Ash Ave Comics featured in Phoenix New Times write up on Double Nickels Co-op

Check out this article by Benjamin Leatherman on the new Double Nickels collective shop in Tempe, located on the SW corner of Southern and Mill (right by the Yucca Tap Room).  Ash Ave Comics is proud to be a participating vendor in the collective, so stop by to pick up some comics, clothes, and music.

Tempe’s Double Nickels Co-Op Now Open

By Benjamin Leatherman Wed., Oct. 9 2013 at 10:00 AM
Photo by Benjamin Leatherman.
The interior of Double Nickels in Tempe.

One of the first things that Michael Pawlicki wants you to know about Double Nickels Record Collective is that — despite its name — the place isn’t only about records. Yes, there are a slew of vinyl platters available for purchase at the new Tempe cooperative pop-up shop, which opened its doors this past weekend, but new and used wax ain’t the only thing for sale.

That’s because several local non-music-related retailers are involved with the collaborative boutique, including such familiar names as Ash Avenue Comics and Meat Market Vintage. Pawlicki, who owns the Ghost of Eastside Records and will be stocking his voluminous selection of LPs and 45s, says the intent behind Double Nickels is to offer “all sorts of stuff.”

“It’s way more than just records at the store,” he says. “There are clothing people involved, comic book people involved, and other people involved besides record geeks.”

That’s how Pawlicki envisioned the project when he first started looking for a new location for the Ghost of Eastside Records. Over the past couple of years, the 50-year-old Valley resident has opened several pop-up versions of his store around Tempe during the cooler months before heading out of town for the summertime.

And when Pawlicki was hunting for a place to open the latest incarnation of Eastside, he decided to change things up a bit, both in size and scope. First off, the 2,100-square-foot space (which is situated in Danelle Plaza near Southern and Mill avenues in Tempe) is a bit larger than the other locations he’s occupied in the past.

“I was about to move into a smaller spot, but went with something bigger,” he says.

And secondly, it’s a collaborative endeavor. Pawlicki reached out to Kimber Lanning of Stinkweeds, Ben Funke of Meat Market, Drew Sullivan of Ash Avenue Comics, and other independent businesses of a music or cultural bent to get involved with the project and feature their respective wares at Double Nickels.

Other shops participating in Double Nickels include local label King of the Monsters, the vintage audiophiles of Stereophonic High Fidelity, and shops like Record High and Redfield Records.

Each partner will have its own portion of the space to display and sell items. Meat Market, for example, built several wooden racks for secondhand vintage fashions and clothing.

“I’d seen this in other cities and wanted to try something different. Almost like an antique mall but geared toward younger people of that culture,” Pawlicki says. “Just throw all sorts of crazy stuff into one place and see how it flies.”

He also brought in prolific local artist Corey Busboom, who is renowned for his unique thrift store finds and the funky belts and other items he creates under his Strange Pursuit label.

“Corey is going to bring in whatever the hell he cares to,” Pawlicki says. “Probably whatever sort of things he dug up lately, like maybe old video games or cassettes or weird electronic equipment.”

Busboom says he plans to bring in “belts and things” to the store, as well as possibly some local band shirts as well.

“I can bring whatever I want,” he says. “I might bring some roller skates.”

Ash Avenue Comics, on the other hand, won’t be as scattershot with its offerings at the co-op. Sullivan says they will feature a selection of small press, indie comics, and alternative titles — such as “old issues of Weirdo and Zap Comix to more current titles like Black Hole” — as well as more mainstream books by the likes of Alan Moore and Neil Gaiman.

“We will have the sort of stuff I used to see when I went to old Tower Records or what they had for sale at the [original] Eastside Records,” Sullivan says. “What we’ll have depends on what people are buying.”

Pawlicki says that they’re open to including other sorts of vendors and retailers who’d like to become involved.

“We’re gonna leave a little space for other people to come in with other ideas, like anything that involved with culture: stereo equipment, electronics, or even art for that matter,” he says. “Whatever someone wants to bring in that they think is appropriate. Anything that would be interesting to the type of people that would come in here is something I’d be open to seeing.”

Double Nickels Record Collective is open daily. Hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Best of Phoenix 2013: Ash Ave Comics wins Best Comic Shop!

Thanks to the Phoenix New Times for once again selecting Ash Avenue Comics & Books as the Best shop in town for comic readers.

