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Bradenton's Bat City uses comic books to inspire and teach young readers

Store has its grand-opening this Saturday
Bradenton's Bat City
Posted at 6:05 AM, Sep 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-15 07:34:22-04

BRADENTON, Fla. — Bradenton's Bat City has a secret identity.

With its grand opening this Saturday, the gorgeous shop at 915 Manatee Ave. E features thousands of comic books, graphic novels, superheroic figures and more.

It's a pop-culture nerd's dream store, with affordable prices to boot.

But what browsing Spider-Man fans might not know is that they're inside a heartfelt nonprofit dedicated to teaching and inspiring young readers.

"Getting a kid who's a reluctant reader to all of a sudden be excited to read, and want to read to us is the best feeling in the world," said Matt Live, who owns Bat City Comic Professionals with his wife, Shannon.

Bat City originated in Austin a few years ago. The dynamic duo started by selling comics out of their home. Then they went brick-and-mortar.

And then — kapow! — inspiration struck.

"I grew up on Riverdale Street, so I actually thought I lived where Archie and Sabrina and Jughead and all of them lived," said Shannon. "So I've been reading comics since I was a little kid."

As well as being a comics expert, Shannon has an academic background as a reading specialist. She wanted to share her passion for comics with a younger generation. Matt loved the idea.

Since then, Bat City has donated thousands of comic books to schools, hosted classrooms on reading, writing and drawing, and offered scholarships to bright minds.

The couple plans on going even bigger — Hulk-sized, you might say — with their education mission now that they've set up shop in Bradenton. There's even a classroom inside the store.

For more on Bat City and its mission, click here.