Website created for Oral Histories of the Inland Empire (2018).

ADAM

Adam was born and grew up in Riverside. 


In the 1970’s he grew up in a friendly neighborhood with a touch of good old sibling rivalry. Adam jokingly shares his relationship among his siblings: You gotta have some of that. You gotta have your head beat in a little bit by the older one that is stronger than you; and, you gotta have the little one nagging at you. I grew up with brothers and sisters. They don’t let you have any confidence.” 


1975, so I was eight years old at that time. I bought packs of baseball cards with big pieces of bubble gum in ‘em. Love that bubble gum, man. And started collecting cards. I love baseball like as a kid and still now. I love baseball. Mom didn’t worry about you riding your bicycle ten houses down and hanging out at your friend’s house. Or vice versa. Summertime, get up in the morning me and three or four of my buddies, we are going to do whatever we are going to do; and, tell mom on the way out after you eat your Cheerios like hey Mom we are going to go out and do our thing. Mom: ok be home when the lights are on. 


Adam is the proud owner of a comic book store Players Dug Out, which is known by many comic book collectors throughout the Inland Empire. The company was run by his parents since 1984 and Adam took over in 1996. 


THE EARLY DAYS OF THE INLAND EMPIRE

I been in Riverside since 83’ . . . yeah the growth is crazy. like Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula they are really established within the last 25 years. I remember in High school and competing against Moreno Valley there was no any other High School . . . No Canyon Springs, no none of that. I remember going to Temecula after I graduated High School in ‘87 and driving through Temecula. One week it said Rancho California, and the next week it said Temecula on their sign, like they couldn’t decide what they were. So that growth factor and how those areas have grown less than thirty years . . . unbelievable yeah . . . That’s awesome. It’s a great area. I love the Inland Empire. It’s awesome.


MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT THE I. E.

Ahhhh . . .  that’s all relative to someone’s upbringing. Other areas that are less safe than others. So, if you go to Orange County. You have Santa Ana, I’m not picking on them, and you have Irvine. What does Irvine think of Santa Ana? They are both in Orange County.


Moreno Valley is another example . . .  Early mid 90’s when the carjacking thing started . . . it seemed like it started out here or at least that’s the public perception and the news covered it like, Moreno Valley, the capital of carjacking. I remember a person getting removed from a car, and the person holding on the car getting dragged for feet. You can talk to officers and they have names for this area. But, granted they don’t see any of the joy on a daily basis for the most part all they get is a phone call.


YOU CANNOT COMPARE COMICS TO BURGERS

We opened the store in ‘84 . . . I’d right after school get out I’d go directly to the store and work from like three o’clock till like seven. And go home, do homework. It was fun. You are in high school, so you don’t necessarily tell everyone of your friends in the 80’s. I mean you are worried about what other people think . . . It’s high school, and you sure as heck worried about what girls think. But, regardless, it would have been like working at a McDonald’s. Only difference is McDonald’s is kinda cool because you can come in and get a free burger or something.


You got to understand . . . In the mid to late 80’s this industry was thought of a lot differently, you know I’m saying. Like the whole idea of nerd-geek thing that we joke about now. There are a lot of nerd chicks and stuff . . . Nahhh dude, like in the 80’s that’s when Comic Con was Comic Con, and, they made fun of any anybody going to Comic Con.


COMICS IS MORE THAN KID STUFF

I equate our comic shop a little bit to like the barber shop man. We can talk about the I.E. being so great and so terrible at the same time. You go in and just hang out and you talk about current things, talk about comics, talk about movies, talk about your girlfriend. 


A professor at UCR, a second-generation customer, he’s a scientist having to do with . . . um like metals. Now he’s involved with comic book writers with Greg Pak, Scott Snyder and Tom King and these guys working on the Metal Series.Like things that are plausible with metals scientifically if it is even plausible.So they’ll go to him and say hey . . . um we are going to do this and matter of fact they did it with like Iron Man. So, like he has a relationship with these guys in the comic industry, and in the movie industry. They pay him to come, and sit down to do this. 


I have people that travel a good distance. I have a guy that comes from Twenty-nine Palms. He shops with a dude in Palm Springs until . . . um he went on a Wednesday and the guy wasn’t open. He looked up to see the next local shop . . . it was Moreno Valley. That’s a pretty long distance. He’s been shopping with me almost 20 years. Me, him, his wife—all have birthdays in December. So we are always joking. 


They cuddle my comic store. I become their comic shop.