Atomik Pop! comic book store to close Saturday
Though Superman, Batman and Spider-man have been able to fend off nefarious foes throughout the years, the one thing this band of comic book characters can’t fight is the digital age.
The Internet and the transition of comic books to a digitized format is hurting comic book stores like Norman’s Atomik Pop! to the point that the store has decided to close its doors, store owner Bart Bush said. As of Saturday, Norman residents will have to find somewhere else to go for their superhero and graphic novel needs.
Bush said he has been selling comic books from the store’s location on Main Street for the 27 years the business has been open, but the recession has had a big impact on Atomik Pop!
Bush attributes the closure to what he calls the “digital comic revolution.” In a time when gas is $4 a gallon and the unemployment rate is rising, people are buying their comics through Amazon and similar sites, leaving local businesses in need of a hero, Bush said.
“People are able to download mangas and comic books online, so I think the print shops like Borders and Pops are almost done,” Bush said. “You can’t blame people for trying to find more economical ways to collect.”
The future seems bleak for comic book shops, said Jeff Sublett, comic book enthusiast.
“One of the problems with reading comic books is that you can see what’s happening on the next page, and it’s almost like a spoiler,” Sublett said. “You read the left page, but on the right you can see that somebody is just dead. It spoils it.”
Digital comics only show one panel at a time, and then it shows the whole page. It’s a better reading experience, Sublett said.
DC Comics and Marvel Comics recently announced their issues will be released digitally the same day they are released in print, and the convenience of buying comic books through a smart phone is hard to pass up for some, Sublett said.
“I just started buying most of my issues digitally,” Sublett said. “I can read them on my computer and on a mobile device -I don’t even have to go to the store,”
The idea of having an entire library of comic books in your pocket is tempting, and it seems that readers are living in an increasingly paperless world, Sublett said. However, Mario Brown, DC Comics fan, refuses to buy his comics digitally.
“There’s nothing like the feel of an actual comic book store,” Brown said. “I like the visual aspect of it. Looking at a comic on the computer screen is more static, it doesn’t have the same nostalgic feel.”
Atomik Pop! is selling as much merchandise as possible before the closing date, and prices across the store are marked down to a steal, Bush said. Everything that remains will be moved to the Oklahoma City location, leaving Norman with one less locally-owned business as the digital comic revolution claims its next victim.