After moving to Florida a couple months ago, we were very happy to find out that the Orlando area is FULL of nerdy activities. Not only do you have all of the cool stuff going on at the parks (like Harry Potter, Star Wars, etc), but you also have many little independent places that have events and are just cool to go to on a normal day. One of these places is Gods & Monsters. I read a notice about their grand opening and luckily LH had the day off so, we were able to go. Gods & Monsters isn’t just a comic shop, it’s a destination! Located in the Artegon Marketplace on International Drive, it fits in well with all of the other artistic shops around them. The space they occupy is enormous for a comic store, which I guess is why they cover more than just comics. The stock includes games, books, comics, toys, figurines, accessories, t-shirts and ART! Lots of art! In addition to being a store, the space offers a coffee shop, a bar/lounge, an art gallery, a staging area and more. Don’t get me wrong, I love the cozy feel of our new home shop, Coliseum of Comics Kissimmee, but this place is amazing!
I love how everything in the store has been given its own artistic treatment. There is a gorgeous hand-painted mural that runs across the entire front wall above the doors & windows (above) that just blows me away. The checkout/register area masterfully recreates the dark dingy feel of Gotham City and is believably labeled as the Arkham Dispensary (also above). Life size sculptural elements are scattered throughout the store atop the merchandise displays. Below you see the Walking Dead graphic novel display topped by Summer, the little zombie girl killed by Rick in the first episode of the TV show. Additional pieces include Spiderman and Batman. They didn’t neglect a single detail when putting this place together, they even theme decorated each of the roof support pillars. The Marvel pillar (below) is my favorite.
There were SO many people in attendance for the opening! Not just customers, but stilt walkers, cosplayers galore, makeup artists, comic artists, fire eaters/dancers, aerial silk performers, even a Victorian Steampunk Horror troupe! Both LH and I are short and we just by nature aren’t pushy people so we didn’t get to see the troupe, Phantasmagoria, present their show, but we managed to get a little bit of video (below) and a few photos (gallery) through the crowd. We could see them walking around throughout the day, however, and they looked amazing! They are local to Orlando so, I hope we can catch up to them somewhere else another time because I’d really like to see them perform! We did get to see the Legacy Aerial Arts exhibition of both the aerial silks and cerceaux artists. These girls were great, but don’t take my word for it, you can see for yourself in our videos below.
The area that is my absolute favorite is The Transmetropolitan Gallery. They were showcasing several artists for the grand opening, not just in the gallery but in the front of the store as well. SO much great art and covering so many subjects and mediums. The Star Wars paintings below are from an artist named Luis Javier, he does a great graphic pop art (see the gallery) for a reasonable price considering how large and well done the pieces are. Also below, is a sculptural piece by Thomas Bartolillo that was on display. I was a little bit disappointed that there wasn’t really any textile art included, but we came in the middle of the day so maybe that had some, but it had all sold already.
As we were on our way out the door to go eat at the Fuddruckers a few spaces over, one of the artists at the front caught my eye. I flipped through his book and a girl came up and asked if he had any Loki pieces, he pointed out a marvel comic Loki, she was visibly disappointed. and I looked at her, then at him and said, “I think she means do you have any Tom Hiddleston pieces?” We all giggled and then asked him if he could draw our dog as Captain America (her favorite Avenger)? He said he hadn’t done that, but thought that he could. if we gave him about 45 minutes. We texted him photos of our dog and then headed out to eat. We came back in about an hour, eager to see the finished product. We LOVED it so much that we ordered a second one with the other dog as Thor. Again we gave him his space and wandered around some more. I just can’t get over what a great job he did! Derrick Fish was able to take our ideas and a photo and within a few minutes, turn it into exactly what we had envisioned! If you EVER have the opportunity to get a piece commissioned by him I highly recommended it, ours were worth every penny!
In summary, we really liked it! Even though it is overwhelming at first and a bit of a drive for us, we would gladly make another trip over there, although it might not be a regular thing. As I said before, they didn’t neglect a single detail. Every piece is beautifully fit together. They had a pretty good selection of merchandise types, although I wish they had more wearables and board games. It is a new store, though and they might still have stock on the way. I heard some people remark that they didn’t have enough comics, but I felt that the selection was rather vast for a store that just opened it’s doors. They had a lot of, what I would consider, obscure novelty items which were nice, it almost gave it the feel of a pop culture museum. Animated Soul Pizza, anyone?