Showing posts from 2005

Happy Last Day Of The Year!

Yes, we'll be closed on New Year's Day!

And we'll only be open until 6pm, on Monday, Jan 2nd.

If you're in the hood, you should try to catch Baby New Year tonight:

Shank Reading Club 2006

I've realized that I am at the age where I've forgotten more books I've read than books I've left to read in my lifetime.

Yes, it's wildly depressing. For most books, I can just remember feeling that they were good, but the details are pretty fuzzy.

So, the Mobtown Shank Reading Club this year will be about revisiting some classics and seeing if they hold up. And the twist is that they're all graphic novels. If you've never really gotten into comics or jumped in late, this would be a good chance to get into some great titles and tear them apart!

We've got the year planned out, so drop in when you want, or go for the whole ride:

January - V for Vendetta
February - Watchmen
March - Dark Knight Returns
April - Love & Rockets Book 10
May - I Never Liked You
June - Buddy Does Seattle
July - My New York Diary
August - Jimmy Corrigan
September - Our Cancer Year
October - Cinderalla
November - Ghost World
December - Black Hole

Discussions will be held at the end of each mo…

The Club Is Open

We're open!

We'll be closing early this Sat, though, 6pm, and we'll be closed on Sunday, New Year's Day.

Happy Holidays Haiku

Last minute shoppers
Bless adrenaline rushing
Your desperate hearts

We'll be closing early tonight, at 6pm!

And we'll be closed tomorrow for Xmas Day.

Our Creator, Al Dente

photo by Sidereal

It's now a book!

They need to be out there calling these people retarded all the time. Nonstop. The ID people are winning because the scientists think if they ignore the issue, it will go away. Plus, I'm sure it would be therapeutic to make fun of the ID people. I think it's pretty amazing that these people without scientific backgrounds -- or really any education at all -- think they have the right to decide the science curriculum. And it blows my mind that they are getting away with it.

Hey, Big Spenders!

Another drawing of Big Spender Card winners:

Joel Dinolt
Mary MacDonald
Jed Dodds
Norma Thomsen
Melvin Bradley
Glenn Dellon
Bill Lynch
Ryan Pattan
Daniel Snoke
Lynda DelGenis

Congrats winners! Stop by the store for your prizes.

It Would Suck To Be A Comic Book Store

Excuse me, but I'm about to post something that will make this sound like a comic store blog: the inevitable bitching about Diamond Comic Distributors.

We are not a comic book store. But we carry a lot of comics because we like good reads.

For those of you who wouldn't normally shop at a comic book store and don't really know how it works, you should know that Wednesdays are THE day - the day new comics come in.

How can that be? Well, because there's only really ONE distributor for comics. Diamond. Most comic shops just have one distributor and that's it.

So if Diamond fucks you, you're fucked.

We, like most independent bookstores, use HUNDREDS of distributors and wholesalers. If we can't find something from one distributor we can usually find it from another.

Yes, we use Diamond. And yes, every week there's something missing. Or late. Re-orders take weeks (instead of days like with book distros).

But the worst is when we're allocated. Because that's a…

Acme Novelty Library 16

Just in time for Xmas.

4 Books To Go

Largehearted boy has 4 more books to go to complete his 52 Books 52 Weeks Project. 10 more days!

What a year of reading it's been!

Santa Knows

Santa was walking around the Ave yesterday and stopped by the store. He said he heard me on the radio. He knows everything!

But I bet he didn't know I was interviewed for MobyLives, which is like all radio now.

When Dennis Loy Johnson, the host, told me that there would be no editing I kind of freezed up. So it's not a terribly glib interview.

That Dennis, he's just flying by the seat of his pants. Like an anti-Ira Glass.

This Is Junko

Junko Wong stopped by the shop today and signed all of our Blythe Style books.

Blythe dolls are still coming!

Underdog Vs Satan Claus

Wow, another classic finally on DVD.

Season of Surprises

Benn received the Hampden Merchant of the Year trophy. I was nominated as well! Kooky!

I Can't Believe It's Not Butter!

Putting the Christ back in Christmas...cookies.

It Gets More Xmasy Every Day

photo by Mike Lee

Who has a War on Xmas? Even Nora has the spirit! Give the Jew Girl Toys!

