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My local comic book store is dead.

by Anthony Feinman

A few months back (September 2016), I stopped going to my local comic book store. It was by choice but more out of necessity. My car of 14 years was on it last legs and Julie and I needed to invest in a new one. So, in order to save up, I stopped buying my current titles. That didn’t mean that I stopped reading. It  just meant I stop buying. For a little while. Car are expensive!  I needed the extra funds  to go towards the down payment. If I had been younger, I would have moped and groaned that I couldn’t get my fix of what was going on in my hero’s worlds. However, these days since I am older and theoretically more sophisticated, I knew that I would eventually get back over to Acme (my local store here in the Bloomington/Normal area) and finish completing my collections. I gave it no mind. Let’s jump ahead a few months now…

Two of my closest friends decided to come down and visit us before Christmas. As I was working until early evening, they decided to come down early and visit my local comic book “watering” hole. Upon getting off work and meeting with them later, they informed me that Acme was no longer in business but had been taken over by a company that has a big market in the comic book stores up north in the Chicago area, Graham Crackers. My friend Andy complained that instead of spending hundreds of dollars, he e\was only able to spend $50. A huge downgrade for him. I was shocked! Not at the spending of $50 (or hundreds for that matter) but at the change in the store’s ownership. When did this happen? I had no idea that from the time I took a comic hiatus till Christmas my comic book store world had changed! I remember raising one eyebrow at this news (much like Spock from Star Trek) and thinking I should get over there and check out the changes. The boys (what I affectionately call my two closest friends) commented that all the cool action figures were gone and the merchandise had been greatly reduced. All during dinner, in the back of my mind, I thought I needed to get over there. Fast forward to January 9th, 2017…

I had a Monday off and Julie and I decided to try to go check out the newly acquired comic book store. No dice. They did not open on Monday. My thinking is that the owner must be related to Garfield. They must hate Mondays. We did put our greasy paws and noses up against the store windows to look inside the dark and unoccupied store. It looked like the layout had been changed. There was now a wood floor. That was pretty much all I noticed…

On a Saturday, January 14th, 2017, Julie and I finally made it over to our local comic book store. We first had lunch at the Jimmy Johns (some swell veg sandwiches) before walking half a block over to the newly changed store. I say newly as it is was still new to me even though the ownership could have changed the day after my last visit in September. As this point I will never know or care. We walked in and I felt like I was walking into a wannabe comic book store. Gone were the independents. Gone were the all the cool action figures and unique t-shirts. Gone were comic book companies like Dark Horse, Dynamite, BOOM. Gone were the endless books of back issues going back to the Silver Age of Comics. Gone was the Jim, the store owner who use to have to endure listening to fans ask him stupid questions about his thoughts on the latest movie adaptation or the latest run of some new comic book story line. And gone was my happiness. I can never walk into this store again and find my missing issue(s) of The Shadow. I will never again be able to walk into this store and find a rare hidden gem of something unique! The only comics this store now carried are from DC or Marvel only! BORING! My local comic book has died.

I will no longer be supporting the local economy. All my comic funds will be diverted out of town in either Peoria IL, somewhere up north or online. Graham Crackers. You suck.

The End.

 

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