A Photojournalism Response Essay to Star Clipper’s Announced Closing
by Mikkel Snyder, FreezeRay Editor
On January 15, 2015, Star Clipper customers received notification over Facebook and email that their doors would be closing. The popular comic book shop based on the Delmar Loop meant a lot to St. Louis residents. The bulk of the essay was written the day of the announcement, and was edited to reflect additional information gained in the following weeks.
Star Clipper staff knew about the closure about a month earlier. This essay is dedicated to the incredible community that I, and many others, found thanks to them and owner.
When you’re growing up and moving around a lot, one of the things you don’t actually notice is that places change over time. It seems simple enough. However, when you’re moving every few years, you can’t really appreciated it because to you, everything is new by virtue of being different. You don’t see places rise and fall. Roads pretty much stay the same. Life goes on.
As a military brat, I didn’t start noticing that places change until my family stopped moving and we actually lived in the same house in Maryland for nearly a decade. However, given that four of those years overlapped with my college career, I can’t say any of the changes I noticed affected me in any meaningful way.
Today, as I continue my attempts to settle in St. Louis, I’m forced to confront this challenging concept of change that comes up with being a resident. That is to say, the loss of a beloved institution and establishment.
St. Louis’ City Museum, a fitting home.
Star Clipper elevated me to a new kind of nerd. The first time I walked into the store, I just started browsing the stacks to see the plethora books available and I stumbled on Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman series, a ten volume set and to this day one of my prized possessions. Being reckless, I purchased all ten volumes in celebration for the end of the semester and proceeded to read that series in a weekend. This started a long standing ritual with me and a store.
I can’t iterate enough times how important this place was to me. I can’t tell you all of the thing I loved about it, from the incredible that has guided me through the selection, the store front itself being pitch perfect, the amazing events I’ve gotten to be a part of.
I will say Star Clipper is responsible for the two bookshelves of comics that I display proudly in my living room. I will say that I’m really, really sad I need to find a new comic book shop, because if there is a single lesson to be taken away from this, it is not the fact things change, but that I can’t stop reading comics now. I’m in too deep. There are too many good stories that I’ve stumbled on to.
So where do I go from here given this news?
Well, clearly this is not what I ever wanted to hear. Clearly, Star Clipper is so important to me. Clearly I don’t want to find a new store and if I had the funds necessary, I would toss money until the doors could be kept open for eternity.
Unfortunately, that’s not an option. And unfortunately, I think that’s growing up.
But mostly, I’m going to keep being a nerd. It’s the best way I can honor Star Clipper, its staff, its owners, and everything they have done for me.
In the half month since writing this first draft of this essay, Star Clipper Facebook Page has linked to many an article that range from talking about the history of the store to its current standing. Rather than try and incorporate these directly into the essay, I wanted to present a few of the ones I found resonant as a coda below.
Star Clipper Announced Closing in the Loop
Star Clipper is St. Louis’ Latest Culture Retailer Casualty
Why Star Clipper’s Owners Shuttered Their Beloved St. Louis Comic Book Shop