When my family moved to Santa Cruz in 1980, one of the first locations we discovered (probably even before finding a close supermarket) was the comic store Atlantis Fantasy World on Pacific Ave
It was this huge musty barn that echoed the sounds of an idle pinball machine, and had movie posters and comic books plastering the walls. It was like nothing I'd ever seen before. I would end up spending much of my younger years here, and my allowance money.
Joe Ferarra was the proprietor, along with his partner Jim Aschbacher ( I would often fetch Jim and Joe's lunch for them). They were nice enough guys, but shrewd comic book salesmen. Usually offering you a mere 5 cents for any comic you ever tried to sell them.
Probably one of the highlights of the shops history was being featured in the Hollywood production Lost Boys (1986) as the comic store the nerds meet at. As much as I couldn't stand that film, I was proud to see Atlantis featured in such a high profile. I'd always imagined getting a job there as an adult.
Sadly, in the Loma Prieta 1989 earthquake, the building that housed Atlantis collapsed. Luckily no one was hurt, and the shop managed to move into a FEMA tent that the city had set up, and eventually moved to its current location where it's been since. Though it's not the same place as I remember as a kid, Joe still runs the shop today, and it's still going strong.
1020 Cedar St.,
Santa Cruz, CA 95060