Holy business recovery Batman, it’s a new comic book store!
Cape-crusading collectors and Brooklyn comic book buffs can now mask up and swoop over to Greenpoint, where the borough’s newest outpost for graphic novels and superhero souvenirs opened on March 1, promising to house a unique blend of the industry’s latest-and-greatest while maintaining the charm that made comic shops a staple of yesteryear.
“You can buy a comic online, but there’s nothing like seeing it on the rack, have the cover appeal to you, picking through the pages, and loving it so much that you have to have it in your collection,” said Eric LaGaccia, the owner of Action City Comics on Manhattan Avenue.
The cartoon purveyor opened for business between Driggs and Nassau avenues on Monday, hawking new and old comics from big brands like Marvel and DC, along with indie publications, and a sprawling library of graphic novels.
LaGaccia’s new lair also sells a range of toys, posters, and fan-favorite games — including classics like Dungeons and Dragons, as well as popular trading cards such as Magic: The Gathering, Yu-Gi-Oh, and Pokémon.
The store has attracted local fanboys, but also pent-up Brooklynites who rediscovered their passion for the fantastic tales amid the pandemic, LaGaccia said.
“A lot of people said they got back into the hobby during the pandemic,” he said. “You’re sitting at home all day and there’s only so much TV you can watch before you take your eyes off the screen.”
The magic of comic book stores is being able to meet other fans and talk about your favorite hero’s latest exploits, gushed the lifelong devotee, who hailed the spot as a potential social hub, even as the world battles the COVID villain.
“Comic shops have always been about community,” he said. “They’re about hanging out, talking comics.”
And the community has already come out in droves to the new store — fueled in part by the popular television adaptation of the Marvel Comics’ WandaVision, according to LaGaccia.
“I’ve got these books flying off the shelves,” he said. “It’s exceeded my expectations.”
An accountant for the hotel industry by trade, LaGaccia grew up immersed in the superhero tales with his late father owning a comic book shop in Delaware, and he has long wanted to move away from crunching numbers to selling comics.
“The hotel industry was a good job but it wasn’t my dream job — it paid the bills,” he said. “Owning a comic shop was always my end goal.”
When LaGaccia’s job furloughed him at the beginning of the pandemic and threw his once-professional career into a state of flux, he started looking unsuccessfully for remote work, a jobs search he described as “soul-draining.”
During the fall, the local who lives nearby in Williamsburg noticed a lot of vacated storefronts around the neighborhood — largely induced by COVID-19 financial hardship — and, on his girlfriend’s suggestion, decided to finally make a move.
“I had this lightbulb moment, I thought, ‘You know what, now is the right time,'” so LaGaccia.
The neighbors have given him and his comic book store warm welcome, with several locals saying they were excited about his new venture, especially the dedicated kids section.
“The reception has been incredible, the neighborhood has been so supportive,” he said.
One customer said she’d never been into comics before but bought several magazines because the splashy covers appealed to her, according to the vendor, who noted that there’s more to the graphic medium than classic superheroes.
“Comic books are not just super heroes anymore, there’s comic books for all interests now,” he said.
Action City Comics [570 Manhattan Ave., between Driggs and Nassau avenues in Greenpoint, (646) 784—4139, on Instagram @actioncitycomicsnyc]. Open daily, 11 am-8 pm. Mask required.