St. Marks Comics is closing after 36 years – UPDATED with statement

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storefront.jpgRumors started flying this afternoon, and it was confirmed in a tweet: New York City is losing one of its iconic comics shops as St. Marks Comics is shutting down at the end of February.

The store is located on St. Marks Place, a street famed, in the 70s and 80s, for being a hotbed of punk energy, fashion and music and a shopping destination for everything avant garde for decades. As time went by, the street lost its edge, all the clubs got turned into condos, and 9th St’s Little Tokyo crept over a block. It was great for yakitori and karaoke, but indie retail dropped to high rents, as record stores, video stores and fashion stores went under.

St Marks Comics lasted the longest, but it was only a matter of time.

A Brooklyn outpost of the store closed in 2015.

We’ve reached out to owner Mitch Cutler for more information, but this is another era ender. With it’s iconic gogo-check storefront, St. Marks was the messy indie rebel to JHU’s more orderly store to the north in the 90s and beyond, before Midtown took over as the clean mega-store of the city.

St, Marks was cluttered, dusty and impossible to find things in. It also featured adventurous signings and hired female clerks long before that become the industry standard.  When I moved to New York it was the end of the night destination for many a cartoonist dinner since they stayed open until midnight or later. A few years ago I saw the incoming cartooning class at SVA being taken there on their orientation.

A classic.

Our advice: stop by for that sale. St,. Marks is sure to have some buried treasure in those vaults.

UPDATE: ST Marks posted the following on their FB page:on their FB page:

We’ve been asked why.

There are lots of obstacles to running a retail storefront in NYC; too many of them at once to fight, and after 36 pretty intense years, not enough left to fight them.

We are forever grateful to our customers, who made it possible to pursue our passion for so long.

To our families and friends, without whose patience and indulgence we could never do all the things required to run a retail business for 36 years.

Most especially, to all the talented and dedicated staff, mostly now extended family, who contributed their time, expertise, ideas, and love to make this the very best shop it could be.

We’ll see you soon to say goodbye and share a good memory.
Let’s make this month a wake, not a funeral.

40 COMMENTS

  1. I was reading about how Farm Aid came about the other day. And while comic shops are certainly not Farms, it strikes me how precarious and desperate the state of owning a comic store increasingly is. Why doesn’t someone or someones organize a ‘Shop Aid’ for comic stores to help them with their struggles? I realize Free Comic Day is something, but shop owners still have to pay for that.

  2. Oh man. Mitch was a longtime part of my comic book life for sure. I cannot imagine how many have passed through this shop and been introduced to very worthwhile and cool books that they would have otherwise never encountered.

  3. That store was originally on the floor right above. I spent a bunch of money there in the 80s, and I miss a lot of things about that street, from Lafayette through Avenue A. Mitch and his staff was always courteous and knew their stuff.

  4. Mitch accepted an anthology comic I edited in 1993 on consignment when no other store in town would (except the short-lived Carmine Comics, which was a nice shop). He noted I had free stickers in it –and that he had to bag it to prevent sticker theft. I said I didn’t really care if people stole the stickers…he said too bad and said “now you’ve learned a lesson.” No one ever bought a copy! I’LL MISS THAT CRAZY MIXED UP PLACE…and the clerks who would follow you around.

  5. Damn, hate to see another comic shop close, I enjoy going to this place! Their annual and summer sales were great. I will miss them.

  6. Noooooo! I would visit this store every time I was in nyc. Such a great old-school comics shop from a bygone era of New York. Damn. St. Mark’s will be missed.

  7. Ditto what Dino said. I can’t believe it’s “only” been 36 years – I feel like St. Mark’s Comics has been there forever — certainly as long as I can remember….

    I distinctly recall the terror I felt, as a newbie comix creator, taking my minis (KEYHOLE MINI-COMIX) to various stores in NYC and Chicago, hoping they’d accept a few copies on consignment — and how often they’d shut me down in an instant. But Mitch always had time for creators — now matter how obscure — and always took copies of my stuff, moving from consignment to Diamond Distributors, etc., etc. And he always remembered me when I came by the store!

