Lifestyle Comic book shops in NYC: Where to buy collectibles, graphic novels and more By Emily Schienvar firstname.lastname@example.org Updated August 8, 2016 9:37 AM Print Share fbShare Tweet gShare Email New York City is the birthplace of the great modern comics -- Superman, Batman, Captain America and more made their start in the last century, all with local ties. According to comics industry analyst John Jackson Miller, June 2016 saw the best unit sales in nearly 20 years. His blog Chomichron.com tweeted from its official account on July 12 that, “adjusted for inflation, the modern-era #comicmarket peak was 1993, at $1.4 billion in 2015 dollars. Still have a ways to go to get to that.” Even so, the industry seems to be improving. While the Golden Age of comics' major antagonist Adolf Hitler isn't driving the storytelling of comic books today, Marvel and DC Comics’ cinematic enterprises on the silver screen are driving a comic book consumption resurgence. Check out these great NYC comic shops to find classics and new favorites. Desert Island Comics Photo Credit: Desert Island Comics The store: Desert Island Comics The location: 540 Metropolitan Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn The lowdown: The shop specializes in independent comics and zines. But, if you're looking for your more typical comic store fare, they also carry mainstream comics, children's and art books. "Any artist can sell work at Desert Island, and we encourage individuals to show up with their self-published illustrated books, adding to the maximum eclecticism of the store," Desert Island owner Gabe Fowler said. The website: desertislandbrooklyn.com Mama Says Comics Rock Photo Credit: Mama Says Comics Rock The store: Mama Says Comics Rock The location: 306 Court St., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn The lowdown: This shop opened March after co-owners Cade Schreger and Davey Kourtesis saw a couple of their favorite comic stores like Rocketship and Bergen Street Comics close up shop in recent years. The shop carries single issues in the $2 to $6 price range, graphic novels and paperbacks ranging from $13 to $35, as well as collector's edition materials priced from $50 to $150. The store stocks a wide variety of comics, ranging from mainstream to independent to kids' titles. Cade Schreger, co-owner of Mama Says Comics Rock, explained: "We not only have an incredibly friendly, helpful staff, but we also don't 'specialize' in one given area of comics, so there's something for everyone." The website: mamasayscomics.com Joseph Koch Comics Warehouse Photo Credit: Koch Comics The store: Joseph Koch Comics Warehouse The location: 206 41st St., Sunset Park, Brooklyn The lowdown: One of the largest comic book warehouses in the country, Koch Comics operated exclusively through mail orders until more recently, when it began to conduct monthly sales. While admitting that the place is a bit of "an obstacle course sometimes," owner Joe Koch takes pride in his warehouse's collection of older work. "If you want to browse some older comics, this is just about the only place in the tristate area where you can spend a few days browsing back issues and still only scratch the surface," he said. "For back issues, the warehouse is not only the best place to go, it really is the only place to go." The warehouse carries vintage sci-fi toys, magazines, fanzines and comics, with "new old stuff just about every day." The website: kochcomics.com Bulletproof Comics and Games Photo Credit: Bulletproof Comics and Games The store: Bulletproof Comics and Games The location: 2178 Nostrand Ave., Flatbush, Brooklyn The lowdown: This shop, known for its exclusive Bulletproof variant covers, has been in the same place for over 24 years. Find comics, video games, skateboards and collectible card games. The website: bulletproofcomix.com Midtown Comics Photo Credit: Emily Schienvar The store: Midtown Comics The location: 200 W. 40th St., 64 Fulton St., 459 Lexington Ave. The lowdown: With three locations in the city and a bustling webstore, Midtown Comics is a major U.S. comics, graphic novels, manga and collectibles retailer. They carry signed books online and in-store in addition to their regular stock. The website: midtowncomics.com Forbidden Planet Photo Credit: Linda Rosier The store: Forbidden Planet The location: 832 Broadway The lowdown: Opened in 1981, Forbidden Planet stocks comics, graphic novels, toys and collectibles. Though the store's location and stock has shifted over the years, you'll still find a large selection and a wide fan base. The website: fpnyc.com JHU Comics Photo Credit: JHU Comics The store: JHU Comics The location: 32 E. 32nd St. and 299B New Dorp Lane, Staten Island The lowdown: JHU keeps as much variety as they can in stock, from mini comic creators like Oily Press to bigger names like Marvel and DC. Current comic books run about $2.99 to $4.99 per issue, with mini