A brotherly business: Bookstore Fantastic Comics

Jeff and Uel Carter, owners of Fantasy Comics in downtown Berkeley, which opened on May 1. Photo: Tracey Taylor

When chatting with Paul Kilduff in The Monthly’s June issue about the changing face of downtown Berkeley, San Francisco Chronicle writer and Berkeleyan John King mentioned in passing the demise of Shattuck Avenue’s Comic Relief.

“…I guess the comic bookstore closed because the guy who had it forever has just run out of steam,” King said.

Far be it for us to correct the estimable Mr King, for whom we have the utmost respect, but in this case we felt we should put the record straight.

King is not wrong in that the owner of Comic Relief, Rory Root, passed away three years ago. As we reported across a couple of stories, the bookstore struggled once Root was no longer at the helm, and finally closed its doors for the last time in February.


But it’s important to note that two new comic stores have arisen from the ashes of Comic Relief. The store’s stock was bought by Dark Carnival owner Jack Rems who opened The Escapist on Claremont Avenue in March.

And, as we reported on March 29, brothers Jeff and Uel Carter have cleared out the old Comic Relief space at 2026 Shattuck and, on May 1, opened the airy, good-looking Fantastic Comics.

“We are definitely open for business and looking forward to seeing comic fans soon,” said Jeff Carter.