Evil Genius Cards and Comics in California, PA, has closed up shop. This is a shame because the store offered friendly service in a convenient location, which for a comic shop is often hard to find. I found out about this last week and the dismantling has already begun. Owning a comic shop is, and has always been, a risky proposition, but it's still too bad that this one had to go out of business. The guys who owned the shop were good natured and they were supportive of my comics work from the beginning.
If there's any good news to take out of this situation, it's that I talked to one of the owners and he said that the decision to close wasn't purely a financial one; rather, he just needed to take a break from the daily grind.
There's been talk of relocating and rebranding the store at some point in the fall. We'll see what happens, but I hope the store reopens in some form before too long.
This, of course, means that my Ms. Pac Man machine is also on its way out - but don't worry, I'm not wheeling it down and throwing it into the Monongahela River. I'm pretty sure that I've been able to place it at another familiar location, though I'll spill that news once it's finalized.
Oh, and the neon "Inky" display will be coming with me, too.
As the shop was closing and a lot of the hardware was being taken away, I made one last purchase from the store, and it was a doozy. This baseball came in to the store last spring or summer, and I've looked at it lustily every time I've seen it since. Since the store was in something of an "everything must go" phase, I inquired about the ball and made off with an absolute steal of a deal (note: I did not actually steal it).
The baseball is autographed by several prominent Pittsburgh Pirates of yesteryear, including...get ready for it...
...Roberto Clemente. HOLY CRAP! Roberto Clemente! One of, if not the, greatest Pirate to ever play the game, and a cornerstone of MLB lore.
But Clemente isn't the only signature on the ball. It's also got signatures from other stars and Hall of Famers such as Willie Stargell (the Pirates all time home run leader), Bill Mazeroski (who won the 1960 World Series in the 9th inning of game seven), Steve Blass (who was the winning pitcher of the deciding game of the 1971 World Series), Danny Murtaugh (manager of the 1960 World Series team), Dock Ellis (who supposedly threw a no-hitter while on LSD), Manny Sanguillen, Nellie Briles, general manager Joe L. Brown and a host of others.
What a treasure this is. Thanks for the ball, Evil Genius, and for all of the memories.