is a book by Hector Miray titled “Faith and Fandom: Finding God in Geek Culture.”
“We hope to expand the ministry with more small groups and counseling,” he said. “But we’re not looking to expand the business. People from all over like the atmosphere and what we’re doing.”