540522_10150927256577158_124606007_n.jpg

Here’s a story I never hoped to write: Bergen Street Comics, the lovely and much loved comics shop right up the street from Brooklyn’s Barclay’s Center is closing, according to a blog post by co-owner Tom Adams.

After six amazing years Amy and I regret to announce that we will be closing the shop next month.

Opening the store, becoming a part of the neighborhood, and getting to meet so many great people has been an incredible experience for us and we are grateful to each and every one of you for giving us the opportunity to build something very special.

We will have more details on the closing – as well as on our plans for the future, including the proper launch of Bergen Street Comics Press http://bergenstreetcomicspress.bigcartel.com/ – in the coming days.


Tom and Amy Adams opened the store in 2009 and it immediately became a neighborhood and industry fixture. With exposed brick walls, art displays, store signings that featured prosecco in champagne glasses, and a full array of graphic novels, small press and mini comics, it was a dream comics shop—elegant and family friendly.

10329043_10152757525847158_3760706139695820050_n.jpg

- Advertisement-

Even though the store wasn’t that convenient for me to get to, I made it out as often as I could for their many great events, and going there became a ritual for me—sometimes grabbing a sustainable hot dog at the place next door, picking up some special comic that I couldn’t get anywhere else in the city, repairing to the local tavern afterwards. Tom and Amy knew how to run a beautiful store that was truly part of the community. The personnel at the store was a parade of local comics types as well…Tucker Stone – who also works for Nobrow Press – became a partner a few years ago and always rang me up when I shopped there.

I won’t speculate on the reasons for the closing, but NYC real estate is off the hook expensive, comics retailing is a marginal business and that math can be deadly. Although the announcement came as a surprise to some, Tom Adams has posted about leaving the store a few weeks ago.

https://twitter.com/BergenStComics/status/631189306175000577

The news brought an outpouring of grief on Twitter:


https://twitter.com/ExLibrisNora/status/636331256721076224


https://twitter.com/mistahphil/status/636353022348562432


https://twitter.com/mattseneca/status/636358959453065216

And here’s a photo from artist Ganzeer:

http://ganzeer.tumblr.com/post/124934733640/a-sort-of-european-centric-graphic-novel-corner-in

On the plus side, Bergen Street had gotten involved with comics publishing with Michel Fiffe’s Copra (Fiffe worked at the store for a while) and the news that they’re planning to expand their publishing is welcome indeed. Here’s their online store.

This leaves Williamsburg’s Desert Island as the last artisan comics shop in gentrified Brooklyn. I’ve been feeling that the pace of expansion in the comics industry is due for a slow down, and Bergen Street Comics closing may be part of that—or completely unrelated since they’re getting into publishing . They say one last party is planned and I’m sure it will be a blowout. YOU can see the scores of comics luminaries from past events on their Facebook page and here’s one photo from a signing for Fiffe’s Zegas, to remember the good times.

317841_10150294118497158_26526_n.jpg




17 COMMENTS

  1. Geez, Desert Island? But their clerk was such a stereotypical comics snob hipster jerk the one time I went there, and the atmosphere is not so welcoming if you don’t want an indulgent memoir comic. I actually found myself getting into a comics cred measuring contest with that twerp “Actually, I was looking for ____ ” (flat) “What.” “Well, I guess you’ve never heard of it.” If that ends up the new standard bearer for good comics in New York, it is a sad day for New York.

  2. Desert Island is sooooo awesome and nice. Every time I’ve been there, they have gone out of their way to be nice to me and hook me up with excellent books. Bergen Street always had douchebag jerks working the register who liked to insult their customers and make fun of the books they published. The only positive thing I can say about Bergen Street is Michael Fiffe is a sweetheart. Bergen Street was totally the Android’s Dungeon for indie books.

  3. This is desperately sad news. Bergen St. took the European idea that a comic shop sould be a nice place for all the family and ran with it. It was really the physical heart of Brookyn comics ( as Rocketship was before it ). It upped the game and the other local stores followed. I’m sad to see it go, but I’ll be happy if Tom & Amy are going to put the same energy and passion into publishing that they put into their store.

  4. That sucks, I hope it’s all for the best of reasons. Bergen St is great shop I found, i’ve only been once when I was in town for the ‘Dream Life | a late coming of age’ launch tour. and I went there to stock it on their shelves.

    Thanks for the good works Tom and Amy Adams, & co. Hope the publishing venture goes smoothly, but your retail presence will be missed.

  5. Sad news, but I have a feeling that Amy and Tom’s next act will be awesome. Bergen Street was a solid member of our StoreCorps Retail Activation Network and a fun place for me to shop, as a fanboy, too.

