Midtown Comics was founded in 1997 by partners Angelo Chantly, Thomas Galitos, Robert Mileta and Gerry Gladston, who met as teenagers in Astoria, Queens. The group had a background in selling comics in their video stores in Brooklyn and Queens, and noticed a void in New York’s comic book retail landscape. They decided to open the flagship Midtown Comics store in the Times Square area, on West 40th Street and Seventh Avenue.
Since opening its doors, the store has grown to become the largest comic book store in the United States. The company opened its second store on Lexington Avenue in 2004, which is known as the Grand Central store for its proximity to Grand Central Terminal. In November 2010, the company opened its third store, located in the Financial District, on Fulton Street. Then in March 2020, the company opened its fourth store in Astoria, Queens.
But Midtown Comics is more than just a store, it's a destination for comic book enthusiasts and fans of all ages. The store's friendly and passionate staff, not only knowledgeable about the inventory, but also about the comics community, make it a welcoming place for both seasoned readers and newbies alike. The store's wide range of products, from the latest comics to retro collectibles, appeals to fans of all fandoms, creating a unique and inclusive atmosphere.
The store's commitment to the comics marketplace is evident in their e-commerce business, social media presence, and comic book subscription services, ensuring that customers have access to comics no matter how they prefer to shop. Midtown Comics also actively engages with the community by holding promotions, sales, and hosting signings and meet-and-greets with comic book creators and celebrities.
Fans have had the opportunity to meet and interact with creators such as Frank Miller, Greg Capullo, Kevin Smith, Dave Gibbons, Mark Millar and Simone Bianchi to name a few. Each of these creators have left their mark in the comic book world and have been instrumental in shaping the industry.
Frank Miller, for example, is one of the most celebrated comic book creators of all time, known for his work on iconic comics such as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns, Daredevil, and Sin City. His visit to Midtown Comics was a treat for fans, many of whom had the opportunity to have their comics signed by the legendary creator.
Greg Capullo, another industry veteran, has also made appearances at Midtown Comics. Capullo is best known for his work on the Batman comics, where he illustrated the highly acclaimed series Batman: Zero Year and Batman: Endgame. His work on the series helped to redefine the Batman character and has left a lasting impact on the comics industry.
It's no wonder Midtown Comics ranks No. 14 on TripAdvisor’s 1,000 top New York stores and was named the best comic book store in the city by The Village Voice in 2012. The store's reputation even caught the attention of the National Geographic Channel, which premiered "Comic Store Heroes," a reality TV series set at Midtown Comics in 2012.
The show focused on the interactions between the store's staff and its customers, as well as the conflict among its staff as it prepared its booth for the New York Comic Con. The show helped to further establish Midtown Comics as a hot spot for geek culture and a must see destination for comic book enthusiasts.
In 2017, ABC News used the Times Square store as the location for a segment reporting on the controversial Marvel storyline "Secret Empire." In 2019, the TruTV hidden camera television series Impractical Jokers filmed a segment at the Downtown location, during a book signing by actor Zachary Levi to promote his film Shazam!
Midtown Comics has even made appearances in the very comic books they sell. In Brian K. Vaughn's and Wildstorm Productions' Ex Machina #12, the main character laments the closing of a beloved comic book store in Lower Manhattan following the September 11 attacks and mentions Midtown Comics as one of the comic shops still open. The store was also explicitly referenced in Mark Millar's Ultimate Comics Avengers 3 #2, where the character Nerd Hulk requests permission from Captain America to attend a book signing there.
Midtown Comics is more than a store, it's a cultural center for fans of every different aspect of fandoms, where folks can find their favorite comics, collectibles, and meet like-minded people in a welcoming atmosphere. It's a destination for comic book enthusiasts from around the world, and a testament to the power of comic books to bring people together.