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Offline Yoc

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Historical Photos - Comic Retailers 3
« on: March 02, 2019, 07:56:52 PM »
Hi Gang,
Here's another batch of the Comic Retailers.  For those born in the 80s-on you might be surprised to hear how hard it was to find back issues of comics before your time.  We've already covered the retailers which were mostly mail-order guys.  But there were a few stores that were known for comic stocks and in the 60s the first 'serious' comic shops started appearing.  I could not find pictures of all of them but here's what I could find.


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#1 - Harvey T. 'Pop' Hollinger in Concordia, Kansas
(October 13, 1886 – March 6, 1977)

One of the earliest known comics specialty retailers was Harvey T. 'Pop' Hollinger in Concordia, Kansas who opened his service station / used goods store in 1933-34.  In 1939, (or perhaps 1942?) Pop transitioned to selling mainly periodicals and comic books and started a mail order business for new and used comics.  You can see one of his advertising inserts at this link:

He became so successful that he started working on ways to trade comics and began experimenting with restoration methods.  His restoring attempts included using tape and staples and were done to enhance the longevity of the comics. Hollinger referred to this process as 'rebuilding' and to the comic books as 'rebuilt comics'.

A feature on Pop can be read in Overstreet's Comic Book Price Guide #12 from 1982/83.  Here's a link to a transcript of it:

#2 - 1940s (?)-Bonnett's in Dayton, Ohio store front
Bonnetts has been open for over 80 years.  Their store stamp has been put on thousands of comics over the years.

You can read an interview with current owners talking about the history of the store here:

And they have a very cool blog here:

#3 -Bonnett's Store co-Founder Harold 'Hal' Murray Bonnett
Harold "Hal" Murray Bonnett, wrote pulp detective fiction before opening Bonnett's Back-Issue Magazines in 1939. 

#4 -Bonnett's Store co-Founder Ruth Bonnett
Ruth Bonnett is on the far left.  Shared by Steve Girdler on FB.

#5 - 2017-Bonnett's store front
Shared on their FB page:

#6 - 2017-Bonnett's interior
This amazing shot by Daniel Landis (

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Claude Held (3/30/1926 - 8/10/2012) was another earlier comics dealer with a store in Buffalo, NY, opened by 1946.  There are pictures of a poet with his name but I'm not sure if it's the same person.  You can read a short bio on Claude at this link:


#7 - 1950s-Grand Book Center, Brooklyn, NY
Owned by Howard Somers the Grand Book Center which opened sometime in the 1950s and featured comics back issues.  They would send you a catalog they advertised in Marvel and DC classifieds in the 60s and 70s.  It became a bar at some point as seen in this 2018 pic.  If anyone has an old picture while it was still a comic shop please feel free to share it here!

#8 - 1960s-East Side Book Store, NYC
East Side (owned by James Rose) was one of the two stores raided in NYC in Sept. 1969 and charged with selling obscene materials.  Crumb's Zap Comics #4 was deemed offensive and the store was found guilty.

You can read about it all here:

Photo from

#9 - Gary Arlington in front of his San Francisco Comic Book Company store
Gary Arlington (1938-2014), owner of what some say is the first 'comic book store' in the United States.  He opened the store in 1967, on 23rd and Mission.  He had a big impact on the underground comic movement in the city.  Gary is well remembered as you will see in the links below.

You can read about Gary and other early stores at this link:

#10 - 1972-Gary Arlington inside the San Francisco Comic Book Company
Gary in front of a wall of very cool goodies.

Picture from:

More about Garry can be read here:

To see more pictures of his shop go here:

Robert Crumb did a portrait of him here:

Reports even mention Fabulous Flo Steinberg of Marvel Comic fame also worked there for a time!

#11 - 2003-an older Gary Arlington inside his store
You can see Micronauts: Karza (Image, 2003 series) #4 (May 2003)

Published in Squatront #13 (2012)

#12 - San Francisco Comic Book Company store bag
And this is one of his comic bags.  Shared on CGC boards by sckao.

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#13 - 1976-Cherokee Book Shop in Los Angeles, Calif.
Started in the 1960s this cool pic is from
Photo by Wayne Braby.  Scroll down about half the page to read more on the store.

