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Thursday, June 9, 2016

The "Comic Tales From The Past" Story

The "Comic Store" at 28 McGovern Ave. in Station Square.
It was an ordinary day.  Talking with Joe Miller, the owner of the "Comic Store" on the corner of North Queen Street and McGovern Ave. in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  In the 1940s and 50s I lived in the last house on Queen Street, not more than 50 yards from the "Comic Store" which opened in 1989.  
One of my favorites as a young boy.
As a young boy I would walk to the nearby Train Station to get a cherry coke and look over the racks of comic books that were offered for sale for a dime at the small restaurant that sat along the east wall of
the station.  All my favorites, such as Archie, Little Lulu and Superman, could be found on the racks and I made it a habit to buy one whenever I had an extra dime in my pocket.  Even traded with many of my friends in the neighborhood who also purchased their comic books at the Train Station.  Eventually the restaurant closed and I drifted away from the comic book craze, but when I saw that a new comic store had opened in my old neighborhood, I knew I had to make a stop.  My first couple of trips were just for looking, but then I eventually bought a car model kit for my grandson.  
Joe Miller, owner and operator of the "Comic Store"
And then, today, I finally got a chance to meet Joe, the personable owner.  Found out that Joe lived a few blocks from my childhood home while growing up, but being that we lived in different school districts and were eight years different in age, never met.  Joe led a storied life, having gone to Iran in the mid-1970s with his wife where he taught Jr. High level in an English-speaking school while his wife taught younger children.  Eventually, in early 1979, when Ayatollah Khomeini took control of the country, Joe and his wife returned to the States and after a few years of social work, bought the "Comic Store" in 1985.  Had a few different locations until in 1989 they moved to their current location at 28 McGovern Ave. in Station Square, Lancaster, PA.  
"Pop" miniatures are a big seller
The store is very interesting with something for just about everyone.  Comic books are naturally the featured item, but they also have t-shirts, posters, role playing games, dice, miniatures, maps, science fiction items, baseball and other trading cards, models and "Pop" which are miniature figurines that seem to be a current fad.  
Variety of items for sale in the "Comic Store"
Well, we talked for some time about comics, past and present, and then I just had to ask him the question that I'm sure had been asked many times before: "What effect has the show 'The Big Bang Theory' had on your business?" I asked.  Seems that females are more apt to make a visit to the "Comic Store" than in the past because of the acceptance of the "Comic Center", run by Stuart, in the TV show.  And, women are more apt to buy 1st edition comics and favor Wonder Woman as their super hero.  
"Fubar - War of the Roses" comic book which
Joe gave me a copy.  Very interesting and well
done, but not the comic book of my youth.
A few weeks ago there appeared a story in the local paper about the "Comic Store" commissioning a local artist, Jeff McComsey, to come up with a comic book about the War of the Roses (Lancaster being the Red Rose City and nearby York being the White Rose City) in which the Houses of Lancaster and York are embroiled in a 30-year war.  They requested he zombify the battle in the new comic book.  I asked about the new comic book and before I knew it Joe had given me my own first printing of the new comic.  After a few photos, I thanked Joe for his hospitality and headed to the car, wishing that maybe I had saved some of my old comic books instead of getting rid of them years ago.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy.

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