A Night At The Comic Shop

by Rory, the Bad Genious Raconteur

It’s Friday, it’s 10:30, it’s time for... a visit to the comic store? Yes, New York City has many unique and exciting places to spend your Friday night, but did you know they have comic stores open until midnight? We’ve all been drunk, watching Blade 2 on TBS, and thought “Goddamn, I wish a comic store was still open.” Well, in the city that never sleeps, your desires can be fulfilled instantly! In this article, I’ll explore what transpires in the drinking hours at one store: Forbidden Planet in Union Square.

Phase 1: Preparation

OK, so I go through the whole “going out” ritual. Shower, shave, get dressed, brush teeth, mess up hair to achieve the desired “slacker” look – the whole shebang. Time right now: 8:38PM. Still too early to head out. So, to kill the time, I turn on the bitchy shitshow that the Celtics-Pistons series has devolved into and down a Red Bull mixed with something that is illegal in 13 states (including New York). Hey, I’m going to a comic store late on a Friday night – I need to be in the right frame of mind to get the most out of the experience.

To be honest, if I didn’t know what was coming next, this would be a pretty good start to a Friday night. Red Bull, grain alcohol, and the NBA playoffs? Throw in some Queen music and I’d be all set! Unfortunately, I’m heading towards a comic store visit and the commercials for the Bill Engvall show are sucking my will to live.

Phase 2: Travel

At 9:46PM, I hit the road. By this time, I’m feeling warm and fuzzy, like a slightly-buzzed teddy bear.

(Just a side story: I pass the psychic on my block. I've got a little thing for her - she's got this sexy gypsy look. But, every time I pass her storefront, she gives me this weird look. I'm betting she really IS psychic, and knows all the dirty things I'm thinking and is freaked out. And yes, these are the things I think about, and YES, I do have too much free time on my hands.)

In order to get to this store, I’ll have to take the chariot of the masses:

Ah, the NQRW – the thinking man’s ACE (yes, a little inside, I know). It is just a mere 3 subway stops, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a seat…

Err….that was easy. Not much to report on the ride, although I did see the winner of the 2007 Patrick Gaffney look-a-like contest (who was not too keen on having his picture taken). I arrive at Union Square, which is buzzing with excitement as usual, and make my way to the comic store. When something took me by an even greater surprise than a comic store opened late at night…

Yep, that’s right. People are selling comics on the streets, as well! I had no idea that the Friday night in Union Square was such a comic book love festival! And, the topper – this was right across the street from the comic store I was about to visit! Some direct competition! I’m... speechless…really, there are too many sarcastic jokes to make at this point, so it’d be better for everyone if we just move on into the store.

Phase 3: Arrival

OK, so this is the moment you’ve all been waiting for... actually being inside the store! I swing the door open at 10:07PM EST….

This photo is of the crowd at the Marvel/DC aisle. Basically, I was shocked by how normal everything was. It seemed like a Wednesday afternoon at any other shop: people flipping through books, making jokes, having arguments with their friends. It was basically the blue-print for your typical comic store visit. Although the aisle selling independent comics was not seeing quite the same traffic:

And, it wasn’t just browsers and drunken idiot bloggers at this time of night. They were still raking in the dough, with two people running the register.

Phase 4: Departure

Well, it's been about 15 minutes, and that's all I can really take. To be honest, I wrote this under a false pretense - I do have to meet up with my friend at 10:30, and the comic store was only about two avenues away from him. But, I have to say, I was very impressed by Forbidden Planet. Usually, the store is very crowded and busy. But, at night, the atmosphere was a lot better. The customers were slowly perusing the store, making jokes and talking "comic talk" with their friends. The salespeople were friendly, making chit-chat with all the customers. Despite my cynicism, I think it was worth the trip. Unfortunately, I don't buy that many comics anymore (blogging doesn't pay the bills like it used to), so my trips to comic stores are few and far between. But the next time I need to get a quick jolt of geekiness before my night on the town, I know where I'm stopping.

Grade: A-


The General said...

How do you know you are a 32 year-old, married male? The idea of a couple of stiff drinks and a trip to the comic store sounds like a better way to spend the evening than going out to the bars. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

Patrick Gaffney said...

Actually- he was the runner-up in the 2007 Patrick Gaffney look-a-like contest. But the winner was disqualified for performance enchanting drugs, and his runner up has stepped up to fulfill his duty (AKA riding the subway at all hours of the night) hoping to be mistaken for me).

Matt said...

I bought a ton of comics on the streets of New York back in '93 and '94. And I thought I was getting a good deal on those gimmick covers!

I wish we had a good comic shop here.

Cindy Cooper said...

Forbidden Planet is one of my favorite places in Manhattan. Several of my best days in Manhattan have included a trip to FP.

Had no idea they were open until midnight. Awesome!

Rory said...

Well, they used to be open until 1 AM - you can see the old hours on their website still.