#14 - 1965-Burt Blum and Rick Durell inside the Cherokee Book Shop
(Original caption) COMIC BOOK HEAVEN-Rick Durell, El Segundo, left, operator of a gasoline station, and Burt Blum, manager of Cherokee Book Shop, 6607 Hollywood Blvd., look over comic books in store, largest center for them in the country.  (Los Angeles Times, June 7, 1965)

#15 - 1965-Burt Blum and Rick Durell inside the Cherokee Book Shop -colourized
Colourized version of the above.  Unknown colour artist but thumbs up from us!

#16 - Australian Women's Weekly - circa 1970 pg1
A short feature on the growing prices for old comics featuring Blum and the Cherokee Book Shop.
Sorry I forget where I found this one.

#17 - Australian Women's Weekly - circa 1970 pg2
I think I found this on Facebook.  Sorry to the original scanner.

#18 - 1967-Cosmic Aeroplane Books and Records, Salt Lake City, Utah
Photo: Sherm Clow and Steve Jones at the original Cosmic Aeroplane on 9th South — Photo courtesy of Becky Roberts.

Owned by Steve Jones and Sherm Clow the store was started as a 'head shop' where they also sold records, jewellery, posters and comics both underground and above.

Opened June 9, 1967 it closed February 1, 1991.

One of the best comic 'pedigrees' is named after the shop.  A high grade collection of about 2,000 comics dating from the mid 1940s to mid 1950s.  David Faggiola and Ken Sanders bought the actual books.  It was bought be them in 1979. 

You can read about the collection here:

You can read all about the store on this very indepth blog.
Many pictures of the various address it lived in.

You can see Ken Sanders talking about the store on YouTube here:

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#19 - 1969-Dick Swan, at age 15, co-owner of Comic World in San Jose
Comic World was opened in 1969.  Several of his partners, all just 17 years old, had co-owned a previous comic shop in San Jose called Seven Sons (see below).  Swan would go on to be a manager and then co-owner at Comics & Comix, the Northern California chain, and then owner of The Big Guy’s Comics in Mountain View.  Photo by Dick's grandparents, Cleo and Violet Jones.

You can read a fun interview with Dick (with a more current photo) about his shop, meeting Fritz Leiber at his first convention,  where we also got out photo from:

Dick runs BigGuyComics online store now:

#20 - Seven Sons of San Jose co-owners at Baycon 1968
Seven Sons opened in March of 1968 but was soon sold to one of the partners.  This photo is from Baycon 1968, the World Science Fiction Convention in Berkeley, from an incredible archive of Jay Kay Klein's photos at dozens of SF conventions.
From the left, the tall blond youngster Jim Buser; with his back to us is Tom Tallmon;  with black hair and elbow up is John Barrett, co-founder of Comics & Comix; and next to him with glasses is Bud Plant.   More on these guys in a future retailers post!

You can read about Seven Sons and some other shops in the 1970s San Jose area at this link: 

Photo from the UC Riverside, Library, Special Collections and University Archives

#21 - 1976-Bob Sidebottom's Comic Collector Shop, San Jose
on E. San Fernando Street. Photo from 1976 Willow Glen High School yearbook.   Robert Crumb would do the sign and business card for them.

Photo and a write up on downtown San Jose's Bookstore Row and shopping in Comic Collector can be read here:

#22 - 1987 -Bob Sidebottom and Ed Watson-Comic-Collector Shop
(Original source unknown) Bob Sidebottom opened his Comic-Collector Shop in 1968.  This is another one suggested as possibly being America's first 'comic shop'.  Photo: Eric Predoehl

#23 -1981-Jim Cavanaugh of Clint's Comics newspaper clipping
Jim Cavanaugh (10.07.1949 - 05.12.2017)
A newspaper clipping from 1981 showing Jim inside the store.  Clint's Comics was opened in Oct. 1967 by Clint Murray and bought by Jim Cavanaugh in 1975.  The store is still in operation.

Some of the books you can see in the background include:
The Rook Magazine (Warren) #11 (October 1981)
Creepy (Warren) #132 (October 1981)
Epic Illustrated (Marvel #8 (October 1981)

#24 - 2017-James Cavanaugh, owner of Clint's Comics in Kansas City, Missouri
Tragically Jim died Friday, May 12, 2017 trying to stop a robbery at the store.  You can read a nice obit on Jim with a better picture here:

That's it for this batch, hope you liked them, more to come!

