Mary Alice Wilson, founder and longtime owner of Dark Star Books and Comics in Yellow Springs, Ohio, succumbed to cancer and passed away on Monday, January 31, the store announced on its Facebook.  She founded her store in the early 80s, and in 2011 told us in a Talk Back comment that she’d had 30 years in the business by then (see "Mary Alice Wilson on ComicsPro Meeting").

Wilson was a visible figure in the industry, one of only a handful of women who owned comic stores in the early 80s and a regular attendee of conventions and industry events.  Mention "Mary Alice," and everyone in the business knew who you were talking about.

Wilson was a smart retailer, long ahead of her time (as demonstrated in this 2009 Talk Back comment recommending all ages comics, see "Mary Alice Wilson Revisits All Ages Comics"), and willing to share her considerable expertise with other retailers.  She also had no hesitation to share her opinions with the suppliers for her store, who she frequently lobbied on the issues of the day.  She was constantly looking for ways to improve her store, as in this 2002 experiment in splitting supply on Marvel Comics' publications (see "Ingram Fast Enough on Marvels for Comic Stores?").

Wilson continued to share her thoughts through the years, including this relatively recent missive to columnist Scott Thorne on coping with Covid (see "Rolling for Initiative – A Letter from Mary Alice").

Mary Alice Wilson broke a lot of ground in her time in the comics business, and was a fine human being.  We’re sad to see her go, and hope she’s surrounded by books wherever she is.

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