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Comic book haven unveiled

By Alexis Matsui

Sept. 25, 2004 9:00 p.m.

Jay and Silent Bob have saved the world from fallen angels.
They’ve dealt marijuana to anyone who’ll buy it, as
well as become comic book superheroes. And now they’re after
Westwood.

With the opening of Jay and Silent Bob’s Secret Stash on
Westwood Boulevard, owner Kevin Smith has created a colorful haven
for comic book fans and Smith addicts alike.

The film director who has created the acclaimed
“Mallrats,” “Clerks,” “Dogma”
and “Chasing Amy” is excited to bring comics to the
UCLA community.

Secret Stash, a combination of varied comics and paraphernalia
from Smith’s movies, features signed copies of DVDs, original
props from movie sets and a weekly renewal of just about every
comic book you’ve heard of.

“When you own a comic book store you basically get every
title,” Smith said.

Smith is very excited about the traffic of his new location. He
found it was hard to get people to venture out to his first store
in New Jersey, about an hour outside of New York City.

“If there’s one place that has more Kevin Smith fans
than New Jersey, it’s Los Angeles,” said store employee
and third-year theater student Dave Columbo.

With his new Westwood location, Smith hopes to attract all
Southern California fans but admits that this specific placement
was strategic.

“I’d be lying if I said that UCLA wasn’t a
factor,” Smith said.

Manager Kelly Spears believes that the store’s placement
will bring nothing but success.

“Kevin’s stuff appeals to the college
community,” she said.

Columbo is equally hopeful. “The store is unique because
of all the Kevin Smith stuff, like the signed copies and movie
props,” he said. “The comic book section also has a
very good selection of trade paperbacks.”

Columbo, a comic-book-fan-turned-Kevin-Smith addict, was first
attracted to the store for its great location and comic books.

“It’s nice to have a comic store in Westwood,”
said Smith, “Before, kids were having to go much farther.
This way they can just come down from the dorms and stop
in.”

For those who aren’t all that well versed in the world of
comic books, the store’s great movie props and original set
pieces will help to make its Hollywood mark.

“Everything that’s up is totally from the
movies,” said Smith.

Props include everything from outspread “Dogma”
angel wings to a full “Daredevil” costume. Figurines
from movies and a wall full of collectable T-shirts with memorable
quotes accompany the props and comics.

What will truly make the store a hotspot are the frequent
celebrity appearances and signings that are being planned.

“We’re trying to get a lot of people from the comic
book community and the movies,” Smith said.

“The next signing will be a major figure in the comic book
world, but I can’t tell who,” Spears said.

In addition, Silent Bob’s sweet-talking cohort Jay, played
by Jason Mewes, will actually be working at the store.

The kickoff event for the store’s opening was a few weeks
ago.

For an opening that was supposed to begin at 5 p.m. and end at
10 p.m., thousands of people lined Westwood starting at 5 a.m.
Smith, being truly devoted to his fans, signed autographs into the
early morning just so that he could meet everyone who came out.

“Cats stayed in line for about eight hours,” he
said. “So we really wanted to get to everyone.”

Smith and the store’s employees had fun at the opening,
despite the hectic atmosphere.

They eventually had to close the line because there were so many
fans and paparazzi.

Mike Long, a fan who missed the opening, is excited about
getting to buy the signed DVDs at the store for his collection.

“I have every DVD of Kevin’s signed except for
“˜Clerks’ and “˜Chasing Amy,’ so I’m
going to buy them here,” he said.

“I’ve waited for hours for him at other signings.
He’s always nice and he’ll sign anything.”

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Alexis Matsui
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