After 25 years of serving the nerdy and artistic needs of the Los Angeles community, the beloved Meltdown Comics neon sign is about to go dark. The news broke this week via a post from Meltdown co-founder and CEO Gaston Dominguez-Letelier.
Meltdown stood out among the many comic stores in L.A. for so many reasons. It had a huge space, cramming in vintage toys, collectibles and artwork (for this writer, the veritable shrine of Daniel Clowes memorabilia was a regular draw) alongside a jaw-dropping range of comic books, manga, variant covers, local zines, and indie graphic novels.
The store served as a venue for rising and established comedians as well as a recording space for podcasts and comedy shows. Comedy Central standup showcase The Meltdown was formed within the store’s walls by Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon, and Jonah Ray. Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist empire spawned in Meltdown’s attic, beginning with the Nerdist Podcast (now Id10T) and later growing to include You Made it Weird with Pete Holmes.
Meltdown was a constant home to creative events which brought together a community of novices, fans, and established names, whether podcasts and comedy shows or the monthly Melt-thology Comix Jam, during which anyone could come to the shop, draw a page of artwork, and see the compiled pages as a zine upon their next visit. On any given night during a comedy show, visitors were likely to see their new favorite unknown comedians alongside greats like Sarah Silverman or Marc Maron dropping in to work out new material.
Meltdown CRO Jamie Iovine hinted on Twitter about a future project with Dominguez-Letelier, but details are scarce for now. If you’re local, be sure to drop by the store to say goodbye and pick up some deeply discounted comic books and collectibles. (For those wondering where to get their weekly fix after the store shuts its doors on March 30, Mega City One on Melrose will honor Meltdown discounts and subscriptions.)
The community which called Meltdown home was truly something special. Cultural monuments like Meltdown are few and far between, and only becoming rarer as development and online retailers continue to force changes in the market. Remember to hold your local comic shop close while you can, and continue to support the independent artists who create your favorite content.
Have you ever been a Meltdown customer? Were you a regular? Share your favorite Meltdown memories in the comments below!