comics cost around $1, while trade paperback collections range from $9.99 to $50. Of course, JHU also carries vintage comics, which can reach into the thousands based on rarity and condition. Rene Rosa, manager and event coordinator at JHU Comics, says that their staff sets them apart. "We have...a staff that is friendly, talkative and will never be pretentious or jerky to new readers. Even if you start off asking for help with things like 'I know this is a stupid question,' know that when you've never read a comic before, there are no real stupid questions," Rosa said. The website: jhucomicbooks.com St. Mark’s Comics Photo Credit: St. Mark’s Comics The store: St. Mark's Comics The location: 11 St. Marks Pl. The lowdown: According to owner Mitch Cutler, St. Mark's Comics sells "absolutely everything that's been published," from the mainstream Marvel and DC Comics down to the obscure and smaller publishers, even selling homemade comics that are brought in. Because they're constantly buying, Cutler says that often they'll find out-of-print comics that people "never knew they needed." The shop, which has been around for 32 years, carries comics ranging from 50 cents to thousands of dollars. "We're wonderful, all of the time, no matter how hard that is," Cutler said. "We try very hard to take care of the nice people. We'll go well out of our way to do whatever it is people need us to do." The website: facebook.com/stmarkscomicsny Kinokuniya Photo Credit: Kinokuniya The store: Kinokuniya The location: 1073 Avenue of the Americas The lowdown: The Kinokuniya Bookstore dedicates its top floor entirely to comics, carrying authentic Japanese manga, English manga, other anime goods, comics, graphic novels, art books and sketchbooks. According to store manager Kotaro Takano, the bookstore worked with publishers in 2016 to offer exclusive editions of graphic novels with cover art specially commissioned by the original artists. With a wide array of offerings, prices range from less than $5 to more than $200 for high-end and collectible merchandise. The website: kinokuniya.com Metropolis Collectibles Photo Credit: Metropolis Collectibles The store: Metropolis Collectibles The location: 36 W. 37th St. The lowdown: Metropolis has over 150,000 vintage comic books ranging in price from $1 to more than $3 million. The shop holds the Guinness World Record for the most expensive comic ever bought, "Action Comics 1," the first Superman comic from 1938, at $3.2 million. Vincent Zurzolo, COO of Metropolis Collectibles, says, "Our incredibly knowledgeable and passionate staff make buying from Metropolis a unique experience." The website: metropoliscomics.com Mysterious Time Machine Photo Credit: Emily Schienvar The store: Mysterious Time Machine The location: 418 6th Ave. The lowdown: Store owner Roger Williams has been in the business for over 30 years, through name changes and moves. Store manager Carlos Espino said that "most of the people who've been shopping since [Williams] started are still with us on new books and vintage." The store carries both new and old comics, with even more kept in storage since their most recent move. Former employee and longtime customer Collin Scanley, from Hell's Kitchen, said that the store has been important to him for a long time. "I was going here since I was in 7th grade. One thing that's really cool about this place is that you're actually able to find old stuff in an actual store, you don't have to go to [conventions] to find vintage stuff, like 60s, 70s stuff, you can find all of that stuff here, and you can find new stuff too," Scanley said. The website: facebook.com/MysteriousTimeMachine Alex’s MVP Cards & Comics Photo Credit: Bret Josephs, courtesy of Alex's MVP Cards & Comics The store: Alex's MVP Cards & Comics The location: 1577 York Ave. The lowdown: This nearly 30-year-old shop specializes in vintage collectibles as well as new sports cards and comic books. Prices range from 50 cents to thousands of dollars. Owner Alex Gregg says that personal relationships with customers are one of the most important things in his business. "My true specialty is my relationship with my customers, some I have served since they were tots and I have watched them grow into adults. They are like my family," Gregg said. The website: facebook.com/AlexsMVPCardsAndComics The Strand Book Store Photo Credit: Melissa Kravitz The store: The Strand Book Store The location: 828 Broadway The lowdown: While the 90-year-old shop might be better known for its more traditional book selection, readers of all kinds can find their favorites. In an interview earlier this year, Stella Williams, the Strand's children's book buyer, said that the Strand's fastest-growing genre is its comics and graphic novels section, which almost tripled in the last year. The website: strandbooks.com Carmine Street Comics Photo Credit: Carmine Street Comics The store: Carmine Street Comics