Saturday, March 27, 2010

Hal and the Bookie Parlor

March 29th would have been my friend Hal Blevin's 79th birthday. He fought cancer twice in his lifetime and beat it once. He and his wife, Sue ran the best comic book store Dayton Ohio ever had, the Bookie Parlor. It was more than a place to buy comics. You knew you'd get a friendly dose of Hal's attitude, which was always good for a laugh or two, and a great selection of comics, baseball cards, posters, t shirts, and supplies.

Everyone should have a Bookie Parlor as they grow up. It was a place to run to when life's demands got a bit overwhelming. You'd see some old friends, make some new ones, and just take a break for a while. Sort of like a bar without the alcohol! Their store existed at the perfect time in comics' history. There was exciting ground being broken, really talented artists whose styles you could spot a mile away. New comic book-related merchandise showing up everywhere. It seems to me all that has gone away. Gone are the days when you would see a favorite artist's name in the credit box and know you were in for a treat.

Hal and Sue were very important to my artistic life as well. They would display and sell my paintings for me, and always refused to take a commission. Because of connections I made through them I was able to visit Marvel Comics in 1986. I knew if a new Jeff Jones or Frank Frazetta book was coming out that they'd make sure they had it in stock for me. Speaking of Frazetta their first store had his posters everywhere, including the ceiling!! Artistic nirvana!!!

To this day I miss Hal's friendship, his sense of humor, and the atmosphere which only a place like the Bookie Parlor could provide. His wife, Sue is still an important part of our family.


  1. So true, Rob; places like that are a joy - and rarer and rarer to find...

    (Tho "Roger's Time Machine" in NYC is pretty much like that; hope you can see it sometime.)

    Thanks for the story.
    -Craig W.

  2. Actually, it's spelled "Rob" but pronounced, "Mike"!


    Thanks, Craig!

  3. Dear M.B.-

    Okay, Mike - blame the meds! (Fighting some throat/bronchial thingies...)

    I think I posted here, and at your fellow talented artist Rob Kelly's site, too close together!!!

    Sorry, Michael.
    -Craig (called "Greg" by many in childhood) W.

  4. Thanks for posting this. My dad was (and still is) always a big comic book guy, and he used to take me to the Bookie Parlor every week on New book day. The Bookie Parlor was an important part of my childhood. Hal was the best. We would be in there for hours.
    I totally agree, comics are not the same. And the Bookie Parlor was the greatest.

  5. Spent many days in the place...awesome.