Lone Star Comics, a five-store comic shop chain located in northern Texas, is known as one of the most venerable and successful comics shops in the US, with over 30 years in business. But after 50 years in comics retail, founder Buddy Saunders and wife Judy are selling three of their stores to spend more time on their busy mail order business. They’ve turned the Mesquite store over to regional manager Aaron Settle. The Hurst and Plane stores will form the “Collected” chain and be run by Brent Erwin, a long-time retailer (and also publisher of Ape Comics.)
Saunders is something of a comics legend, and has played many parts on comics history. Just google his name if you’re interested. The PR is below–it doesn’t mention the Arlington or Fort Worth stores, so I’m guessing Saunders will continue to own them.
Lone Star Comics has served as the North Texas hub of comic book fandom for more than 36 years. When the first store opened in 1977 in Arlington, Buddy Saunders introduced comics, role-playing games, and related hobbies, toys, and collectibles to many of his customers for the first time. Over the years, Saunders’ passion grew into a chain of stores and the largest comic retail site on the internet, www.mycomicshop.com. This September, Saunders and his wife Judy are turning over the reins to three of their stores to a new generation of comic fans and entrepreneurs.
“The time is right for us to focus our attention on our online business, which grew out the mail order business I began in 1961, a time when there were virtually no comic book stores and no internet. To that end, Judy and I found two talented businessmen who want to carry the stores forward in a way that we’ll continue to be proud of.”
One of the stores will be owned by longtime Lone Star Comics Regional Manager, Aaron Settle. “Having managed the stores in one capacity or another for 17 years, Aaron was the perfect choice to take over the Mesquite store,” said Judy Saunders, “and I know that he’ll bring his own vision for a family-friendly comic and game store to life.”
The Hurst and Plano locations will be owned by Brent Erwin, a longtime comics fan, publisher, and friend of Buddy and Judy. “Brent’s vision of what a comic book store should be is very similar to ours. I have no doubt that the store customers in Hurst and Plano will be pleased with the continuation of excellent selection and service in these stores.” The two stores will operate under the name “Collected: Hurst & Collected: Plano” to coincide with the already operating “Collected: TCU” at 3467 Blue Bonnet Circle in Fort Worth Tx.
“It will be bittersweet to hand over the keys,” said Buddy Saunders, “but Judy and I want to continue working with our son, Conan, to develop new features for our growing internet business. This change will also give us more time to travel and spend time with our family.”
“Having grown up as a long time customer of Lone Star Comics and having worked in the comics industry for the last 23 years, it fills me with a great sense of pride to know we will be carrying on a part of the Lone Star Comics legacy which Buddy and Judy have built over the years” said Brent E. Erwin. “We plan to offer the same excellent customer service, family friendly atmosphere, and well stocked and expertly merchandised stores which Buddy and Judy have cultivated over the years and Lone Star’s customers have come to expect” Erwin said. “To learn more about the Collected family of retail stores please visit us at www.Staycollected.com.”
Collected’s mission to grow the pop culture industry by increasing awareness about comics, games and pop culture takes a giant step towards its goal with the addition of Lone Star Comics’ Hurst and Plano locations. Collected hopes fans will discover the exciting world of comics, games, pop culture and all things Geek when they visit each location.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.