I sometimes read comics on my Kindle. Purists may turn their noses at that. But it can be a useful way of traveling light with your reading material.
When I’m in a new city though, I invariably find myself looking up Google or Siri and asking them “What’s the nearest comic book store?”
So, where are the best and most welcoming comic book stores around the world? Here’s my list of favorites.
Forbidden Planet, NYC
Forbidden Planet has been around in NYC since the 1980s. If you like to be surrounded by toys and collectibles while you browse a collection of new and rare classic comic books, imported books, vintage – you name it , then this is the place for you. The bookshop is part of a chain that has branches across the world, having started in London. The shop is also a kind of mini pop-culture haven. Every new DC or Marvel film release means special events. Plus there’s a rumor that the store has a Captain America doorhandle.
Crescent City Comics, New Orleans
No self-respecting comic book lover visits New Orleans without a dip into the Crescent City Comics store. Or, as is the case now, two stores. There wasn’t enough space in the first Freret Street location to hold all the comic books, graphics novels, prints, toys, models, games, T-shirts and people. So now you can visit the new Calhoun Street location for twice the floor space, where, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to be a part of some new release or a holiday shindig.
What I personally like about Crescent City Comics is that it also picks out comics featuring New Orleans, like The Sixth Gun Vol. 2 or Blacksad: Silent Hell (Dark Horse Comics).
Meltdown Comics, LA
This little indie store on Sunset Boulevard stands out because besides its collection of comics and collectibles, it also hosts a regular podcast called the MeltCast, where artists like Jim Mahfood, Mike Devine and Danny Lacy are interviewed, and signings and open mics are announced.
The store itself is really cool because it is more than a store, it’s an experience with comedy nights involving the Nerdist community, and lots of things to do throughout the year. If you live in LA and love comics, you cannot NOT visit Meltdown.
Midtown Comics, NYC,
Of course everyone knows the Midtown Comics in NYC. It’s a huge Manhattan store and the largest comic book store in the US, close to DC and Marvel headquarters. Figures? There are three Midtown stores in Manhattan where you’ll find comic books, graphic novels and manga. The branch at Times Square is spread over two floors. If you get excited by rows and rows and walls of new comics, back issues, manga, DVDs, trading cards and collectibles, with a direct line to the big bosses of the comic world in the US, check out Midtown Comics when you’re in NYC.
A couple of other stores to check out:
European Comic Book Stores
Comic book stores in Europe are much more diverse than stores in the US, of course. If you’re looking for a cross-cultural comic experience on your world travels, check out these stores.
Book & Comic Exchange, Notting Hill, London
If you’re looking for vintage book trading, you’ll find some rare stuff at this little London store. But make sure you go there with plenty of time in hand. You’ll love the bargain prices here.
Gosh Comics, London
You can consider Gosh! Comics in Soho to set the standards for comic book culture in London. You’ll find a bright little shop with friendly and knowledgeable staff. There are books for every taste, for kids and adults. The store holds workshops, events and signings regularly (the legendary Bryan Talbot and Alan Moore have signed here).
Continuara Comics, Barcelona
This one is another Barcelona classic with two floors. What I particularly love about the first floor is the dedicated European and Spanish comics section. The second floor has comics from the US and manga, anime, vintage editions, Star Wars merch etc.
This is a fantastic little indie comic store through a courtyard between a cafe and H&M on Rosenthaler Street. You’ll find rare titles, great quirky music, unique exhibitions. (Also in Germany, the Big Brobot store is a must-visit for comic-related funky clothing and toys.)
This is a very well-organized little store where collectors can pick up some classic and vintage back issues of clean, well-maintained American and other comics like Tintin. Prices are a little on the higher side.