By Brooke Geery
Comic readers, gamers and fans of “Star Wars” and other fantasy have a new reason to leave the house in Rutland, thanks to Jared Goodrich, 31, and his fiancé, Jenna Flood, 32. The couple has been stocking, assembling, and creating a destination shop on Woodstock Ave. in Rutland for over eight months. Night Legion Comics (75 B Woodstock Ave.) officially opened for business on July 1, thanks to a little help from the BROC micro business program and a lot of research and hard work.
The couple — who will close the shop on Aug. 25-26 to officially tie the knot — have worked together to create a safe space for anyone and everyone who enjoys the culture surrounding comic books and video games. In addition to new comics from all the usual suspects such as Marvel, DC, Image, Darkhorse, IDW and Yen Press, Night Legion also offers a consignment wall, where anyone can bring in their own items to sell. If a customer has a price in mind, they can set it, otherwise Goodrich does the research to come up with fair market value. The shop then takes 25% of the sale price.
On his days off, Goodrich also hits flea markets and yard sales to secure more vintage items to choose from. His soon-to-be wife helps with logistics, and Goodrich explained she is great at bringing seemingly dead systems and games back to life. “She has learned how to take ‘em apart and fix them. I’m glad because it gives me a headache,” Goodrich laughed. “I let her handle the logistics, and I do the face stuff.”
In addition to buying and selling, Night Legion is also set up to hang out in. In the back corner, a couch and several recliners surround an old-school tube television, which aims to provide a truly authentic vintage gaming experience. Goodrich said anyone is invited to hang out and watch a movie if it’s on, and those wanting to play one of the 10 games available for Nintendo NES, N64 or Sega Genesis can rent the space for $5 an hour.
Against the west wall of the shop, Goodrich has an “artist’s alley” with two drafting tables set up, donated by local artist Brooks Blanchard. Because of his generous contributions to the store, the taller table is reserved for Blanchard at all times, but the shorter station can be rented for an entire day for $5. The tables and wall they face are decorated with pieces from various local artists. Visitors can check out Blanchard’s latest comic book, about a Vermont superhero with an Origami-master sidekick, as it takes shape.
Closed Monday and Tuesday, the shop is busiest on weekends, when locals and friends gather to play games and chat about comics. There’s nothing Goodrich — who is also into cosplay and is a member of the Local 501 Legion — would rather do. On Saturday, Aug. 14, the shop celebrated a belated Free Comic Book Day by bringing the whole crew together in full costume, giving out free comics and trinkets provided for the international event, typically celebrated in May.
Overall, things have been coming together well. Goodrich expressed much gratitude to the city and its residents for allowing him to fulfill a childhood dream. He said the owner of the now-defunct Westside Comics, which used to be on Forest Street in Rutland, even stopped in to say hi and wish them luck.
“Business has been pretty good,” he said. “We have been well received by Rutland. People like the fact we are here. To have a comic book store in Rutland after 23 years is a big thing.”
For more information and to keep up to date on events and constantly-changing offerings at Night Legion Comics, follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/NightLegion802.