Ka-POW! A look at Brooklyn’s best comic book stores

The Brooklyn Paper
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Last week, Brooklyn fanboys lost one of their stomping grounds, when Rocketship closed up shop after five years in Cobble Hill.

Luckily for fans of Hulk action figures, Manga and indie graphic novels, the Smith Street store wasn’t the only game in town.

“I think the [Brooklyn scene] is really specialized — where we don’t have a lot of walk-ins we have a lot of regulars,” said Matthew Acevedo, worker at Galaxy Comics on Fifth Avenue in Bay Ridge. “When movies come out based on a comic, that’s usually when people start rolling in.”

Here, a list of the best Brooklyn has to offer, for the avid collector to the casual reader.

Bergen Street Comics

This stylish store opened last year, but has already established a welcoming, artsy environment that is distinct from many other shops in the borough. From the outset, owner Tom Adams wanted to focus on graphic novels — collections of comics that are most appealing to first-time readers. Adams also wanted a no-frills approach that shunned all the merchandise, action figures, DVDs and other junk that distracts from quality storytelling.

“We focus solely on comics,” Adams said. “We want the space to be inviting to people, so they can come in and spend some time.”

The owner added that many of his customers have an interest in indie comics — especially by local creators — but that doesn’t mean he neglects the superhero tales.

Galaxy Comics

With locations in both Park Slope and Bay Ridge, Galaxy Comics offers a bit of everything — from statues, trading cards and T-shirts to a respectable collection of back-stock should you be on the hunt for that one missing issue of Action Comics.

Park Slope co-owner Mohammed Nashir said his store focuses on the five major comic publishing houses, though he also orders indie titles that locals tend to favor.

His most popular seller as of late has been the latest universe-shattering crossover in DC Comics — a story that he is happy to share with any newcomer who rolls into his store, which has been open for 11 years.

In Bay Ridge, comic-gone-movie titles like “Scott Pilgrim” are flying off the shelves — and of course, both shops take orders.

“A lot of people walk in and the comics bring back memories,” Nashir said. “That’s how we jump into a conversation, and sometimes people get completely back into comics.”

Desert Island

This shop in Williamsburg is tiny — but where it lacks in volume, it makes up for in quality and rarity.

Owner Gabriel Fowler moved around the country working on his indie comic expertise before he moved to Brooklyn and opened the shop four years ago — it’s small, but packed with the fare of a seasoned fanboy.

The stock focuses heavily on illustration and graphic novels, and plenty of zines and comics on the racks are from Brooklyn authors and artists. The titles range from the classics like “The Walking Dead” to more obscure (and local) titles like the shop’s own “Smoke Signals,” an open submission newspaper dedicated to local comics.

Bulletproof Comix

Owner Hank Kwon opened his store near Brooklyn College 18 years ago, and the laid-back rapport he has with his customers proves it. People of all ages walk into Bulletproof to get their comics, video games, and manga fix — and Kwon knows a lot of them by name.

Bulletproof features an extensive backstock, but don’t expect to do a lot of perusing while you’re there: even new releases are bagged up. But Bulletproof’s extensive manga collection — perhaps the best in Brooklyn — makes it worth a visit.

“We’re known for manga,” said Kwon. “We were one of the first to bring it over to Brooklyn.”

Pinocchio Discounts

The name is no lie — Pinocchio Discounts brings the old-school entertainment for bargain prices. The store’s extensive collection makes it a real pleasure for anyone familiar with comics over the years — especially since the cover price hasn’t changed that much.

“We’ve been here for 30 years, but we have comics dating back to the ’60s,” owner Bella Gaba said. “And everything goes for one or two dollars.”

Pinocchio doesn’t have many expensive, coveted comics. Instead, the collection is, as Gaba says, “a bunch of average comics from the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s and 2000s.”

Maybe average to Gaba — but pure gold to any kid looking for a good superhero story.

— with Ben Kochman

Bergen Street Comics [470 Bergen St. between Flatbush and Fifth avenues in Park Slope, (718) 230-5600].

