Comic Book Store Clerks of America, No. 1: Los Angeles, California

Jan. 25, 2009 | 9:44 p.m.

They have no super powers, but they are heroic — they are the store employees across America who sell comics and, like the guys in “High Fidelity,” bicker with one another all day long about the true treasures of the discount bin. They are the Comic Book Store Clerks of America and we salute them.

Todd Matyja of Comic CityFor the Cure, love came on Friday, but for Todd Matyja, 28, it’s all about Wednesdays. That’s when the new issues land at Comic City (5703 E. Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, (323) 888-1877) and the customers follow. An avid comics reader for 16 years, Todd is proud that Comic City still has a major back-issues inventory even as other stores abandon the old stuff for space and allergy-inducing issues. We caught up with the Lex Luthor look-a-like while he was working the counter.

When you were a wee young lad, where did this whole comic-book problem start?

X-Men“! Actually it was the cartoon series that got me reading the comics. It wasn’t any book. I just wanted to read “X-Men”!

You can own one piece of comic book art by any comics artist. What is it and where do you hang it?

It would be a piece by Alex Ross. He did a piece called, “Dedication for Alan Moore.” It had all the characters he had ever written, and his face is the background. I would frame it and put it up in the living room.

Think about the final issue of your favorite comic-book series. Is there one little thing you would change?

Well it would be “Preacher.” I really wouldn’t change it. I mean, how good was that? He road off into the sunset. How else could you end that? I’ve got nothing.

NBC has just hired you to save “Heroes,” where do you start?

Stop using story lines that have already been done in Marvel!

Should all Saturday morning cartoons be turned into anime?

No! This is a tough one. This can vilify me…. I like a couple of mangas, but I like comic books. I’m a comic book fan. They’ll write a manga about anything! There’s one called, “The Prince of Tennis.” What is that?

— Michelle Castillo

Photo credit: Comic City

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9 Responses to Comic Book Store Clerks of America, No. 1: Los Angeles, California

  1. Barry says:

    great post lol love the suit

  2. Not only is the last question's answer a bit of a non-sequitur (manga and anime are two very different things), but in answer to his statement, "What is that?" the answer is simple.
    That, good sir, is money that you're throwing away by not selling things that people will end up getting elsewhere.

  3. Plus, last I looked, the manga volumes on my shelves actually were comic books. So to say you love comic books but don't really like manga is like saying you like to spend money but you don't understand what coins are for.

  4. It was painful observing the comic industry as a whole watch the manga train roll right past them. The shops that embraced manga and added a couple of bookshelves worth of it to their stores in my town are doing just fine. A diversified customer base is never a bad thing. Especially when you have kids walking in looking for volumes #16 or 17 of a particular series.

  5. Phillip James says:

    Here in Los Angeles most shops have Manga titles, I've visited a few shops around town Manga titles are there but by talking to the clerks i found out that parents are taking their kids to Borders or Barnes and Noble to buy books not comic book shops. I don't understand why they cannot visit their and support their local comic book shop. My 2 favorite spots to shop are Golden Apple Comics on Melrose and the massive Meltdown Comics on Sunset. Apple is a nerd hub, they love comics, they are fanboys and fanboys shop there, a little immature but hey! what can you expect from a comic book store, Meltdown has it all and the fanboys are there but you wouldn't know it, I've been amazed every time i go there, they have tons of comics, tons of back issues, art, toys, clothes a gallery, just awesome. I will definitely check out Comic City, i have a few holes in my collections that they might be able to fill in.

  6. Magaly says:

    This is in reply to Greg McElhatton and Jamie S. Rich. American comic books and Japanese are two completely different categories forming two distinctive cultures. Its crust or no crust, Chevy vs. Ford, Sex Pistols vs. The Ramones all are similar but they are miles apart. While it’s great that people are expanding their horizons and interest people are too quickly forgetting unique beauty of American comic books. I love comics and it just makes me sad to see the industry slowly fading.

  7. Bob says:

    As a guy that works at a comic shop you would be surprise on our selection of manga but sadly no one comes to buy. Our customers just come down to buy comics. Its not we dont care about manga no one is buying them. they rather go to barnes and novel and borders for there manga.

  8. hubert farnsworth says:

    As someone with a superior intellect, I can easily say that manga and anime are about as useful as a refrigerator on hoth.

  9. meegoh says:

    Thank goodness for them..but love superman much better.. ^_^
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