Looking for a mint-condition Bionic Woman lunchbox or a killer red cruiser that would make Pee-wee Herman weep? Dave’s Comics & Collectibles was the place. It was also the ultimate local source for literary and alternative comics such as those penned by Jason Lutes, Adrian Tomine and Jessica Abel (and for self-published books by Detroit-area artists). But the most interesting storefront in all of Royal Oak is now empty; only butcher paper and a “For-Lease” sign fill the windows.
In response to rumors about the store’s demise, Dave Hutzley admitted that he wasn’t happy about the changing character of downtown Royal Oak or the increasing lack of customer parking, but he had no complaints about the rent or his landlord. After 23 years (12 at the Washington Street address), he closed the store around Thanksgiving. “It was just time to move on and do things in a different way,” he said.
Ideally, Dave hopes to find a freestanding store with its own parking lot where he’ll increase the focus on independent and alternative publications. “It won’t be in a mall, and I still don’t know if I want to join the mass exodus to Ferndale,” Hutzley said. He’ll continue to sell objets de pop culture at shows, through mail order and eventually over the Internet. Interested customers should call 248-548-1230 to be added to the contact list. “Tell everyone to have faith,” said Dave. “I’ll still be around, somewhere, somehow.”
In the meantime, alt-comics geeks can try Comics Plus (14216 Michigan Ave., 313-582-9444) in Dearborn. Former MT staffer and graphics ace Sean Bieri says it’s the “only game in town right now where alternative comics are concerned.” Thomas Video (122 S. Main, 248-280-2833) in Clawson also carries a shelf or two of indy titles — but you’re on your own if you need a set of Huckleberry Hound juice glasses.Karen Fisher is the MT information coordinator. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org