The first comic book I ever read cover-to-cover was this beat-up old Marvel compendium that retraced the origin stories of Spider-Man, Doctor Octopus and the Green Goblin. It sat in our living room in Saratoga Springs for years—it must’ve been from the 1970s or early ’80s. Long after it bit the dust, my brother and I shared a childhood collection that included Archie Comics, G.I. Joe and the X-Men titles—and each of us put together our own separate collections when we got older.
Back then, you bought all of your wares at Spa City Comics, the only local comic book shop of note in Saratoga. It’s no longer around, and sadly, the city’s most recent comic store, the Comic Depot, shuttered last October. But fear not, locals! You can still pick up all the new and back issues of your favorite titles at these five Capital Region shops.
Location: Ballston Spa
Owner: John Belskis
Known For: Back issues from the 1940s-70s; Belskis also founded the Albany Comic Con
Top Sellers: “The two constant back issue sellers are Amazing Spider-Man and Batman,” says Belskis. “Key issues” also sell well; Belskis recently parted ways with the first appearance of Wolverine (The Incredible Hulk No.181) and Thor (Journey Into Mystery No.83), both of which can sell for thousands in the right condition.
Owner: Bill Townsend
Known For: Back issues
Top Sellers: “The comic market’s a lot like what’s happened with the television market, in that you have all these streaming services offering all these specialty shows and some of them get a lot of traction, but there’s no one, watercooler show anymore,” says Jevon Kasitch, who’s been the store’s manager since 1990. One that recently caused a mild stir? A run of Superman comics in which the superhero reveals his secret identity, Clark Kent, to the public.
Owner: Robert Lupe
Known For: Weekly, new comic books; Magic: The Gathering cards
Top Sellers: Batman, X-Men
Insider Info: This is my neighborhood comic book shop. I go in every few months to restock my favorite titles such as Paper Girls and anything written by my former editor, Ethan Sacks.
Owner: George Vasilakos
Known For: Boardgames, role-playing games, card games, comic books
Top Sellers: “That’s tough to gauge,” says Vasilakos of what sells best. “Our percentages are split pretty evenly between a number of categories.” He says that’s a big reason Zombie Planet’s stayed in business so long.
Owner: J.C. Glindmyer
Known For: New comic titles, back issues, collections
Top Sellers: Batman, X-Men
Glindmyer’s Favorite Comic Book Store, Past Or Present: The long-shuttered Fantaco, the first comic store in the Capital District.