Sadly, Wishing Well Comics will be closing its doors after this weekend. Originally the oldest shop in the valley (when it was called Dreamwell Comics), it had a rocky start when the place was essentially robbed and new owner Robert was forced to spend months closed before reopening under the new name.
In the world of comics retail, you live and die on regular customers. They help you gauge what’s trending and give you an idea of what income you’re going to have to work with. Having a store closed for any period of time will scatter these customers to the wind, looking for other places to get their regular titles. Factor in something I call Fanboy Guilt (the mechanism wherein a fanboy feels indebted to a store that has ordered books for them in advance [trademark pending]), and getting those customers back after they’ve moved elsewhere can be a Sisyphean task.
Had the theft never occurred, Robert would have had a well-established clientele, but he was forced to start with a fraction of that and never fully recovered the numbers Dreamwell had. After giving it five years of effort and being forced to reenter the workforce to make sure he didn’t drown in bills, he finally made the decision to close up shop.
I have fond memories of this store. I shopped there on and off for the better part of two decades. When it was Dreamwell, it was one of the last comic book stores in Las Vegas that had that old-school Dank (the smell a store takes on when you have twenty years of comic paper aging [trademark pending]). It was a small store that was slightly under-lit and packed to the gills. A cornucopia of collectibles where gems were hidden between countless boom and bust comics of the 80’s and 90’s. Where every October saw the store bring in tens of thousands of comics, largely from the speculator years, and hold a ten cent comic sale on the sidewalk that would tend to separate you from far more money than you would intend going in.
After Robert reopened it, it was as clean and welcoming as any of the newer stores (that border on, and sometimes are, outright sterile) while still having the feeling of an old-school comic hangout where one can spend hours talking with the proprietor about the content and business of funny books (or anything, for the matter). Where you would often find yourself immersed in a sprawling conversation that would involve everyone who walked through the door (with the exception of people who walked in mistakenly thinking they’d entered the smoke shop next door). Visiting Wishing Well to pick up books felt more like going to hang out with an old friend than simply participating in commerce. It needed no gimmick to get you to hang around. It had heart.
When I went to pick up the last of my books that had been held for me the other day, Robert was as upbeat as ever, not at all stained by the blow of having to put his dream away. The topics being discussed by the group in the shop were no different than they would have been on any other day. A gentleman walked in and asked for a pack of Newports. After pointing him next door, it was suggested that Robert should have just started carrying cigarettes for these occasions. He joked that he’d still be in business if he had. There was not a drop of bitterness in his voice.
God, I am going to miss the place.
If you’d like to go make a purchase to help Robert with the transition, below are the times the shop will be open in its final days.
Saturday (11/30): 10am – 6pm
Sunday (12/1): 11am – 5pm
Wishing Well Comics
5706 W Charleston Blvd
Las Vegas, NV 89146