The comic-book business isn't what it used to be. After 11 years, B-Bop Comics' midtown shop is closing at the end of March, or maybe a little later, according to B-Bop's owner, Frank Mangiaracina.
Blame the recession. Blame the crappy comic-book market. Blame whatever you want, but it's a damn shame. B-Bop Comics filled a niche in midtown -- the need for artistic comic books. But that dropped off in 2008 and never really came back,
Mangiaracina says. Now when you need to find your girlfriend a copy of Alan Moore's Lost Girls,
where are you going to go?
Selling more copies of traditional action-hero comics, such as X-Men or Batman, helped some. But when you're competing for those dollars with Clint's Comics right across the street, it's not easy. The losses kept coming, and in his 32 years of selling comic books, he says he's never seen the business as bad as it is now.
Mangiaracina says he talked with Jim Cavanaugh, owner of neighboring Clint's Comics, about a merger, but the timing wasn't right. So he's shutting the doors. A firm end date is still TBD.
Mangiaracina isn't giving up on what he calls the "great American art form." His B-Bop stores at 95th Street and Nall and at Barry Road and Interstate 29 will continue on.
"It's been a good ride," Mangiaracina wrote in a letter to customers. "I would like to publicly thank all our customers for their support, and hope you will continue to be customers at either the North or South stores. I would also like to thank Ascot Smith (AJ) and Chris Gilliford, who have done a great job."
Again, a damn shame.