While many think comic book stores have fallen to obscurity, this isn’t the case. They’re still incredibly popular today and can be found in every major city throughout America. They’re filled with comic books and the years of memorabilia that came along with them.
The very first comic book store opened up in 1968 in San Francisco. It was called the San Francisco Comic Book Store, founded by an avid lover of the genre, Gary Edson Arlington. He actually funded the store by selling his comic book collection decades earlier.
At first, these stores were reliant upon distributors from newspapers and magazines, but in 1973, that all changed when Phil Seuling hit the scene. He spoke with the big dogs on the market, both DC and Marvel, and helped them set up a direct order system that allowed for a store to purchase a specific number of issues.
By the 1980s, comic book stores were in their prime. People all over the country were searching for missing pieces to their collections or the newest issue of a particular set, and they’d go to a comic book store to find them.
When The Death of Spider-Man hit shelves in the 90s and instantly sold out, two types of people emerged and started the downfall of comic book stores. There were those purists who loved comics simply for the sake of owning them and those who wanted to make a quick buck buying them up and selling them for many times the original price. This caused a lot of issues, and many shops lost their customers. Also, shops began to over order their inventory, missing the mark, and quickly went bankrupt.
Even though stores themselves have declined, comic books are still a billion-dollar industry that isn’t going anywhere. In fact, there are many cult classic stores, such as Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, owned by Silent Bob himself, Kevin Smith.
As the rise of graphic novels occurs and television representation of the beloved characters from childhood comics becomes the norm, comics are falling a bit to the wayside. However, the genre is gaining popularity again, as people rediscover the characters and share them in magazine form with their children.
If you are a comic book fan, do yourself and other avid collectors a favor and go to a local comic book store today. The best way to support these businesses is to search their shelves and add new items to your collection. Many of them also highlight their inventory online, so you can quickly search up what you are looking for and go out and buy it. Don’t forget that the way to foster a genuine love of comics in the next generation is to start them now. Pick up a gift for a child while you’re there, and maybe one day, you’ll be passing on your collection to another avid fan.