In the News: Fidi comic book store Chameleon closed

The Times’ Corey Kilgannon in his Endangered Species series reports that the comic book store Chameleon Comics and Cards on Maiden Lane closed on March 31, after declining sales and a new lease that would have brought the monthly rent over $10K.

The store was opened at the Broadway and Maiden Lane location in 1992 by Jimmy Wu, who founded what he called Comics Underground in 1989 while he was in college. He opened his first store in the basement of a mall in Flushing and started attracting local collectors of comic books, graphic novels and trading cards. Wu’s brother Steve eventually joined the business when they expanded into sports trading cards.

The Times story says the store attracted everyone from locals to kids to Wall Street types. Wu told the Times: “We became part of the community — a lot of people came here just to hang out and get away from work,” said Mr. Wu, as he hugged some of his customers. “But with a store like this, the profit margin is very low. It’s not like a Chanel store where you can make a few sales a day.” He tried looking for other retail space in downtown Manhattan, he said, “but the rents are just too crazy.”



  1. Those guys were always so sweet to my daughter, she still follows the titles they recommended. That’s a tough biz so very sympathetic, but we will miss stopping in there after class or on the way back from the grocery- a shame there will be another empty store front for however long it takes for a Chanel or similar to move in.

  2. A pizza place on the same side of the street nearby the card place, closed after many years, and same with a picture frame place. Neither of these places found new tenants to rent. The landlords keep raising prices, tenants move out, they are unable to rent out the spaces, they sit empty for years, what sense does this make? Maiden Lane close to Broadway looks horrible, so many empty storefronts, not to mention trashy filthy looking streetscape, we need a neighborhood beautification project.