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Sad day on Jan 4th 2019 ...

Entry posted by Fan Boy · - 226 views

On this day ... January the Fourth 2019, the Comicshop had finally went closed forever. After bit over 44 years in business since the first store opened in the 1970s, moved to its second location on 2089 West 4th Ave until 1999. Then went to move to its third location on 3518 West 4th Ave.

I went to pay my last visit on the last Saturday of December to get my last order. Walked around the store knowing this was my last time to see the classic yellow walls and wall racks. The credits goes to the employees who had kept the traditional look for many years. I made my first visit to the old Comicshop on 2089 West 4th. That happened after I saw their first TV commercial on one Saturday morning while I was watching my daily cartoons, I was a kid back then. I had to beg my dad to drive me to this store. 

Upon my arrival, and walked to the store and saw the famous duck sign saying “Of Course We’re Open” outside by front door. Entered inside, I was high in my mind, eyes popped when I saw so much comics and stuff everywhere. I saw the second floor. On the first floor, the guy behind the counter ( the yellow counter which you saw in the photos below) greeted me with a smile. I went upstairs and saw even MORE comics in bins and on wall rack. I was so excited and started check out the comics. I told my dad I loved the store and wanted more visits here. He knew in signing and let me get my wishes. I had many good memories throughout the 1980s during my high school days.

I returned back to my old hometown, then to the new location and resumed my daily visits for the next 5 years to the end. I will miss the duck sign!

 

Below is a copy I found online. This article explains why I loved this store. 

 

The Oldest Comics Specialty Store in Western Canada

In 2014, The Comicshop was the only store in British Columbia to be shortlisted for the Joe Shuster Award for Best Retailer in Canada, a highly esteemed honour within the industry. Original owners Ron Norton and Ken Witcher, both avid comic collectors, opened the doors of The Comicshop in 1974 to serve the city’s comics fans. Ron later bought out Ken to become sole owner in 1989. From its convenient 4th Avenue West location, the team at The Comicshop has helped Vancouverites with their comic collections for decades (and furthered its own, of course!).

The service is friendly and the selection is vast. Stepping into the shop, you’ll be greeted with a smile by The Comicshop’s manager Keith Bickford and his colleague Brent Stratichuk, who have been bringing in new titles every week and keeping the stock updated since the mid-1980s.

A comic collector’s dream, with new stock arriving every Wednesday, The Comicshop draws loyal customers who drop by on a weekly basis to pick up new issues and chat with Keith, Brent and the team. At The Comicshop, you’ll discover a wide selection of new and collectible comics, graphic novels, art books, toys, posters, t-shirts and all sorts of great stuff.

Over the years, comics sort of grew up and these days the majority of our customers are adults who have been reading comics since they were kids.- Keith Bickford, manager
The Comicshop, comics, memorabilia, new and collectible comics, graphic novels, art books, toys, posters, t-shirts

Living the Comic Collector’s Dream

An avid collector himself, Keith joined the team part-time in high school and never looked back. “It was a great way to make some money during high school and university, do something I enjoy, and help other comic fans. And now I’ve been working here forever!” laughs Keith.

“I still read a lot of comics like when I first started and it’s nice because so do our customers. We have customers who have been coming here since the store opened, so even longer than I’ve been here!”

The Comicshop, comics, memorabilia, new and collectible comics, graphic novels, art books, toys, posters, t-shirts

Comics for All

The highlight of running the shop for Keith is meeting and helping comic fans from all walks of life. “Back when I started working here, it was really for nerds and geeks. These days, with shows like Big Bang Theory, nerd is the new cool,” says Keith.

“It’s really evolved over the years, the industry as a whole has become much more mainstream. Over the years, comics sort of grew up and these days the majority of our customers are adults who have been reading comics since they were kids. Our customers come from all walks of life – we have doctors, lawyers, white-collar workers, people working all around the world coming in, everyone really, so it’s really interesting that way.”

The Comicshop, comics, memorabilia, new and collectible comics, graphic novels, art books, toys, posters, t-shirts
 

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Did he retire, or was he losing money?  Looks residential, but real estate in Vancouver is horrendous no matter where you are, isnt it?

