That's Entertainment (comic shop)

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That's Entertainment
Type Private
Industry Comics
Pop Culture
Collectables
Genre Retail
Founded Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S., 1980
Founder(s) Paul Howley
Headquarters Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Number of locations 2
Area served New England
Key people Paul Howley
Products Comics
Video games
DVDs
Magic: the Gathering
Toys
Role-playing games
Vinyl Record Albums
Trading Cards
Autographs
Owner(s) Paul Howley
Website ThatsE.com

That's Entertainment is an Eisner Award-winning[1][2] comics and collectibles store in Worcester, Massachusetts. Michael Warshaw concisely referred to the store in a Worcester Magazine article on 5/5/05 as "the pop culture emporium located in the ancient former auto dealership at 244 Park Ave."[3] The store has also been called the "purveyors of pop culture in Worcester, specializing in the philosophy of the underground... you’ll uncover comics, graphic novels, music, ‘zines, games, t-shirts and other arbitrary items that bring joy to those who hold the ethos of a particular generation dear to their consumer hearts."[4]

The store was first opened by Paul Howley in 1980[5] at a 2,000 sq ft (190 m2) location on Chandler Street in Worcester. In October of 1989, he added a second location with the purchase of a comic shop in Fitchburg, Massachusetts. In 1992, the original That's Entertainment store was moved to its present location, a 20,000 sq ft (1,900 m2) building on Park Ave. in Worcester, and a 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) retail and events space was created.[6] The store stocks comic books, including alternative comics and new indy titles,[7] trade paperbacks, and related items. The store also carries other trading cards, including sports cards and Magic, The Gathering, along with anime, role-playing games, vintage video games and systems, and other toys and collectibles.[8][9]

In 1997, That's Entertainment was one of three stores that received a "Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retailer Award" from Comic-Con International: San Diego. The award, named for comic book creator Will Eisner, recognizes "an individual retailer who has done an outstanding job of supporting the comics art medium both in the community and within the industry at large".[1][2]

That's Entertainment's "reluctant acceptance of life after the on-line auction" was the subject of a six-page article in the May 2000 issue of the national magazine Inc. The article, by writer Anne Marie Borrego, was titled "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and (Almost) Love eBay." Borrego examined how That's Entertainment specifically, as a traditional brick and mortar collectibles retailer, was contending with the sudden growth of on-line competition in the collectibles market.[10]

On July 18, 1998, Harvey Ball, the earliest known designer of the Smiley,[11] appeared at That's Entertainment to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the design's inception. Ball met fans and signed Smiley pins and art, as well as some copies of the Watchmen comic.[12] Television pioneer Rex Trailer appeared in 2006 to mark the 50th anniversary of Boomtown by meeting his fans, singing songs, and signing autographs. A video report on that event is posted to the Worcester Telegram website.[13] In an encore of sorts, On September 11, 2011, Trailer appeared at the Fitchburg MA That's Entertainment to meet fans, sing songs and sign free autographs as he marked the 55th anniversary of Boomtown. Trailer sang a song he wrote to honor the victims of 9/11, I Appreciate You.[14] That's Entertainment has participated in the annual, world-wide Free Comic Book Day every year since the event was launched. In 2009, the store presented a "Pro-Am Comic Jam", inviting "aspiring artists of all ages" to meet with a group of professional artists to compare perspectives on comic art. It was the fourth occurrence of this event since 1996.[15]

In March 2011, That's Entertainment petitioned the Worcester City Council to change the name of the private street running alongside the store from Marmon Place to Lois Lane.[16] "Certainly the character Lois Lane - dating back to 1938 in Superman comic books, and moving on through radio shows, television shows, and movies etc. - is a high-profile, beloved and timeless icon," the petition stated. The Worcester Telegram opined that the proposed name was a good match for That’s Entertainment "which, among many things, is in the superhero comic book business."[17] In August 2012, the petition, having previously passed the Planning Board and The City Council Public Works Committee, gained the final approval of the full council. In welcoming the change, The Worcester Telegram declared "a bit of whimsy in Worcester is a good thing."[18] On Friday December 28, 2012, the new sign was finally installed. A celebration at the store followed on Sunday December 30, 2012, featuring an unveiling, free sketches of Lois by Paul Ryan, and a Lois Lane lookalike contest.[19][20]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Comic-con.org Awards
  2. ^ a b http://www.sequentialtart.com/article.php?id=455 Sequential Tart
  3. ^ Warshaw, Michael (2005-05-05). "Rational Absurdity and Diner Food". Worcester Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-09. [dead link]
  4. ^ Manning, Doreen (2010-04-15). "That’s E! celebrates that vinyl sound". Worcester Magazine. Retrieved 2011-04-19. 
  5. ^ "My Life with Comic Books: the History of a Comic Shop.". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  6. ^ "My Life with Comic Books: the History of a Comic Shop.". Retrieved 2008-06-07. 
  7. ^ Alternative Comics Indy Friendly Stores listing
  8. ^ Yelp
  9. ^ "Comic book maven celebrates 30 years of That’s Entertainment, Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Tuesday, April 12, 2011". Retrieved 2011-04-13. 
  10. ^ Borrego, Anne Marie (2000-05-15). "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and (Almost) Love eBay". Inc. Magazine. Retrieved 2008-06-08. 
  11. ^ Honan, William H. (2001-04-14). "H. R. Ball, 79, Ad Executive Credited With Smiley Face". The New York Times. p. C6. 
  12. ^ Worcester Telegram March 6, 2009 http://www.telegram.com/article/20090306/NEWS/903060414/-1/eworcester&template=eworcester
  13. ^ Niles, David (2006-12-10). "Rex Trailer". telegram.com video. Worcester Telegram. Retrieved 2007-11-07. 
  14. ^ Owen, Paula J. (September 1, 2011). "'Boomtown’s' Rex Trailer ridin’ into region". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved August 26, 2012. 
  15. ^ Worcester Magazine http://www.worcestermagazine.com/content/view/3928/
  16. ^ "Marmon Place, meet Lois Lane. by Steve Foskett, Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette, May, 2011". Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  17. ^ "Street may get city rewrite as Lois Lane by Nick Kotsopoulos, Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Tuesday, July 24, 2012". Retrieved 2012-08-16. 
  18. ^ "That’s entertaining! Park Ave. store lands ‘Lois Lane’ by editorial staff, Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Wednesday, September 3, 2012". Retrieved 2012-09-03. 
  19. ^ "City street becomes ‘Lois Lane’ Will small byway take on super powers? by Craig S. Semon, Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Wednesday, December 26, 2012". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 
  20. ^ "Lois Lane takes the spotlight by Craig S. Semon, Published in Worcester Telegram & Gazette, Monday, December 31, 2012". Retrieved 2012-01-01. 

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