Yesterday, the news began spreading on social networks. That employees of Mike Malve's four-strong chain of Atomic Comics in Phoenix, Arizona was closing, effective immediately.
Atomic Comics manager Thomas Healy tweeted;
Yes @Atomic_Comics is now closed. I will miss running my store. I had the best staff ever! @jinbins, Sam, Jill, Yvette and everyone else.
Atomic Comics assistant manager of Jennifer Davidson tweeted;
Good-bye forever, Atomic Comics :(
:( they just told us today. I hate everything. I'm so sorry :(
yup. Every store. :( Atomic is done
I just feel bad for customers. :( Like NO NOTICE. It's ridiculous
all I've heard is that everything in every store is now the IRS' malve filed for bankruptcy
It appears from that final tweet that Atomic Comics may have been in trouble with its taxes. This was certainly not a Diamond cashflow issue as some have suggested , as there would have been plenty of people able to help in that event. Atomic Comics was considered an important chain by the kind of people who would help out in such a situation.
He sent a weekly mailing to a bunch of industry types, week by week, breakingdown what had sold, what hadn't, and by how much, along with analysis of the current market and his store. According to folks on the receiving end of this, there was no sign of yesterday's events whatsoever. And people in publishing who spoke to the owner Mike Malve last last week report that there was no hint of trouble. However, Atomic had been running a $1 back issue sale for over a month and had kept extending and extending it. And the East Valley Tribune states "The business had recently shut down its online storefront, with a note that it would soon return; its store on eBay also was dark."
Whatever happened here, happened fast, or happened in secret.
The store had also gone heavy on the DC relaunch, it would have to be something serious to see all four stores close before those books started to ship.
Atomic Comics was often a go-to store for opinion and advice from the industry as a whole, and was recreated by Mark Millar in the movie Kick Ass as the characters' local store.
This follows the shutting down of Phoenix store Stalking Moon Comics a few weeks ago. Samurai Comics with two stores is the only remaining chain in the Phoenix area.
A lot of people had things to say;
Joe Quesada: Incredibly sad day today. The best retailer I've ever met closed his doors. There's never been anyone like @atomicmike and there never will.
Rob Liefeld: Heard from 2 former employees that confirmed Atomic Comics is outta business.
Dan Slott: Sad to hear Atomic Comics may have closed their doors. Whatever the case, all my best to @atomicmike.
Larry Doherty: Print runs are REALLY low. Publishers that market digital to the SAME customer base just put Atomic Comics out of business
Ben McCool: Horrified & upset to hear about Atomic Comics closing. Was lucky enough to sign there last year & had the time of my life. Devastating blow.
Skottie Young: It's been confirmed by many people that Atomic Comics has indeed closed it's doors. Closed.
Jim McCann: Heard from him myself, it's true. Atomic Comics is no more. My heart goes out to @Atomicmike
Brian Bendis: i don't know what happened or whats up but @atomicmike is and will always be one of the best retailers ever!