Comic book shop roundup

These friendly, neighborhood stores will satisfy all your graphic-novel needs.

RECOMMENDED: New York Comic Con guide

Midtown Comics
You'll feel a bit naughty climbing the nondescript staircase to this store's Times Square flagship, but the two-story emporium soon quells any ideas of a dingy man-cave. With well-stocked new-issue shelves, this is where you should be heading to load up on DC's New 52 reboots. You will feel compelled to stock up on variant covers—just make sure to join the rewards club first, which grants you a $20 store credit after $100 in purchases. 200 W 40th St at Seventh Ave. Mon, Tue, Thu--Sat 11am--9pm; Wed 8am--9pm; Sun noon--7pm. * 459 Lexington Ave at 45th St. Mon, Tue, Thu--Sat 11am--9pm; Wed 8am--9pm; Sun noon--7pm. * 64 Fulton St at Gold St. Mon--Fri 8am--8pm; Sat 11am--9pm; Sun noon--7pm. * 212-302-8192,

Jim Hanley's Universe
Despite having a name that sounds like an obscure Crisis on Infinite Earths spin-off, this shop is accessible and easy to navigate for Padawan collectors. And it's not all superhero titles: A generous selection of independent and creator-published books is prominently displayed (Craig Thompson's Habibi took a prime floor spot on a recent visit). Best of all, the store is open until 11pm for late-night back-issue runs (hey, even Superman had a day job). Members of its free-to-join loyalty program get special discounts each month (in fact, almost all of the stores mentioned here reward regular buyers with deals). 4 W 33rd St between Fifth Ave and Broadway (212-268-7088). Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri 9am--11pm; Wed 8:30am--11pm; Sun 10am--9pm * 299B New Dorp Ln between Clawson and Edison Sts, Staten Island (718-351-6299). Daily noon--9pm. *

Forbidden Planet
Named after a 1956 sci-fi flick, this shop values its collectibles and ephemera almost as much as its comics. Want a one-sixth-scale figurine of Milla Jovovich from the most recent Resident Evil, or the 11th Doctor's Sonic Screwdriver? Forbidden Planet can help. As for funny books, plentiful graphic novels are the thing, with rows of The Walking Dead and The Avengers trade paperbacks for those who'd like to skip ahead of the adaptations. Boards and bags are free with single issues, so your comics won't get squished on the subway ride home and the joint stays open late, which is handy on Wednesdays when new issues arrive. That's dedication. 840 Broadway at 13th St (212-473-1576, Sun--Tue 10am--10pm, Wed 9am--midnight, Thu--Sat 10am--midnight.

Desert Island
A window display filled with glowing cardboard lanterns, courtesy of artist Gary Lieb, tips you off to the indie focus at this shop. Inside, proprietor Gabe Fowler curates a unique selection of classics (Spiegelman, Crumb), trendy graphic novels (Tomine, Ware) and even some superhero titles (Marvel trades and a few weekly books). Still, a quarter of the stock comes directly from small publishers or the creators themselves, who can sell their goods on a consignment basis. Make sure to grab a free copy of the store's own comics newspaper, Smoke Signal, which has featured contributions from big names like Tony Millionaire and John Severin. 540 Metropolitan Ave between Lorimer St and Union Ave, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (718-388-5087, Mon--Sat noon--9pm, Sun noon--7pm.

Bergen Street Comics
Some comic stores have a way of making the most ardent fan a little embarrassed of their kind (e.g., with the "adult" section in the back). There's no need for that shame here. The most prim Park Sloper will feel at home among the handsome display tables and oak browsing racks of this husband-and-wife-owned shop. That level of care extends to the wares too, which are expertly selected and arranged. Consider the fact that indie-comic great Jaime Hernandez celebrated the release of his newest Love and Rockets book at the shop in September. Definitely take advantage of the in-store events, which usually feature free-flowing wine and beer (safely away from the books, of course). 470 Bergen St between Fifth and Flatbush Aves, Park Slope, Brooklyn (718-230-5600, Mon, Tue, Thu--Sat noon--9pm; Wed 1--9pm; Sun noon--7pm.

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