Your Present May Be In Here


And The Winner Is...

We should have our new shirts in stock before Xmas. And hoodies!

ETA: Our winner is Mr. Jordan Jeffries!

I'd like to thank EVERYONE who entered. It was a really tough decision for our panel of judges. There were so many great entries we took an extra long time. Some special one time runs may be in the works.

Gift Cards

Our gift cards are like little gifts themselves. We give local artists free reign to illustrate them up and you can put any amount on them.

Now It Feels Xmasy


New Penguin Classics

Penguin has a new series of classics with covers done by comic artists.

The first is Chris Ware doing Voltaire's Candide. Coming in the new year will be other titles with artists like Charles Burns, Seth and Spiegelman.

Lessons In Taxidermy Reading

Tomorrow night, here at Atomic Books, we welcome back Bee Lavendar, who'll be reading from her memoir, Lessons in Taxidermy, 7-9pm!

Was that really one sentence?

Blythe Mystery

So we've all been waiting for this new Blythe book, Blythe Style (ok, by "we" I mean "me"). It was supposed to have been released this Fall, but it's been pushed to next year, which happens a lot with books.

So how is it that Amazon and both say that they have it and ships in 24 hours or in days?

Well! I just realized that when they say it ships in 24 hours, it doesn't mean that they actually HAVE the book. It means that it ships in 24 hours from the TIME THEY GET IT IN THEIR WAREHOUSE. Big whoop. I can say we ship in 30 minutes! FROM THE TIME MAGGIE LEAVES THE POST OFFICE. And it's nice that a book that doesn't even exist has a Sales Ranking. It should be a different Pre-Sales Ranking.

So when Amazon says they can ship that Complete Calvin & Hobbes in 24 hours, but no other book store even has it in stock (because it's already out of print), it's because they're liars.


For anyone who stopped by this morning, sorry, but we got a little behind putting in some new counters, so we were't open.

But if you make a special trip now and ask, we have free passes to Aeon Flux, Dec 1st, at Towson Commons. A 10pm showing. Passes are limited so you better hurry...

Light Up My Life

Tonight's the night! Around 6:30pm, the magical lights of Hampden get turned on 34th Street!


photo by I.D.C.

Giving Thanks

In case you didn't realize, Philly's Best (where Pecker worked), across the street, is under new ownership.

And TODAY, they started serving Indian food! FINALLY, Indian in Hampden! 410-243-1301. They deliver.

I just had a samosa and Lamb Saag. And it was good.

And also, Maggie's knee no longer hurts! Yay! But don't worry, she'll bust it again in no time.

5 Out Of 4 People

When ordering online you can leave us a note in the comments section. Or a statistic. Like this one from a UK customer:

"5 out of 4 people in the UK have trouble with their fractions."

Unicorns and Robots

Today's the last day for your tshirt entry!

We'll announce a winner later this week.

Gravy Day 05!

We'll be closing early this Wednesday, the 23rd, at 6pm. And we'll be closed for Thanksgiving, the 24th.

Online shopping is 24/7 as always.


I'm really not trying to rush the season. It's all you people! I've never had so many people ask for Xmas cards weeks BEFORE Thanksgiving!

Maybe it's because they're so cool.

Atomic Sex Machines

photo by Timothy Archibald

We had a great time, too. I think that was, by far, the longest question and answer session we've ever had here at Atomic.

Radio Radio

Charles Burns will be on The Diane Rehm Show at 11am today.

And THEN Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby will be talking about their new book, Smartbomb on The Marc Steiner Show at 1pm.

Chaplin and Ruby will be here at the store tonight, with Sid Meier of Firaxis, at 7pm!

Comfort Reading

According to Benn, the ultimate delicious is a Superman comic sandwiched between 2 Batmans, with a side of Justice League.

Of course, that makes no sense.

But then neither does continuing with this Lost Reading Club! But we shall, even though this last episode was less than satisfying...I don't need all this going back and forth in the timeline!

A Wrinkle in Time is the next book. 15% off and a nice, fun, flashback read just in time for this holiday season and better than that Narnia...wait, is this book all about god, too?? of those God shows?

If you play the show backwards will you hear Hold Steady playing Christian Rock?

Sublime Stitching

We have some of Jenny Hart's latest designs in stock! Available online soonish!

