A Haven For Nerds Through Time: The Mile High Comics History
“Comic book retailing is the last refuge of the iconoclast and individuals who are unwilling to conform”
– Chuck Rozanski (Duncan)
When I was 13, I went to school, came home, read, and had little worries in the world beyond that. I read the occasional comic, but they were never my favorite. When Chuck Rozanski was 13, he decided that the world needed more comics. From his parents’ basement he founded what would later become the worlds largest comics retailer: Mile High Comics. What started as him selling at flea markets and conventions as a individual salesman, soon turned into the first brick-and-mortar store in Boulder, CO, in 1974 (Mile High Comics History). Though this store has since been taken over by Time Warp, it was still a milestone in the chain’s history (Anonymous, “Interview”).
Since the founding of this store, Mile High Comics has gone through a lot of development. By 1977, Chuck Rozanski could already count 4 stores part of the chain. He was only 21 years old and already the leader of a growing comic empire (Mile High Comics History). December of that year, by a fortunate coincidence, Rozanski was able to purchase the Edgar Church Collection. This amazing find consisted of roughly 16,000 comic books from the “Golden Age”, the late 30s to early 50s. This brought about a change in Rozanski’s business (Duncan). With profitable sales, he was able to make enough profit to invest in a large warehouse situated in Globeville, Denver, which is mostly paired with the central Highlands, one of the trendiest and most diverse districts of the city (Denver “Highlands”).
Initially, the book lover just used this warehouse for storage. Then it went over to open one day per month, then to every weekdays, and then, in 2012, the warehouse was eventually opened to the public seven days a week. By doing this, Rozanski created “the largest single comics facility in the world” (Rozanski “Tour”) . The gigantic Jason Street Mega Store has been home to many events which it is able to host due to its huge interior. Just last December they held their so far largest auction of comics, figurines, and books that featured around 1,200 items and was directed mainly to children and other buyers on a budget (Rozanski “Update”). In addition to this vast facility and the three other stores in Denver, Mile High Comics gets a large number of online orders from all over the world (Mile High Comics History). This development has been facilitated by creation of the store’s the website in 1997 (Wayback Machine “1997”).
Understandably, Chuck Rozanski is very proud of this empire he created. When I called the Megastore to ask some questions, his employees assured me that had he been available, he would have talked my ear off. “He likes to talk. Look at all the reports he wrote on the website!”, is what I got from a friendly store assistant (Anonymous, “Interview”). This made me wonder about him. From the videos he posts on his Youtube channel you can see his dedication to the store and sharing the love for comic books. His passion reminded me of Christopher Morley’s quirky, book loving character Roger Mifflin. He’s a traveling bookseller in his novel Parnassus on Wheels and regards his vocation a salvation for the people. Now look at Rozanski’s quote from the beginning of the post again. Though he and Roger Mifflin might be in completely different fields of literature, you can see that they share their love for books and are eager to share it (Morley).