Golden Apple Comics owner Bill Liebowitz died suddenly early Wednesday, October 27th. He was 63. Liebowitz almost single-handedly invented the pop culture store, a place where comics, toys, licensed merchandise, imports, and other products were displayed and cross-merchandised in a wonderful melange that delighted all who shopped there.
Golden Apple is a multi-million dollar, two-store chain. Its flagship store on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles may be the best-known comic store in the country. It was a favored destination of numerous celebrities, everyday comics and pop culture fans, and one of our favorite stops in southern California.
As a retailer, Liebowitz was constantly on the cutting edge of pop culture, bringing in new lines, rotating stock to reflect media events, and listening to the many interesting characters that frequented his store to hear what the next trend was going to be.
Here's what he said about his stores on his Website:
'My goal was to develop Golden Apple as the world's greatest comic book store... and more. Our expansion has been fueled in large measure by promotion and merchandising geared toward attracting new customers from outside the hobby. At the same time, we have also worked hard to accommodate both the traditional comic collector and the newly attracted customer. We have promoted mainstream comics, but not to the exclusion of alternative product. We are constantly changing and experimenting with new ideas, and we don't intend to stop. We're very proud of what we've achieved, and where we are today.'
Liebowitz had many hidden talents, including his ability to amaze with yo-yo stunts, but his most important quality was the size of his heart. He was a big man in every way. Our sympathies go out to his wife Sharon and the rest of his family.