Opinion editor Tyler Fleming
The first column I ever wrote for this paper was about comic books. To me, graphic novels, comics and visual storytelling are some of the most interesting ways to convey a message.
The combination of text and images makes the story more vivid and engaging. For seasoned readers, a graphic novel can be a way to keep reading during stressful times like exams — when you don’t have time to read a long novel.
Second, for new readers, a picture-heavy book can keep attention as they work their way up to larger novels. If you want to see more about why I think graphic novels are cool, check out my earlier column.
This column is dedicated to the now closed Chapel Hill Comics. Chapel Hill lost a great asset to our community when our independent comic shop closed. The shop gave busy students a way to reconnect with childhood heroes, while also highlighting more artistic and meaningful modern storytellers and artists.
Every time you stepped foot in the store you were bound to see some new zine or comic or figurine that you wanted but might not have the money for.
My first experience with Chapel Hill Comics was shortly after being accepted here. During high school, I always missed prom because it was on the same day as Free Comic Book Day, which was always on the first Saturday of May. I usually went to Acme Comics in Greensboro, but I was so excited to attend UNC that I decided to make the trip here for it.
I drove up from Randleman with a friend who would later attend UNC too, ate at Med Deli, picked up the Exam Survival Guide from a Daily Tar Heel box on Franklin Street despite only having AP tests awaiting me and attended my first Free Comic Book Day in the place I would soon call home. It was one of my first memories in this wonderful town.
In the years following, even though I was busy with exams, I still made sure to attend Free Comic Book Day every May. I also frequented the store throughout the school year, picking up comics and graphic novels almost every month.
I get that the town changes. The Chapel Hill I loved is not the same one most graduates knew. With places like Target moving in, Franklin Street is about to look a lot different — which isn’t inherently a bad thing.
If I have kids who attend UNC, I am going to tell them about Chapel Hill Comics when we walk past its old storefront. I’m also going to tell them about Hummus Cafe and the cheesesteaks I would get as I left my job as assistant opinion editor.
For me, there will never be another Chapel Hill Comics. There also won’t be another Daily Grind. I guess if I had to give this column an actionable opinion, it would be to value the places and businesses you love now — especially if they are local.
This town is bound to change, so take the time to appreciate the Chapel Hill you spend time with. In a few years, it might be completely different.