Collectable Obsessions 

At Two Coral Gables Shops, It’s all About Toys, Tunes and Comics 

For husband-and-wife team Waldo Rodriguez and Johanna Garcia, it used to be about the figurines, those collectable anime toys, miniature statuettes of Batman, the Flash and Supergirl, and Pez dispensers of characters from Charlie Brown, the Simpsons, or the Flintstones. “We were like a 7-11 for collectables,” says Rodriguez. “But about three or four years ago the vinyl business started to pop up. Now our main products are records and music posters” along with T-shirts of pop music icons.

There is still an army of classic toys and boxes of vintage comic books at Gables Records N’ Comics. But the shop, located on the second floor above PPole Pizza on Miracle Mile, now caters to customers who own turn- tables, searching for long-lost LPs of yesteryear’s rock stars. 

Waldo Rodriguez And Johanna Garcia at Records N’ Comics.
Husband-and-wife team Waldo Rodriguez And Johanna Garcia at Records N’ Comics.
Collectable Obsessions
Vinyl records from the 90’s and earlier at Records n’ Comics

So, what’s hot these days? “Anything from the ’90s or early 2000s,” says Rodriguez. “It has nothing to do with who is more popular, or who is in demand. It has to do with scarcity. You can find 10,000 Pearl Jam CDs, but very little vinyl. Heavy metal is impossible to find because it’s from the ’90s and early 2000s. There was just no vinyl then. If you can find a Nine Inch Nails, I’ll take it.” And if you can find it, it can be worth hundreds of dollars. Even a copy of the Beatles’ Abbey Road, from the days when LPs were in vogue, sells for $85. “Lou Reed sells well because it’s hard to get,” says Rodriguez. “But I couldn’t sell a Carole King to my mother.”

These days the couple spends most of their time on the road in search of collectable albums. Both were local school teachers – he at West Miami High, she at Gables High – but Rodriguez has since retired and Garcia now teaches K-12 classes only online. “The store is doing well,” he says. “It pays for itself and gives us a little bit of profit for travel money, and that’s fine.” 

Collectable Obsessions
Korka Comics is all about action figures and comics

At Korka Comix on the other end of town, at the small strip mall just south of Havana Harry’s on Le Jeune Road, music plays no part of the collectable strategy. Here it’s all about comic books that typically cost between $3.99 and $5.99 – titles like Doctor Strange, Shadow Man, The Avengers and Suicide Squad – and collectable figurines. There are glass cases filled with action figurines of Wonder Woman, Iron Man, and the Hulk, and one wall is lined with Funko Pop! collectable figurines, which storekeeper Myrelis Jordan calls “the beanie babies of today.” The Funko Pops cost $14.99 each, while most of the action figures cost around $20 – though some cost more, like $35 for a bizarre miniature action figure of Bob Ross, television’s paint-by-numbers guru. 

“I’ve been a nerd as long as I can remember, so I love working here,” says Jordan. “We’ve got a pretty good mixture of collectables and comics. One lady from Panama came in and bought eight hundred dollars’ worth of comic books because she said they don’t have any there.” 

Gables Records N’ Comics
277 Miracle Mile, Suite #203
(786) 879.4407

Korka Comics
4708 S. Le Jeune Road
(786) 953.7092