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24 minutes ago, FineCollector said:

Did he retire, or was he losing money?  Looks residential, but real estate in Vancouver is horrendous no matter where you are, isnt it?

Well, long short story to that ... there were many factors contributing to its closing. One big factor is with the former owner’s wife (her husband/owner had passed few years ago), seemly decided to not want continue running the business. That part is unclear to my knowledge. The former owner and his wife lives in Chicago for some number of years after his retirement. Another factor looks to do with the financial situation with ordering new materials, involved with the wife whom had run the business. Oddly enough the monthly rent on the shop is paid daily alright. That ordering new materials situation has been going on for the past 4 or more months since.  Again, unclear in what really went on in there. 

The bailiff come to the shop Friday morning as it opens for business. He issued the order to employees to stop running business and took everything out of the shop. 

So, to me officially I am a old nerd without an anchor store in where do I go to revive my comic book moments when I need to buy something. First time in my life where I’m not a customer in my local comic book store, there is no other old school store like this one! :cry:

 

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And, yes ... real estate prices is super insane expensive in Vancouver! All and every detached houses are above $$ 1.0 to 3.0 millions average. Even condos in buildings are now above $300 - $500k, some penthouse condos nearing $1 million. :tonofbricks:

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New 2 bedroom condos in Metrotown, Burnaby used to be $500k, now they are close to $600k. Rundown detached houses 45 to 110 years old sell fast on the poor East Vancouver side of town for $1.3 mil.

I am still hoping the 2 last Comicshop employees are able to find another retail space along W. 4th Ave or West Broadway else where are their 200 subscribers all going to move to? 8th Dimension Comics or downtown to Golden Age? I would recommend they try to open up a shop in North Surrey which is the nexus of a newer skytrain line being extended to Guildford mall side. Lots of young families in Surrey and the Tri-Cities area.

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17 minutes ago, aardvark88 said:

 

I am still hoping the 2 last Comicshop employees are able to find another retail space along W. 4th Ave or West Broadway else where are their 200 subscribers all going to move to? 8th Dimension Comics or downtown to Golden Age? I would recommend they try to open up a shop in North Surrey which is the nexus of a newer skytrain line being extended to Guildford mall side. Lots of young families in Surrey and the Tri-Cities area.

Was told by one of employees that he is looking at a location somewhere near East Vancouver/ Burnaby in region of Victoria Street by Broadway Street. Something nearby around there, I think. It’s not officially yet decided with their future plans for a new reopening. 

The one concern with me is the question posed at.  Will they keep the old classic yellow color on walls and wall racks like the originals were? As some local subscribers may already knew by now, the Comicshop spinner racks that had stood for many many years ... were sold away to two buyers. That were part of the store history, and I am sure there are few other materials may had been took by the bailiff ... e.i. The original window sign “Comicshop” on black background? The old glass/wood counter? 

My congratulations to the three employees for what they did their best to preserve the Comicshop theme to the very end. But, I fear in what the next new store will be like? I do like the old classic theme. Like my second home. :preach:

The irony of all, I actually HATE yellow color, but the Comicshop is the expemtion aside! For the nerd’s sake in me to get my daily comic book frenzy. :nyah:

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I agree that comic stores are becoming a thing of the past. Which is too bad. Here in Toronto, many stores have disappeared over the last 20 years or so. I myself buy 99 per cent of my books online. Such is life during the internet age.

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7 hours ago, Fan Boy said:

Was told by one of employees that he is looking at a location somewhere near East Vancouver/ Burnaby in region of Victoria Street by Broadway Street. Something nearby around there, I think. It’s not officially yet decided with their future plans for a new reopening. 

 :nyah:

My buddy Paul L used to have a small comic shop on Commercial Drive south of Broadway (at E. 11th Ave) about 26 years ago. Comic vendors always looking for pockets of cheap rent in East Vancouver. e.g. David Grannis (ex of Collector's Books and Comics pre-Bizarre Bazaar) had a back issue and record LP shop at Kingsway/Fraser St. but this was about 30 years ago. There is already a small gaming and some comics store at Rupert St/Grandview Hwy (E. 12th Ave).