The location: 34 Carmine St. The lowdown: Carmine Street Comics brings together an eclectic mix within the comic book world, specializing in underground, alternative and self-published comics but keeping a focus on displaying the variety that exists within the realm of comics. Because the shop doesn't carry as much of the older comics, prices typically remain relatively low, and $1 and $2 comics are always kept in stock. The store regularly hosts signings, readings, comedy shows and open mics, but store co-owner Jon Gorga, writer-in-residence Patrick J. Reilly and artist-in-residence Fabian Lelay say that their favorite part of the shop is the public drawing board in the window, which they say encourages comics creators and consumers to interact. The website: carminestreetcomics.com Chameleon Comics & Cards Photo Credit: Google Maps The store: Chameleon Comics & Cards The location: 3 Maiden Lane The lowdown: Self-described as an "old school mom-and-pop-style" comic book store, Chameleon Comics & Cards has been in the business of selling comic books, graphic novels, collectibles and trading cards for more than 25 years. The store carries mostly new comics, and it offers a membership program including discounts for two years with a $10 buy-in. The website: chameleoncomics.com Montasy Comics Photo Credit: Montasy Comics The store: Montasy Comics The location: 431 5th Ave., 2nd Fl. and 70-17 Austin St., 2nd Fl., Forest Hills, Queens The lowdown: Montasy Comics specializes in collectibles, comics, toys, sports cards and trading card games like Magic the Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Pokemon. "We see ourselves as a supporter of our local communities of comic book lovers and trading card game fans. For example, we make it easy for anyone to find any comic book they want -- we organize our comics releases throughout the month up to a year so even a casual comic enthusiast can find any missed issues," Montasy Comics general manager Jimmy Chen said. The shop offers both affordable comics for the casual reader to rare and hard-to-find items for die-hard fans. The website: montasycomics.com Royal Collectibles Photo Credit: Royal Collectibles The store: Royal Collectibles The location: 96-01 Metropolitan Ave., Forest Hills, Queens The lowdown: Carrying comic books ranging from 1950s Golden Age books to the current weekly issues, Royal Collectibles has been in operation since 1992. The shop is also a certified submission center for the two leading comic grading companies, Comic Book Certification Service and Certified Guaranty Company. According to store manager Diane Lazauskas, in addition to modern action figures from DC, Marvel and other comics, they also keep original collectibles in stock like Mego Figures and Matchbox from the 1960s; '80s Transformers, GI Joe action figures and Cabbage Patch Kids; and '90s Power Rangers. The website: royalcomicsnyc.com Anime Castle Photo Credit: Anime Castle The store: Anime Castle The location: 35-32 Union St., Flushing, Queens The lowdown: This Japanese anime and manga shop carries video, books, models, posters, apparel, games, cosplay, music, swords and hentai. The shop has a trade-in program, where customers can bring old anime video, manga, CDs, or games for credit toward new anime merchandise from the store. They offer a 20% discount on many of their English translated manga as well. The website: animecastle.com The Lair Photo Credit: The Lair The store: The Lair The location: 1808 Colden Ave., the Bronx The lowdown: The Lair specializes in collectibles and mainstream Marvel, DC and Image comics as well as new independent comic artists and writers. For those who love to battle with card games, The Lair is also an official Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh and Pokemon tournament store with weekly tournaments that are officially ranked within the network of players around the world. And for "30 Rock" fans, you might be able to catch co-owner Grizz Chapman hanging around the store. Co-owner Jorge Rodriguez says that The Lair is currently going through a storewide renovation, expanding to a second floor. The website: laironline.net Fordham Comics Photo Credit: Uli Seit The store: Fordham Comics The location: 390 E. Fordham Rd., the Bronx The lowdown: If Magic: The Gathering is your preferred way to get your geek on, this 30-year-old comic shop is the place to be. You can still find comics and collectibles, but card games are the specialty. The website: facebook.com/Fordham-comics By Emily Schienvar email@example.com Share on Facebook Share on Twitter More on this topic A guide to NYC's independent bookstoresNiche shops combat any notion that brick-and-mortar stores are dead. Get your vinyl fix at these shops around the cityThese spots make vinyl shopping an experience to remember. Visit a weird museumGo beyond the Met and the MoMa. Comments Comments section is temporarily on hold. Here’s why.