No, it isn’t raining in Los Angeles. That precipitation you see outside is runoff from the tears streaming down the faces of thousands of nerds, comic book fans, comedy aficionados, performers, and countless others who called Meltdown Comics home for the past 25 years. On Wednesday, news broke that after a quarter-century of purveying geeky goodness to the greater Los Angeles area, Meltdown Comics and the Nerdmelt Showroom would be closing their doors for good on March 30, 2018.
On its surface, the closure of Meltdown Comics may seem like yet another casualty of the Amazon era, a relic of a bygone age in a world where people either order their comics online or read them digitally. Or perhaps it’s simply a casualty of the changing face of Los Angeles, which seems destined to have luxury condos erected upon its aging bones. None of that matters now, though, because the deed is done. Meltdown Comics is dead. Long live Meltdown Comics.
Anyone who spent time at Meltdown Comics could tell that it wasn’t your typical comic book shop. It was enormous. Its neon sign shined like a beacon of hope to weary souls from all over Los Angeles looking for a place to take respite from the slings and arrows of the outside world. Inside its sprawling halls, you could pore over tomes collecting classic comics, read the newest spandex-clad superhero stories, peruse a robust collection of indie comics and zines made by local creators, agonize over whether you wanted to spend your paycheck on vintage action figures, go on a high-fantasy adventure in a game of
Much like the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater gave rise to a generation of comedians that cracked us up on TV and in movies, Meltdown and its theater–which was curated in association with Nerdist–the Nerdmelt Showroom served as a launching pad for some of the funniest and most creative individuals in Hollywood to hone their craft before breaking big. What began as Kumail Nanjiani, Jonah Ray, and Emily V. Gordon’s weekly stand-up showcase transformed into a television show on Comedy Central. A recording studio in the building’s attic served as ground zero for Chris Hardwick’s sprawling media empire, beginning with the podcast formerly known as The Nerdist Podcast. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. It allowed so many artists, writers, comedians, performers, and fans to have a shared community of creative, nerdy, wonderful people who came together to wear their passions on their sleeve in what felt like an oasis. As a cultural institution and a community center, Meltdown will be sorely missed.
Here’s a letter written by Meltdown Comics founder Gaston Dominguez-Letelier:
While Meltdown may be gone, it will never be forgotten–especially by all of us here at Nerdist. So long and thanks for all the deeply nerdy laughs.
What was your favorite memory of Meltdown Comics and the Nerdmelt Showroom? Let us know in the comments below.