WolfWax Culture Opens Gainesville to Comics, Vinyl
There’s an eclectic culture taking up residence in downtown Gainesville, though some might not know it exists. But in one small comic book shop, it’s here to take a stand.
Off the corner of Main Street and Northwest First Avenue lies a new comic book oasis above Arrow’s Aim Records that opened its doors on Sept. 14. It’s easy to miss, but you just have to keep your eyes open for the orange door that reads “WolfWax.”
When walking up the narrow staircase, one cannot be sure where it’s taking you. Once you reach the top, it opens to a comic book and vinyl heaven, the walls covered inch-by-inch with comic books and record sleeves ranging in all sorts of genres.
Wolfwax Culture, located at 101 N. Main St., is a new small business owned and operated by Bobby Harper, 31, and Joe Wolf, 45. Harber and Wolf have loved records and comics ever since their childhood. They finally have the ability to share that love in the hopes other people might follow suit.
“We want to bring something different and new to downtown that people can get into, something people can get excited about,” Harper said. “People can come in here and put their comics in here for sale, and local music too if they want.”
There are other record stores in the downtown area, but having a wide comic book collection certainly makes WolfWax stand out among the pack.
“It’s what my friends and I are into,” he said. “There’s no specific genre to our madness, it’s pretty much across the board. You can find anything in here.”
Opening WolfWax Culture hasn’t been the only thing new in their lives.
“In the past few weeks, I’ve discovered that quite a few of my friends are writing and drawing their own comics,” Harper said.
This includes Spannk nightclub’s bartender and bouncer Jon Santana, 29. Santana hopes it will become a place where local comic book writers and artist can meet within the community and start new projects of their own.
“It’s not important that you can sell your own stuff there,” Santana said. “It’s more important that local artists can find each other. Hopefully it will set up a meeting place for the local creative scene.”
Sifting through preserved comics, one can see Wolfwax has comics ranging from classic superhero series such as “X-Men,” to more underground dark graphic novels, including, “You Call this Art?!” by Greg Irons and “Rebel Visions” by Patrick Rosenkranz.
Not only does Wolfwax Culture have a diverse comic book selection, their variety of vinyl is distinctly apparent. Having classic albums such as late Wu-Tang Clan member Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s debut album, Return to the 36 Chambers: The Dirty Version and Outkast’s fifth, double-album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Harber’s preference lies in R&B and hip-hop.
“We have a lot of records and choosing my favorite one is a bit tough,” Harper said. “If I had to choose, my favorite record at the moment in our store would be Common’s Resurrection.”
Looking passed the colorful wall filled with comics and record sleeves, WolfWax has crates upon crates stacked on top of one another, definitely too many for the closet-sized shop in which it resides. The fair can be quite affordable. There are a few $1-vinyl crates filled with anything and everything you can imagine. On top of that, most used comics in their repertoire sell for as low as 50 cents.
“There isn’t a place downtown that sells comics,” Wolf said. “There’s a couple other record stores, but we decided to have a variety here at WolfWax.”
Mission accomplished at this cultural mini-mecca. Aside from finding comic and record treasures, WolfWax Culture has brought other outdated platforms back from the dead, such as VHS tapes, VCRs, boomboxes, cassette tapes and more.
The vision doesn’t end there. Harber hopes to bring people in for small events.
“We’re limited on space, but it’s definitely a possibility. Maybe a hip-hop act or an open mic night,” said Harper. “There’s not much room, but we can get some people in here. It would be pretty cool.”
As far as the buzz goes in the creative scene, it looks like WolfWax will create the atmosphere it desires.
“I really hope it takes off in Gainesville,” said Santana. “There’s not a lot of culture like what WolfWax Culture is trying to offer around the Gainesville area.”