So last Wednesday I made my regular trip to the comic shop, and found the door locked. The owner was inside, and when he let me in, he told me that he was closing up shop after 12 years. His lease continues for another two months, and he'll be selling off some stock, but the previous week would be the last week of new comics he'd be receiving.

It had been a tough year for the store, and I know there were some weeks when he was scrambling to pay for his books, but it still came as a shock, if not a surprise. I'm really sad to see this shop go; Mark cared about the industry and cared about his customers and the community. 

There are a couple of shops a little farther from me; I'll be choosing one of them in the next month or so. For the next couple weeks, I'm able to play it by ear. This week I'll be off camping at Philly Folk Fest, so I wouldn't have time to read my books anyway, so I'll just pick them up next week. Next week I'll be working in NYC, so I'll go to my regular (if infrequent) city-based shop, Midtown Comics. 

But then the next week, I'll be trying out a new shop for the first time in a while. 

Part of this is liberating; there are a couple of books that were still on my pull list from inertia, and thinking that I would be picking them back up soon when a new writer comes on board. (Lookin' at you, Detective Comics!)  Now I have no pull list, and can free myself up from that. I'm also thinking of trying out getting a series or two digitally, rather than on paper. When I stopped at another NYC comic shop last week to pick up books, they were sold out of Hey Kids, Comics! and Supergirl. So far I've picked up the Chaykin book, and am on the fence about Supergirl. The great thing about digital is that there's no hurry; it won't go out of stock if I wait a week or two to make up my mind.   

We're planning on moving sometime in the future; it might not be a bad thing for me to convert more of my purchases to digital. It's just hard to justify paying full price to get a reading experience, but not a physical product. We'll see where I land. 

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That's too bad.

Fortunately, you have at least one fall-back.

There are a few! Things are a lot worse for people in other parts of the country. Aside from my friend now needing to find another job (which is always tough), this mostly means that I'll just have to drive another 10-15 minutes each way to get my comics. Not as convenient, but hardly the end of the world.

When I moved to Florida in 1985, there was only one comics shop in town, and they lived down to every cliche about a terrible comics shop, including a rude owner who was always eating. So I started buying from Westfield Comics. You have to order about two months in advance, but you get a discount and their customer service bends over backwards to keep you happy. When I moved back to Memphis, it was years before I started buying at the comic shop again -- ordering from Westfield didn't require me to drive anywhere!

So that's an option.

When I returned to comics I started going to a comic book store on the way home from work. I would be waiting to pay and the staff would be playing video games at the old-style Atari machines on the back wall, punctuated by loud F-bombs.

I started going to a nice comic store in my town which at the time was owned by super-fan Ken Krueger and his wife. He sold the store and the couple who bought it became close friends of ours. I created and updated their website for a few years until they changed their plans. I still get my comics there, but not as many as I was. I have bought some older comics from Westfield and have been happy with their service.

I don't know what I would do without my local comics shop owner, nor his main manager at the store I go to. I'm sorry for the loss of your store, Rob.

I also hope your friend finds another job soon--I know what that's like too.

Westfield is an option, but you may also want to check out Discount Comic Book Service. They used to be located here in Indiana, but they have relocated to Tennessee. Like Westfield, you would have to order from them about two months in advance, but they're pretty good about late orders and adding to your orders as well.

Thanks, guys, for the condolences, reminiscences, and suggestions. I've got a friend who does DCBS, but I'm going to try my best to preserve the weekly shopping experience if I can. I'm going to miss Fallout Shelter... Mark was always happy to talk about the business of retailing, which I find really interesting, when we weren't speculating about what would happen next on The Americans, but I hope to find a comics shop that offers that same kind of cameraderie...but regardless, I'm glad I've got all you guys!

I remember the first time I dealt with a comic shop closing; it was a little place in a strip mall, and the proprietor was an old duffer who smoke monstrously smelly cigars. He was a nice guy; I think he might have worked in the comics industry in some capacity when he was a young man. He just got to the place where he chose to give up the store and retire.

He gave all his customers plenty of warning, so I stopped there and bought all I could, although everything in there -- the comics, the boxes, even the plastic bags -- was suffused with that cigar smoke! It permeated everything!

Reminds me of when I was in college. There was an underground (in the literal sense) comic shop that reeked of marijuana. They had a huge, cheap collection of back issues, and I remember taking them back to my apartment and my roommate always giving me a hard time about being out and getting high.

ClarkKent_DC said:

He gave all his customers plenty of warning, so I stopped there and bought all I could, although everything in there -- the comics, the boxes, even the plastic bags -- was suffused with that cigar smoke! It permeated everything!

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