Lee’s Comics: The Early Years (at the Lee’s Comics blog) chronicles the first few years of the South Bay comic book store, back when it was a hole in the wall at the south end of Palo Alto. Lots of great photos in the entry, anyone who bought comics in the 80s should feel nostalgic reading it. Lee’s Comics celebrates its 25th anniversary next month – quite a run!
Apple: America’s Best Retailer (at CNN) chronicles the design and history of the Apple retail stores. Interesting reading, although not quite so nostalgic.
2 thoughts on “Two Historical Accounts”
Lee’s Comics’ second historical installment is up. It’s even meatier than the first, with a lengthy account of the downfall of the Comics and Comix chain, which had dominated the Bay Area comics scene throughout the 1980s.
The second Palo Alto location was in business when I moved to the area in 1999. Although I ended up patronizing Comics Conspiracy because its location was more convenient to me at the time (and it’s still convenient), the Palo Alto location of Lee’s was worth the trip not just for the comics, but because they were within a block of the science fiction store Future Fantasy, and the game store Gamescape. Future Fantasy went until around 2000, and Gamescape closed a few years ago (though they still have a branch in SF, a few doors down from Comix Experience). Lee’s moved to Mountain View, so it’s still around, but I still look wistfully at that block whenever I drive by.
Lee’s Comics’ third and final historical installment is up. It chronicles the store’s move from Palo Alto to Mountain View the year after I moved out here. I hadn’t realized how close the store came to going under after the Dot Com Bust and 9/11.
At the time Lee’s moved, there was a rumor going around that they had to move because they’d somehow forgotten to renew their lease in Palo Alto. I didn’t really know enough about the store to know whether to give the rumor any credence, but based on what I know now, and how I’ve seen them operate, it seems clear to me that it was completely false. I think Lee is just too on-the-ball to let that happen. My guess is that either it was a rumor started by one of his competitors (and there was a lot of comics shops around here in 2000), or it was just a misinterpretation by someone which ended up getting spread around.
Anyway, the third entry also has some interesting stuff about pedigree collections. Finding one is every comics fan’s dream. But I bet there aren’t more than a half-dozen in the whole world left waiting to be discovered.
This has been a terrific series Lee has written – I’m very grateful that he took the time to put it to words. It’s so easy to lose the details of local history, so I think stuff like this is important as well as interesting.