Galaxy Comics [429 Fifth Ave. between Eighth and Ninth streets in Park Slope, (718) 499-3222 and 6823 Fifth Ave. near 68th Street in Bay Ridge, (718) 921-1236].

Desert Island [540 Metropolitan Ave. near Union Street in Williamsburg, (718) 388-5087].

Bulletproof Comix [2178 Nostrand Ave. between Avenue H and Flatbush Avenue in Flatbush, (718) 434-1800].

Pinocchio Discounts [1814 McDonald Ave. between Avenue P and Quentin Road in Midwood, (718) 645-2573].

Updated 5:19 pm, July 9, 2018
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Reasonable discourse

Joe Nardiello from Carroll Gardens says:
You missed a mainstay on Montague St. nearby your BP offices in Brooklyn Heights, maybe because its on the 2nd fl. (between Henry, Clinton Sts.) that sells plenty of titles, books, toys, t-shirts.. -- and a very friendly, local shop managed by guys that really know the story-lines at Dugout Comics on Court and Luquer St. (that also show/sell a ton of baseball cards, etc.).
Aug. 6, 2010, 12:05 am
Stefano Giovannini from E Wbrg says:
I visited the Montague street store to take their picture as well. They refused to let me photograph the store. The owner was not present and they declined to call him. Most likely would have been included in the article.
Aug. 11, 2010, 1:12 pm
dublin from park slope says:
Now that they fired their manager I strongly suggest not going to galaxy comics. Twice in the past month I have went in there to be utterly dissapointed by the service.
Why get rid of an individual who makes your company good money???
I know comic books are a slowly dying industry, why shoot yourself in the foot this way???
Oct. 24, 2010, 9:08 pm
phillip from park slope says:
Galaxy was a fun place to visit, but it has changed. I was always happy on a saturday to visit and buy my kids pokemon cards. My children would always laugh at the clerk behind the counter. I was told he transferred to another store. What a difference without him.
Nov. 7, 2010, 7:57 am
bubbah says:
the middle agish guy at the counter at the galaxy on 5th avenue seems pretty nice, though i haven't been there since the summer, was he fired? the guy who is usually at the other store in park slope is a bit less interested in dealing with customers.
Nov. 11, 2010, 12:44 pm
Jon from Marine Park says:
Pinocchio Discounts is a treasure trove for comic collectors and sports memorabiia enthusiasts. The owners have been around since I was a kid and they provide a friendly atmosphere with a cost consious approach. There is something for everyone and it is easy to get there. Love it.
Dec. 10, 2010, 1:14 pm
joe from gravesend says:
Pinocchio is the best ...
Dec. 8, 2012, 10:54 am
Jorge4 from Estraga says:
Bergen is for the "College" hipster comic readers. They specialize in $70 hardcover graphic novels without any words and only blobs that look like pictures. Galaxy comics is for the fanboys. Most of the issues have little bits of food and drink on them. They seem to have more toys and t-shirts than stock. DON'T EVER ask them about anything outside of Marvel or DC- they will become butt-hurt and snarky. The whole time you are shopping they will be having a loud conversation with nerdy fanboys. The only other one I have had the un-pleasure of visiting was Forbidden PLanet, which is basically a tourist trap. They seem to only hire hot teenage girls now because the owners are crazy. Don't bother asking about comics. The first time I went here some slob was playing a card game while spilling his bowl of clam chowder over a stack of comics. It stank.
Jan. 4, 2013, 12:42 pm
Ozzie from Flatbush says:
I been to all mentioned above and my experience is this..Bergen is small but cozy and has that lounge coffee shop feel to it but they're more indie and hardcover books than monthly issues..stock is limited. Galaxy has 2 places one in park slope and the other in bay ridge..Bay Ridge is a joke..comics are mistreated,damaged and the help is non existent. The Galaxy in Park Slope is much better and more knowledgeable but I did get a few "I don't know" and " I'm not sure". My favorite is BulletProof..large stock of comics..very knowledgeable has a skateboard shop in the back. And if you ask for something they won't point you where to go they will get it for you. The owner Hank is friendly not only to adults but teenagers and kids and has several game tournaments through out the year. This is the place to go!
Jan. 13, 2013, 12:25 am

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