October 17, 2018
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  • Elmer Banister, better known as Fudd, has seen many trends — such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon — come and go throughout the years that he has run his business, Fudd’s Rabbit Hole.
    Photo by Sharon Mager
    Elmer Banister, better known as Fudd, has seen many trends — such as Magic: The Gathering or Pokémon — come and go throughout the years that he has run his business, Fudd’s Rabbit Hole.

Fudd’s Rabbit Hole To Give Away 5,000 Comics For 25th Anniversary Celebration

Sharon Mager
View Bio
March 20, 2018

In 1993, a little comic book shop called Fudd’s Rabbit Hole opened at 8519 Fort Smallwood Road in Riviera Beach, drawing a steady stream of kids and the young at heart who buy comics, cards and figures. That same year, Magic: The Gathering cards appeared, and in 1996, Pokémon fever hit with a vengeance.

“It was crazy,” said owner Elmer Banister, better known in the community as Elmer “Fudd” or just plain “Fudd.” Everyone around was searching for the elusive Pikachu. That was long before the virtual game had teens and young adults scrambling around looking for the popular characters with their cellphones. Then came the milk caps, or “pogs” for a short time, Fudd said, shaking his head with a chuckle.

The shop hasn’t changed in a quarter century. It’s still a small, narrow space, with wood floors filled with comics, action figures and cards. Everywhere you turn, up, down and around, the shop is packed, yet always clean and well organized.

Banister started the shop when he was engaged, and his fiancé noticed he had a tremendous collection of boxes. “She asked, ‘What’s in the backroom?’ and I said, ‘800 boxes of comic books,’” he recalled.

That’s when the light bulb came on and the idea took off. “I always collected comics. My uncle used to work at a bookstore in town. In 1958, he could get them for a penny a piece. Every Saturday, he bought me 100 to 150 comics and I just started collecting them. Back then, I loved all the classics – The Avengers, Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Sea Devils. I read everything. I just loved comics.”

Fudd said comics, along with Magic and Pokémon, have been the bestsellers through the years.

“They never faded out. The hype wore off, but people who collect do it constantly. It’s a basic hobby,” he said.

The store has lots of figures too, from the minis to giant standing figures. A large Darth Vader now glares menacingly from atop the counter. There are also posters; some even have Banister’s face on them. “Kids come in and draw me,” he said. “They bring me pictures constantly. Everyone likes to be an artist, or a writer, and they come and show me what they’ve done.” He hangs those pictures along the wall behind the counter.

The shop takes orders for specialty items or inventory the shop doesn’t keep in stock. “We have preview books to let them know what’s coming out. There isn’t anything we can’t get,” he said.

Collectors vary. Some dabble in it, but others are very particular. They’re in the store for every edition or they want a certain figure colored in a special way, or with a particular feature. Some buy figures and play with them. Others keep them in a package on a shelf.

“We have a half-dozen major comic book titles,” Banister said. “Something new comes out every week. There’s something going on constantly to keep someone coming back.”

Banister, 25 years older than he was when he began, sees that kids who came in the ‘90s for Pokémon cards are now bringing their own kids for cards and figures.

“The kids stand there and look, and they can barely talk. They’re in awe. That makes it great,” he said.

On May 5, Fudd’s Rabbit Hole will have an anniversary special from 11:00am to 9:00pm with raffles, free comics and other goodies. “We’re going to give away 5,000 comic books. It’s going to be a fun day,” Banister said.

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