Happy New Year!

Now, about that.

We can all agree that 2020, while fun to say, could very well shape up to be a bludgeoning of a year. The election, the continued melting of the planet, our inevitable poor showing in the dressage event at the Summer Olympics, all of it could make for a very bumpy ride.

The feeling here is that we’re going to need to be there, supporting each other. So it seems appropriate to start with giving that support, Day One, to a local small business named for a disaster shelter.

Atomic Basement Comics and Creators Lab is having what they call a Not So Soft Opening today, New Year’s Day. There will be new releases as well as the last several week’s worth of comics. Atomic Basement is located at 400 E Third St. just about a block from, and on the same side of the street as, Fingerprints Music. That’s not happenstance as Mike Wellman, one of the shop’s co-owners, said he purposely looked for a spot close to Fingerprints in order to feed “a really bad vinyl addiction.”

Wellman also has it pretty bad for comics, an artform he’s both worked in and worked on for about a quarter of a century. (And, as you can see from the photo below, Mike, the man in yellow, can wear the heck out of a jaunty suit.)

If his name sounds familiar, he was, until recently, working with Comic Bug in downtown L.A. Now he and partner Tony Davies have opened up Atomic which will be open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On Wednesdays, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Creators Lab kicks in and the shop will become a sort of salon where writers and artists can convene to experiment and hone their craft of making comic books and graphic novels. Wellman said he aims to have writers and artists in the shop as much as he can to meet not only fans but those who aspire to be like them.

To that end, the soft open is at 12 p.m., but if you get there in the afternoon, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., you’ll be greeted by a quartet of amazing artists: Don Nguyen, Don Walker, Ray Anthony-Height and Kayden Phoenix.

See how this support thing works? You give and they get; they give and you get. It’s all very cyclical, like the seasons. It’s nice.

Atomic Basement Comics and Creators Lab is located at 400 E Third St. The soft opening is from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, click here.