Premiering as one of only three comic books stores located in D.C. and the only one currently owned by people of color, owners of the new Venus’s Comic Shop say it is a “dream come true.”
The doors officially opened July 8 in the upstairs area of D.C.’s Union Station, a culmination of a series of ideas that came to fruition, said shop CEO Raymond Francis.
“I always had a passion for comic book art and an infinity for comics books in general, so the idea to open up my own comic book shop really just made sense,” Francis said. “However, what really made the idea special was when I learned that my longtime high school friend Venus was actually dying of cancer.
“She passed away last December and because of this I decided to name my comic book shop after her,” he said. “Luckily I was fortunate enough to go into business with three additional great partners and we’ve been off ever since.”
The brightly lit store is filled with comic books of vast genres and eras, with some Marvel and DC editions dating back to the 1960s. The store also features the trendy Funko Pop figures (regular and limited edition), novelty board games, figurines and comic book graded (CGC) comic editions that have either been hand-signed or mark some pivotal point in history.
Rishawna Gould, Venus’s chief creative officer, said the decision to place the store inside of Union Station was right on the money.
“It’s just amazing to have this opportunity,” Gould said. “Being the primary investor as a black female is epic. To get the store set up established took all of my assets with the hopes that this store would do well and I just want to set an example for the future generation, because I am an artist myself and you don’t see many Black female artists this way so shoot for the stars, the sky’s the limit.”
The store owners also hope to soon begin community classes and workshops on how to “ink” and draw comic books, sketch and creative writing, as well as events for trivia, independent artists and Cosplay, or costume play.
With a two-year plan to open three to five additional stores in various locations, Francis said he plans to donate a portion of his profits to various cancer awareness programs.
“Giving back is really important to me,” Francis said. “As a minority-owned business, I don’t exactly want to cater to one particular demographic, but I think being of color definitely strengthens the entrepreneurship.”