Tulsa comic shop Starbase 21 closing after more than 29 years in business, open until New Year's Eve

TULSA - At Starbase 21, the wall behind the counter is lined with classic comics, representing the store's age and past.

But the aisles, lined with sales signs are the store's future. Everything must go and this weekend regulars are stopping by one last time.

"Just trying to get some of them that I don't have for my collections," Wayde Bolin said while looking through boxes of comics.

Doing business here in Tulsa for more than 29 years, the store's final chapter is here. The Starbase's staff will lock the doors for the last time on New Year's Eve at 5 p.m.

"That is sad," manager R.A. Jones said. "The fact that this is an institution in this area that is leaving is sad. Again the customers and we are sad. You are breaking up the old gang so to speak."

A 20-year regular, for Bolin thumbing through the comics at Starbase is just part of his life.

"I've always found something unique coming in here," Bolin. "Sometimes I've found a comic I didn't know existed but I said ooh, ooh, got to have. You know?"

With an aging owner and declining sales, the time to close was unavoidable.

"I'm not real happy about it," Bolin said. "But I understand the reasons why. Everybody reaches a point where they just can't do it no more when they're running a business."

But Starbase is not just any business that is closing in the manager's opinion.

"I sometimes call Starbase the Cheers of comic book shops," Jones said. "We got to know the customers and they would come in here and feel free to just hang out."

For Jones, Starbase has also been more than just a job for 16 years.

"A comic book I believe you illustrated, Strawman?" a customer asked Jones today. "I wrote that, yes I did," Jones replied.

Starbase has given him a place to sell comics he penned, including one Marvel published, starring himself as Agent R.A. Jones.

"Sometimes I won't say anything until they start to buy it," he said. "And then I will ask, 'would you like to have that signed?'"

Just one of many memories that will now last after Starbase's door closes for the last time.

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