Lovefool 01.19.15 | End of an Era

Lovefool laments the loss of the Lou’s leading comic shop.




Sigh. I’m writing this on Monday night because I’m a terrible columnist and I’ve also kind of been putting this off. I totally stall on bad news and the news this week is pretty grim.
They announced it last Thursday. I was at my desk working and glanced down at my phone to see that I had been tagged in a Facebook post by Mr. BFF. I clicked it open and saw that he’d mentioned me in a post titled “Star Clipper Is Closing.” And, no kidding, I went into shock. That’s all kinds of hyperbole, but it’s true. It felt like my temperature immediately dropped ten degrees. In an odd twist, I happen to work with a former Star Clipper employee and I pretty much ran straight down to his desk and we stood there gasping incoherent half-sentences at each other as the news rippled through our social networks.
Star Clipper is closing. My first comic book shop, where I discovered the joys of both sweet Andi Watson books and a good issue of Spider-Man, is closing. Star Clipper, where you could walk in and find every book on your list AND a Sailor Moon keychain. No one saw it coming and everyone was, and still is, shocked. It seems unreal. Star Clipper moved on up to the Loop and there was always a varied assortment of nerds hanging out. It was an institution. They’d been open for 27 years and under the ownership of the Trujillos, Ben and A.J., since 2001. And next month, they’re going to close their doors forever.
And, nerdlings, Star Clipper is beautiful. All airy and light and beautifully decorated, filled with so many things to look at, staffed and managed by folks who tried to make everyone welcome, from hardcore collectors to folks who just had a couple minutes to kill before lunch. There were books for otaku (hey, A.J., thanks for all the really great recommendations—I still love Train Man: Densha Otako so much) and Batman fanboys (Dan! Wherever you are, I owe you one for Planetary) and people who only wanted to collect hand-numbered indie books (go buy my friend, the Professor’s book, MyriadInk & Drink book). There were gallery shows and signings and ladies nights and an entire shelf of small press comics, including some that I’d participated in creating, and there was always fun happening. It’s a lovely place. And now it’s going to be gone and we are all going to be much poorer in spirit. I haven’t been a regular shopper there for ages, not since I moved to Bellevegas and points beyond and back, but I felt like I’d heard the news that something dreadful had happened to an old friend. or, you know, a fine
Star Clipper’s closing will leave a hole in the St. Louis nerd scene that it’s going to be hard to fill. They’ve won an Eisner. They’ve won Best Comic Book Shop in every single competition for what feels like every single year. They’re almost symbolically handing the torch to another shop—their gift cards are going to be honored at Fantasy Books, my favorite nerd haven, and they’re going to take good care of folks—but Star Clipper was something special. We should consider ourselves lucky to have gotten the opportunity to shop at such a marvelous store. We should be sad that we won’t have that much longer. | Erin Jameson

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