Farewell, Cosmic Comics

UPDATE: Now the Cosmic Comics website reads the following:


The owner Mark Friedman wrote in to The Beat with the explanation:

Thanks for all the kind words about my store, but the reports of its demise are premature. Cosmic Comic closed because my partner and I wanted to retire (we are both in our 60’s and have interests outside of comics). Sales have gone down significantly in the past few years. I suppose the high cost of individual issues, combined with a bad economy are the logical culprits, but our store was and is still profitable. Indeed , we have just completed a deal to keep the store open under new ownership, starting January 1st. So thanks again for the nice remembrances, but please keep patronizing the store

So I guess, the eulogy below is a just a bit superfluous now.


December 31 will be the last day of business for Cosmic Comics on E. 23rd St. in Manhattan.  Across from Madison Square Park, and located on the second floor, Cosmic Comics had actually been the shop Conor and I went to before we started working on iFanboy full time.

When you ask people to name the comic shops in New York City, they'll say Jim Hanley's Universe on 33rd, Midtown Comics on 40th or over by Grand Central, or maybe Forbidden Planet on Union Square. 

Yet, situated directly in the middle of them all was Cosmic Comics. 

It was a big spacious shop with a giant window that lit the whole place.  Every time there, there were a couple of cool girls working the register.  Regular customers were written in this giant yellowed and arcane book where your purchases were tracked so you could get $20 credit for every $100 you spent.  Sure the computerized version of this system at Midtown Comics is more efficient, but it's got nowhere near the charm.  Eventually, they'd get to know who you were without asking your name every time (to this day, no one has remembered me at Midtown Comics, where I've been going for the last 2 years).  The store had every issue you'd want, and you didn't really need to pre-order, because they had it covered.  All around were the relics of the different eras of comics.  There was the new stuff, complete with notes from the staff about what not to miss even if you weren't quite sure if they were making fun of the books, or loving them.  Perhaps it was a little bit of both.  There was a statue case right when you walked in.  There were some classic back issues up on the wall from both Golden and Silver age.  The middle of the room was covered with back issue bins, something newer comic fans (if we find any) aren't going to remember as something that used to be the fixture of most comic shops.  Some action figures lived over on the opposite wall from the new comics. The guy who ran the place, I think his name was Mark, looked like he'd seen all there was the comic industry had to show him over the years.  He was both a little bit gruff, and a little bit friendly.  The place had elbow room. It wasn't cramped.  In New York City, that's no small thing.  You had to take the stairs up to the shop, because the elevator was off limits.  But all of this was OK.  It was a really good shop, and it sort of had something for everyone.

Conor's got some memories of Cosmic Comics too:

Between my first shop, West Side Comics, and my current shop, Bergen Street Comics, I've had a lot of regular comic shops and for a couple of years Cosmic Comics was one of them.

Before we went fulltime with iFanboy, Josh and I worked in midtown Manhattan and one week we decided to give a new comic book store a try. We pulled up Google Maps searched for comics, looked at our options, and decided on Cosmic Comics.

I liked Cosmic Comics for many reasons.

It was a good ten minute walk from our office and exercise is important. It was across from Madison Square Park (and Shake Shack!) and it was really nice to go sit in the park on a warm day with a stack of books and a sandwich.

It was a good sized store that was always busy on Wednesday but never overwhelmingly so like Midtown Comics and Jim Hanley's Universe can get. You could get in and out in under two minutes if you had to.

I liked the people who worked there. The owner Mark is a quintessential old school New York type and the staff was always friendly. Emily (I think that was her name) always knew who I was and had my page in the big, battered discount book ready when I got to the register. She didn't know who I was because of iFanboy, she knew who I was because I was a regular customer. (Despite what Josh says above, I remember that for most of the time we shopped there she usually remembered everyone who came to the register but Josh, which was always a source of amusement.)

I liked that they had a really good selection and in all my years of going there it was only a handful of times that I had to hit up another shop to pick up a book that they didn't have on Wednesday.

