Back from the Dead: Arizona Comics Shop Gets Resurrected


The Arizona Republic interviewed the managers of a store called Atomic Comics, which had once been in operation until 2011, and whose owners are now reopening it. Among the topics in discussion:


When Malve was a kid, comics were his life. The day his tonsils were taken out could’ve been a bad one, but reading comics made it better. Though he suppressed his love for comics during high school because “back then it wasn’t cool,” Malve said, the moment in 1985 when his car broke down in front of a used bookstore on 24th Street and Indian School Road was a pivotal one.


I’ve been aware it wasn’t cool to be a Dungeons & Dragons player either back in the day, but that doesn’t mean the opposite is true now, when you have mainstream press going out of their way to attack fanbases at the behest of the conglomerates who now own a lot of these once revered franchises, who’ve since spent the past years dumbing down everything that made them work in the first place. Which just goes to show it’s never been cool, past or present, to be a comics fan. They also give a bit of history of how they ran the previous business:


Soon, the shops gained national prominence, which Malve attributes to the chain’s innovativeness. It was a comic store, but it also became a hub for community events and celebrities.

Comic book creators consistently came to the shop, and so did bands like hip-hop group Public Enemy, who performed at Atomic to celebrate its own comic series debut.

The movie “Kick Ass” also filmed scenes in the store.

The shop hosted a competition where winners were flown out to New York City to be editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics for a day. Another idea meant creating a comic book for the 2008 presidential election.

“We actually recreated a website just for that so you could vote by buying a comic book,” Malve said. “If you want to vote for Senator McCain, you bought the McCain comic book, and if you want to vote for Obama, you bought the Obama comic. We had a poll you can see every day who’s winning the comic book election.”



Seriously, I think this was ill-advised to build publicity based on politics. Already, there was only so much political infiltration that continues apace today, what with all the social justice pandering and other far-left propaganda seen in modern marketing. What if that’s a reason for the demise of the original store locations? I’m not impressed at the news the movie based on Mark Millar’s comic was filmed on location at the shop either. And seeing as this was around the time Joe Quesada was Marvel’s EIC, what good does it do to work as an “acting” editor when he wouldn’t respect any fan upholding the Spider-marriage? On the subject of how the new store unit will operate, it says:


The shop has more than 10,000 comic books on the floor from Marvel to DC to independent comics. Customers can sign up for regular subscriptions for their favorite comics, as well as invest in older, collectible, vintage comic books, said Furman.


Here’s what annoys me: why must they continue to service an outmoded model in monthly pamphlets now costing over 4 dollars, rather than try to build a business centered on paperbacks and hardcovers? Okay, I realize buying one format from many publishers likely hinges on accepting the other too, but still, this is just tiresome already how any specialty store in business today remains stuck on the pamphlet selling model.



If the store succeeds in its revival, that’s great. But it still doesn’t sound like a good approach to stick with an already failing business model in the pamphlets, and any political activity they run would be an additional mistake.

Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1