(Sheridan, Wyo) The First Resort, the comics and collectibles store that has served Sheridan for 27 years, will be closing at the end of June.
Over the years, the store has changed location three times. They started next to Captain Clean on Brundage, then moved to the old Dan’s Western Wear building, then the old Woolworths building in the basement, and finally to their current location on South Main.
With the closing of both Video Depot and The First Resort, early 2018 could be pinpointed as the moment when the effects of the online marketplace finally reached our small, isolated corner of the world.
What are comics worth?
I bought a lot of comics in the 90s. They were available at stands at the grocery store, right next to the candy bars. I had no idea what made something collectible. I read my comics, sometimes tearing the cover right off of the two tiny staples in the spine.
It turns out that the vast majority of comics, especially from the 90s, are virtually worthless. But, in a way, that makes them even more valuable to me. If someone else valued them as much as I do, I might actually have to struggle with the decision to part with these objects.
Also, when the price guide tells you that your comics aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on, their intrinsic value is heightened. A voice inside rebels. It says, “No, the content of those pages is priceless!”
Over the years, nerds like myself have collectively shifted our perspective on the value of our obsession with the obscure and fantastical. We now live in a world where Hollywood screenwriters dig through boxes of old comics to find the next big blockbuster, and a significant amount of hit television show-runners gained their skill-sets as Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters.
Highly lucrative YouTube channels are devoted to detailed analysis of nerdy knowledge. That knowledge itself is now a currency which gives access to the inner circle of modern pop culture. Just take a look at a show like Stranger Things, or the movie Ready Player One, which posits a world where people forsake reality for a virtual smorgasbord of nerdy pop culture icons.
“Time to retire”
James Shreeve, who has worked for The First Resort for 25 years, personifies “the comic book guy.” Anyone who loves the store knows James. Half of the experience of a trip to The First Resort is spending at least 30 minutes at the counter discussing comic book trivia with a seriousness and intensity usually reserved for political discourse.
When I heard that the store was going out of business, I had to visit to pay my respects.
Rick Kenyon, owner of the first resort, was behind the counter, while James was in the basement sorting through thousands of comics.
Rick said he wasn’t disappointed in the slightest. “It’s time to retire,” he explained. “I’m 70 years old. I want to go fishing.”
Rick said that he has gotten everything he’s ever hoped for out of his 27 years running the business. Besides, “You don’t want to move this store,” he said. When they moved from the Woolworths basement, the elevator was broken, and some of the comic cabinets weigh over 100 pounds.
“James ended up in the ICU in the hospital,” Rick recalled. “He lost 17 pounds, that’s how much it stressed him out.”
If you are looking for a deal, now is the time to head over to The First Resort. Knives and swords are 20% off, jewelry is 50% off, and Rick will spontaneously offer a discount on many of the other items. The newer comics and jewelry will be offered through an online store after The First Resort closes its doors at the end of June.
Rick said that online companies like Amazon have changed the commercial landscape. “Stores like this are rare.”
“It’s a real shame,” added a nearby customer. “There’s nothing like going through a store, handling the merchandise and visiting with people.”
Rick called James up from the basement to help with an influx of customers. I chose a few comics and a set of Star Wars spaceship models from the ’90s.
I headed to the counter to pay up and, more importantly, ask James about his theories regarding the upcoming Avengers Infinity War movie.