Home Retailing & Marketing The Comic Den in Kew Gardens closes because “We don’t have enough...

The Comic Den in Kew Gardens closes because “We don’t have enough readers”

9
Photo by DNAinfo.com/Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska
 The Comic Den, a 25-year-old comics shop in Kew Gardens, is closing down at the end of the month for troubling reasons:

“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.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Luis and Janet were good friends of mine when I lived in Queens. Their store was an oasis for collectors and readers alike. Clean, bright with everything a comic fan, reader or collector would want. They bent over backwards to accommodate their customers and killed them with kindness. Upon one visit I watched quizzically as a customer went through 10 copies of a single comic to find the ‘perfect condition’ issue. I looked at Janet and she just shrugged it off as this customer was VERY particular. (Peculiar?) As I said, I would still be a customer there today if I didn’t move away. I am truly saddened and I wish them well along with their sons. Buenas suerte!

  2. What was their outreach like? I’ve lived in NYC all my life, went to high school in nearby Queens, and have tried to frequent as many comic book stores as possible, and even I thought this place closed years ago. NYC is not dying for comic book stores (hell, we have 3 different Midtown Comics megastores). You can’t just have a comic book store and wait for people to come in. Did they do FCBD? Did they make a big deal about it? In stores? Did they promote beyond “the big two’?

    Honestly, if it’s not a rent issue, then I don’t see a reason why this has to happen beyond “We didn’t try and get new customers”.

  3. Their comic shop locator profile shows them as “kid friendly” and a participant in Halloween Comic Fest. They state they participated in Free Comic Book Day, but there is no FCBD stamp on their profile.

    Their store (and the previous location) are near the LIRR station. It’s a 10-minute walk to the nearest subway station. (So the location might be a problem.)

    Their website: http://www.comicden.com/
    It’s functional, but doesn’t have a good e-commerce portal.
    (Also, they need to update their location information…although that’s moot now.)

    Their Facebook page has TWO posts, both promoting Free Comic Book Day in 2013.
    “39 people like this”

    Google rates them 4.4 on five reviews.
    Yelp: 4.0 on three reviews.
    One review from September mentioned that there was not a decent selection of graphic novels, which could have hurt sales. Not many back issues as well, according to reviewers.

    Montasy is 1.5 miles away. Royal Collectibles is also nearby, but not as accessible.

  4. ‘It’s like a dying hobby’, the store owner says… How the heck can you have any type of long term expectations for pamphlet sized stories priced over $2, w/ads, and based on stories that could not leave the realm of homo-erotic power fantasy fulfillment, christian/conservative-extremist ‘red scare’ censoring via the CCA, and speculator bubbles based mainly on brands, trends, and nothing to do with quality sequential story telling. Disney, Time/Warner, and other foreign entities need people to go online, since the data mining, and predictive analytics tracing our online activity is more valuable than having anything to do with sequential; the market is more about ‘comic books’ and merchandising, than it is about sequential art/writing, characterization, respect for continuity, or keeping readers. The marketing structure needs to be rebooted if you really want to gain new readers, instead of just making Captain America ‘black’, or having Wolverine be a ‘woman’, or go on the radio like Axel Alonso did when he was promoting his ‘hip hop’ covers, and said that people with read hair are gay, so that is why he made Rawhide Kid homosexual -do you think then that all those outcast red headed comic book fans at your comic conventions like it when they are called homophobic slurs just because they read ‘comic books’? Yaaay, Alonso has pride in making the Hulk Korean, since he is ‘part Korean’, as he his wife is from Korea. Is’nt that great, guys? Minorities are just like regular white folks in this fake country, as everyone gets off obsessing how they are ‘different’, and how to charge something that is over priced and full of advertisements…

  5. This is my local store. It’s right up the block from where I live and I have to say I feel kinda bad about it closing. I rarely frequented it because of the size of the store and it’s small selection but Janet is always very nice and accommodating when I did go there.

    I work in the city and Jim Hanley’s Universe is literally right across the street from me. So every wed morning I walk over there and pick up my comics. Ugh. Now I feel terrible about not supporting my local store. But too late now I guess…

  6. I lived in NYC from 2006-2011. I made it a point to try and visit every shop in the City (except staten island) and I never even heard of this place.

    Torsten’s comment makes it seem like they did no outreach or social media of any kind. So….. sad, but not surprising right?