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Historical Photos - Comic Retailers 3
« on: March 02, 2019, 07:56:52 PM »

Offline erwin-k

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Re: Historical Photos - Comic Retailers 3
« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2019, 06:49:08 AM »
Oh my! Nostalgia…

I bought a few things from Claude Held in the late 1960's. I think that included the copy of Master Comics #23 featured on this site.

Clint's Comics, here in Kansas City, was the first comics shop I ever visited. Then, I spent 1972 stationed in middle-of-nowhere Korea. That year my very much non-fan wife worked at Clint's for a short time. She quit after Clint invited her to go to an out of town show with him. (She went back to work at her brother's McDonalds.)

In 1973 & '74 I was stationed on the Presidio of San Francisco. I patronized a storefront shop just a block or two from the iconic TransAmerica Building in/near downtown S-F.

Offline crashryan

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Re: Historical Photos - Comic Retailers 3
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2019, 10:07:38 AM »
Lots of memories here! I worked at Bob Sidebottom's Comic Collector Shop in the 1970s. While Bob ran the store I sat in the back room handling his mail-order underground comix business. Bob would always have jazz on the stereo and a six-pack of some beer or another in the fridge. Bob published my first paid comic book stories in his Barbarian Comics magazine. I met several underground artists there (not Crumb, though) and plenty of collectors of both mainstream and underground comics. The mail-order customers were a strange lot. Many of them were in prison and enclosed long letters with their orders, some friendly chat and others creepy descriptions of their favorite fantasies.

One funny thing I recall about my time at the shop was the great Bicentennial Beer Wall. Bicentennial Beer was a cheap brew Falstaff produced in 1976 to cash in on the American Bicentennial craze. It came in a can featuring the Stars and Stripes and the Liberty Bell. The idea appealed to Bob and Bicentennial Beer became the shop's daily beer. Every day he'd bring a six-pace from the liquor store next door. We stacked the empties against the back wall, and before long we had a patriotic wall rising nearly to the ceiling.

Offline Yoc

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Re: Historical Photos - Comic Retailers 3
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2019, 10:50:08 AM »
Thanks very much for sharing your memories on these old shops and shop owners guys!
It's so cool that you had such personal connections to the shops you mentioned.

I've got enough pics here still to do three, maybe four more updates like this one.

Offline Yoc

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Historical Photos - Comic Retailers Chicago
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2019, 08:47:12 AM »
Hi Gang,
Here's another batch of the Comic Retailers.  This album will be focused on Chicago and surrounding areas.  Again, I've never personally been in any of them nour known any of the owners.  But for those that are interested in the retail side of comics history these should be a fun read.

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#1 - 1966.12.18-MIDWEST, a Chicago Sun-Times Sunday supplement cover
Scan by good friend of DCM - Ken Quattro‎ and‎ shared on Facebook.
CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Sunday supplement, MIDWEST, on December 18, 1966 titled: “A Comeback (Sock!) For Comic Books (Pop!)”.

(Original caption) The proprietors of ACME BOOKSTORE (on N. Clark St. in Chicago) in the '60s-
-L to R: P.A."Sam" LaChapelle, "Comicologist" and "Veteran Bookseller" Noel Roy"

Ken's post on the supplement: A few years back I wrote a post about a December 28, 1966, article by a young Roger Ebert. That article, it turns out, was an abridged version of a larger piece he wrote for the CHICAGO SUN-TIMES Sunday supplement, MIDWEST, on December 18th.

With the typically cringe-worthy title of, “A Comeback (Sock!) For Comic Books (Pop!),” this longer article is fully illustrated with photos of the Acme Book Store in Chicago, its proprietor Noel Roy and his resident “comicologist,” P.A. “Sam” LaChapelle, along with a few select panels from various Marvel comics.

Ebert was a comic fan, to the point that he even contributed articles to fanzines in the early 1960s, including Dick Lupoff's XERO. Despite his fan cred, Ebert made a few faux pas in this piece--identifying Hydra as the Serpents, for one—that any current comic-nista would catch.

For his part, Lee repeats his standard version of events:

“One day, out of sheer boredom, we said—let's do something we would like. So we tried to get rid of the old cliches. Comics were too predictable. Why not accept the premise that the superhero has his superpower [sic], then keep everything else as realistic as possible?”

