David Erskine, owner of Aftertime Comics of Alexandria, Virginia for 35 years, has been taking down the store sign as he vacates the premises of the store. The store was always going to close, pandemic or no, but it was planning to open in a new location for Free Comic Book Day, the first Saturday in May. It's a day when traditionally lots of comic book stores open and draw in the crowds.
That is no longer happening and Erskine doesn't know if Aftertime Comics will ever reopen in its new location or not. He is currently running Facebook sales out of his garage, where he has all his stock right now. It also helps that he is still working for the postal service as a general clerk. He tells ALXnow "I hope we reopen," Erskine said. "My garage is completely full of comic books right now." This is what the comic book store used to look like o the inside, so you might be able to picture David's garage right now.
It is worth noting that a lot fewer comic book stores than may have been expected to have permanently closed, have done so. Bleeding Cool heard that some retailers are waiting on government help and grants as they have closed, as well as charity fundraising projects from Binc, CLLF and The Book Trade Charity. Closed down stores might not be able to qualify. However, as we noted, comic stores that were planning to open in a week's time, are no longer likely to be doing so, and the commercial and financial situation that may have justified such an opening are also no more. Last year saw more comic stores open than close, and that is very unlikely to be the case now. How many will survive until the end of the year is very much up for debate, with some estimates suggesting almost half of comic shops could close.
Bleeding Cool will continue reporting on how the current global situation is affecting the comic book industry with this bookmarkable tag.