August 23, 2011
By Kraig Koch
In a move that shocked both local customers and comics fans nationwide, Atomic Comics owner Michael Malve announced Monday that all four of his stores have officially been closed. The announcement was made in Monday’s installment of Malve’s weekly newsletter, aptly titled "My Final Report."
"As some of you may have already heard, after 25 years of running a successful business, sadly and much to my dismay, I have shut the doors of Atomic Comics," Malve wrote.
The former store owner went on to explain in the newsletter that he filed for bankruptcy, and that he and his family will be losing their home to foreclosure in addition to closing the four stores.
"The villain in this tragedy is the economy," wrote Malve. "I had hoped to be the superhero and triumph over the recession, but sadly the economic downturn of the past five years has proven to be unsustainable."
Atomic Comics was regarded nationally by comics fans and industry figures alike for its in-store signings, innovative marketing, and the impressive size of its inventory. Last year brought international exposure to the chain when it was featured prominently in the movie adaptation of the comic Kick-Ass.
The news of the closings came as an abrupt surprise to colleagues, creators, publishers, and other subscribers of Malve's weekly newsletter, which typically detailed sales figures for the stores.
In an attempt to explain the events leading up to the decision, Malve cited a 2006 incident involving an uninsured 16-year-old driver who crashed into Atomic’s Mesa superstore. The water main was hit in the accident, flooding the store and causing over $1 million in damage. The damage was so great that the store was shut down for more than five months.
Malve further explained in his newsletter that the store never fully recovered from the 2006 closing. In addition to the revenue losses incurred during the closing, many of the store’s customers never returned when it reopened.
"Making the decision to file bankruptcy was very difficult and painful," concluded Malve.
"I have always been and will forever be an extremely optimistic person and will look at this situation as an adventure. I have very high hopes for the next chapter of my life."