It should be noted that at every point, Lee uses the pronoun “we” when talking about the creation of the comics. Not once in the article does he take full credit himself. Ebert and whomever was writing the photo captions, weren't as circumspect, though. One such caption says Lee was called, “the Homer of the 20th Century” by college age comic fans. And Ebert claimed that in referring to Lee, “Miss LaChapelle sighed in the tone ordinarily reserved for descriptions of Scott Fitzgerald's last days in Hollywood.”

If those lines aren't enough to inflame Stan-bashers, there is a mention that “As the author of all the Marvel plots, Lee has become something of a campus folk hero.” But again, that's Ebert talking and not Lee.

Besides the Lee stuff, this article is chock full of cool comic pics and wince-inducing contemporary prices on Golden Age comics. A total of $200 for the first five issues of BATMAN? Yes, please!

#2 - 1966.12.18-MIDWEST supplement pg2

#3 - 1966.12.18-MIDWEST supplement pg3

#4 - 1966.12.18-MIDWEST supplement pg4

#5 - 1966.12.18-MIDWEST supplement pg5

#6 - 1966.12.18-MIDWEST supplement pg6

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#7 - ACME owners in Chicago, late 60s 'pin-up'.
(l-r) P.A."Sam" LaChapelle, "Comicologist" and "Veteran Bookseller" Noel Roy
Shared in a Roger Ebert feature in Fandom Annual #01 (1967) fanzine.

#8 - ACME-ABC Bookstores store fronts, North Clark in Chicago, late 1960s
Here's a scary picture but reading about the stores it sounds like you could find a lot of good books if you went inside.
Found on Jim Engel's FB page.

(Original caption) A good source of back-issues in Chicago in the late 60s were these two shops in a seedy part of Chicago.

You can read about the ACME store in Joe Sarnos' series of newsletters.  The first one on these two stores is here:

#9 - ACME-ABC Bookstores store fronts, North Clark in Chicago, different angle

#10 - 2009 - the same address as ACME-ABC forty years later!
Photo by Jim Engel

#11 - Rick Vitone, owner of Variety Comics
Rick Vitone (1953-2009)
owner of Variety Comics near Chicago's Lincoln Square first opened in 1974.  It closed on Halloween, 2015.  Originally owned and operated by C.W. “Chuck” Ager (a friend of Vitone’s) and Frank Craft, but within six months, Stangeland says, he began seeing Rick “permanently behind the counter … now in partnership with Frank.."  In the early-to-mid 1980s, Vitone became the owner of Variety Comics. 

Picture and profile from

Lots more reading on Rick at the following links:

#12 - Vitone's Variety Comics store front
4602 N Western Ave.

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#13 - Joe Sarno, owner of Comics Kingdom/Universe
Joe Sarno (1939 - March 18, 2010)
A boyhood fan of comics like many he was trading and selling his comics as early as the 1950s.  He worked on a number of projects related to comic books and science fiction through his long career.  He was involved in two consecutive World Science Fiction Conventions, Chicago, in 1962 and Washington, D.C. in 1963. These would lead to his involvement in the Chicago Comicon starting in 1976 (now called Wizard World).  He has also worked on a number of science fiction fanzines in the late 1950s and early 1960s including PLANET FAN-ATTIC, JOE-JIM, and UNIVERSE. In the late 1970s he published the archival SPACE ACADEMY NEWSLETTER.

Joe started buying and selling comics and related items going back to at least 1966.  Joe would have several shops over his lifetime. 
His first store, called The Fantasy Collectors was run from the basement of his Albany Park home selling comic as well old radio show premiums.  Business was good and in 1971 he moved to a storefront on Lawrence Avenue and renamed it The Nostalgia Shop, later becoming Comic Kingdom.  It was among the first Chicago stores to focus on comics.  He expanded in the 1980s, adding  a store in Mount Prospect. That location stayed open until 1999.