You have have 5 weeks left for those handmade Xmas presents...


photo by Jay Parkinson

Come to the opening reception for our flickr show at Frijoles next Tuesday.

Have one of the yummy margaritas. Meet the photographers. Fall in love. Get punched in the mouth. You know, the usual stuff.

My Space In A Nutshell

Um, Lisa Carver got beat up before a book signing for Drugs Are Nice. By Satanists.

You Go, Geek!

She's Such a Geek: An Anthology by and for Women Obsessed with Computers, Science, Comic Books, Gaming, Spaceships, and Revolution which is slated for Fall 2006 by Seal Press is looking for submissions.

So...Who Signed My Racoon Penis Bone?

JT LeRoy is still an enigma.


Stop asking me if I'm just kidding:

The Third Policeman Dissection

Have you finished it yet? The Lost Book Club discussion party will take place tomorrow at Keyboard Man Karaoke, 9pm sharp! Some say the premise of this book is a red herring. Some say Benn and Rachel will perform "Jackson".

Today's the last day to get the book for just $11.00! (You can finish it by tomorrow night.)

So Tired Of Waiting For You

Heavy Metal Parking Lot

This classic is finally on DVD! It'll be ready for ordering later on today.
UPDATE: It's available for online ordering now.

Book Listenings

Here's something I just came up with while eating my lunch...instead of "Book Readings" we should call them "Book Listening Parties". You like it? I'm still on the fence.

Speaking of which: whoa! is finally back and it's audio now!

Don't Panic

Ok, I don't mean to freak you out or anything, but our last day for shipping in time for Xmas is December 19th...that's just shy of being 6 weeks away.

New Hours!

New Hours until the end of the Year:

Monday through Saturday we'll be open from 11am-8pm.
Sunday is still 11-6pm.

Random Cute Pic Thursday

photo by Cat Mihos

Viewer Photos!

Our friend Cat Mihos was briefly working with Neil Gaiman recently and sent us this photo. Their outfits match, imagine that!

Cat makes these awesome retro pop culture magnets that we unfortunately can't sell online because they're all one of kind. But you can get them in the store.

This Week's Calendar

Our dance card is a bit full this week.

Tomorrow, you can catch Benn on the Marc Steiner Show, along with Davida and Miriam. They're going to chat about zines. I hope Jerry from Pikesville calls in. That dude should do a zine. Or at least a blog.

Then on Friday, we have Timothy Archibald doing up a slideshow for Sex Machines, 8pm.

Saturday, at the Ottobar, we have a tribute to Johnny Cash. First 100 people through the door gets a free pass for the movie, Walk the Line.

And on Sunday, "Vegan Superstar" Sarah Kramer is going to talk food at 7pm!

We'll sleep when we're dead.


It's a good day to start your novel.

And It Just Gets Scarier

The shakey state of indie mags and distribution right now is kind of giving me the creep.

All Your Souls Are Belong To Us

And your brain jerky:

And the most frightening part of Halloween? Xmas is only 8 weeks away...

Eye: Hand

Here's a fun exercise! Take a photo of yourself and then draw it. And then send it here to post it.

A Bunch Of Bunk!

THE WIRE and Associated Black Charities present Fat Tuesday Hoodoo Throwdown, a Hurricane Katrina benefit hosted by Wendell "The Bunk" Pierce, Tuesday, November 1st, 2005 at Sonar.

The evening will feature cast and crew of THE WIRE, as well as performances by New Orleans greats: The Subdudes, The Rebirth Brass Band, and The Iguanas. Doors open at 6pm and tickets are $50. All Ages! Available through all TicketMaster outlets or at the Sonar box office. The event is made possible by the cast and crew of THE WIRE, in conjunction with Associated Black Charities and Sonar. All proceeds from the event will benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Maybe I can finally get that Baby Doll pic with Laura Lippman.

On Being A Small Business Owner

When you have a small business (or a micro business) you have to write your own ad copy. Or you get friends who are "professionals" to help.

You get copy like this:

Hmmm, what to choose....


That's right! It's a NEW TV CARNAGE, kids!!
This makes up for the fact that I didn't get the new Soul Calibur today....

