By Martie Thompson
Bobby Pendexter took a circuitous route to his present job as owner of Cosmic Comics in Mandarin. The son of a career Navy man, Pendexter moved to Jacksonville in the mid-1970s when his dad retired from the military. He graduated from Fletcher High School and studied business and Spanish at Florida Community College of Jacksonville and Jacksonville University with plans to become an accountant.
Those dreams waned and he instead spent 20 years in the restaurant management and catering business. Reinventing himself yet again, Pendexter next went into the distribution business for local print media outlets. About two years ago, he added comic book sales to his resume.
1. How did Cosmic Comics get started?
I was helping a friend who had a comic book store at a flea market. It was open two days a week, but I was always there seven days a week, marketing and setting up. Eventually, I bought him out. Not long after that, I outgrew the flea market and began looking for a place to open a storefront. On Friday the 13th, February 13, 2015, I opened Cosmic Comics in Mandarin.
2) What made you interested in the comic book business?
I have been collecting comic books — mostly Super Heroes, Batman, Silver Surfer, the classics — since I was eight years old. I had them in boxes and drawers everywhere in our house. As is so often the case, my mom sold everything when we moved and I eventually had to start all over as a collector.
3) What is the most popular item in the store?
There really isn’t any one thing. The appeal of the store is there is so much variety. Everyone finds something from their youth. I always say that we only allow three “wows” per visit. What Cosmic Comics has that no one else offers is back stock and old issues. We have not only new and used comics, but new and loose action figures, Hot Wheels, Lego figures, Star Wars memorabilia and baseball cards.
4) How do you get your stock?
I get it from various places. Some of it is from what I’ve collected over the years. Also, community members know that I buy and sell items, so I get a lot of stuff from them. People sometimes don’t want to part with an item, but if money is tight, they know I use up-to-date pricing guides and will offer a good price. I’m hoping to expand this location and begin a gaming area for tabletop games like Magic and Pokemon. My favorite part of this is the customers who are true collectors. It’s a lot of fun here everyday and never feels like a job.
5) What saying would you put on a fortune cookie?
“A man does what he can until his destiny is revealed..” It’s from Tom Cruise’s character in the movie, “The Last Samurai.”
Photo by Martie Thompson