Magnum Comics and Cards on Riverdale Avenue in New York's Bronx district has been open for 27 years, but is closing at the end of the month. At least, it's street-facing business will close, it will continue as an on-line operation.
Manager Tony Savage told customers on Facebook that "we make money on line, don't need to pay rent… it's an eBay store under magnum comics, but we will keep our customers and they can pick up files and have an office with storage, just better even though the store is cool, just don't need it when people are cutting back or not showing up."
Owner Neil Shatzoff told the Riverdale Press that "technology has taken over. When I first started, we still had the credit card machines that you had to swipe the machine. I was carrying a beeper around. There were no cell phones…. A lot of kids don't really need to read comics anymore. They're more into being the character and playing the game" while kids can "can just read the comics on their iPads or phones, and that's it. 'Oh, I read that story and it was great.' But they're not saving it."
He lso looks to the changing content of comic books. "The artwork and the stories have gotten a lot better. Most of them are rated … like a PG-13 movie, so there are a lot of parents that object to the violence or the language…. Paper is more expensive, artists are getting a lot more money, and it's tough because we have to order two months in advance, and we have a two- to three-week window to add or subtract from our order, but we get no returns on any of this. Whatever we buy, we eat".
They also note the changing price, a comic cost $1 in 1991, and they are now $3 or $4 each. National inflation, 81% between 1991 and 2017 would have that equivalent at under $2. In 1991, comics sold for a dollar each, sometimes less.
And he talked about moving on-line.
"Having a stand-alone store, it almost doesn't pay anymore to keep it open when I've got more business coming up online than I have people actually walking into the place. Why pay the overhead? And after 27 years, I need a vacation."
And for regular customers, he will still order comics and hand-deliver them.
Bleeding Cool covers the closing – and opening – of comic book stores. We're more likely to discover the former rather than the latter, as the result of an active fanbase, so please let us know when a new store in your neighbourhood is opening as well as closing – firstname.lastname@example.org