Comic book stores not ready to write final chapters

Torey Sanchez
Torey Sanchez
Ted Mays
Ted Mays
Antonio Ramos
Antonio Ramos

By Duane Shimogawa - bio | email

KAIMUKI (KHNL) - Comic book stores on Oahu have been slowly disappearing. But four still remain, which aren't ready to write their final chapters, just yet.

The page has been turned on comics, as more people, especially the younger generation look to video games and other electronic devices to entertain them.

It's another sign of the times. More and more people are turning the page on comic books and switching to cheaper, more convenient ways to entertain themselves.

But for people like Torey Sanchez, comic books still serve a purpose.

"It's a different form of reading, I enjoy reading and being able to see what's happening while reading helps with understanding and comprehending a lot of things," Sanchez said.

Sanchez though, hails from a dying breed of people. The owner of Gecko Books and Comics in East Oahu says longevity is keeping his store afloat.

"There's a non-rushed, calming to a lot of comic books, in the sense of you're playing video games, you're playing at the video game's pace, when you're reading a comic book, you're reading it as fast as you want to read it," Owner Ted Mays said. "23 years of experience, learning how to order things and kind of balancing budgets and things like that, it's obviously helped me a lot."

While sales at Gecko's have been pretty steady, it's a different story at Jelly's.

"It's been a rapid decline for like four years, our orders have been smaller compared to back in the early 90s," Jelly's Comics manager Antonio Ramos said.

But what's keeping their story from having a sad ending, are the many other offerings there.

"We have other avenues of making money, this is just a lure to bring other people into our store," Ramos said.

Both he and Mays hope one day, comic books will make a comeback and be the main attraction once again.

"It's tangible, you can have it as your own, not something on the internet, the Web site guy could delete it, if you have the hard copy it's there as long as you want it," Sanchez said.

Still hanging on, page by page. Store owners say movies inspired by comics, like the X-Men flicks, have played a crucial part in bringing in more people to their stores.