Mike Wellman Leaves The Comic Bug, Opens The Atomic Basement in Los Angeles

There I was thinking The Comic Bug was actually Mike Wellman's own comic book store. With two Los Angeles outlets, he was always one of the most active and prominent comic book retailers online, and many of the stories we ran about the store came from his enthusiastic plugging in my direction. But we hadn't run anything for a while. Maybe he was concentrating more on his writing career, his political activism or something else. Maybe it was something else.

Earlier this month, he posted a series of statements including;

  • Seriously considering a new direction here in life. I answer to no one.
  • Considering options outside of The Comic Bug. Who wants to invest?
  • I am leaving the Comic Bug soon.
  • Change is good. And sometimes necessary.
  • I am very proud of what Jun and I built at The Comic Bug. It will be there always and forever, I'm pretty sure. I'm starting a new endeavor pretty soon in DTLA. I hope many of you come along for the ride and please continue to shop at The Bug!

Then Mike Wellman posted the news:

I am okay, everybody! I will continue to be okay.

Here's what is happening. I am leaving the Comic Bug. They will continue to serve and provide the finest in South Bay Comic service for you.

In the next two or three months, I'll be opening The Atomic Basement in DTLA, it will be a very curated and fun comic book shopping experience. It won't be as big as The Bug, but it will be mine. We will be doing all the fun stuff you're used to, screenings, FCBD, 24 hour comic day and so much more!

I can't wait for the awesomeness ahead of us!

2020 is going to be the best year EVER!!! Taking it by the reigns and owning it!

If anyone can make a new comic book store succeed, it is Mike Wellman. And a radioactive name that reflects the now-closed LA institution Meltdown Comics as well.


Change is good. This has been a long time coming and a lot of chips are in the air right now. But they will fall where they land and all will be good. Tumultuous times for sure. But I didn't invoke this. I am just responding accordingly.

And then there was the problems with the store Comics Ink

What went down with Comics Ink has been weighing on my mind for almost five years now. And the fact my business partner is a Trump supporter drives me further away from The Comic Bug. It's sickening.

They were closing. My friend Andre told me they were shutting down so I thought we could buy them and continue business as usual. My partner asked the staff there (who has been employed there for 17 years!) to work for free for a few weeks to "prove" themselves behind my back. He asked them not to tell me about this.

However, such is the dedication of certain comics folk to Mike Wellman and The Comic Bug that it overflowed somewhat and Wellman had to make the following statement

I spoke with a member of the staff of The Comic Bug. People are threatening violence against them and the shop itself. Please don't do that. They are innocent in this and it makes me so sad that they are trapped in the middle of this transition. It's a TRANSITION, not an end to that store and I really l love and appreciate everyone who's working there currently. Be good to them and please no threats.

Although he didn't seem to be getting anything from it.

My phone is cut off. I had a business line. If anyone wants to contact me, hit me up on messenger here on Facebook. Petty.

I am temporarily unable to receive phone calls or texts for the time being. Will sort it out tomorrow. But until then, you can message me here on Facebook. We have entered a battle of the wills and I don't expect it to end nicely.

My current situation is so unexpected and out of left field. But anyone who knows Jun and me probably saw this coming. I will own it up to growing pains, splintering of opinions and so much else. If you need to reach me, this is the best platform for now. My phone and messenger were connected to the Bug's account and since I'm no longer there, they are gone as well. I am here for you all though and so sorry that some of you are caught in this tornado of drama.

Keep following Mike Wellman right here…

Mike Wellman Leaves The Comic Bug, Opens His Own Store, The Atomic Basement in Los Angeles

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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