The Californian comics scene is losing a store that lasted 29years, as the Lee’s Comics store in San Mateo is closing. The Mountain View location will remain open.Owner Lee Hester revealed the closing in his newsletter:

I’m very sorry to tell you this, but after 29 years, due to adverse business conditions, we must close Lee’s Comics San Mateo location. February will be the last month that we will be receiving new weekly shipments from Diamond. In March, we will be having a going out of business sale. Everything, including the fixtures will be sold at increasing discounts through March, until everything is gone. That’s the bad news. I’m sure it comes as a great shock to many people.
The good news is that, with your support, Lee’s Comics will stay in business! Our Mountain View location will be staying open. If you have a subscription in San Mateo, we strongly urge you to consider transferring it to our Mountain View location. We cannot continue without you! Please ask a clerk to switch you over during the month of February, so you don’t miss any titles.
Our Mountain View location is just 16 miles away from the San Mateo location and right off Highway 101. It’s less than a 20 minute drive from the San Mateo location. It’s a big, modern, fully stocked store, right next to Costco and Ross, and we have 1,500 free parking spaces right in front. The new shipments from Diamond and other vendors will continue to come in each week; in fact we are upping our orders. With your support, we are going to make Lee’s Comics better than ever!
Thank you for your support over the years! Please don’t hesitate to contact me via email with any comments, or questions. I will be giving weekly updates via this newsletter and Facebook. Make sure to follow our Facebook page, if you have not done so already. 

Hester is a real comics warrior whose been energetically involved in the industry for decades, so it’s sad to hear the store isn’t making it. I reached out for more information on the closing and will update if I hear back. The store could be the victim of the general “adverse conditions” many see in the current comics industry, or just changing local shopping patterns or something completely different.

In the meantime, later in the newsletter, Hester revealed he’s still keeping busy with all kinds of projects:

Over at the San Mateo location we have a loft where we store a large supply of goods for the stores. That includes large items that we buy in bulk, such as comic boxes. Soon we will be losing that location and it’s storage area. To prepare for that loss of storage space, I have begun work on building some sturdy shelving additions in my Mountain View back room. One of he nice thing about these racks, is that they are very strong, and thanks to the high ceiling, you can stack many items on the top shelf. These shelves are very strong, and they will not begin to buckle no matter how much weight you put on them. There’s something very satisfying in building something solid, functional, and permanent with your own hands. I hope to complete the project in a week.



  1. So, on one hand, it seems comics sales are going reasonably well, or at least better than 5 years ago according to John Jackson Miller.
    On the other hand some comics dealers seem upset about the current market, to the point that some of them are even closing shops.

    So what’s the real picture here? Are people still buying comics and if so, where are they buying them? Online? Is there a new speculation bubble?

  2. Comic sales are up, but that does not mean comic sell through to the customer is up, It might just mean that stores have been buying more product than they can sell in order to get the variant covers their customers want. Too much of that leads to stores going under.

  3. I usually go to Lee’s just for the old back issues from the good old Bronze Age. The late 1970s and 1980s were the best time for comics.

    However, I no longer read modern comics, because I just can’t deal with the computer drawings. Good old hand drawn art was the best. Think Amazing Spiderman #129 (1st Punisher), #121 (death of Gwen). Incredible Hulk 181 (1st Wolvie).

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