Lakeland University Blog

Superman, Batman and Musko: Lakeland grad enjoys life as comics shop owner

Superman, Batman and Musko: Lakeland grad enjoys life as comics shop owner


Superman, Batman and Musko: Lakeland grad enjoys life as comics shop owner

Sheboygan native and Lakeland graduate Adrian Hackl used to drive out of town to feed his comic book appetite.

Now, comic book collectors and fans are coming to him.

Hackl, a 2017 Lakeland graduate, is in the third year of owning/operating The Bugle, a comics and collectibles shop that earlier this year moved to its current location at 1223 N. 8th Street in downtown Sheboygan.

“I was that kid riding my bike all over downtown Sheboygan,” Hackl said. “I bought my first Amazing Spider-Man at a shop on 8th Street.”

Now this budding entrepreneur is using the skills he learned at Lakeland to develop a customer base that often draws from Cedarburg and Saukville along with Sheboygan County comics enthusiasts.

The new space gives him more than four times the size of his previous location on Union Avenue, and that room is coming in handy. The walls of his shop are filled with the latest titles each month, from classic books like Spider-Man and Batman from longtime publishers like Marvel and DC, to a large selection of comics from a variety of smaller and independent publishers.

“It’s a different era for comic book reading,” said Hackl, whose store logo salutes his favorite character, Spider-Man. “It’s a great time to be reading comics. There is something for everyone.

“My initial location was a good place to start and see if there was a crowd for this and who was going to find me. I made the move for growth and expansion. I have much grander things in mind and now I have a place to make it happen.”

The Bugle, which sports colorful artwork created by friends and customers, also carries a large selection of older issues carefully stored and catalogued, along with some toys and other collectibles.

“It’s like a modern age comic book store,” said Hackl, a 2004 Sheboygan South High School graduate. “If I walk in and things are not organized and just a mess, it’s easy to give up. There is an element of quality I want to keep at this store.”

The Bugle has done several collaborations with other Sheboygan businesses, the biggest being the annual Free Comic Book Day celebration, which partnered the Bugle and Sheboygan’s Mead Public library. He’s also partnered with Sheboygan’s Marcus Theatre location, The Music Boxx record/music shop and Street Monkey, a tattoo shop that was his neighbor in his first location.

The Bugle is a part of Uptown Sheboygan, a collection of businesses that primarily runs along 8th Street, north of Fountain Park.

Much of his success, Hackl said, is thanks to his bachelor’s degree in writing from Lakeland and the various writing courses at Lakeland that helped him develop his communication skills.

“That was the best decision I made was going to Lakeland,” said Hackl, who completed an associate degree from UW-Sheboygan and was set to transfer to UW-Oshkosh to study English when he learned about Lakeland’s writing degree.

“Writing is what I’m good at. I probably would not be here today without having attended Lakeland. Every class I took with Jodie (Mortag) was essential, the creative writing, the technical writing with Dr. (Joshua) Kutney.

“All those classes are what brought me here. It’s easy to make a social media post, but difficult to make something people like to read.”

He recalls successfully requesting startup grant money from the Sheboygan County Economic Development Corporation. “You don’t do that without effective communication skills,” Hackl said.

Along with the skills he acquired at Lakeland, Hackl said previous work experience at marketing and branding agencies have prepared him to be a business owner who is excited for the future.

“I’m grateful people have taken an interest,” Hackl said. “It’s not an essential thing, it’s a novelty and I’m grateful people have interest and get joy out of what they buy.”

Follow The Bugle at its Facebook page.

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