Great Comic Strip Swindle

Kozyndan's first comic strip was rejected by Swindle because of a little cartoon nudity.

It's the cutest little thing! I mean, the strip.

Baltimore Flickr

photo by Jack Lyons, design by Dawn Mercurio

The Baltimore Flickr Group is having a show at Holy Frijoles starting November 15th through the holidays! Reception on November 22nd, 7-9pm.

The BFG is a collection of Baltimore based photographs by pro and amateur photographers, most of who live in MD.

See Baby Doll printed and stuck on a wall instead of online! See the awkward mingling of people who've never met in Real Life before but have had conversations on the "computer"! What's your Baltimore about? Inner Harbor, crabs, transvestites? It's all here.


It's a busy Halloween week!

Here on the Avenue, we have our annual Halloween festivities this Saturday, 29th. Trick or treating up and down the street for the kids is from 5-6pm. Costume contests start at 6:30 in front of Oh! Said Rose (for more info: 410-235-5170).

Among many other events around town, the Charm City Roller Girls are having a Bruiser's Ball at the Ottobar on the 30th.

Speaking of balls...did you know that 80% of the men in Baltimore* shave their balls**? I don't know about you, but I feel enlightened.

*Source - my poll at Frazier's last night where I yelled at guys, "Hey, do you shave your balls?"

**If you ask this question, make sure that you are prepared for a very long discussion of other related topics and stories. Especially from Gene.

UPDATE: Ok, let's be more inclusive about this but possibly less scientific and take this poll.

Junk Mail Or Literary Journal?


Good American Know-how

You know what never lets you down? Sex Machines.

Meet the photographer/author, here, Nov 4th, 8pm! It's a slideshow!

The Norwegians Stood Us Up

So, after many phone calls and emails and faxing of contracts about Hurra Torpedo coming to Atomic to shoot part of their documentary, the band, which includes the Sexiest Man in Norway (and a loooong time Atomic Books customer), didn't make it to Baltimore yesterday. At all.

Still, funny guys. You should check out their cover of "Total Eclipse of the Heart" if you don't know what they're about.

Musicians are a difficult lot to work with.

Now writers, they're alright.

Sure the I'm-a-piece-of-shit-that-the-world-revolves-around persona gets tiresome...but they're a hell of a lot easier to work with than artists.

But what about artists with books? Or movie people? Or video gamers? Or chefs?

Hey, those are our November events!


It's a good season for completionists.

So much great stuff...

City Paper Tried To Kill Us

Sending glass in a padded mailer...hmmm...smarties...

Monkeys, Drinkies & Smokeys


Get Your Pancake Mountains Here!

Ah, good ol' cable access is still cranking some good shows out. But now, it's for the kids.

We've got the first couple of DVDs of the DC kids show "Pancake Mountain" in stock. It's educational and kind of scary. Henry Rollins is always kind of scary. But Arcade Fire is so cute (but you can tell the kids were still kind of scared).

Tshirt Contest May Be Over

I don't know. Can you beat this?

Atomic Books Tshirt Contest

It's time for another tshirt contest!

Design a tshirt for Atomic Books. The Winner gets a $300 shopping spree in the store and 5 shirts.

1. You can enter as many designs as you want.
2. Please limit your design to 2 colors at the most.
3. Email a jpg of your entry to (higher resolution image will be needed from the winner later) or mail or drop it off at the store: 1100 W 36th St. Baltimore, MD 21211
4. DEADLINE is November 21st!!

Lost Reading Club

Starting with the Third Policeman, we've launched the Lost Reading Club, featuring all the books that have been shown on the tv show, "Lost", as "clues".

15% off in October for the current title.

Future books in the club:
A Wrinkle in Time
Watership Down
Turn of the Screw

So far, the club is just me and Lisa.

Reptilian's Empire Grows

Reptilian Records's publishing venture, Scapegoat Publishing, has come out with their first book!

It's a beauty and comes with a CD!

And they're still putting out great music, like the debut CD by Fascist Fascist:

Lost On Lost

So, I missed Lost last night. Did anyone catch the Third Policeman in it? Benn watched it but didn't see it referenced at all.

If they keep using books as clues on the show, we could start a Lost section!


Emily Flake will be on G4 TV's "Attack of the Show", tomorrow night, LIVE, at 7pm! They're going to talk about pop culture. Or something like it.

