Those of you who know me that I love comics. There have been times where I’ve chosen comics over food. For me, there’s nothing better than the smell of a nice old Silver Age issue of Uncanny X-Men, a Gold Age anything, or even a 90’s hologram cover issue of Amazing Spider-Man (because you know they’re in rare supply…). The most relaxing thing I can do when I’m stressed, upset, or pissed beyond believe is to just go to the many comic shops in New York City and get lost. In New York, there’s a huge selection of places to buy anything; comics, action figures, statues, collected volumes, t-shirts, kitchen ware, you name it. But you have to know where to go for what. That’s why I have devised a list, a list of the best comic shops in New York.
- St. Marks Comics- St. Marks Comics is hands down my favorite comic book store I’ve ever had the privilege to shop in. You want it? They got it! Aside from usually having all the new comics on New Comic Wednesday, they have a massive selection of vintage and out of print anthologies. Huge selection of action figures; Star Wars, Toy Biz X-Men series, vintage Transformers, Simpsons, movie figures, everything. If they made it into an action figure, they either have it or just sold it. They usually have a decent number of NIB stuff, but a lot of stuff is loose and discounted, which is pretty great. Lots of pins, lunch boxes, statues, and all kinds of MAD issues. But the thing to go there for is comics. These guys buy comics in bulk at least twice a month. So at any given time, they have a good 10,000 comics that they filter in and out, price, and put out. They usually have a lot of great Gold, Silver, and Bonze Age issues hanging on the walls, I’m talking Incredible Hulk 181, X-Men 1, lot’s of hard to find key issues. The nice thing about this place is if you really want something they got on the walls, they’ll help you out, and let you set up a payment plan kind of deal. They also keep their eyes peeled on the market for anything you’re looking for. The staff is nice, the selection is vast, the vibe is old school, but the three reasons I love this place are as follows. 1.) The discounted Gold/Silver/Bronze Age box, 2.) the 50 cent bins, and 3.) the sales. They have 5 or 6 boxes FULL of discounted issues from the gold age right up to stuff from now. This is where I’ve gotten most of my collection. The comics in these boxes aren’t mint, but are in pretty great condition, and are very fairly priced. Reprints, originals, variants, everything. The 50 cent bins really give this place some character. They usually have 10 or so boxes full of all kinds of comics, all for 50 cents. I’ve actually gotten a lot of great stuff from these boxes in the past. The sales they have here are amazing. Every so often, they’ll have a half off sale; meaning every single back issue (yes, even that $4000 issue of X-Men 1) is half price. In fact, this entire month they have half off back issues. My other favorite sale they do is the infamous dollar sale. They’ll have a good 10 long boxes full of comics for merely a dollar; great stuff too! Almost the entire run of Age of Apocalypse I got in those boxes. Half my collection of Ultimate X-Men from these boxes as well. Overall, hands down, no argument, the best place to get comics in New York City (hell, anywhere!). Located at 11 St. Marks Place.
- Forbidden Planet- Forbidden Planet is a great place for all those odds and ends. One of the most diverse places in the city, they’ve got everything; memorabilia from comics, movies, games, anime, everything. Their entire second floor is all kinds of anime, card stuff, and all that other gaming crap if you’re into that sort of thing. The first floor is a Modern Age comic book explosion. They have a huge number of comics from New Comic Wednesday; if they’re sold out, you’re not getting it. If you’re looking for anything modern, they got it. And the nice thing about them is free bags and boards. Tons of statues of busts from everything, and some of the nicest (and funniest) t-shirts. Still eying all their Evil Dead shirts. HUGE selection of action figures. 90’s Marvel, shit load of Star Wars, South Park, DC, even Tim Burton’s poetry characters. You need an action figure or a shirt? This is the place. The other great thing about FP is that they have a great selection of Indie comics and all sorts of things in the like. Lots of random stuff like Toon Tumblers, neon Ghostbusters signs, and kick ass designer headphones. 10% off for students, too! This is the place for modern stuff and all those odds and ends (Not your place for comics before 2009). Forbidden Planet is on the corner of Broadway and 13th.
- Time Machine- You’re looking for something really old or really vintage? Time Machine’s your place. Huge selection of Gold and Silver Age comics. Those titles that were coming out before Stan Lee became a major big shot? They got em. I’ve gotten a lot of great vintage comics here. It’s cash only, but they’ll give you the real valued price and maybe even a great deal on top of that. Hell, the issue of Uncanny X-Men 98 I got there, the guy cracked open Overstreet Guide and looked up the real price right then and there. But here’s what makes this place really unique; all the other vintage magazines they have. They have vintage TV Guide, vintage movie mags, vintage funny mags; shit, they even have a huge collection of vintage Playboys. They have everything vintage, from vintage games and memorabilia to old vintage movie posters. The place is pretty messy, but it’s the best place for everything last century. Time Machine is on 14th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue.
- Jim Hanley’s Universe- Jim Hanley’s Universe is your place for back issues. You missed last month’s Avengers? JHU. You forgot to pick up a Batman from two months ago? JHU. You want to start reading the recent Uncanny X-Force series from the beginning? JHU. Back issues are their thing. They don’t have a whole lot of old issues or anything like that, but they have a pretty decent number of collected editions. There’s a case in the back where they keep a lot of high valued issues (lots of low number Iron Mans once). They usually have events in store, and they’re pretty fairly priced. Jim Hanley’s Universe is on 33rd Street between 5th Avenue and Broadway.
- Mid Town Comics (Times Square)- Mid Town Comics has three locations in Manhattan. Now I’ve only been to the Times Square location and the East Side location, I haven’t had a chance to go to their Downtown store, but from what I heard about that one and what I saw at the East Side store, the Times Square location is the one to go to. If you need a collected edition, MTC is the place to go. Never have I gone there looking for a collected edition and couldn’t find it, hard cover or trade paperback. They have a huge selection of statues, and if you’re looking for those 59 hats, MTC is the place. They have a good amount of memorabilia, like glasses, DVDs, and oddly enough coin banks. As far as comics go, they have a whole lot of everything, but on and off. I’ve been through their long boxes and had some great finds, and there have been times where I made the trip and left with nothing. But that’s no reason to skip, because sometimes you’ll find comics you didn’t even knew existed (hello Army of Darkness series!). You can also make an account there to rack up points for coupons and evidentially they give you a nice discount on your birthday. Mid Town Comics is on 40th Street between 7th and 8th Avenue.