I liked Cosmic Comics so much that I continued to shop there even after I left my job in Manhattan and started working from home in Brooklyn. Every Wednesday I would make the 30 minute trek (each way) on the subway because it was a better store than any of the ones I had in my neighborhood at the time. And then Bergen Street Comics opened and I finally had a great store in my neighborhood and I stopped going to Cosmic Comics. So I guess In some small way I am culpable in their going out of business. Still, I always considered Cosmic Comics to be one of the best comic book stores in New York City and I always recommended it to people whenever they asked me which stores to check out in New York City.

The comic book industry, and the comic book scene in New York City, is a little bit poorer for Cosmic Comics' closing.

Back to Josh!

The Beat took some excerpts from the post on the Cosmic website, and threw in some thoughts of her own, and other retailers who are having a rough go of it these days. Go check it out, it's a good report.

Me? I'm not saying this is a signal of the end of the comics industry as we know it, but it's been a really rough year.  Everyone's guessing why.  Maybe it's the $3.99 price point.  Maybe it's digital piracy.  Maybe it's the down economy.  Maybe comic publishers don't get it.  Maybe readers just suck at picking the right stuff to buy.  Maybe it's a little of everything, and a bit of something else we don't understand.  Either way, it's just kind of sad.


  1. OHH wow, this was the first shop in the City I went to.  Mark was always a nice guy, and the staff was cool.  Fond memory of standing in the stair case waiting for the door to open on Wednesday.  Thanks for the comics and memories Cosmic Comics!!!

  2. Oh no no no no no no. The BEST back issue selection in the entire city. This is incredibly sad.

  3. maybe it’s maybelline

  4. Too bad.  I tried to switch to Cosmic Comics being my LCS sometime last winter – the idea was I’d get off the PATH and 23rd, hit CC and then walk home.  Alas – it was not to be – first cold winter weather and then a torn Achilles conspired against me so I stuck with Jim Hanley’s (which has been a source of constant ANGER and DISAPPOINTMENT). 

    Now I will deal a death blow to all LCS’s by switching to mail order exclusively – I just need to operate 3 months in advance.

  5. Oh man, this sucks. Cosmic wasn’t exactly a secret, but it felt like a little uncrowded oasis. I guess that’s bad for business, but it makes for fantastic atmosphere.

    I’ll never forget the first time the girl in the hat called me by my full name when I got to the register.  I’m gonna miss that place.

  6. @themanagement  “the girl in the hat”.

    That’s exactly how I thought of her too!

  7. I don’t know the particulars of this shop, or the reasons why it may be closing. From what it sounds like it was a very good store in the truest fashion of the traditional shop. I have been saying for quite a while now that with deep online discounts, digital books, and Bookstore chains, that the comic shop in the true old sense of the word is destined for extinction. The LCS needs to evolve into something very different, offering things we don’t traditionally associate with the longbox walled secret geek club. Offering an atmosphere, targeted events, refreshments. I know there are those of us that are traditionalists that don’t like the idea, but let’s face it. The iceberg is a lot smaller than it ever was and we are headed to warmer waters. Comic book happy hours come to mind, but that’s just in my dream store.

  8. @RoiVampire, it’s most likely maybelline

  9. I visited New York from the UK a couple of months ago and actually went in there twice, it was a lovely little shop but I can see how it had trouble being noticed by the casual passer-by.  And yes the girls in there were very cool!  I will treat the Captain Britain and Adam Strange figures I bought in there as relics.

  10. @Unoob  – good points.  I’d love to buy more at LCS’s – but the ones near me don’t take a pull list – so I’m always scraping to grab a copy of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? and they don’t discount – so what’s my motivation to spend + 30% to 50% on a trade paperback when I can order it from Amazon and have it in a couple of days?

  11. It’s funny…nearly every big comic store in NYC will now focus more on trades over back issues. The 2 stores in NYC that I thought had gave more of a focus on back issues were this store and St Marks Comics. Now this store is closing, and when I went into St. Mark’s recently, the previously HUGE back issue selection was cut in half!

  12. Aw crap, man, they’re just 2 blocks away from my job.  Didn’t have the best deals, but it had a more friendlier atmosphere.  Guess I know what I’m doing the last 2 weeks of the month…

  13. @comicBOOKchris  St. Mark’s Comic’s back issues are a joke – you can’t even get in there.

