The many sides of Push/Pull, our Bookstore of the Month

Last week, I erroneously referred to this month’s Bookstore of the Month as Push/Pull Gallery. That's my mistake; it’s just Push/Pull. There’s a reason why founder Maxx Follis decided to drop the descriptors from the name — it’s because the space performs many functions at the same time. Yes, it’s a gallery. And yes, it’s a bookstore providing one of the biggest selections of small press comics in the city. But it’s a lot more than that. Push/Pull is…

  1. A library: Right at the front of Push/Pull is a small library of comics and zines, available for anyone to come and read for free whenever they like.

  2. A reading space: When you walk in the door at Push/Pull, you’ll find a couch next to a (fireless) fireplace. It’s a cozy place to sit and browse through the books in the library.

  3. A pinball arcade: Next to the couch are two pinball machines. One of the pinball machines is roller-derby themed, and the other is skateboard-themed. Both games have amazing 1980s art featuring people in very tight pants acting way too sexily. A change machine is available for those who like to spend hours at the flippers.

  4. An art gallery: Push/Pull is home to themed shows by local illustrators, cartoonists, and other artists. The exhibit right now is titled Urban Divination, and it featured tarot-themed work, some of which is delightfully porny. An upcoming exhibit will be mad-science themed.

  5. An event space: In the two months since it’s opened, two local cartoonists have rented out Push/Pull to host their comic release parties, with bands and booze and autographs.

  6. A community for artists: Push/Pull is hosting art classes, comics classes, and a series of nights where cartoonists will attempt to write and illustrate complete comics in 6, 12, and 18 hours in preparation for next fall’s 24 Hour Comic Day.

  7. A comic store: With about 70 titles available, Push/Pull is on the way to having the biggest collection of local indie comics in the city. There’s a strong focus on local cartoonists, but Portland and Santa Fe are also represented, among other cities.

  8. A gift shop: Push/Pull also sells greeting cards, patches, buttons, t-shirts, hoodies, stickers, and other small items, all of which are handmade by local artists. If you’re looking for a Rod Serling t-shirt or a Mr. T birthday card, you’re probably in the right place.

  9. Artist space: For $25 a day, or less per week, artists can rent a large easel or one of two desks in a separate room in the back of the space. Artists also have access to a kitchen, a bathroom, free wifi, a large treasure trove of art supplies, and “usually coffee and tea.”

Obviously, Push/Pull Library, Reading Space, Pinball Arcade, Gallery, Event Space, Community, Comic Store, Gift Shop, and Artist Space is a bit too unwieldy, so Follis instead opted to go with just Push/Pull. Probably a wise choice.