Who Has More Fun?

Well as far as sales go, Brunettes and Blondes are neck and neck! Poor Redheads.

Fall Line Up

We have a bunch of great events set up for the next few months! And there's more coming...

It's All About Wheels

The Charm City Roller Girls are having a fundraiser this Sat - a Car Wash at the Mojo Room!


His first post-Best-Of-Baltimore karaoke, Keyboard Man hosts a special Karaoke TONIGHT, at Molly's.

Joss And Neil Need A Chaperone?

From Time Magazine?

I just called around...could it possibly be true that Serenity isn't even playing Baltimore this weekend??

Lone Surfer Tour

Hey kids, Davy Rothbart of Found Magazine is back for another delightful night of reading, sharing found items and music with Peter Rothbart (Booty Don't Stop)! This Sunday, October 2nd, 7pm!

A History of Violence

The first five people to comment on this post get a free pass, good for two people, to an advance screening for A History of Violence, at Muvico Egyptian 24, tomorrow night at 7:30pm. The movie is loosely based on the comic.

The Funny Pages

The NYT Magazine (bugmenot) has a new section called The Funny Pages. Comics (Chris Ware!), humor essays(Neal Pollack!) and crime serials(Elmore Leonard!). Awesome!

It almost makes me want to subscribe. I'm on the edge here.

Ignatz Winners

The winners for the Ignatz Awards were announced last night.

This Weekend Is Simply Nuts

This weekend:
Baltimore Book Festival
High Zero Festival
Mobtown Greaseball
Morphius Anniversary Shows at the Talking Head
Anti-War March in DC!
National Book Festival (Did you see this kick ass letter from Sharon Olds to Laura Bush?)

And it's Benn's Bday today! He's 37!

Maybe he'll win this for his bday. He's still the current high bidder, but that won't last for long.

Banned Books Week 2005

Banned Books Week starts this Saturday.

The Top 10 banned books of 2004:

The Chocolate War
Fallen Angels
Arming America
Captain Underpants
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
What My Mother Doesn't Know
In the Night Kitchen
King & King
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Of Mice and Men

Yeessh. Not that I want to get the whole store banned but these people really need to get out more.


SPX starts tomorrow! Are you going? We'll be there on Saturday wandering around.

We Love Katamari

Yeah, it's got nothing to do with books.

We just love IT, that's all.

Right Back Atcha!

Aw, we got some love over at Bookslut and the Book Standard.

Anti-Porn Squad

Bush has got some time on his hands it seems. Getting rid of porn has become a Top Priority.

I wouldn't worry about it. Terrorism and helping out NoLa were top priorities, too.

That XXX is a great book, btw, and actually not pornographic.


Aw, Keyboard Man got Best Karaoke in Baltimore.

We got Best Independent Bookstore.

Benn got Best Blog in the Reader's Poll.

And this is nice, too.

And people keep saying to us that we won't lose anything to the new B&N. If even the "alt weekly" is excited about it...I guess people need a place to go where they don't have to care about using books as coasters.

Wild West Tech

Our very own James Taylor, sideshow historian and author of Shocked & Amazed, will be on the History Channel tomorrow night, Tuesday, September 20, 8pm ET/PT, on "Freak Shows II"

The New Hampden Idol


Good To Go

Come on down! It's a beautiful day for a festival.


Finally, Acme Novelty Library, the book!

Hampden Is What Dreams Are Made Of

I don't know about you, but I don't want to work at Chili's.

I don't know anyone who has dreams of working at Chili's. I'm sure that someone will point out to me that someone has. A dead end job is better than no job. But I think you'll find that a lot more people have dreams of opening up their own small business. Perhaps a bookstore. A record store. A cafe, a boutique...

Because these are dreams - working for yourself, or with a small group of like minded people. It's more than a job, more than just making a living. It's about carving out a niche, expressing yourself. It's not easy running your own business and it becomes less and less of a viable option when rents go up, chains take over and people just don't give a shit about where their money goes just to have that "kick-ass queso skillet".

Yes, big formula chain businesses have advantages. But dreams aren't one of them.

I really hope it doesn't rain tomorrow.