-Drew

Best Comic Book Shop – 2013

Ash Avenue Comics & Books

Perhaps a trip to the comics shop sounds like a nostalgia-ridden adventure down memory lane. While it can certainly serve that function, Ash Avenue Comics is big on the now. With a solid selection of fresh indie books, notable graphic novels, and big-name serials, too, the Tempe standby eschews an old-timey feel for a selection that’ll surprise anyone who’s been on a hero hiatus. Not sure where to begin? Consult owner Drew Sully. The shopkeeper is (surprise) an avid comics reader and readily dishes on his favorite ongoing series like Uncanny X-Men or Hellboy in Hell.

The Best of ASU 2012: Ash Ave Comics, Best Comics Shop

from ASU’s State Press

Best Comic Book Shop: Ash Avenue Comics

810 South Ash Avenue

Tempe, 85281

(480) 858-9447

Th-Sa noon-8 p.m., Su noon-5 p.m., M noon to 7 p.m., Tu noon-7 p.m., W 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Located in an oasis of other local businesses like Cartel and Cowtown Skateboards, the shop is well organized and gives enough space to peruse the thousands of comics it offers. One of our favorite parts is the stand featuring the work of local comic book artists, from the abstract to the average hero. There’s also a “recommended” section near the front with some great starter-uppers for new comic book readers.

Ash Ave Comics featured in article on changes in Comics Industry

Re-Launched Titles, Store Closings Have Comic Industry in Flux

DC Comics recently published the first of its re-launched comic books as part of an initiative in which 52 comic book series, including “Batman” and “Superman,” will re-set to issue No. 1 with revamped characters and retooled storylines and run online for the first time.

Last month, local comic book retailer Atomic Comics closed the doors of all four of its Valley stores.

Are the two interlinked? Maybe. The owner of Atomic Comics in a letter to industry folks said online purchasing and downloading of comics may have had some impact on his business.

What’s really happening on the larger scale, said Albert Ching, a contributor with Newsarama.com, a site that follows happenings in the industry, is that the comic book industry, both locally and nationally, is in flux.

DC Comics is the first outlet to offer its books in both a print and digital form. They plan to release the digital incarnations of their hardcopy comics on the same day as their print versions.

Chingsaid DC has been losing its market share to rival Marvel for years, and that’s one of the reasons they went with a re-launch.

“I think they wanted to do something splashy that would return to them to the forefront of everyone’s minds,” he said. “They’re looking to attract new readers while at the same time not alienating their current audience, which is a tricky thing to pull off. Digital distribution is definitely part of their strategy, and we’ll see in the coming months if it all pays off.”

Ching, who worked at Atomic Comics from 2002 to 2004, said that while some may think this shift to digital property was the force that led Atomic Comics to close their doors, he doesn’t think that’s the case.

“[Digital distribution is] an area that’s definitely growing, but is still too proportionally small of a market at this point to have that kind of impact. In a few years, the landscape will probably have changed quite a bit, but ultimately, I think it’s hard to own one locally-owned shop in this economy, and Atomic had four, all in high-profile – and thus, presumably high-rent – locations.”

Mike Malve, founder and owner of Atomic Comics, wrote in a blog-style letter entitled “My Final Report” that was sent to industry insiders and widely circulated online in comic book blogs that the slumping economy had been a growing problem for the chain, which had been in operation for over 20 years. “The villain in this tragedy is the economy,” Malve wrote. “I had hoped to be the superhero and triumph over the recession, but sadly the economic downturn of the past five years has proven to be unsustainable.”

He goes on to write that an October 2006 car accident in which a 16-year-old uninsured driver drove her car into Atomic Comics’ Mesa location pushed the company over a financial ledge they were never able to come back from.

The store was closed for several months so it could be reconstructed. That was traumatic enough, but Malve wrote that it was the loss of customers that really stung.

“It seemed as if half our customers never returned,” he wrote. “The great mystery to me is what exactly happened to all those missing customers. … I can only assume customers found other means to obtain their comics, maybe they started driving great distances to hit up other stores, some possibly went the way of the Internet and are now ordering their books online or perhaps even downloading their books illegally, or maybe even some stopped collecting comics altogether.”

Malve wrote that he remains hopeful, however, especially with DC’s re-launch.

“With DC’s September release of the #1’s, Marvel’s makeover of key books and continual growth, and other publishers working hard with some amazing new and exciting content, there is hope on the horizon for the direct market,” Malve wrote.

Drew Sullivan, owner and operator of Ash Avenue Comics in Tempe since its opening nine years ago, said the expansion of DC’s market makes sense.

“If [DC] can find any more markets to expand in to, then they’ll do it,” he said. “Six or eight months ago, people were probably scratching their heads thinking, ‘Where are comics going to go?’ and ‘How are we going to maintain interest?’ I think they did a great job as far as getting people re-interested in comics. It’s pretty exciting, a lot of customers are excited about it and I’m looking forward to a lot of the new books.