North Burnaby has no comic store left after Taz Comics moved to Vancouver side of E. Hastings St. /Boundary Rd.

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58 minutes ago, aardvark88 said:

North Burnaby has no comic store left after Taz Comics moved to Vancouver side of E. Hastings St. /Boundary Rd.

I would also stick my neck in saying New Westminster have no comic store after Steve’s Comics went bust, and Talkin’ Illustrations went closed. Ahh... Terry was a great guy.  My friend and I had been talking about running our comic book store for years, that has been my dream for long time. I knew what it take to open and run business tight to survive through the first year.

The Uptown community in New Westminster would be a good spot, I think. I also think North Burnaby/Lougheed Mall region would be a good area where Skytrain major hub is located, plus SFU university is nearby - lots of young students around.

speaking about comic book stores make me wanna go out to visit one. I have visited at least about all around here already. Hmm... there is one in Delta that I haven’t seen before. hm

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13 hours ago, Fan Boy said:

I would also stick my neck in saying New Westminster have no comic store after Steve’s Comics went bust, and Talkin’ Illustrations went closed.

The Uptown community in New Westminster would be a good spot, I think. I also think North Burnaby/Lougheed Mall region would be a good area where Skytrain major hub is located, plus SFU university is nearby - lots of young students around.

hm

By Uptown New Westminster, did you mean near Columbia St where 2 skytrain lines cross? That is where first Golden Age Collectables shop circa 1975 started out. Rent would be cheaper in New West than Lougheed Mall or expanding Brentwood Mall with it's new condo towers and community center being built.

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The last picture is so sad. I think all of us have fond memories of the shops we knew in our youth.  My "Home Shop "  The Bookery Fairborn ,Ohio since the eighties is still going strong but the owner mentioned last year when he retires he does not think that there is going to be a buyer when he calls it quits . 

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In its day this was an incredible store to go picking in on a Sunday afternoon. So many great memories. It’s been a sad and long decline to watch. 

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I had no idea they were closing. I know they have been having a "sale" for the last six months or so where they had been blowing out old inventory and when I was last there a month ago (on a Saturday) the store was relatively busy. But nothing like the old days. Like others here, I discovered the Comicshop in its heyday (1980) and never looked back. Prior to that I had been forced to scour used bookstores in North Vancouver for old comics and rarely found anything better than good condition. Walking up those stairs on 4th avenue and seeing the treasure trove of comics (my friend still remembers being blown away by the FF #1 in NM condition they had on display with a price tag of $500 - the idea that anyone would ever spend that much money on one comic...) blew my 12-year-old mind and turned me from a comic fan into a true comic collector. Finally a place where I could not only find seemingly any back issues I wanted, often in near mint condition (many early X-Men issues found in the bins would later grade 9.4 when sent to CGC), comic supplies, etc, but also a place where I was surrounded by like-minded collectors, many of them adults, which reassured me my hobby wasn't kid stuff.

I was lucky enough that my dad's house (25th and Arbutus) was only a short bike ride away and I spent countless Saturdays in that store bin-diving and always left with unburied treasure safely stored away in that iconic yellow bag (I think they were paper back then).

I've posted this picture before and I believe this was taken (I didn't take it) at the first of three locations of the Comicshop, but the two hippies in the foreground were the owners when I went there and were always helpful and respectful of a 12-year-old kid who just loved comics and will forever be associated with any and all memories I have of the place. RIP Comicshop.

 

Image result for the comicshop 4th ave vancouver

 

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I lived in Vancouver for a few years and would hit up The Comicshop and another comic shop called Elfsar all the time.  Elfsar closed up about 8 years ago.  Sad to see The Comicshop close down as well.

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The employees of Comicshop will have a event taking place on Sunday January 13th, to have “The Last Supper” in saying farewell to our beloved store. Lot of subscribers will be going there for a fun evening. They had posted an announcement on FB.

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On 1/7/2019 at 6:05 AM, Black_Adam said:

 

 

Image result for the comicshop 4th ave vancouver

 

I see in the picture is the Marvel Comics original wall rack in the background. Wonder whatever happened to it? hm

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