DOWNTOWN — In comic books, a lot can happen in 30 years.
Batman died (and came back), Superman died (and came back), Captain America died (and came back), Wolverine died (and is still dead…for now), Spiderman kind of died (if you count having your memories and personality supplanted by an aging super-villain) and came back. The action hasn’t been limited to death and resurrection. Batman had a kid (or two depending on how you count the DNA overwrite that created Terry McGinnis), we’re on at least the 4th Captain America, there have been several wars (some civil, some secret) and the entire DC universe is “new.”
It’s been a busy time and for many on the Westside, those adventures have all begun with a trip to Hideheho Comics in Santa Monica.
The store has been in business for 37 years and has earned a reputation as the longest continuously operating comic book store in the LA area. The store has become a bastion of comic culture and like many of the stories it stocks, the store is about to enter a new era with a new creative team thanks to its recent sale to a group of local investors.
One of the buyers, Eddie deAngelini, said there are plans to improve the customer experience inside, expand special events and streamline the layout all while preserving the spirit of the store.
“You have a lot of people here from within the creative industry that come through the doors and that’s a big boost for a store like this,” he said. “You get this diverse group of people that come in, from just the regular work-a-day person, the struggling artists, the famous celebrity, it’s a really diverse clientele and that just boosts the shop quite a bit.”
He said the store’s location has also been a boon.
“It’s always been a really good location on the West Wide with limited competition,” he said. “We sit in a place where the nearest shop to is in Culver City,”
deAngelini is part of a trio of new owners that includes Geoffrey Patterson. Patterson also owns Geoffrey’s Comics in Gardenea, another long-time store that has survived the industries’ ups and downs. deAngelini said the new owners are planning to build on the store’s success and have already begun opening up the interior to allow for more displays and potentially more special events.
deAngelini is a longtime comic book fan and he is financing his part of the purchase through the sale of one of his prized possessions, every single issue of Amazing Spider-man plus the characters first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15.
“Although it was hard to part with the collection, the amount that it will bring will open up a new life changing opportunity,” he said. “I didn’t want to let his opportunity pass me buy and I see this as a big stepping stone for me. I’m giving up something big to get back something bigger.”
deAngelini is selling his books through ComicConnect, a New York based auction house that specializes in comic sales.
“We’ve known the consignor, Eddie DeAngelini, for a few years now and we’re thrilled that he is using the auction proceeds to purchase Hi De Ho Comics, the oldest comic book shop in Los Angeles,” said Rob Reynolds, Director of Consignments for ComicConnect.
While he is hopeful he can rebuild his collection someday, deAngelini said will miss the books once their gone. “You could say that peering into the empty boxes where my comics used to be is a little like peering into the empty hole in my heart.”