Downtown Delaware patrons and visitors won’t mistake 34 N. Franklin St. for a bird, a plane or Superman.
But stories about the alien who fights villains in a red cape are likely to be found at Secret Identity Comics when it has its grand opening from 1 to 8 p.m. Friday. The store will also celebrate Free Comic Book Day on Saturday with a limited selection of free comics.
“There are so many kids in this town and they have no place just to go get a comic book,” said Laura McFarland, a co-owner of the store. “Hopefully we can provide that for them and, hopefully, I don’t make too many parents angry.”
Laura and her husband, Kelly, realized their passion for comics after getting married. Kelly’s love of comics goes back to his childhood.
“His mom likes to tell a story about he had this little Batman costume when he was really little and he would like run around the house singing the 1960s Batman song,” Laura said.
But she resonated with the darkness of Tim Burton’s 1989 “Batman” film. She also enjoyed the 1990s Emmy-award winning “Batman: The Animated Series” with her younger brother after school.
“That and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. That was like our jam,” she said.
About two years ago, the couple decided to open a store to provide a job for their now 14-year-old son. But they struggled at the time to find a venue for the right price and size in downtown, which now has 95 percent of its first-floor spaces occupied — a much different picture for Kelly who grew up in Ashley.
“He remembers how downtown in the 1990s was a ghost town,” Laura said.
With help from the owners of Staas Brewing Co. the McFarlands found their Goldilocks of downtown spaces with the estimated 600-square-foot space on North Franklin Street. The family has worked to update the store since mid-March.
Laura and Kelly continue to work for Habitec Security with the store as their “hobby job,” she said.
Laura’s son designed the logo for the store. Initially inspired by the stick figure man from the opening title of the TV show “Chuck,” the logo is based off the smiley face emoji minus the smile with a mask and eyebrows arranged for an intense expression.
But the origin story of the store’s name was a mystery to Laura.
“It’s really super secret. I don’t even know where it came from,” she said.
Secret Identity Comics will be open 3:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays, 3 to 9 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. For more information go to www.secretidcomics.com.
Gazette reporter Brandon Klein can be reached by email or on Twitter at @brandoneklein.