  14. I would often go here so I could have something to read while I waited in line for Shake Shack. It will be missed.

  15. The only decent comic shops in London are all in the West End. However I have a kick ass one in Camden, only ten minutes away from my house. Although it is more expensive, they have just as much as the Forbidden Planet megastore and I love the customer service. Comics are all about that, you gotta feel loved in there and if you do, the owner gets unbreakable loyalty.

  16. Back in the day (like 25 years ago!), Forbidden Planet was incredible to a young Noob like me. Dunno of it’s still the same, but it was two floors of comic goodness the likes of which I had never seen before. But I do hope that everything works out for the owner(s) of Cosmic it obviously was a much loved shop.

  17. Cosmic was the one big shop in Manhattan I never visited, between shopping at Forbidden Planet down by me and taking the odd excursion to Midtown on 40th. Too bad I might’ve missed the boat on this one.

  18. Judging from the picture alone, it looks like a shop that I would have loved to go to.

  19. Awful, awful news. I was a regular customer all last year, will have to go back and give them some business before the doors close. I know it’s too late now, but it’s the least I can do.

  20. Interesting point on back issues.  I never dived into these bins, but am not catching up on all the older stuff or stuff I missed through the marvel digital subscription and hope DC has something similar come out soon as they are growing their back catalog through comixology…

  21. The unsigned parenthetical note in the middle of the article made me laugh.  I’m guessing it was Conor?

    Great article, Josh. 

  22. That’s a shame, seems like a great shop.  It’s always sad when a LCS closes it’s doors forever. 

  23. @AMuldowney  Everything between “Conor’s got some memories of Cosmic Comics too” and “Back to Josh!” is me.

  24. My regular shop went out last year at this time. I bought a house with a shop five minutes away on foot (it factored into my decision to buy . . . ahhaha)

    What am I gonna do when my new shop goes out?

    Cuz unlike most of you, I believe that there won’t be shit for comic shops in about five years from now.

    Do I go online? Or do I go to the Geoff Johns coowned shop a couple miles away and keep migrating when that one goes too?

    All types of stores/businesses are closing down all around L.A.

    I want to be prepared.

  25. @ScorpionMasada  Collector’s Paradise? Are you in Winnetka? Ed’s never going out of business.

  26. I’m not far from Winnetka . . . I’ve never heard of or seen Collector’s Paradise. I’m going to have to go check it out. How is the shop?

    Thanks Josh!

  27. @ScorpionMasada  It’s a good shop.  I liked the guy who ran it anyway. He got me everything I needed.

  28. @conor  Have you tried the Fish & Sip Cafe across the street from Bergen Comics?

  29. @AquaPimp82  I have not.

  30. I see on the website that it’s actually staying open, under new ownership. 

  31. Yet another hasty comic book ressurrection

  32. Wow – that was fast!

  33. Cosmic Comics is my must-stop-at spot on Free Comic Book Day. They do a great sale that day on everything in the store and have all the free books available to choose from. I’m happy to see it’s staying open. I always figured they did good business from their proximity to SVA.


  35. I went to Baruch college not far from there and was a sporadic customer of theirs in the mid-late 90’s. I was always impressed with the neatness and huge selection of the store. Congrats on the two partners(mentioned above) retirement!!  Also, don’t hold it against me, I remember selling some X-men back issues and other floppies to the tune of $60 ( I was hard up for cash)

  36. Wow–this is the store that got me back into comics, way back when. Glad to hear that the store will continue on…

  37. I don’t think that’s the correct usage of superfluous.

  38. @InfectiousFunk 


    1. being more than is sufficient or required; excessive.

    2. unnecessary or needless.

    3. Obsolete . possessing or spending more than enough or necessary; extravagant.

  39. @conor  got my grammar back brotha!

  40. I’ll admit that I have never heard of Cosmic Comics. I live in Queens, so I only go to wherever that’s the easiest to reach by taking LIRR to the city. So I only left with Midtown or Jim Hanley’s. I like both of them, but I do miss having an LCS in Flushing.

    @Grandturk  At St. Marks. I just ask them to look it up for me, I don’t bother to try it myself.
    @conor  How old is Bergen Street Comics?

  41. glad to see Cosmic Comics got a reprieve.

  42. @josh  The girl with the hat IN the corner 😀