  6. And now we see what happens when a comic store does its best to avoid the mainstream part of the industry.

    One cannot exist without the other, no matter how hard they seem to try.

  7. @Evan Meadow

    Except that superheroes aren’t mainstream. If it weren’t for the cartoons, video games, and movies, most people would not care about DC and Marvel. And even then, they aren’t that relevant outside of the United States. If nothing else, showing that comics can be more than just muscled capes and can have a wide variety of stories to tell is a good thing.

    I’m going to miss Bergen. Got some really nice comics there and went to one of the after parties they sponsored. It was great seeing the local artists and their works. Hope that their foray into publishing is successful.

  8. sad news. i wonder how much more of this we’ll see going forward with rents in big cities skyrocketing and margins getting smaller and smaller.

  9. The amazing thing? The “non-mainstream” and “mainstream” sides of comics are equally elitist, equally obnoxious, both smug and suffering from a massive inferiority complex about what non-comic fans think of their habits.

  10. WB, you’re right. But any store catering exclusively to just one side will never work, And that’s for both mainstream and indy. Wasn’t Bergen Street the one that proudly claimed “We’re no longer going to order any DC or Marvel books unless our customers special order them?”

    Saying that sets up an automatic doomsday clock. Because no store can neither ignore the popular, just as much as if they instead chose to ignore the esoteric which can’t be ignored either.

  11. Maggie, you’re right, but Bergen would pride itself more on having copies of anything by Daniel Clowes or Kramer’s Ergot. That store in no way looks like the place to go to get Disney, Asterix, or anything Aw Yeah! People have clearly said they were able to find comics for their children there, but you don’t walk into that place expecting that, and visual first impressions are important.

  12. Evan–
    With all due respect, you are incorrect. Many stores that order heavily on Marvel & DC titles also shut their doors with regularity. I’ve seen so many comic shops that fit that description disappear I’ve lost count. Also, I’m going to speculate that you didn’t shop there, and are relying on your interpretations of things you’ve read online about Bergen Street. I would hate for other stores to get the same impression, which is why I’m taking a moment to write.
    It doesn’t matter if a store sells bread and milk, or comic books: no store can stock its shelves with items that regularly don’t sell, or OVER stock its shelves with stuff that sells only marginally. Simply put, Bergen Street adjusted it’s ordering to reflect what its customers were actually buying.
    When you walk into a comic shop and see stacks of previous -months issues sitting there? That may look impressive when you’re a customer, but it all represents unsold stock that must be leveraged against and subtracted from what the store did manage to sell. It only makes sense to adjust the ordering to eliminate product that isn’t selling and give that shelf space to stuff customers actually want.
    Most comics shops don’t carry EVERYTHING. To some extent, they’re all curating. Bergen Street absolutely carried Marvel & DC Comics as anyone who actually shopped there can attest. Many Image Comics are outselling Marvel and DC, at least in Brooklyn, and the shop reflected that. It also stocked books that have dominated the best sellers lists for years like Drama, Smile, and volumes of The Walking Dead just to name a few. There are enough massive, MASSIVE sellers outside the monthly superhero market to support a store like Bergen Street (although again, they carried that stuff too). The shop was a staple of the community and was responsive to that community’s wide tastes, which included a large all-ages section along with everything else. Beyond that, the shop did everything it could to get whatever someone walking in asked for if it wasn’t already there. Sometimes sales aren’t the only factor.

  13. WB–Yah, that’s never a surprising and an always disappointing truth.

    I was never a fan of the dark wood actually, just, well, too dark, but the staff was always friendly to me. A small curated selection for all types of comics, and what else should you be doing in a space that size? An contrary to some of this commentary, a really welcoming eye-level to tykes all-ages section. It wasn’t my regular shop, but I had pleasant times there.

  14. Evan, I’m genuinely curious: Have you ever actually been to Bergen Comics? Because it’s quite different than the store you seem to be describing.

    You’re correct, it’s true that last year they declared they would only carry DC and Marvel product that was specially ordered, but the last time I was in there, a few weeks ago, they had plenty of DC and Marvel superhero comics on the shelves. I don’t know if that earlier statement was hyperbole or if they changed their minds or what, but you absolutely can get your superhero comics there.

    And you write “That store in no way looks like the place to go to get Disney, Asterix, or anything Aw Yeah! People have clearly said they were able to find comics for their children there, but you don’t walk into that place expecting that, and visual first impressions are important.” Well, if you actually go to the store, all the kid- and all-ages comics are right up front. That’s the stuff you see when you look in the window. You don’t see the DC or Marvel, or the Kramer’s Ergot and Daniel Clowes. You see Adventure Time and Disney.

Comments are closed.