Walk into Loot, a second-storey space in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, and you'll see hundreds of comic books displayed on the walls. But this isn't your average comic book store; it's a reading, browsing and borrowing space for kids that also teaches art classes, hoping to inspire kids to start drawing comics themselves.
Although the space was founded by Joseph Einhorn, the man behind e-commerce website Fancy, Loot's emphasis is not on sales. While children (there's no adults allowed inside, unless they're with children) can buy issues for $5 a pop, they can borrow any issue they want for free, assuming they've paid the $30 monthly subscription fee. And that fee comes with free on-site art classes and materials.
Comic book fan Einhorn started the space both to share his 3,000-issue collection, and also to show kids (he has three children himself) that they themselves could learn to become comic artists. Hence the classes, which are taught seven days a week. "Our focus is to be an onramp into the world of comics for kids," Einhorn told Bklyner. And both browsing through comics and engaging in classes is meant to provide an early form of community for the kids. "Our biggest hope with regard to the classes is to spur collaboration, and ultimately help create some friendships."
Paul Levitz was patronizing the wine bar downstairs when he heard about what was going on upstairs. (Formerly the President of DC Comics, Levitz was naturally interested.) After investigating, he gave Loot's mission the thumbs-up. "Loot isn't really a comic shop — at least not yet," he told The New York Times. "It's more of a great art experience. With arts education in public schools fiscally challenged, it's great to have folks like this stepping up to fill the gap."
As for the name, "Loot" refers to the fact that the more comics children read in the store, the more they accumulate credit, which can be applied to the subscription fee. Creating comics of their own also accrues credit.
Interestingly enough for a man who built a successful e-commerce business in Fancy, Einhorn has decided Loot will have no website, no phone number, and no e-mail. All the store has is an Instagram account, with just two entries. If you want to learn more about the classes, you can physically visit the store with your child, or you can send a direct message to @loot on Instagram.