Malcolm Willits died Monday 4/15/2019
1 1

20 posts in this topic

6,039 posts

Malcolm and Leonard I suspect purposefully opened the first Collector's Bookstore within a couple of blocks of Cherokee Books. The day in 1965 my brother and I drove up from San Diego and parked his car right in front while going to see Burt was somewhat surreal. Here we were shopping for paper collectibles, and, lo and behold, the house we parked in front of announced themselves as purveyors of such... O happy memories...RIP Mal.

Pat

Edited by Pat Calhoun

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14,840 posts

RIP Malcolm, you and your store are the stuff of legend.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25,807 posts

RIP Malcolm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24,417 posts

Also thought this piece “King Antane R” in the book “Comics Between the Panels” by Steve Duin and Mike Richardson would be fun to post.

(This Book is a MUST read if you are a comic collector. You won’t be able to put it down!)

A35C403C-ADB0-48ED-8286-A0096FA02FC7.jpeg

E94ED714-70BB-446C-8ABD-65A01CB7F9A7.jpeg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
723 posts

 The original store was at 1717 N. Wilcox Avenue, about a half a block above Hollywood Blvd.  On the evening of March 5, 1965, Brown and Willits hosted a champagne reception  for a dozen leading collectors, and opened for business the next day.  After a couple of moves, moved into the empty bank at  6763 Hollywood Blvd., about midway between Grauman's Chinese Theater and Cherokee Books.  After Leonard retired, Mal sold nearly all of the comics, moved the store to Hollywood and Vine, and it didn't move again until the contents were sold in a major auction.  The large catalog only contained one lot of approximately 23 comics, which I bought for nostalgic reasons.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28,145 posts
1 hour ago, AJD said:

And we shouldn't forget this particularly important contribution to comicdom.

493099600_Willitsletter.JPG.bee98f1c19660917b36eb7e27495bccd.JPG

RIP Mr Willits.

I've never seen this before, how cool...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5,602 posts

I believe that the painting that he bought from Carl Barks was " Menace of  the Myths "  and its is going to auction at ha.com May 16...RIP

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,004 posts

May you rest in peace, Malcolm. A true legend in the hobby.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13,291 posts
3 hours ago, Robot Man said:

Also thought this piece “King Antane R” in the book “Comics Between the Panels” by Steve Duin and Mike Richardson would be fun to post.

(This Book is a MUST read if you are a comic collector. You won’t be able to put it down!)

A35C403C-ADB0-48ED-8286-A0096FA02FC7.jpeg

E94ED714-70BB-446C-8ABD-65A01CB7F9A7.jpeg

agreed. I have that book and it's a wealth of great insiders info. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,895 posts

Rich, thanks for sharing all your stories of Malcolm and Leonard and the early days of Southern California comic collecting. Growing up back east we tended to think of New York as the center of the comic collecting universe with well-known fans in Detroit and Chicago. We didn't hear much about what was happening out here. Of course, having the Disney and Warner studios located here in the Burbank area meant that the concentration of the Dell artists were in the Southern California area; another fact that escaped me when all you saw were the Racine and Poughkeepsie addresses in the books.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
24,417 posts

LA was quite the hub of comic collecting in the late '60's and early '70's. In addition to Cherokee, Collector's Book Store, and Bond Street Books in the Hollywood area, we also had The American Comic Book Company. A store always packed with vintage comics. People were bring in collections so much that they had hardly enough time to process them. Nick Scotto, The Comic Vendor and Geoffrey's in the South Bay were always stores to visit when looking for vintage books.

There were always the year round swap meets and the Rose Bowl Flea Market where old comics turned up by the box load. As far as conventions, mostly the SDCC and the Shrine monthly show. There were also monthly fairly large gatherings of comic buyers and sellers at the Hollywood Women's Club. And just loads of old used book stores all over the LA area to haunt.

I met legendary Superman collector Gary Coddington while hunting comics at the Azuza swap meet. We became good friends and visited each other's houses often. I was blown away to see his complete Action and Superman collection. He even let me read his Action #1 and his brother's Tec #27. I met a lot of other SO CA collectors through Gary such as Terry Stroud, David T Alexander, Carl Macek, Jamie Newbold, The Carters and many others that have moved on from comics.

Rich was a little older than me and moved in a bit of higher circles than me :roflmao:. I never met him until I joined these boards when we realized that I live in the town he grew up in. I had the pleasure of having him over for a short visit a couple of years ago when he was in the area.

It was a wonderful place and time to be a comic book collector. Good times!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
723 posts
49 minutes ago, Robot Man said:

LA was quite the hub of comic collecting in the late '60's and early '70's. In addition to Cherokee, Collector's Book Store, and Bond Street Books in the Hollywood area, we also had The American Comic Book Company. A store always packed with vintage comics. People were bring in collections so much that they had hardly enough time to process them. Nick Scotto, The Comic Vendor and Geoffrey's in the South Bay were always stores to visit when looking for vintage books.