Sullivan said he’s not a fan of digital comics, but added that he understands that DC had a business decision to make.

“After a day of staring at a computer at work, I get out of here and I go home and I read some of my books that I’ve picked up for the week,” he says. “It feels like I’m giving my eyes a break, like it’s almost like therapy, to not stare at a glowing screen hurting my eyes again, I love that. It’s a relief in a world where we’re constantly having flashy bright screens in our face.”

http://www.ecollegetimes.com/night-shop/re-launched-titles-store-closings-have-comic-industry-in-flux-1.2619266

Zombie mania fuels Tempe comic shop’s success

By Cullen Wheatley, For the Tribune

Rule No. 1 for surviving the economic apocalypse: Turn to zombies for help.

Not a bad idea if you’re in Drew Sullivan’s line of work. Sullivan, the owner of Ash Avenue Comics and Books in Tempe, said business in November was exceptional, due in large part to the newfound enthusiasm his customers have in a series of zombie comics called “The Walking Dead.”

“That comic book is one of our biggest sellers right now. We can’t keep it stocked,” he said of the 13-book series that has spawned one of the most successful television programs this year. The series, which made its debut on Halloween on cable network AMC, had 5.6 million viewers for its Nov. 28 episode.

The more successful the show becomes, the more comics Ash Avenue Comics will sell, but not just for that specific series. “The Walking Dead,” Sullivan said, has had a spillover effect for his business. “It’s basically introducing new customers to the world of comics.”

Luckily for Sullivan, AMC recently renewed the series for a second season.

While Sullivan can attribute some of his good fortune to the quality of both the television show and the comic itself, a large part is also due to the obsession that the public has with zombies in general.

The word “zombie” comes from “nzambi,” a word that means “god” in the voodoo cults of Haiti and the West African country of Congo. In 1940, Time magazine said “The Magic Island,” a 1929 novel by Willie Seabrook that explores first-hand the black magic and voodoo being practiced in Haiti at that time, is what introduced the American public to the word.

But it was George Romero’s 1968 film “Night of the Living Dead” that captivated Americans and has since created a subculture of zombie fanatics and, in turn, a sizeable market for anything zombie-related.

2009’s “Zombieland,” starring then-unknown actor Jesse Eisenberg and Woody Harrelson, led box office sales when it opened that fall and eventually raked in just over $75 million.

A key feature of the video game megahit “Call of Duty: World at War” is the Nazi Zombie mode, in which gamers hold down a fort and fend off countless waves of the Third Reich’s undead. The game has sold more than 11 million units since its November 2008 launch, and there have been more than 2 million purchases of a map used in the game specifically for the zombie mode, according to games industry blog Kotaku.com.

The latest edition of the game, “Call of Duty: Black Ops,” also features a Nazi zombie mode. Sales of that game, which was released Nov. 9, topped 7 million copies on opening day in the U.S. and UK alone.

Zombie novels are also big business. Max Brooks’ 2006 post-apocalyptic novel “World War Z” has spent 14 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers list and was recently ranked No. 16.

A new genre of literature, the mash-up novel, is being born right in front of our eyes. Seth Grahame-Smith’s 2009 novel “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” an adaptation of Jane Austen’s famous work, was No. 3 on the New York Times’ list and has led to a dozen or so follow-up efforts. Among them are “Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters” and “Little Vampire Women.”

But why do zombies have such universal appeal? Why not mummies, the bogeyman, or werewolves?

The reason zombies are fascinating, says Arnold Blumberg, who teaches a course at the University of Baltimore called “Zombies in Popular Media” and co-authored a book titled “Zombiemania,” is because the zombie is “such an adaptable character and can reflect anything going on in society.”

In the midst of the Great Depression, Blumberg said zombies took on the persona of a mindless laborer. In the 1950s, zombies and the Second Red Scare became one and the same. The storylines in “Night of the Living Dead” reflect the racial tension during the civil rights movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s. A sizeable portion of the current zombie craze pulls from American fears of terrorism and biological warfare, as seen in 2002’s “28 Days Later.”

“The fact is that the ‘zombie’ has become an umbrella term for ‘loss of free will, individuality, and mob mentality.’ It’s a very powerful symbol for fear” and can explain some of the current fascination Americans have with zombies, Blumberg said.

Blumberg said that even though zombies are being used in popular media, they aren’t necessarily being used in ways that comment on society. They are simply forms of entertainment, he said.

Regardless of whether or not the zombie trend continues to see the same levels of success, some would say this: Zombies will never be completely dead.

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/tempe/article_88ebf6f2-087b-11e0-a08f-001cc4c002e0.html