Streetlevel: From T-Mobile to Comics on Metropolitan

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This storefront at 540 Metropolitan Avenue (between Lorimer and Union) has had an interesting past. After years as an Italian bakery, and then a T-mobile store, it is now slated to become Williamsburg’s first indie comics shop, Desert Island. What’s nice is that they’ve kept the original signage and that curved window intact. And let’s face it, getting your Fantagraphics and Drawn and Quarterly fix locally seems like a no-brainer. Desert Island will also carry zines, artist’s books, and limited edition silkscreens. Owner Gabriel Fowler hopes to use the dramatic window space to showcase up-and-coming print artists. “Specific titles include Robert Crumb’s ‘Zap’ comics and Chris Ware’s ‘Acme Novelty Library’ (contemporary favorite), and tons of other obscure delicacies.” Desert Island will open for business in about three weeks. GMAP

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  • Yay! This is SO much better than a T-Mobile store.

  • But, Aquaman, you cannot marry a woman without gills! You’re from two different worlds…

    Oh, I’ve wasted my life.

  • Oooh, Guest 3:19, your powers of deduction are exceptional. I can’t allow you to waste them here when there are so many crimes going unsolved at this very moment. Go, go, for the good of the city!

  • There is NOTHING i would welcome more into Williamsburg than a Comic Store but this sounds like it’s destined to fail.

    I’m a fan of Fanatgraphics, Drawn & Quaterly and all the indie press ilk but to create a shop ceneterd solely around those types of indie comics is not only foolish but a disservice to the comics as an art form but also the renaissance writing has been under in superhero comics over the last decade.

    I know it seems like there are enough hipster kids who love Crumb, Clowes, Tomine, Ware etc, etc in reality there are not. Plus each of these type of books release on totally haphazard schedules.

    I can’t believe you’d consider opening a shop and shun the bread & butter of the genre… superheros. It’s like opening a fruit store and only selling papayas.

    The joy of a comic shop is the excitement of something NEW every week, the co-mingling of Spider-Man and Enid!

    Boo to this!

  • The Sub Mariner can kick Aquaman’s ASS.

  • I miss my comic books. There was a time where I could tell you the extended plot lines of the Avengers, Thor, the X-Men, Spidey, Daredevil, and the Fantastic Four stretching back years. Captain America was stodgey, but I bought it. The Wakandan people and their king, the Black Panther were cool before black people in comics were commonplace.

    I used to think the Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange were deep, and had the strangest conversation with someone once about Judeo-Christian ramifications of Galactus and the Watchers.

    Always hated the Hulk. Hulk dumb.

    They were a lot cheaper then, too.

  • As the owner of this store, I would like to respond to the anonymous superhero fan above. We are a very small store with specialized stock, and we can’t begin to include every comics title. I personally dislike the “superstore” approach to comic shops, and I won’t attempt to compete with places like Midtown Comics. But I do hope to carry something for everyone in a fun environment. Come see for yourself before you cast judgment!

    Best regards,
    Gabriel

  • So is this a comics shop, or a post Giuliani-era “comics shop”? Because the nabe could use one of those, too.

  • Can’t wait to check it out. As a nitpick, there used to be a bookstore (Clover Press?) in Williamsburg that carried Fantagraphics, D&Q and lots of ‘zines and minicomics. I think it’s gone now though.

  • That store is a cheese shop now.

  • Stop right there! I have the only working phaser ever built. It was fired only once to keep William Shatner from making another album.

  • Sounds a lot like Rocketship.

  • I am looking forward to seeing this store open. Good luck Gabriel.

  • alot like Rocketship, and believe it or not, Rocketship’s doing fine on unlikely Smith street. Desert Island has a fine chance of survival. Plenty of hipster artists trying to make comics and silkscreening over there, and i dont mean that meanly..

  • Jimmy Legs

    i too used to get my amce at clovis, for some reason they don’t sell them at that location any more. hope this new place does well. i need the new Mome!

  • Yep, Rocketship is a great place. They concentrate on indie/alt books but do have some superhero titles, classics, a kids section, etc. Nice mix of stuff. And, in a similar tribute to an old neighborhood business, they left up the old Bootery sign. I’ll be sure to check out Desert Island as well.

  • Attention Indie Comix fans: This has nothing to do with Brownstoner, but there is a Chris Ware show up at Adam Baumgold Gallery on East 79th until March 15.

  • i could not be more excited about this. i’ve lived in greenpoint for 8 and half years and i’ve been wanting a comic book shop around here. clovis had some good stuff, but it wasn’t a great selection (as in variety, not that what they had was bad). there used to be a goth store in the mall on n. 5th that carried some comics, but again, not a whole lot.

    i do hope they’ll carry a healthy amount of zines because there are so few places to get them in the city at all. not just around here.

    i know where my paychecks are going to start going, now that i don’t need to go all the way into manhattan for them.

  • Sounds great to me. I never was a serious superhero comic-book fan, but as a kid I always enjoyed Harvey Comics and later I became a rabid EC Horror book fan. I still get tingles looking at old issues of Eerie and Creepy and Famous Monsters and the like.

    Anyhow, I’m an illustrator and, while I don’t do comics per se, I applaud anyone who celebrates them as an art form. I find a trip to Rocketship ( or St Marks comics or even Forbidden planet) incredibly inspiring. Looking forward to checking out Desert Island.

    I only wish it was opening in Clinton Hill- we need an injection of retail cool like nothing else over here. If you’re ever looking to expand, lookover here…please!

    Anyhow, good luck, Gabriel. You have my full support.

  • This saves me from riding my bike six miles just to go to Rocketship. Awesome! Except now I won’t have any money.

  • EXCELLENT. NYC needs more good comic shops and W’burg is the perfect spot for it.

  • this is a welcome addition to the neighborhood and I hope it succeeds pre-T-mobile there was a pretty amazing art supply store in that location.

  • how will we know when it opens?

  • it’s now open!! and f’ing awesome!

  • I’ll second that! Anyone who needs infinite variety can visit a little store called the Internet. In my dreams, New York is full of shops like this. It’s well-curated, and everything in it is loved. I’m especially glad to have a place to see a great collection of independently printed publications, as well as a lot of stuff from outside the USA. (I’m a book designer, not a comic book collector). I’ll be going back.