THE STORY OF THE COLLECTIVE
It’s been quite some time since Mom brought home an old stack of Marvel Tales from a woman she worked with. The 25 cent reprints that collected the early issues of Spider-Man and various other Strange Tales. That was my introduction to superheroes, more telling, Marvel superheroes. Until that time my prized collection was an incomplete collection of the Planet of the Apes magazines, rolled spines, tattered covers and read cover to cover multiple times.
When that little space movie hit the theaters in the summer of ’77, it filled a void as much as the trials of Peter Parker and Dungeons and Dragons a few years later. We were Stranger Things. But the biggest dimension door into this real world was, when out with friends on Bradenton Beach, I bought Uncanny X-Men #111 off the stands back when you could find comics in nearly every convenience store. The Byrne-Clermont days were in the opening act and they would produce what would drive Marvel comics for decades to come. My friends and I would wait out the long months for when the next chapter would hit the stands.
As a teenager, my brothers and I would descend on the annual Orlando Con run by Jim Ivey in search for the missing pieces of our comic runs. There I would find a full priced X-Men 94 for all of $24, buy it, circle the room, and then return it and pay the additional $24 to get the even nicer copy next to it. As for the older Fantastic Four, Avengers and Spider-Man issues, they were nice, inexpensive and available. The highly coveted death of Gwen Stacey and the next issue, the death of the Green Goblin, became scarce at $12 each, only to resurface in abundance once the price jumped to $15.
FEBRUARY 1, 1983
A few years later, my brothers and I combined collections to give birth to Coliseum. It was a one-man adventure for most of ten years as I distanced myself to work a “real” job, pretend to go to school and then find my way back in in ’93.
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” ~ Yogi Berra
The industry was changing, but it also remained cyclical, all the way up through the rise of Image Comics and the internet. I met one of my idols, John Byrne, at a downtown MegaCon in the mid-nineties and listened as he predicted the fall of the industry by 2000. Many years later I found myself seated in a room with the late Darwin Cook, Terry Moore and Jim Valentino as they predicted how the internet would soon take over the comic world and make comic book stores obsolete. We all watched the fall of the local video and record stores and were told how we would soon follow. We watched as Marvel, DC and Hasbro attempted to push our collectors to their online outlets for their digital books and cards, only to discover they couldn’t replace the tangible collectibles the fan base loved.
We had New Comic Wednesday, and we had a community that wanted to gather and talk comics and roll dice and collect what they liked. And many of us in the industry embraced that.
A SHARED VISION
There were still pitfalls along the way and differences of opinion. Coliseum was primed to be widespread and offer comics in a sensible way to many different parts of Florida, but I shared a different vision. My vision was to build one community of people that liked what they liked, from the comic side to the Magic side, to the D&D side, to the table top and board game side. And to the collectible side.
JUNE 1, 2018
On June 1, 2018 we separated from Coliseum and became The Collective: A Comic and Game Community. The split came from the need to explore different visions, nothing more. There are a thousand different comic and games stores in this industry, no two are alike, but The Collective began and will grow with a focus on community. It’s a long phrase for a sign or slogan, but there is no acceptable synonym, so we’re going to take it.
What we’re about, and will continue to be about, is offering a place for everyone to love what they love among others who share their same passions.
WE ARE …
We’re a comic book store, carrying new comics each Wednesday and a back-stock to fill holes in collections. And trades for those looking to read great complete stories.
We’re a card game store, featuring different formats of Magic and offering a variety of the newest card games, giving players a place to compete each week or just find a pickup game.
The Collective is a miniature game store. A place where you can create miniature armies to battle other armies in a fantasy setting.
We’re a Role Playing store, where you can give birth to your alter ego and set them loose in an adventuring world of orcs and goblins, and the occasional dragon.
And board games, showing friends and family how to bond at a table over dice rolling and deck building, in both cooperative and competitive strategies.
WE ARE THE COLLECTIVE: A COMIC AND GAME COMMUNITY, AN ALL-INCLUSIVE RESORT FOR YOUR MIND, A PLACE FOR YOUR CREATIVITY AND INSPIRATION TO TAKE HOLD.