On Business: Gambling Away Marvel Galaxy

By | Monday, July 31, 2017 5 comments
Here's a short story, posted last night on Facebook, from the early days of dedicated comics shop retailing from one of it's early pioneers Jim Buser...
Here's a forgotten story in the history of the San Jose retail comic book scene. Much has been chronicled about the Seven Sons Comic Shop that opened April 1st, 1968 and was one of the first, if not the first, dedicated comic book stores in the modern era. It's also on record that Comic World (with Dick Swan, Bud Plant, John Barrett and myself) opened in the summer of 1969 and lasted almost two years. Meanwhile, Bob Sidebottom had another shop on San Fernando St. However, after Frank Scadina bought out his partners at Seven Sons and subsequently opened Marvel Galaxy, an interesting development happened. Frank was a compulsive gambler and a horrible one at that. He loved to play "hero" poker and chase inside straights and do dumb shit like that. Everyone knew that, and we actually competed to prey on him! One evening Tom Tallmon and I visited his shop and we began a poker game that lasted until the daylight the next day. Long story short, Frank gambled away 50% ownership of his store. A couple of months after that, Frank hit up his mom to buy us out. The price was $1500... $750 each for Tom and I. Hilarious that 50% of a comic book shop in 1971 was transacted for that little.
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Brian Fies said...

I remember Marvel Galaxy! My first comic book shop ever, the first time I knew such things existed. What a magical place for an 11 year old! We lived maybe 10 miles away and my parents were exhausted by me begging them to drive me down there. In addition to the back issues I bought (where I was reprimanded and learned the right and wrong ways to paw through a longbox), I recall a lot of Star Trek merchandise, including the prettiest, crispest 8 x 10 glossies I'd ever seen. At that point, Star Trek only existed for me on fuzzy color TVs with iffy reception, and seeing those photos was like Dorothy walking into Technicolor Oz. Wish I had a time machine to go back and buy the whole place for a few thousand bucks.

That's fantastic! Thanks!

I'm wondering, though, how you must have been going through a long box to be actually reprimanded for doing it wrong!

Brian Fies said...

I was just a dumb kid, probably bending the comics as I riffled through them. I don't recall bags and boards being common practice in those days. Regardless, it was a magical place.

Coming in late to this thread. I also remember Marvel Galaxy fondly (and Scadina a bit less). He was a decent guy at times. I was an 11 year old Famous Monsters fanatic and he had a (badly bruised and taped) copy of FM #2 in his glass display with the princely sum of $5 on it. I had never seen any of the old FMs that weren't in the back issues pages so this was like a man in the desert coming across a case of bottled water. Scadina let me put the FM2 on layaway and pay one buck per week (which is what I made mowing the neighbor's yard). Five weeks later, my mom took me and my new treasure to Original Joe's for a burger to celebrate.

Ironically, Scadina later had a shop (Collector's Corner) located right across the street from Joe's and he would sell copies of movie stills for two bucks each. I put in an order for three stills (one was from Ghidrah) and waited and waited and waited. Never got them. He would keep saying next week. Then, one day, we heard that Scadina had gone a bit mad and turned a hose on his inventory because of money problems. Ruined everything and then ran to Mexico with my six bucks. Prick.

RFarmiloe said...

I was also a Famous Monsters fan and a huge fan of Creature Features with Bob Wilkins. He would sometimes have guests who would show horror movie posters. One night it was Frank Scadina and he showed a few posters, one of them being Creature Walks Among Us! I had my grandmother take me there a couple of weeks later. I was only 14 and couldn't drive. Sure enough, there was the poster hanging on the wall. Scadina seemeed nice enough, and got the poster down from the wall for me. It was $6.50!! I corresponded with him a few more times and got a couple of more posters. Eventually, I started going to the Cinema Shop in San Francisco on O'Farrell St. I got TONS of horror movie posters there! None cost more than $10....if you can believe it! But I'll always remember my FIRST poster and the wondermint of Marvel Galaxy!