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Perry Plush, president and janitor of Zanadu Comics, poses for a portrait at their Third Avenue, brick-and-mortar location, Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018. The comic bookstore served the Seattle community for over 42 years, and will continue to live online at zanaducomics.comicretailer.com (Sy Bean / Seattle Refined)

Local comic store closes after 42 years of service

This is personal. Very personal.

This isn’t just another comic book shop closing. This is my friendly neighborhood comic book store.

The good guys didn’t win…this time. An emotional blow in the Emerald City.

Zanadu Comics in Seattle is closing its doors after 42 years.

In The Red.
Vanishing Audience.
Forced Relocation.
Digital Competition.

These are not upcoming epic comic book events. These are just some of the reasons why a beloved Seattle shop must face economic reality and fans should take this as a warning sign about the future.

Zanadu Comics is one of the oldest and last of the “brick and mortar” comic book stores in the country. Owner Perry Plush has been champion fighting in the retail trenches and innovating to keep this haven for readers open. Not even Tony Stark or Bruce Wayne’s accounting teams could find a way out of the economic challenges for a small business owner in booming downtown Seattle.

What I really want to share is that is this not just a comic book store for so many of my fellow Zanadu customers. When I moved to the Emerald City almost 20 years ago I wanted to find a place to get my weekly comics. What I found was Zanadu just down the street – a friendly, funky haven for comic book lovers. Packed with old school nostalgia from comics past, the newest pop culture icons and indie gems – you could find everything in this store with a helpful, insightful staff. Perry, Howard, Casey, Morgan and Erin make everyone feel welcome.

Perry and Zanadu cared about the comic book community. They welcomed best-selling and up and coming creators for signings in the store. You could find all the big name books but there always a section spotlighting local writers, artists and their self-published work.

In an era of online chatrooms, Perry opened his doors for after hours discussions and events where all fans were welcome to share their love of diverse books. Zanadu held pop-up cons for local artists to share their work and find a bigger audience. Team Zanadu innovated with social media and online selling but still kept it personal. You could always feel a sincere love of comics from the staff, energy to talk with shoppers about what books and writers they loved and were curious about. Devoted customers supported the effort to stay open with a Go Fund Me page and sharing the Comics Should Smell Good video episodes but there were not enough of us as economic forces close in.

Comic book movies are global blockbusters but comic book shops are struggling to survive. Nerd is no longer niche but we need these geeky outposts of pop culture to find the stories, the creators who will fuel the fire for future movies, video games and collectibles. It all starts with the pages. Yes, I want to turn pages. I want to turn a page and see the big moment when the hero punches the bad guy, stops the bomb, saves the planet and makes me feel something.

Who will save the day when comic book shops vanish?

Zanadu Comics will close on January 28, 2018. There is a massive sale underway. There are great deals on trades, classic issues and collectibles but you need to go just to experience this shop. After Zanadu closes, New Comic Book Day will never be the same for me.

Thank you Perry, Howard, Casey, Morgan, Erin and all the past staffers for making my geek home away from home.

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