“The new generation of readers is going online,” said Janet Vargas, who co-owns the store with her husband Luis, adding that the decision is not rent related. “We don’t have enough readers.”
Over the years, the store served thousands of fans of Spider-Man, Captain America and Iron Man. It also sold superhero toys and posters, which were all related to comic books.
The influx of new readers that seems to have bouyed many comic shops never reached The Comic Den, as Vargas says sales were so bad they had to move to a smaller store a few years ago. “It’s like a dying hobby,” she told DNAInfo. “It’s sad, but young people are growing up using all these new technologies.”
The closing comes even though local comics celebrity Alex Segura (Archie Comics) praised the stores sense of community. “It’ll be a big loss for the community,” he said. “It was a much-needed meeting place for Queens comic fans.”
Based on photos, The Comic Den looks like a pleasant place to buy comics, so its hard to say what kept readers away. Any comics shop closing is always a little troubling.
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.