2014-11-21 / Business

New comics shop hopes to draw a crowd

Specialty store in Camarillo has something for everyone
By Stephanie Sumell

GRAPHIC NOVELS AND MORE—Mike Sterling is the owner of Sterling Silver Comics on Pickwick Drive in Camarillo. 
MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers GRAPHIC NOVELS AND MORE—Mike Sterling is the owner of Sterling Silver Comics on Pickwick Drive in Camarillo. MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Mike Sterling said his love of comics started when he was a young boy.

“I have been reading comics pretty much as long as I have been able to read,” he said. “I just find the combination of telling stories through words and pictures to be very appealing.”

Sterling, 45, opened a comic book shop—appropriately named Sterling Silver Comics—earlier this month.

The store on Pickwick Drive offers a wide array of comic books, graphic novels and comics related merchandise for men, women and children of all ages.

The store opened Nov. 5.

“I’ve wanted to do this for quite a while,” Sterling said. “I’ve just been waiting for the right time.”

And the right time, he said, is now.

Sterling worked as the manager of Ralph’s Comic Corner and Seth’s Games and Anime in Ventura for more than 20 years before deciding to strike out on his own.

His inventory includes old and new comics. New merchandise hits the shelves every Wednesday.

“It’s exceedingly important to me that the store is nice and open and airy,” Sterling said. “People who have come in have told me that the store is very inviting.”

The shop owner said the comics range in price from around $1 to about $1,000.

The most expensive item in the store, the first edition of “The Walking Dead,” is priced at $1,100.

The comic book, which was originally priced at $2.99, was the first in a series that inspired the post-apocalyptic television horror drama on AMC.

Although some comics turn into collectors’ items, Sterling said, it is difficult to predict the future.

He said some of his inventory was pulled from his personal comic book collection.

“There is no good formula for this sort of thing,” Sterling said. “You shouldn’t really worry about what something is going to be worth, but rather just buy things you like and they will be worth something to you.”

He said movies and television shows inspired by comics, such as the X-Men films, generate an interest in comics—especially in the few weeks before a movie hits theaters.

His best-selling comic book is “Batgirl.”

“(Movies) keep the characters in the public eye so they recognize the characters when they see them,” he said. “No one knew who Rocket Raccoon was a year ago, (but) now they all know him because of the film ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.’”

Sterling, a voracious reader, said he likes comics of all kinds.

“It’s one of the many entertainment options I have had available to me,” he said. “My parents always encouraged me to read and use my imagination, (and) comics were a part of that.”

Sterling said his favorite comic book series is “Swamp Thing.”

The series follows the misadventures of a humanoid mass of vegetable matter who fights to protect his home, the environment and humanity from various threats.

“It’s a horror-adventure comic that has always had a very high standard of storytelling and artwork,” Sterling said. “That’s hard to imagine with a comic called ‘Swamp Thing,’ I realize, but I’ve always really enjoyed it.”

Sterling said anyone can find a comic they’ll enjoy.

His inventory includes actionadventure, horror, superhero and all-ages comics.

And the list goes on.

“There is something for everybody,” he said. “I think the common misconception is, ‘It’s not for me,’ when I think, in fact, you can find something that is for you.”

Nat Gertler, a comic book writer and publisher who lives in Camarillo, was Sterling’s first customer.

“Specialty shops like this one really fill a need,” the 49-yearold said. “When I was young, you would buy comics at the drugstore. Now they are harder to find.”

Gertler bought a copy of “Batgirl” and the first edition of a new comic book called “Tooth and Claw.”

“It’s a small shop but a nice one,” Gertler said. “He has a selection of older comics as well as the new stuff.”

Sterling said he is eager to help customers find exactly what they are looking for.

He says he’s happy to fill mail orders; the post office is within walking distance of his store.

He offers discounts to students and members of the military and provides materials to libraries in the area.

“The most rewarding thing for me is seeing how happy the customers are that there is a comic shop in Camarillo,” Sterling said. “They tell me, ‘Thank goodness there is a place like this in town now.’”

The store is open from noon to 6 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.

The shop’s website is http:// sterlingsilvercomics.com.

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