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My Friend, Leonard Brown and Collectors Bookstore

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When you get your new Price Guide in a few days, I wanted to draw your attention to a tribute I wrote about my friend, Leonard Brown. We were two young guys who met in the Spring of 1959 and immediately became friends because of our love for old comic books. We searched for old comic books as a team all over Southern California and quickly decided to be partners. We had a lot of luck in those days making some great finds, so we took it to the next level and had business cards printed in 1962 that we could pass out, pin on bulletin boards, or enclose in our growing mail-order comic business. I am attaching an oversized copy of our card on which you will notice there were no ZIP Codes or all numerical telephone numbers. I hope you will enjoy my essay about the person I feel was the most dynamic force in the development of the comic book business in our area, and possibly the country. With our continued success, he knew we needed a store, more for buying than for selling, but I was on my way to grad school so l wished him the best and he and Malcolm Willits opened Collectors Bookstore in Hollywood, CA. They had some struggles, but the timing was right and the store eventually took over an empty bank on Holllywood Blvd. and dominated the hobby in comics, pulps, and movies, Leonard died from cancer a few years ago, but we remained close friends our entire lives. Bill Schelly's new book on the founders of the hobby just came out, and Leonard has a nice spot in it. I am also working on a book about him and am getting contributions from his wife, partner, and collectors who watched him develop a hobby into a profession. I welcome anyone who remembers Leonard to add to the thread with their experiences. Also, I would appreciate comments from anyone who would like to send me a PM or email (richardolson@hughes.net) of their recollections for possible use in my book.

Thanks, Richard

BrownOlsonbusinesscard7x4.jpg

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I love reading about the old days of comics fandom, especially about the legendary stores like Collectors Book Store and Bert Blum's Cherokee Bookstore. I'm looking forward to this book. :thumbsup:

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Just to set the record straight, Cherokee Books was a rare book store on Hollywood Blvd. with an excellent inventory. When Burt was old enough to join the family business, his father and older brother didn't want him on the ground floor interacting with their customers and relegated him to the attic where his mod looks and smoking wouldn't be a problem. To give him credit, however, he did develop an excellent inventory of old comic books and became one of the first significant dealers of the 1960's. There was no experience like walking up the stairs to see Burt, opening the door, and being hit in the face by a cloud of smoke. You would have had to have been there to fully appreciate it.

Richard

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Just to set the record straight, Cherokee Books was a rare book store on Hollywood Blvd. with an excellent inventory.

 

Besides Collectors and Cherokee, wasn't there also a shop in the same area called Bond Street Books?

 

It was such a thrilling pilgrimage to drive down to Hollywood and visit these shops back in the day.

 

I recall going into Collectors circa 1980 and asking for Detective Comics - when I asked about another box stacked with books, I was informed by the employee that they were indeed Detectives, but Batman wasn't in them, so I had no interest.

 

Yup, a box of pre-Batman Detectives and I didn't even look at it. doh!

 

Collectors had some of the most amazing books displayed in their showcases. I also recall being awed by the oversized Schomburg recreations, too.

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I have this vague, dreamlike recollection of wandering in to a comic store in Hollywood during a summer road trip (from Texas) during my college days. The description of it being in an old bank dovetails perfectly with that memory. The store was gone the next time I was there... or I just couldn't find it... or I considered that it never existed. Those were "college" days, after all. I'm glad to know it was a real memory and not an amalgam of comic stores I'd been to over the years. I wish now I'd realized I was in a touchstone of comic geek history.

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I'm looking forward to reading your essay YellowKid. I remember hearing about Cherokee books......but growing up in Redondo and having no car at the time.....it was just too far away for a visit. I was stuck with the likes of Comic Vendor, Rudy's book shop, and Bobs comics in Lawndale

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Bond Street Books was a third major comic book store, but it also had old magazines and newspapers. Steve Edrington, the owner, was someone Leonard and I first met while we were doing mail-order out of his bedroom at his parents house in Long Beach. Usually when Collectors made a big buy, Leonard would sort the books, keep the best ones and the ones in nice condition, and sell the rest as a lot to Steve. Steve returned the favor when he made a big buy and couldn't hold the big money books and would sell them to Collectors. Steve has moved his store but is still in business. Malcolm has retired to the desert, and Leonard died three years ago from cancer.

Rich

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Bond Street Books was a third major comic book store, but it also had old magazines and newspapers. Steve Edrington, the owner, was someone Leonard and I first met while we were doing mail-order out of his bedroom at his parents house in Long Beach. Usually when Collectors made a big buy, Leonard would sort the books, keep the best ones and the ones in nice condition, and sell the rest as a lot to Steve. Steve returned the favor when he made a big buy and couldn't hold the big money books and would sell them to Collectors. Steve has moved his store but is still in business. Malcolm has retired to the desert, and Leonard died three years ago from cancer.

Rich

 

Haven't had a chance yet to really peruse the new guide. I should this weekend.

Looking forward to reading your tribute.

 

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I have this vague, dreamlike recollection of wandering in to a comic store in Hollywood during a summer road trip (from Texas) during my college days. The description of it being in an old bank dovetails perfectly with that memory. The store was gone the next time I was there... or I just couldn't find it... or I considered that it never existed. Those were "college" days, after all. I'm glad to know it was a real memory and not an amalgam of comic stores I'd been to over the years. I wish now I'd realized I was in a touchstone of comic geek history.

 

well your memory would have to be reasonably recent.

 

Collectors Book Store had numerous locations on Hollywood Blvd over the years, finally settling into the Crocker Bank building maybe 10-15 years ago. Previous to that they were in non-bank buildings. It was funny that there was a CB plaque in front of the door from the tenant before Crocker Bank (may have been called Community Bank or something like that) and 3 tenents all had CB initials

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Rich,

 

Can't wait to get the price guide and read your article about your friend Leonard. It will be fun for me to read about that. The earliest comic store I went to was Supersnipe in New York City sometime around '72 or '73. My Grandmother and I walked about two miles to get up there from midtown Manhattan, she telling me stories of growing up in New York the entire time. All I could afford was a Donald Duck #30, but I still have it! Fond memories of that book and trip.

 

It was only a couple of years later that I started to travel up to New York cons on the bus with my friend Mark, who now works at DC Comics. Good days all and good memories.

 

Frank

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