Stop Me If You've Heard This One Before

Letter to the City Paper:

Barely weeks after City Hall went into the hotel business, the selective socialists ring in again, this time in Hampden, hon ("Life on a Different Avenue," Mobtown Beat, Aug. 31). The recent effort by Mr. Atomic Books to curb chain-style development in "his" neighborhood completely misses all of Hampden's social and economic issues by a city mile.

I can assure Benn Ray and Rachel Whang that efforts to develop the Avenue and the Rotunda have been in the works for the last seven years. The no-chain-store policy has been Hampden's default position, because no chain store would come, given the crime and income levels in the area. To understand the effects of such a policy, look at Hampden today. Tawdry signage, bad retail, decay, and vacancy. Go to the Avenue on any Friday or Saturday night and you'll see tattooed-pierced-drunken-screaming-bottle-smashing-brawling chaos, dark storefronts, and litter. It's kind of cute during the …

Why Is It Sunny NOW?

Let's think about fun stuff. Like what does the winner of Hampden Idol get at Hampdenfest this Saturday? Besides the title, and the admiration and love of the people?

Well, some of the best things Hampden has to offer, of course:

An office breakfast for 10 from Common Ground
Free month membership to Meadow Mill Athletic Club
$70 gift certificate for a massage with Jenny Ehrhardt at Bikram Yoga
$50 gift certificate from Oh! Said Rose
$50 gift certificate from Ma Petite Shoe
$50 gift certificate from Cafe Hon (and a tshirt, mug, bumper sticker & tote bag)
Gardening kit from Baltimore Garden Co.
Gift basket of hot sauces and salsas from Whiskey Island Pirate
Set of 5 giant Tiki Mugs from In Watermelon Sugar
Pecker on DVD, signed by John Waters from Atomic Books

And more gifts and certificates from Avenue Antiques, Breathe Books, Lynn's Bear in Mind, Milagro, Minas, Mud & Metal, Shine, Sturgis Antiques and Village Flower Mart.

Over $650 in prizes!

Ophelia, You're Breaking My Heart

You're shakin' my confidence daily.

Hey, New Yawkers!

Emily Flake is having a book signing at the Magnet Theater on September 20th, 8:30pm.

There will be booze, and possibly a performance. And then more booze.

Hurricane Season

It's that time of the year when outdoor festivals are plentiful here in Baltimore and we watch the weather with dread and anxiety.

Luckily, our local weather blog at the Sun, kept up by Frank Roylance, is endlessly fascinating (does that make me a weather dork?). What a season it's been already!

Ophelia is the 15th named storm of the season. There are just six more names on the list: Phillippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy, Vince and Wilma. After that, the National Hurricane Center will have to turn to the Greek alphabet: Tropical Storms Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta and so on. It's never happened before.

Remember Hampdenfest morning last year?

Hey, It's September 11th

from Editor B.

At Hampdenfest this Saturday, local creole restuarant, Ethel & Ramone's, will have a booth with their fabulous food. But also, they'll have an additional booth of just gumbo and 100% of the money will be given to NoLa restaurant workers (that they know peronsally) who are now out of jobs.

Crazy Things

1. Hamdpen Idol site.


Xmas cards! You think it's too early? People have already started buying them so get 'em before they're gone. Dame Darcy, Mark Ryden, the Clayton Bros, etc. Dude, I'm totally not rushing you.

3. Ninja Attack!

Please, Poppy!

Let's not make any rash decisions! Whatever you do, don't take away my favorite gay chefs!

Friday Review - Back to School

Benn read Toothpaste For Dinner by Drew:
"Ah... cubicle humor. It can be funny when it's subversive. And sometimes the subversion can be perverted as a form of affirmation, like Drew Cary or Dilbert. Here we have cubicle dwellers in the office and out, crudely drawn, with endearing lopsided heads that are more often cute and surreal than subversive. These are comics that are more often funny than affirming, they're not a searing indictment of Industrial Park America, but they're also not something Industrial Park America will co-opt and use as a comfort blanket when lost in the cold, endless, prefabricated, grey mazes of the suburban working class."

50 Rock Novels

Who knew there were so many?

Hampden Idol Try Outs

Have you tried out for Hampden Idol yet?

Shocked & Amazed Volume 8

It's in! And all signed by James Taylor!

Get your freak on!