Photos courtesy of Feon Cooper.
Feon Cooper has been obsessed with comics since he was in middle school, reveling in the superhuman, fantastical tales that, when it really comes down to it, deal heavily with the human condition. Even more, while educating kids and adults alike on heavy topics like philosophy and politics through the lens of art and pop culture, comics provide an escape—and that escape, for Cooper, led him to dreams of opening his own shop.
Enter Shoreline Comics, once tucked away in the maze of Shoreline Village shops, that had its grand opening a few years back to welcome comic lovers, Game of Thrones and Star Wars fans, Pop! vinyl character collectors, and those just wishing to nerd out.
And now, Cooper has opted to expand operations by moving his shop from the watery edge of Shoreline into the heart of DTLB.
This is Pine Ave. Comics.
”The opening of [the Shoreline shop] was a roller coaster—I had signed a lease long before I was ever ready to be open, let alone promoted… But the experience allowed me to get my feet wet and establish myself before really getting the word out there,” Cooper said. “And now is the perfect time to be in the heart of DTLB.”
Perfect time indeed.
Partnering with Andy George, the music guru behind North Pine’s beloved Toxic Toast Records, Cooper dreams that—Toxic paired with the soon-to-be-open second location of Rose Park Roasters—Pine Avenue above 5th can become something special.
Now that comic films have garnered almost cult-like followings—Deadpool is the highest grossing R-rated film of all time while Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy lifted comics away from kitsch and into high-brow cinematic art—kids are flocking back to that old school thing that is an actual paper’n’ink comic. Pair that with summer around the corner and a prime Pine Avenue location, his shop is the quintessential place to get your comic on.
Just ask Mayor Robert Garcia, a regular customer that you’d often find perusing the latest comics at his old Shoreline location.
Cooper’s store is part personal collection, part distributor. The Lord of the Rings and X-Men action figures? The stellar OG copies of Star Wars and Godzilla? Cooper’s. The brand new copies of Ms. Marvel, the tale of Kamala Khan, a Pakistani-American teenager who sneaks out one night, inhales a weird mist and wakes up with superpowers that let her change shape and size? Distributor. In other words, Pine Ave. Comics has a little bit of everything.
Cooper discovered DTLB when he was meandering Shoreline Village after grubbing down at Louisiana Charlie’s (The sole place in Long Beach where you can get fried alligator bites.)
“I looked around and it hit me,” Cooper said. “I said to myself, ‘I think a shop would be really great here.’ There’s nothing like it in the whole Downtown area—and now, I get to move into the heart of the Downtown.”
In that, Cooper is spot on: Pine Ave. Comics is DTLB’s sole comic shop and for anyone who loves comics, comic shops are sacred places where their inner-nerd can never fear having to shine bright. In other words, Cooper’s small shop is a big part of many people’s hearts.
Time to get your comic on, Long Beach.
Pine Ave. Comics is located at 748 Pine Ave.