Meltdown Comics, Home of ‘The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail,’ to Close After 25 Years

Los Angeles landmark was a hub for Los Angeles comedy scene and an icon for comic book fans and creators

Last Updated: March 21, 2018 @ 9:12 PM

Meltown Comics, an institution of Los Angeles geekdom and the home of Comedy Central’s “The Meltdown With Jonah and Kumail,” is closing its doors next month.

The shop, whose iconic alien mascot “Mel” graced Sunset Boulevard for more than two decades, is closing its doors forever on April 1. Meltdown Comics founder Gaston Dominguez-Letelier made the announcement Wednesday in a post to the shop’s official blog.

“As is the case with all good things, at some point they must come to an end,” Dominguez-Letelier wrote. “Meltdown Comics is no exception to this rule and so, after 25 years coveting every comic treasure we could lay our hands on, I’m sharing that on March 30th I’ll be closing our doors for the final time.”

Founded in 1993, Meltdown long served as a Hollywood HQ for all things dork, selling new titles, back issues, and a plethora of toys and collectibles to generations of comics fans. Not just a must-stop for shoppers, Meltdown was also beloved by comics professionals –indeed, the one-eyed alien mascot “Mel” was designed by Daniel Clowes, best known as the author of “Ghost World,” made into an acclaimed 2001 film directed by Terry Zwigoff.

Meltdown also became an important part of L.A.’s comedy scene. The shop partnered with Nerdist for The Nerdist Showroom, a small comedy stage adjacent to the comic shop featuring shows by up and coming alt-comedians, and serving as a launching pad for many promising careers. Most notably, beginning in 2010 the showroom was host to a weekly standup series from Kumail Nanjiani, Emily V. Gordon and Jonah Ray, which in turn was turned into “The Meltdown with Jonah and Kumail,” a stand up show that ran on Comedy Central from 2014-2016.

“8years ago @meltdowngaston told me to start my own monthly comedy show in the back room of @meltdowncomics. So I did,” Ray said in an Instagram post Wednesday. “Gaston said I should take it weekly, I said I didn’t have the time or energy to book and host a weekly show by myself. Then @emilyvgordon & @kumailn moved to town. while getting dinner with @deannarooney and I one night they said they had to check out a venue because they wanted to start a weekly comedy show. I said ‘what if you checked out my monthly show, if you like it, let’s turn it into a weekly show.’ They did, so we did… Then we did three seasons on @comedycentral. None of this would have been possible without Gaston. He creates culture around himself. creates communities. After 25 years he’s closing Meltdown and it will always be a high water mark for the creative community of Los Angeles.”

As news spread, comedians, comics creators and fans mourned Meltdown Comics on twitter.

8years ago @meltdowngaston told me to start my own monthly comedy show in the back room of @meltdowncomics. So I did. For about a year me and @edwardasalazar yelled at eachother a bunch while @exzactamundo slung beers in the back. Gaston said I should take it weekly, I said I didn’t have the time or energy to book and host a weekly show by myself. Then @emilyvgordon & @kumailn moved to town. while getting dinner with @deannarooney and I one night they said they had to check out a venue because they wanted to start a weekly comedy show. I said “what if you checked out my monthly show, if you like it, let’s turn it into a weekly show”. They did, so we did. Then @voteroberts brought @davekloc and Kloc asked if he could make flyers for the show. Then @mikerosenstein started hanging out, he brought @lancebangs and they thought it would be fun to try and make this into a tv show. Then we did three seasons on @comedycentral. None of this would have been possible without Gaston. He creates culture around himself. creates communities. After 25 years he’s closing Meltdown and it will always be a high water mark for the creative community of Los Angeles. #RIPMeltdown

A post shared by Jonah Ray Rodrigues (@jonahray) on

Read Gaston Dominguez-Letelier’s full statement below:

To The City of Angels,

As is the case with all good things, at some point they must come to an end. Meltdown Comics is no exception to this rule and so, after 25 years coveting every comic treasure we could lay our hands on, I’m sharing that on March 30th I’ll be closing our doors for the final time.

No business is easy, least of all one rooted in paper surrounded by brick and mortar, yet against all odds we survived just long enough to host, share, and celebrate some of the most creative and imaginative artists in the world. It has been my personal privilege to welcome so many incredibly talented minds through our doors giving them and their work a home in this great city of ours.

And what a wonderfully surreal run it’s been… we’ve watched every fad, trend, and next big thing come and go while customers became celebrities, children blossomed to adults, geeks morphed into moguls, and fanboys scored Oscars. Throughout it all, I’ve been most fortunate to be surrounded by my family and the best staff anyone could have ever wished for – through thick and thin you supported Meltdown and invested in me, I will never be able to repay you but know that I am eternally grateful and forever in your debt.

As I prepare to extinguish Sunset’s neon know that there is a new path for me (more later) and I close Meltdown without any regret. For 25 years I have been enriched by every inquisitive mind I have encountered on this journey and for that I humbly thank you, all of you.

In signing off, I urge you all to continue creating comics, buying comics, and supporting the comic book world that has given us all so much over the years.

For one last time, #LetsgoMELTDOWN!

Thank you, LA

Sincerely,

Gaston DL
Meltdown Comics
October 26, 1993 – April 1, 2018