It was 1991. I was 20 years old, filling up my ’84 Mustang at $1.12 a gallon (shocked that gas prices soared above $1.00). And I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up. I did know, however, that I wanted to run my own business. So in the summer of ’91, Main Street Comics was born.
When the store first made its debut (originally called Main Street Hobbies), being a comic fan wasn’t mainstream. Comic fan = nerd living in parent’s basement. And let’s just say there was a good chance you’d be stuffed into a locker if you wore a Batman shirt to school. That was the stereotype.
Word started to spread about the store and comic fans soon became valued customers. They appreciated having a local shop where they felt comfortable, had fun, and were not only accepted, but welcomed. The store was slowly becoming a way of life – my life.
As comics became more and more popular, everyone and their mother opened a comic book store. As I like to say, the “baseball card” dealers jumped on the bandwagon because ‘there’s gold in them thar hills’! There was one on every corner in every town. The competition was crazy and it saturated the market. There wasn’t enough business to go around. The recession hit and I wasn’t sure how the store would survive — and I doubted my ambitions (and my future). But I never got into the business for money, so I hung in there. Then… thanks to George Lucas’ infamous trilogy [cue Star Wars theme music here]and nostalgic collectors like myself, Star Wars vintage toys became the biggest trend. It lasted the next few years. I built up one of the largest collections around, and people came from all over the tristate area for vintage Star Wars and other nostalgic toys. It literally saved Main Street Comics. Thanks again George.
Eventually, all the fly-by-night comic shops began to close one by one. Those left standing were originals like Main Street Comics. Gratefully, my customers remained loyal through it all. For those times, and every year after, I sincerely thank them. Without my customers, the store would not exist today and I would be living a much different —and less fun— life.
Fast forward to 2002… the release of the first Spiderman movie. This impacted the industry immensely and forever changed the future of comics. It was a positive change in many ways. Comics and comic movies were no longer “gimmicky”. Comic writing also became superior; the stories were convincing and the characters were authentic. Being a comic fan was not only acceptable but cool. It opened a new world to many. So, the industry continued to grow, along with our business.
We love the fans that come in – both new and old. Many of our customers have actually been with us from the very beginning. They’ve called the store a “safe haven” – a neighborhood shop where they can hang out, be themselves, and share a common passion. Not a day goes by when I don’t appreciate them. They are the heart of the business – the ones who have kept Main Street Comics beating for 30 years now. That’s right – 30 years! We’re proud to be the longest standing comic store in New Jersey!
It’s such a different world today than it was when I opened the store in 1991. I’m so proud of how far comics have come. It’s gone from fans having to be closeted readers and having comic shows in VFW halls to huge comic cons selling over 100,000 tickets in a weekend. Comic readers are now the ones running the studios! We almost take for granted how big the industry is now. It’s such a part of our mainstream culture. You see people of all ages wearing comic tees. The movies dominate the box office year after year. It’s really astounding.
As the founder and owner of Main Street Comics, my business philosophy has been simple: Conduct honest business, be welcoming and friendly, and treat people with respect. I’ve been told that’s why customers remain loyal to us and why we continue to grow.
We have hundreds of regular weekly buyers who come through our door – all ages and all occupations… from students and teachers to doctors and lawyers.
All fans are invited to stop by and experience our store. Whether you’re new to the scene or a veteran collector, young or old, DC, Marvel or an Indy fan… everyone is welcome here!
I believe you’ll find our prices to be fair, our service excellent, and our selection of new and back issues comics to be extensive. If you don’t see something you are looking for, just ask! And we are ALWAYS buying – so bring in your collection or give us a call.
Hope to see you at the store!
Your friendly neighborhood comic shop owner,