Timeline of the retail stores:
1971 – 1972: The Fantasy Shop (in the basement of 4717 N. Harding) Opened December 4, 1971 and only open on Saturdays.
1973 – 1975: The Nostalgia Shop at 3905 W. Lawrence Ave. (this location reverted name to Fantasy Shop when third store started in 1975) It was sold in October 1977  to George Breo who renamed it The New Fantasy Shop.
1975 – 1980: The Nostalgia Shop at 3816 W. Lawrence Ave.
1975 – 1980: 3905 W. Lawrence changes to The Fantasy Shop
1980 – 1987: The Comic Kingdom at 3905 W. Lawrence Ave.
1987 – 2003: The Comic Kingdom at 5941 W. Irving Park Rd. after a merger with Metro Golden Memories.
1997 – 1999: The Comic Kingdom in Mt. Prospect

COMIC KINGDOM closed it's doors on March 1, 2003 and Joe starts his COMIC UNIVERSE online store.

Joe writes about starting about many topics in his 1970+80s newsletters which you can read many of at this link:

You can read an obit on him here:

#14 - 1978-Joe Sarno, in front of his Nostalgia Shop approx 1978
Shared on Facebook on the Comic Universe "The Joe Sarno Fan Page"

1975-80: The Nostalgia Shop second store at 3816 W. Lawrence Ave.
While the first store reverted to it's original name The Fantasy Shop.

You can see can see a tv interview with him here:

#15 - Inside Sarno's The Nostalgia Shop at 3816 W. Lawrence Ave.
Joe had this location from 1975 to 1980.

#16 - Inside Sarno's The Nostalgia Shop at 3816 W. Lawrence Ave. pic 2

#17 - Sarno's Comic Kingdom at 3905 W. Lawrence Ave (1980-87)
Shared on the Comic Universe "The Joe Sarno Fan Page"

Also be sure to read his great posts in his 'Captain's Veranda' entries here:

#18 - Gary Colabuono's Moondog's Comicsland chain bag
Gary would have 21 stores across the country at his peek.  Photo from his FB page.

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#19 - Gary Colabuono, owner of Moondog's Comics
September 1978. Gary Colabuono, comic-book collector and dealer, opens the first shop in Chicago's suburbs devoted entirely to comic books. Moondog's was at 26 W. Busse Ave., just a few doors west of Ye Olde Town Inn.

"I opened in downtown Mount Prospect because it seemed the perfect location that collectors could get to. Just a block from the train station and near the intersection of routes 83 and 14. My rent was a whopping $125 a month."  [See picture #20]

From this inauspicious beginning, Colabuono would move to Prospect Avenue within a year, open a second location in Randhurst and grow his thriving business into a six-store chain that he sold to Classics International Entertainment in 1994. For a few years, he continued to run the business, which at its peak was a 21-store national chain of comic-book and pop-culture stores.  The original store was reamed Comix Revolution.

He later became CEO of the Chicago Comicon, the second largest gathering of collectors in the country, and now is a nationally known and respected collector, dealer, appraiser and historian on comic books and the comic-book art form.

-quoted from

#20 - 1978.09.16-Colabuono on his opening day of the first Moondog Comics
(Original caption) Yep, that's me in front of the tiny 260 sq. ft. shop in downtown Mount Prospect on opening day: September 16, 1978.  $150 a month rent.

Found on Gary's FB page.

#21 - Moondog's Randhurst Mall location in Mt. Prospect.
From the Moondog FB page.

#22 - 1989 Press photo of Gary Colabuono
(Original caption) Moondog's Comicland's Gary Colabuono displays Baternalia including a Batman comic book worth $7,000.  Photo is dated 05-05-1989.

#23 - Larry Charet of Larry’s Comic Book Annex
still from

Larry's Comic Book Store, owned by Larry Charet, opened at 4602 N. Western Ave. in 1974 or 1975, under its two original owners. 

Larry must have been pretty close with John Byrne!  He got him to work on an opening day poster and appear in the shop on that big day!

You can read a great bio on Larry here where he also mentions ACME and A-1 Books:

He and two partners (Colabuono above) started the Chicago Comic Con in 1976 and expanded with Larry’s Comic Book Annex in 1982.  The Con was second only to San Diego Comicon at the time. Charet and his partners sold the con to Wizard Entertainment in 1997. The con still operates today under the name Wizard World.

On his store closing:

Larry’s Comic Book Shop closed in 2002 but he runs an eBay store here:

You can read a 1999 newspaper interview with Larry at this link:

#24 - 2017-Charet and Colabuono
And here's a more recent photo of Larry Charet and Gary Colabuono from Gary's Facebook page.

That's it for this batch, hope you liked them, more to come!