Sunday Bonus Post: …Come to an End.
My favorite comic book store is closing today. It was in Culver City, called Comics Ink. The environment was set up for true fans of comics themselves…it was like a library. Clean, well organized, with a deep inventory of back issues. Brightly lit, without the scavenger hunt mentality of many shops. A minimum of the random, related stuff like statues and action figures. The focus of the store and the staff was on the books, the comics that we came to get because we love the medium.
The owner is retiring, hence the closure. After owning his own business for 23 years, and retailing comics for 40, he is retiring to his second home in Napa Valley. His beautiful second home. Clearly, comics returned his love in prosperity. What he made in his shop was more than a store, but a sort of clubhouse and literature circle. I have made so many lasting friendships inside those four walls, not the least of which is with the owner himself, a dear, dear friend.
The staff are all going their separate ways, as happens when a business closes. For one, the opportunity to focus on his own career as a comic book writer is now wide open. That’s a shout out to Vincent Moore, by the way, a man who is as talented as he is kind and patient. Still, like many tales related to comics, the story is slightly more complicated.
A store in Manhattan Beach, the Comic Bug, had been seeking a second location for some time. When they heard the announcement of Comics Ink closing, they worked closely with the owner to hammer out a deal. Although Comics Ink is closing, they purchased the overwhelming majority of the inventory in the showroom, as well as working out a deal with the landlord for the same location. After two days to set up, the will be re-opening on Wednesday for new comics as usual, as the Comic Bug, Culver City.
The gentlemen that run the shop are good guys. I’ve met them, and they are friendly. They do things differently than Comics Ink, but have run a good shop in Manhattan Beach for ten years. They certainly know how to run a comics shop, and I wish them all the best in their endeavors.
For me…I need to find a new clubhouse, I think. I’ve been going to Comics Ink for about twenty years…it would be odd to see different people there, a different floor plan. I don’t deal with change very well, perhaps because of comic books, which always return to the status quo eventually.
The last few days at Comics Ink have been bittersweet. Everyone in the extended family has been coming in, and recounting old times and antics, like a very festive wake. Tomorrow, at the end of it, the doors will close on the debate of the day for the final time.
In the art…our hero and Pony are clearly upset. Oddly, I was really cranky about a line on her hip, flying, which I actually digitally edited to be more to my liking. That’s a rare thing, let me tell you…I dislike digital editing. In the crowd are many of the Comics Ink Family…they know who they are, and some readers know as well. It was surprisingly emotional drawing them…I had initially intended the crowd to be larger.
Tomorrow, I have intentionally planned my last purchase from the shop to mirror my first. Symmetry and nostalgia. I look forward to giving the owner, one of my best friends, the print version of the art (below), framed and with a sentiment written in the sky. Most probably “Second star to the right, and straight on ’til morning.”
Without the fine people at Comics Ink, both staff and customers, there would be no Tales of Adequacy. Heck, I might not even be a teacher. Over the past three years, I have drawn countless pages of this comic AT Comics Ink. Without the feedback of the staff and customers, I never would have had the courage to start posting this page, to start sharing my art. To really start improving it.
Steve, Vince, Jason, and Hannibal, you guys are really responsible for this page, for the nearly nine hundred issues in a way that you don’t fully understand. I owe you guys a serious debt, and every Wednesday I looked forward to your smiling faces. Still, the time has come for the man who gave us our fabulous clubhouse to move on to the beautiful life he has planned, with his lovely and charming wife.
All Good Things Come To An End.
I’m pretty sure, like all good Superman stories, Comics Ink will end with a smile and a wink. As it should.