Level UP: The Next Level

Is it just us or is there a great stigma attached to comic books? People can’t seem to separate the content from the form, it’s like hating movies just because you watched one once and it happened to be Sex in the City 2.

Comics aren’t all just filled with superheroes in bright tights fulfilling adolescent power fantasies. Just like any good film or book a graphic novel can make you laugh, cry or at best make you question the world. Video Games are also a victim of the “Just for kids” attitude, still seen by many as vapid, violent, and generally bad for you. I seem to remember my dad saying that when A Clockwork Orange came out.

Fast forward a few years and it now ranks 62 on imdb’s top 100 films ever made. Given enough time I’d like to think that anything that truly has merit will eventually get its time in the sun, especially if someone is willing to give it a push, which is why the possibility of a Arcade/Comic book cafe opening in Liverpool is very thrilling indeed.

Geeks like us may already be familiar with Level UP, the retro video game and comic shop located downstairs in Grand Central Hall (Quiggins). The store’s owner Lucy Myat is looking to expand onto the high street and in doing so create Liverpool’s first Arcade Cafe.

“The property we’re looking at has two floors. On the ground will be the shop as it is, although much larger, and just above it will be the cafe,” says Lucy. “I want to make it a place where people can hang out, play the games and read comics from our little library. We plan to have geek quizzes, free movie nights and above all affordable good food, all home cooked. I really want it to be somewhere I’d love to go”

The cafe already has a very positive response from customers, many of whom have donated towards the start up cost of the building through www.indiegogo.com/levelup. In exchange for contributions people are offered perks such as life time event passes or store credit and every single person that donates gets to see their name engraved onto the wall of fame on opening day. Updates on the progress of the project are often posted on the site so that people know exactly where their money is going.

By far though the most exciting news for comic book fans like us is that Mark Millar (writer of Kick-ass, Wanted, Superman Red Son etc) has not only agreed to do a signing in the first week of opening but is also going to be working with Lucy to hopefully gain some mainstream comic book coverage.

“A comic and video-game arcade in Liverpool? Yes please.” Tweeted Mark Millar

We have a dream. A dream where both comics and videogames alike can live in an unprejudiced and more opened minded world. So if you want us I’ll be reading the latest issue of The Walking Dead (a comic long before there was a TV series) and playing Portal 2, waiting patiently for this place to open. See you there.

In the meantime, go visit Operation Arcade, and show your support.