L ast week, as Egypt continued to celebrate its great revolution, the local alternative culture scene witnessed a transformative event of its own: The opening of the very first comic book store in the country.
Located in Heliopolis, Kryptonite Toys is a wonderland for comic lovers, selling everything related to the vast world of superheroes, cult figures and indie sensations: From graphic novels and action figures to memorabilia, t-shirts and an assortment of toys for customers of all ages.
“Opening this collectibles comic store was only the first step,” Ahmed Abaza, one of the store owners, told Daily News Egypt. “Our second goal is to open an animation studio aiming to develop locally produced animated TV series and comic books. I believe this studio will help expose youth more to this kind of art especially if they want to take it seriously and work in this field.
“We will also be having workshops and many different events at the store where comic artists — both local and foreign — will be holding book signings and discussions of their work.”
The opening was hosted by two local comic writers: Mohamed El Shenawy and Makhlouf, who celebrated the release of their first comic book, “Tok Tok.”
Abaza and his business partner, Kareem Awny, explained that the story behind the store is a classic “if you want something done, you have to do it yourself.” The idea for the store stemmed from their personal passion for comics. They noticed that many fans, including Awny, have to travel abroad to purchase their favorite comics. Egypt has always suffered from a dearth of comics and major bookstores that have opened in the past decade offer a very limited selection.
After waiting for many years for a comic story to open, they realized it might never happen unless someone took the risk.
Abaza and Awny added that profit is an important factor for the store to survive but what is more important, in the long run, is passion and determination. They hope to spread the often undervalued art-form to as many people as possible, “because let’s admit it, we aren’t a reading culture.”
They also hope that the accessible medium of comics can instigate a change in Egyptian reading trends.
The store features a wide selection of comics from household names such as Marvel, DC, Image and Dark Horse as well Japanese Mangas. Kryptonite Toys also has a ‘special request’ page on Facebook where fans can order any comic book, action figures, or collectible items.
“We already have people ordering specific comic books and they should be arriving with our next shipment,” Abaza said.
As for their goal of spreading the comic book culture in Egypt, Abaza said, “As a start we are encouraging local comic book artists to sell their books at our store to help them get better exposure, and when the studio is ready I’m sure it will be a major boost for comic books and the animation industry in Egypt. As a matter of fact, the animation trailer is already in progress.”
Adham Khorazaty, an assistant manager says, “The comic bookstore is not just a store for toys as you can see; most contains adult reading entertainment. It offers entertainment for all ages.”
2 El-Sobky St.,
Behind Heliopolis Club
Tel: 010 199 2099 / 012 218 8700