DOVER – In 1977 Jason Lindahl was 6 years old and growing up in North Berwick, Maine. Her father gave her a dollar bill to spend at a flea market, sparking a lifelong passion.
“I remember very well, at the second table on the left side of the flea market, there was a small table selling military memorabilia and comics,” recalls Jason Lindahl. “For $ 1, I could buy three comics.”
He’s been addicted to the collection ever since, even when it wasn’t the ‘cool’ thing to do in school as a ‘tough and tough’ football player.
“Everything in my life revolves around comics,” he said. “It still is since the day I bought those first comics.”
Over 40 years later, Jason Lindahl and his wife Jessica open the Khaotic Comics store in 590 central avenue on the main stretch of downtown Dover. The store opens on Saturday, April 17, but customers have already been knocking on the door as they move in and set up the store.
Behind the counter are valuable comics, ones that bear the signatures of comic book legends like Stan Lee, the mastermind behind the Marvel Universe, and Bob Kane, the creator of Batman.
A picture of Jason and Stan Lee at Boston Comic Con hangs on the wall
The walls are lined with recently released comics from DC, Marvel and independent comic book brands, graphic novels, trading cards, action figures and merchandise based on these 2D worlds. A long table is lined with boxes filled to the brim with individually wrapped comic books, some priced as low as 50 cents. In total, there are around 30,000 comics in the store.
A photo of Stan Lee and Jason Lindahl hangs behind the counter, taken at Boston Comic Con in 2017 before Lee died the following year.
“He always wanted to do this, always,” said Jessica Lindahl, noting that her husband had delayed entering the comic book store to focus on other things like family and work.
Jessica works in the healthcare industry and Jason is a longtime generator repairer.
“People tell us we’re crazy for doing this during COVID,” said Jessica Lindahl. “I just feel like it’s time. He’s almost 50 years old, and we’ve been collecting and selling together for a long time.”
The 2006 death of comic book author and writer Hector Diaz who owned the Jumpgate Science Fiction / Fantasy stores in Somersworth and Portsmouth, was another reason. Jason Lindahl said Diaz had inspired him in many ways to expand his collection and open a comic book store.
The couple also wanted to fill a gap in Dover, saying the nearest comic book stores are in Rochester and Newington.
“We spoke to a lot of comic book enthusiasts who just wanted a place closer,” said Jason Lindahl. “They don’t want to buy online, they want to go somewhere in the area. It gives them the opportunity to go out and out. And if they can’t, we’ll deliver to them within a five-mile radius.”
Jason and his wife are currently both residents of Sanford, Maine, but as a family business the whole family gets involved. Whether it’s wearing a comic book character’s costume or staying until 11 p.m. to help organize comics, Jason Lindahl said the comics have become something the whole family is passionate about. .
“My family has known this has been a passion of mine for years,” said Jason Lindahl. “My wife has always supported me and my collection. One day my wife finally said, ‘This is it. We’re doing it, we’re opening this store.’ And here we are. “
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The couple reviewed more than 30 retail spaces before deciding on the final unit, alongside Gold Rush Coin and Jewelry and Salon De Diosa. The adjacent neighborhood, the parking lot, and the ability to turn it into a disabled-accessible storefront attracted them there.
Beyond the pandemic, Jason Lindahl said he has big plans for the store.
“We would love to expand, whether it’s here or somewhere else, but it’s a long way into the future,” said Jason Lindahl. “We want to be part of the community. When it is safe, I would love to bring more table games, organize clubs and meetings for people who love it as much as I do, and partner up to provide comics for our libraries and educators.