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Norman tornado hits near Speeding Bullet Comics

by Matthew Price Modified: April 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm •  Published: April 14, 2012

Severe weather impacts comic shop co-owned by Nerdage blogger

I mostly post about comic books here at Nerdage, or things that are somewhat related to comics and ‘geek culture’ topics.   The main NewsOK site and bloggers like Bryan Painter do a great job of keeping you up with the weather.

But the world of comics and the world of severe weather intersected yesterday for me. The Norman tornado hit just across the street from my shop, Speeding Bullet Comics, 614 N Porter in Norman.   I was on the way back to Norman as the storm hit, checking on the safety of my wife and kids.  I got an update that we had damage at the store, so after the storm passed, I headed there.

I had to divert around Porter, which the police had closed, and approach from the rear.   The first thing I saw was debris strewn across Hughbert Street.   My employee, Jerry Stegall, had called Annette, my wife and the co-owner of the store, to let her know he was OK, but that the window had busted out in the storm.

As I got there, the phone was ringing off the hook – the store could be seen in TV coverage of the storm.  Nolan Clay from The Oklahoman called and talked to Jerry to get his take on what had happened.   Jerry was saved from any broken glass by the Free Comic Book Day sign, which he told Nolan.

We spent the rest of the afternoon taking calls and trying to figure out how to deal with the damage.  At one point as we’re cleaning up, Jerry says, “photo op!” and runs to get a Thor hammer prop.   You can see the results in the picture on the right hand side of this post.  We cleaned up what we could, then my dad brought by a tarp, which we nailed up in case it started raining again.   Dan Nash, who was planning to work the store that night for our planned sale, came by and was instrumental in getting things handled.

That held things together until the owner of the building was able to come by.  He and an associate were able to board up our window and secure the store, which we appreciated greatly.  We canceled our planned Friday night event, since no one could come down Porter Ave., though a couple hardy souls still made their way to the store.  We’re open today, though for the moment without power.

Overall, it was stressful and crazy – and that’s with what will amount to relatively minor damage.   The window will likely be repaired over the weekend, and if we get the street cleaned up and the power back on, we’ll be back to normal.  The building across the street, which I believe houses medical records and such, took a huge hit.  The fact that it was so close is scary.

I appreciated the calls and texts from people and my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone who is facing damage or injury.   I hope everyone is safe as the storms likely continue today.

It’s sort of surreal to think how many comics, movies and the like show huge property damage, and it’s not something we really think about in that moment.  But standing there in the aftermath of a tornado, wondering when the power will come back on and how you’re going to put your store back together, you get a feeling for just how powerful nature can be.

- Matt Price

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by Matthew Price
Features Editor
Features Editor Matthew Price has worked for The Oklahoman since 2000. He’s a University of Oklahoma graduate who has also worked at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette and was a Dow Jones Newspaper Fund intern for the Dallas Morning News. He’s...
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