Seth Kushner, a Sheepshead Bay native and now famous photographer, recently wrote a piece on Welcome to Trip City about his love for comic books – and his early adventures going to several stores in the area where he got his fix.
“There must have been lots of comic books stores around Brooklyn back then, but when you’re a kid your world is small, so I only knew my own neighborhood of Sheepshead Bay,” said Kushner. “Luckily, there were several shops in the area, all easily accessible by my bike or my dad’s car. They were my comic stores.”
Of Silver Star Comics (Nostrand Avenue and Avenue V), he described the scene:
Silver Star Comics, a proper comics store selling only comics, [was] located just a few blocks down Nostrand Avenue from the Used Books. The owner, whose name might have been Rich, was a large balding, blowhard of a man with a moustache, who I’m convinced served as the inspiration for Comic Store Guy on The Simpsons. He would sit on a high stool by the register and preside over his kingdom of underlings, often insulting them and whatever they were reading. It was a long, narrow store with waist high rows of back issue bins running the length of both sides of the store, and a shelf above on the left side displaying the new books.
By the 1990s, most of the stores that Kushner visited were gone. Silver Star closed in the mid-90s, while Bob’s Book Store (East 19th Street and Avenue U) relocated to a smaller location around 1990.
The other two stores that were mentioned in the piece were Comic Book Scene (Coney Island Avenue and Avenue R) and Used Books (Nostrand Avenue and Avenue Y).
We can remember a few others. There was Bullpen Comics on Coney Island Avenue; anyone who played at Kings Bay Little League in the 90s knew of it because their billboard enjoyed a fairly prominent spot on the field, giving outfielders something to daydream about. And on Avenue Z near East 22nd Street, there was one for which the name escapes us.
Kushner, now, seizes on those childhood influences and is working on his own graphic novel. And how many other stories like Kushner’s – those of people inspired by comic book-filled youths to go into creative work (and succeed!) – are there? What are we missing now that the neighborhood is starved of comic book shops?
What Sheepshead Bay comic shops do you remember? What were they like? How did they influence you?