“We don’t make a distinction between graphic novels and literature,” says Cris Siqueira, talking in front of Lion’s Tooth on Kinnickinnic Avenue in Bay View. “We consider graphic novels to be high art. And we need a place in Milwaukee that treats it like that.”
Siqueira, who owned a graphic novel bookstore in São Palo, Brazil in the ’90s, has opened Lion’s Tooth with Shelly McClone-Carriere, a founder of the Riverwest Co-Op. “The last three years I have been the cafe coordinator, teaching seventh and eighth graders how to run a business,” she tells me.
“Now she’s going to teach me,” Siqueira butts in, and we all laugh.
With the business acumen and the artistic curation, Lion’s Tooth has their bases covered. Together they will be bringing a choice selection of graphic novels and small press books to Milwaukee. Selling graphic novels, they also hit on a passion of mine. I have crossed the country looking for stores that specialize in graphic novels. In Minneapolis there used to be Big Brain, but they shut down nearly a decade ago. In Grand Rapids, there is Vault of Midnight, but they are more of a comic book store with a large graphic novel selection.
“Superheroes will have to hide in the corners of the store,” Siqueira tells me. “There are plenty of great places in Milwaukee where they live, but we want to go the other way.”
The only bookstore in the Midwest that I know that is comparable is Quimby’s in Chicago. The legendary shop where you might see Daniel Clowes or Chris Ware, both artists that Lion’s Tooth carries.
As a patron and fan of this medium, I am so glad that Milwaukee will now have a store like this. I called about a book that I saw on their website called “Bicycle Day.” “That was my favorite book of 2019,” Siqueira couldn’t help but say. I smiled because it means that she has opinions and cares. Siqueira and McClone-Carriere will be trusted guides on this little known medium and they are already proving to be up to the task.
You can browse their selection here, and order online for in-store pickup, or call in an order at (414) 455-3498.
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