    Warts and all, Mitch has been a champion of indy culture and alt-comix for more than a generation. Kudos!

  8. That’s one of the first good comic shops I ever visited. It wasn’t great if you were looking for something in particular, but it was fantastic if you had time to browse–especially the minicomics section. I remember being a bunch of issues of Keyhole there, Dino & Josh!

  9. I lived in Alphabet City in 93-94. I know I’m misremembering this, but I remember St. Marks comics as being the first 24 hour comic shop I ever saw.

  10. anyone looking to support their local comic shop can do so just by visiting and buying some comics. It would really help. Buy a comic for a friend and maybe you’ll make a new comic reader.

  11. Stunned by the news. Shopping at St. Mark’s Comics was always such a warm, welcoming, customer-friendly experience. Now instead, I’ll have to put on a burka and go through TSA clearance.

  12. I bought the large-format, self-published LOVE IS HELL by Matt Groening there after a club party in the East Village. Had to stop reading it on the subway because I was laughing too hard.

  13. Paul Abruzzo says

    01/29/2019 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm

    Lol guess the female clerks didn’t work out.

    Yeah, only 36 years, what a failure…

    It must be so hard blaming women for all of your failure.

  14. also, brooklyn closed in 2012, not 2015.
    and chambers street closed either late 2002 or early 2003, i only remember it being very cold that last day.

  15. St. Mark’s is my wife and I’s favorite comic shop and Mitch and the whole team there are the best. We’ve moved very far away but are still truly sad hearing this. Best wishes to all of you in your next things. Wednesday nights will be a little less bright without St. Mark’s Comics.

  16. This was a regular hangout back in the ’80s thru’90s when my fiance, later wife, Elayne was working a few blocks away. I’d pick up new titles, often finding stuff other stores weren’t carrying. After she got out we’d often grab sushi in one of the local places. Part of my ‘other life’ but still sad.

  17. I loved St. Mark’s Comics! Mitch Cutler was a master of comics and a true gentleman. I spent many a late Friday night perusing those wonderful shelves and talking with Mitch.

  18. Maybe if DC had released the Snyder cut of Justice League, with Henry Cavill’s penis visible during the resurrection scene, the store could’ve been saved. Think about how many more copies of Justice League they’d be selling if DC had SOME GUTS.

  19. Damn shame for any shop to close. Pervasive corporate intrusion, the diminishing of the middle class, resultant high,usurious rents…’obstacles’ Mitch said. I think it’s the pervasive need to grab all you can before it’s taken away.

  20. @Yandalpho Yes, that would’ve been the solution to skyrocketing rent and a comics industry that no longer had any genuinely accessible means of attracting new readers with genuinely good stories.

    Sure. Think of how many more comic shops could’ve been saved if this particular lame stunt had worked.

  21. Having co-opened Comics and Comix beginning back in late August 1972, it is a shame to keep reading about more and more comics stores closing recently.

  22. wow, I ‘ve been going there since (as stated above) it was one floor up. scored many an oddball item at st.marks. from British hardcover annuals to hard to find pins, buttons, posters, and toys. man, with the closing of the grass roots inn across the street and mark burger down the block, and now st.marks comics, the neighborhood is another step closer to being a pale shade of what it once was. what’s left? the punk shop a few stores down from st.marks comics (you know the one, with all the plastic baby doll parts in the window), whose name escapes me right now, once that store closes , it truly will be an end of an era. gotta visit the store at least a couple of more times before it closes.

  23. I WAS one of those female clerks at St. Mark’s & Metro Comics back in the ’80s… lol!

    Had my ups & downs there, but man, that was the start of my education of the Industry. It was clearly my start. I learned so much.

    I’ll stop by to thank Mitch & to pay my respects. This place is & will be a part of St. Mark’s Place’s history. It’s gonna be so missed.

    (((BIG HUG)))

  24. If there’s a silver lining, people have had a lot of time to practice not thinking about St. Mark’s Comics. So they should be okay.

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