The old Hamilton Hotel building, located in the heart of downtown Hagerstown, has been condemned by the city. The reason? The building was without heat for the entire winter, causing the water pipes to freeze and then burst. The building’s lone tenant, Atomic Comics, Hagerstown’s lone comic book shop, has been forced to close indefinitely.
Anyone who has visited Atomic Comics in the last 15 years should not find it surprising that it’s been condemned. It was always very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer. It reeked of dust and cigarette smoke. The aisles were always extremely cluttered with boxes and miscellaneous pieces of junk.
The last time I was there, years ago, there was a used above-ground swimming pool folded up with a “for sale” sign sitting near the door. It was the first thing you saw when you walked in. My guess is that when a city inspector visited the location after the pipes burst, it was the first time anyone from the city set foot in Atomic Comics.
According to the Herald-Mail, Atomic Comics never even had a restroom, which is against city code. Why did it take the city this long to discover how bad the conditions there were? It’s located across the street from the county courthouse.
The place should have been condemned years ago. If Hagerstown city officials had been doing their jobs, it would have been.
Update: Bleeding Cool, the Internet’s scummiest comic book news site, has posted about the closing and the following comment was left by a reader:
I was actually just at this store on Saturday. A friend and I were looking for stuff that our shop had missed, and in the past, Atomic had been the “not my regular, but once or twice a year” shop. We thought it was a bit odd that the electricity was off – especially since this isn’t the best organized shop when the lights are on. But the owner had flashlights and spotlights, so we got to play Silent Hill – The Comic Shop. It was definitely a surreal experience, and I hope he can find a workable solution. I don’t envy him moving his store stock though.