  7. STOP WITH THIS LOVE FOR TINY LITTLE HOLES IN THE WALL. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A HOLE IN THE WALL AND A DUMP. COMIC DEN WAS ALWAYS A DUMP. THE STORE’S OTHER NAMES WERE SO KNOWN TO REAL COMIC BOOK COLLECTORS AND FANS AS…. “COMIC DUMP” “COMIC CRAP” & “COMIC DUNG”. MY FAVORITE WAS ONE THAT DAVE WHO WAS A FORMER EMPLOYEE THERE TOLD ME A FEW YEARS AGO WHEN I RAN INTO HIM AT THE PIZZA PLACE AROUND THE CORNER…. READY….

    “COMIC VOMIT”

    LITTLE STORES, YES…. SOME OF THEM ARE COOL AND NICE TO SHOP. GREAT PLACES TO SEARCH AND FIND THINGS. THIS WAS NOT ONE OF THEM. NO IT WASN’T. REALITY CHECK. MOST OF THEIR SO-CALLED COLLECTIONS WERE IN STORAGE. YES KIDDIES…. YOU CAN’T BROWSE THROUGH. THIS DUMP NEVER KEEP THEIR COMICS NOR MERCHANDISE NEAT & CLEAN. THEY SIMPLY PUT STUFF OUT AND LET THE HANDS AND THEIR DIRT & FINGERPRINTS GO TO WORK. ALL YOU SOCIAL LOSERS CRYING OVER THIS STORE? GO FIND ANOTHER PLACE WHERE YOU THINK YOUR CRIPIN GLOVER PERSONNA CAN FIT IN AND MOMMY & DADDY WON’T FIND YOU. AND OH YES….. GET OUT OF MOMMY’S BASEMENT. GROW UP.
    GO TO A REAL COMIC STORE WHERE THE OWNERS & STAFF CARE AND KNOW HOW TO KEEP THEIR MERCHANDISE “MINTY”…..

    ROYAL COLLECTIBLES.

    THAT’S RIGHT. THEM. THEY RULE AND BURY PLACES LIKE THE COMIC DEN IN EVERY WAY. SO GET MOMMY TO GIVE YOU BUS FARE OR BLOW YOUR DAD SO HE WILL DRIVE YOU AFTER YOU SWALLOW.

    COMIC DEN…. NO LOSS. THATS RIGHT…. NONE. ZIP. NADA. YOU NEVER DID ANYTHING FOR THE FANS. YOU NEVER WERE NEVER PART OF ANY COMMUNITY EVENT. NO YOU WEREN’T. AND YOU NEVER EVEN PROMOTED FREE COMIC BOOK DAY. YOU DESERVED TO GO AND DIE.

    LAZY AND DETACHED OWNERS GOT WHAT THEY DESERVED AND IT SHOULD HAVE COME SO MUCH SOONER.

    “COMIC VOMIT”

    YES INDEED. HEY DAVE…. THANKS FOR THE LAUGH AT THAT TIME AND I HOPE YOU GET THAT PHRASE TRADEMARKED LIKE I TOLD YOU!

  8. @ Soothsayer: “Comic Vomit” Is right.

    I passed by their last location was today and saw that they closed. It brought to mind a few problems I experienced when they were still located at the cluttered location around the corner.
    Shortly after Heroclix was first released, I bought booster packs a few times. One day I bought four here packs. I got home and opened them only to discover the same piece (a common piece) 4 times in each pack. After examining the boxes, I noticed that the boxes had been tampered with; they had been opened and then re-glued badly (this was before the boxes were sealed in cellophane) and then re-sold as new. I went back to the store and the idiot behind the counter tried to tell me I was the recipient of rare boxes and had several collector’s items. I went back the next day and complained to Luis and was told that it was suspicious and suggested I had made a mistake and possibly switched the pieces myself by mistake: they would never resort to tampering with the boxes. He even opened a couple of boxes to prove his point; ironically, the boxes had duplicate common pieces as well, which he attributed to a manufacturing defect; however he wouldn’t show me the boxes he opened. This discussion occurred over a full counter of rare and not so-common pieces for sale at premium pieces.. That was the last time I purchased any new gaming supplies there.
    After that I only purchased collecting supplies at the store to buy comic boxes there about ten years ago I went to purchase comic boxes. After waiting ten minutes for Luis to get the boxes from the basement, I noticed that the boxes had stains (possibly roach stains?). After saying I didn’t want the boxes because of the stains, I was asked what my (insert colorful expletive here) problem was. That ended my patronization of the Comics Den.

Comments are closed.

Exit mobile version