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November 28, 2009
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Brothers bring comic book store to Carson

When brothers Donald and Tim Karter opened their comic book store in Las Vegas 22 years ago, neither had any experience running a business.

Donald had lost his job at a casino and Tim worked at a video rental store, and they needed help paying the rent.

But tucked away in storage was an opportunity: Since childhood, Tim Karter had collected comic books and stored some 4,500 of them into 15 boxes.

"I never wanted to throw them out," said Tim, 54.

The brothers figured they might as well try to sell them. They created Dreamwell Comics, which ultimately became one of the longest-standing comic book stores in Las Vegas until the brothers sold it last year.

Now, they will be selling comic books out of Dreamwell Comics in Carson City by December, distributing everything from the adventures of The Cisco Kid to the X-Men from their store at 4250 Cochise St.

While they have dozens of classics, the brothers are rebuilding their inventory as well as their racks, which their nephew is constructing.

The brothers said they plan on selling everything from the traditional comic books to Japanese anime to memorabilia from the "Twilight" and "Harry Potter" movies.

The Karters say the comic book industry has changed since they first started in it more than two decades ago.

Adults, usually in their 20s and 30s, are their primary customers, accounting for about 90 percent of their business, Tim Karter said.

"They gotta come in every week to get their fix," he said, adding many customers collect comics for years and own every issue that features their favorite superhero.

Howard Cutshaw, 56, a longtime reader of comic books, poked his head into the Karters' store as they were setting up. He pointed to a $150 copy of the Sub-Mariner hanging next to copies of the Lone Ranger, Batman and Flash Gordon.

"You sure don't see that anymore," he said.

But children are finding new reasons to read comic books again, the Karters said, especially as characters such as Spiderman and the Dark Knight continue to rake in millions at the box office.

In August, Disney purchased comic book behemoth Marvel and its catalog of more than 5,000 characters for $4 billion.

Meanwhile, the popular comic book conference Comic-Con, which started as a one-day conference with a few hundred participants in 1970, has now become an entertainment industry powerhouse, attracting more than 100,000 attendees to its San Diego convention each summer.

While the brothers will be starting over again in Carson City, Donald Karter, 67, who started reading comics as a child, said it won't be much different from when he and Tim opened their first store 22 years ago.

"When we opened up the Las Vegas store we had nothing," Karter said. "We just used a piece of this and a piece of that ... we had just our own collection of comics."

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The Nevada Appeal Updated Nov 30, 2009 06:49PM Published Nov 28, 2009 12:24AM Copyright 2009 The Nevada Appeal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.