Editor’s note: The owners of Hi De Ho Comics will be contributing a new feature to The Daily Press about the art, culture, business and joy of comic books. The column is as yet unnamed and the writers are soliciting name ideas from the public. To suggest a name, visit the store at 1431 Lincoln Blvd., or send your suggestions to email@example.com.
Geoffrey Wood Patterson II: I was born into comics. My father opened Geoffrey’s Comics in Gardena in 1978 — I was born 4 years later. Growing up, dad never took me to a babysitter — he took me to work, where a comic book store became my day care. My first words after “mom,” “dad” and “hot dog” were “Superman,” “Batman,” “Flash” and “Magneto.” My dad taught me to read using Richie Rich comics. My first-grade teacher had to send a note home that I was not allowed to wear superhero costumes to school. Comic books have literally been part of my life since I was born. Growing up, I wanted to have a bunch of jobs — I wanted to be Superman, then I wanted to be Batman, then I wanted to have my brain transplanted into a Tranformer, then I wanted to be Dr. Emmett Brown and invent a time machine. Not much has changed since then — I still want to be all of those things and I found the one place where those dreams come true — a comic book store.
Eddie DeAngelini: For me, it all started with a nerdy little kid who was always teased and made into the outsider. His name was Peter Parker, aka Spider-Man, and he easily could have been me or any one of us. I was hooked from my first exposure to the red and blue costumed superhero, and I soon blossomed into a comic collector. As an adult, my collecting turned into “investing” when I began adding rarer, higher-ticket comics to my collection. What was never lost was the childlike glee that I felt when finally acquiring a long-sought-after gem. After decades of collecting, my boyhood dream of owning a complete collection of Amazing Spider-Man, from his 1962 first appearance in Amazing Fantasy #15 to the then-final issue #700, was eventually realized. I thought nothing could top that accomplishment until given the opportunity to co-own a comic book shop, but it would take sacrifice. My entire collection was recently sold, and the funds were used to become a co-owner of the historic Hi De Ho Comics in Santa Monica. Much like my journey into comic book collecting, this new journey was thanks to a nerdy little kid named Peter Parker.
Mauricio Machuca: By the time I was 18, I had only read about four comic books in my life, but that didn’t stop me from walking into Geoffrey’s Comics in Gardena and asking for a job. It’s then that I met my future business partner, Geoff. I got to see a whole new four-color world through new eyes, and I’ve never looked back. As I worked at the shop I picked up everything that looked good (and some things that didn’t) and was pleased to share my love for the medium with my future wife, Cristhian. When I spent a few years teaching middle school literature, I made sure to include comic books as part of the curriculum. While I have since moved to professional writing, my love of comics continues to this day. There is just something so cool about seeing a story I read when it first came out be adapted into a big screen picture — “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” I’m looking at you.
Geoff, Eddie, and Mauricio are the new owners of Hi De Ho Comics at 1431 Lincoln Blvd. Hi De Ho Comics and Geoffrey’s Comics are the two oldest comic book stores in the Los Angeles area.