There were always the year round swap meets and the Rose Bowl Flea Market where old comics turned up by the box load. As far as conventions, mostly the SDCC and the Shrine monthly show. There were also monthly fairly large gatherings of comic buyers and sellers at the Hollywood Women's Club. And just loads of old used book stores all over the LA area to haunt.

I met legendary Superman collector Gary Coddington while hunting comics at the Azuza swap meet. We became good friends and visited each other's houses often. I was blown away to see his complete Action and Superman collection. He even let me read his Action #1 and his brother's Tec #27. I met a lot of other SO CA collectors through Gary such as Terry Stroud, David T Alexander, Carl Macek, Jamie Newbold, The Carters and many others that have moved on from comics.

Rich was a little older than me and moved in a bit of higher circles than me :roflmao:. I never met him until I joined these boards when we realized that I live in the town he grew up in. I had the pleasure of having him over for a short visit a couple of years ago when he was in the area.

It was a wonderful place and time to be a comic book collector. Good times!

 It was a wonderful place and time to be a comic book collector, and timing is everything.   I would take the bus downtown and go to four bookstores, the Goodwill Store, have lunch and take the bus back home.  Then I met Leonard and my collecting world expanded.  We took the back seat out of his 1952 Chevy so we could carry more comics and we put note cards or business cards in every supermarket we could find and you would be amazed by how successful that was.  At the same time we were running ads advertising old comics for sale.  After a few sales, word of mouth did the job and we could tell even then that selling old comics was easy but maintaining our inventory was going to be difficult.

It was great meeting you, Bob, and my only regret is that I couldn't have stayed longer and enjoyed more of your fantastic collection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 post

Hi Yellow Kid and others.  

I am Malcolm’s Cousin.  His mother was my father’s sister.  My wife and I visited Malcolm when I was consulting in California over 15 years ago and my sisters would receive Christmas letters every year with an update.  I was one of the lucky ones to have visited his home and see all of his cars and amazing collections of Disney originals and comic collection.  

I was shocked by your post as we had not heard that Malcolm had died.  For this reason, Yellow Kid, I am wondering how you found out about Malcolm and whether you can point me to  an obituary.  I contacted an administrator where he was living and they were no help at all.  

You can send me info direct if you would like.

All the best

Steve Ellis

srecpm@aol.com

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
723 posts
5 hours ago, SRobert said:

Hi Yellow Kid and others.  

I am Malcolm’s Cousin.  His mother was my father’s sister.  My wife and I visited Malcolm when I was consulting in California over 15 years ago and my sisters would receive Christmas letters every year with an update.  I was one of the lucky ones to have visited his home and see all of his cars and amazing collections of Disney originals and comic collection.  

I was shocked by your post as we had not heard that Malcolm had died.  For this reason, Yellow Kid, I am wondering how you found out about Malcolm and whether you can point me to  an obituary.  I contacted an administrator where he was living and they were no help at all.  

You can send me info direct if you would like.

All the best

Steve Ellis

srecpm@aol.com

 

 

Steve Ellis,

His partner at the store when it closed, Mark Willoughby, called me with the news.  He also called Leonard Brown's widow.  You might try tracking down Mark.

Richard Olson 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6,072 posts
On 4/19/2019 at 5:06 PM, Robot Man said:

Thanks for posting this Rich. Brings back a lot of great memories. You, Leonard and Malcom were among the first pioneers in the comic shop buisness in LA and probably the country at the time. It was a wonderous area. Collectors Book Store, Cherokee and my favorite, Bond Street Books were all a couple of blocks apart. My dad often had business in the Hollywood area and would often drop me off there sometimes with a couple of friends to hit the stores.

We never really had much money. Malcom would often throw me and guys like TriColorBrian out of his store. I'm sure we bothered him. Leonard was usually pretty cool if he wasn't busy. I guess asking if he had a Superman #1 got old. :roflmao: Malcom eventually turned the store into a mecca for deep pocketed collectors and buyers. Had stock that would make Metro drool today...

Here is a photo of him in the vault.

Rest peacefully Malcom!

comicphotomalcomwillitts.jpg

It was never Malcolm that threw me out of either store, it was always Leonard.  Leonard didn't seem to have much patience for a 13 year-old looking for deals.  :$ I never really had any dealings or conversations with Malcolm.  He always seemed like the quieter of the two guys.  LOL

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
723 posts

In general, Malcolm handled movie material while Leonard handled comics.

Edited by Yellow Kid

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
1 1