Updated: Jan 24, 2020
Collector's Paradise has been my favorite comic book store since I was 13 years old, so 18 years. I have seen the store change so much over that span of time. They have always stood out from the pack. They aren't just a comic book store, but a comic BOOK store.
Their single issue comic book selection has everything from mainstream to indie. There's a book for everybody, no matter what your interest is. Where they truly shine is their graphic novel selection. They have such a wide variety of titles and are always willing to order anything they don't currently have in the store.
One of the reasons this is, and always will be, my favorite store is the staff. They are some of the most knowledgeable comic book store clerks I've ever met. Whenever they recommend a book to me I have never been disappointed. They are singlehandedly responsible for introducing me to some of my now favorite creators ( Ed Brubaker, Brian Wood, Jason Aaron, Jeff Lemire, and Rick Remender). Not to mention two of my favorite series that I've reread multiple times, "DMZ" and "Scalped". Nick, Kevin, Andrew, and Christina make coming into that store every week an awesome experience, no matter how long you spend in the store.
The owners Ed and Joseph are amazing also. They have known my family and I for so long. That they have watched me grow from a little kid to now having a little family of my own. They always ask how the family is every time I see them. It really makes me feel like I'm not just another customer but a friend. That's the kind of experience they make sure everybody feels when they shop at their store, like your one of the family.
So when I was thinking of doing a series of spotlights on local comic shops, I didn't even hesitate to make Collector's Paradise my first choice. Of course shop owner Ed Greenberg was more than happy to oblige when I asked him if I could interview him. Hope you guys enjoy and if your ever around come check out the store, you won't be disappointed.
Comic Lounge: How did you first get into comics?
Ed Greenberg: I head about Death of Superman in 92 and decide to pick it up. It was the Justice League issue (#70 I believe) and I was hooked, got the rest of it, then bought some other books (spawn, wildcats, all that image #1 stuff) and kept going.
Comic Lounge: When and why did you first decide to open up a comic
Ed: It was about 2 years later, in '94. I was frequenting this store really close to my house and the guy told me he was not interested in this anymore and was looking to sell. I had nothing going having just left my job, so I found a partner (my then girlfriend's dad, we got married a year later) and bought the place. Kind of sudden but changed my life.
Comic Lounge: As a long time customer at the store, I've seen it grow so much. Where do you see the see the store 5 years from now?
Ed: It changes constantly, but I believe our model (focusing on reading rather than collecting, and focusing on making it a "destination" spot where you do more than just buy comics, you come for events and a community of people that like similar things, is the key to the future of this industry.
Comic Lounge: You have created a unique experience at your store that really separates it from other stores. What do you hope new customers experience when they walk through your doors for the first time?
Ed: I hope that they experience the opposite of a "Simpsons comic book guy" or that guy from Big Bang Theory. Our stores are well lit, have a variety of products, no boxes randomly placed anywhere, no hand written notes or prices. Professionalism, both in the look of the store and the attitude of its employees. Also, wealth of knowledge, not just selection, friendliness and openness. We don't look down at any particular brand or type of books. Superheroes are cool, but so is weird indie stuff, we have room for it all and don't exclude anyone.
Comic Lounge: What would you say have been the biggest changes or trends in the industry over the past few years?
Ed: There are good and bad trends, always. The proliferation of dozens of variant covers per issue is truly bothering me. I would ALWAYS rather have a customer buy 5 different books than 5 copies of the same book with different covers. On the other hand, publishers are starting to figure out that kids and young adults are the future of this business and output in those two areas is increasing, as is the quality. We have always had giant kids sections in our stores, glad the industry is catching up.
Comic Lounge: I will always buy print over digital for aesthetics reasons. Has the onset of digital comics affected business in any way?
Ed: Not yet, not really. Most current comic book readers still prefer print to digital. I am a little worried about my kids and their generation growing up, as they seem way more comfortable with the digital screen in their face 24/7, but I still believe comics are a somewhat tactile experience.
Comic Lounge: This is such a great time for comic book fans with more worldwide recognition than ever. How do you attract and keep new costumers?
Ed: We try to bring a very diverse group of creators to the store, to attract diverse groups of possible customers. Just this month, we have a wrestling event, an indie comic book signing, a release of a graphic novel from a Westworld TV show writer, and a movie night at a local elementary school that will lead into our GIANT parking lot sale at the end of October. Variety is key. We do not want to be known as a "one trick pony".
Comic Lounge: What has been the most memorable moment in the stores history?
Ed: Honestly, it's not one moment, it's the cumulative history of owning the store for 24 years, watching kids grow up from babies, to young adults, have their own kids, and start new generation of readers. Yourself is a good example. That's really fulfilling and is part of the reason I am still doing this (plus I love reading comics, can't stop that ever).
Comic Lounge: If you could pick one comic that has meant the most to you, what would it be?
Ed: Comics are special for different reasons. Sometimes it's the artist you idolize that does a character and it becomes special to you, and you read it through good and bad years, no matter what. Sometimes it's a particular amazing piece of work that you reread every year and find something new in it every time. In the last couple of years, there is one book that really touched me in a big way. Kill or be Killed series by Ed Brubaker, which deals with mental disabilities and social anxieties in a way that I have never seen before.
Come check Collector's Paradise out for yourself
Address: 7131 Winnetka Ave, Winnetka, CA 91306
Phone: (818) 999-9455