Owner Talks Childhood, Success & 10th Anniversary of Kokomo-Con
Photographer / Jim Hunt
For most of his life, Shawn Hilton has been a comic book fanatic.
“I got into comics the summer between first and second grade,” Hilton says. “I’m 46 years old, going on 47, so it was sometime in the mid to late ‘70s.”
Having worked in comic book shops for most of his adult life, Hilton now owns and operates Comics Cubed in Downtown Kokomo. Founded in 2010, the shop celebrated its ninth anniversary this past September. To date, the store is known for carrying a wide selection of new comics, back issues, all-ages books, minifigures, supplies and more.
Dating back to his years as a youngster, Hilton can remember being interested in all kinds of comics, whether they featured mainstream superheroes or independent characters.
“[I liked] a little bit of everything — the typical X-Men, Avengers, Flash and that sort of thing,” Hilton says of his childhood. “But at a very young age, I also got into the independent comics that were coming out, so much smaller groups with lesser-known characters. In my collecting, that was equally balanced with the mainstream comics.”
With a father in the military, Hilton lived all over the country growing up. During high school, he worked at a comic book shop in Massachusetts. After his father retired from the military, however, the family moved to Kokomo, where Hilton would attend college.
“While I was attending IUK, they had a long-running store in Kokomo, the old Kokomo Comics, which is now out of business,” Hilton says. “The daughter of the owner was in one of my classes. I had just moved from Massachusetts, where I had been helping run a store in high school for a guy. So I was eager to get back into it.”
Hilton worked as a manager at Kokomo Comics up until the store’s abrupt closing, opening Comics Cubed shortly thereafter.
“The city and the county were offering all kinds of different incentives to open up a store,” Hilton says. “It came to a situation where I lost my job one week, and within two weeks was offered up a position to do the whole thing again. But this time, I would be the owner. So I grabbed at the opportunity and have gone with it for nine years.”
In addition to Comics Cubed, Hilton is also responsible for organizing Kokomo-Con, which will celebrate its 10th anniversary in October. Having evolved over the years, Kokomo-Con will welcome its first celebrity guest in 2019, bringing actor Justin Nimmo of Power Rangers fame to town.
“Originally, we were thinking comics,” says Hilton of Kokomo-Con’s first-ever iteration. “But now, it involves comics, games, costuming, lectures and a charity auction. And all those things combine into one really amazing event that allows such a diverse group of community members to come together for one day and have a good time.”
Comics Cubed is located at 121 E. Sycamore Street in Kokomo. You can also give them a call at 765-450-4126. To learn more about Kokomo Con 2019, be sure to visit them online at kokomocon.com.