Another closing of a comic shop; another end to a piece of one’s comic community.
For the last six and a half years, Villainous Lair has served as not only a comic and game store, but a hub for many comic book and popular culture fans in San Diego, California.
Villainous Lair Comics first opened in 2011, located in the neighborhood of Normal Heights. The following year, they opened a separate but nearby store for gaming, appropriately called Villainous Lair Gaming. When the opportunity arose a couple years ago to join the two stores into “one-nerdy-entity” in a larger location still close-by, they jumped on it. Since then, the fun décor, the knowledgeable staff, and the caring management had always set the store above others.
I wish I could say here that Villainous Lair lived happily ever after, but then there would be no point to this article. By various sources, it seems that the increased cost of the new location’s rent coupled with stunted sales throughout 2017 made it all too apparent to management that they couldn’t keep it going for too much longer. Despite attempts at finding buyers or investors, as well as a Gofundme page with a goal of $40,000, the store couldn’t find a way around the closure, now slated for the 31st of this month.
On their last day, Villainous Lair will stay open “till the stroke of Midnight,” as their website announced. Though they will still be open for a few days afterward to give customers a chance to pickup their final pulls, they will be done with normal operations. Posted on their website, owner Alison Flynn had this to say at the end of the store’s closure announcement:
“I’m taking solace in the fact that, for the last six and a half years, I’ve owned a community space that has brought some measure of happiness to some of the awesomest people I’ve ever met. You guys have been the best minions and customers an Evil Overlord could ever have asked for. The creative energy, the nerdy camaraderie, the long nights of geeky discussions, the dreams and the quests and the stories, oh, all of it, the stuff makes us human, it all comes back to the storytelling…”
It’s not hard for us all to become numb to these stories of independent comic shops having to close, the last couple years seeing the end of Bonanza Books and Comics, Zanadu, and Legacy Comics. Though, still, at the end of the day, we are all left with the holes that these fine establishments have left behind, of which no online store can truly fill.
Goodbye Villainous Lair. From one San Diegan, you will be missed.
Nicholas Eskey is an avid reader and writer. When not contributing to The Beat, he works on his personal projects, the latest being a fantasy novel called “My Personable Demon.” He lives in San Diego, California, and is frequently bossed around by his cat.