How crazy is Mark Arsenault? Crazy enough to open a NEWSSTAND that sells cools comics and magazines, books, ‘zines, vinyl and CDs. In other words it’s the kind of cool pop culture haunt that people of a certain age used to congregate in before Snapchat. It sounds like a delightful place, and from the pictures you can see it really is; if ever happen to be in Cupertino I shall surely stop by.

Arsenualt recently relaunched the Alternative Comics indie comics lienone of he oldest indie comics lines here is—and has been running a distribution business for a long time, so he has a good head for business. Good luck!

Santa Clara Valley has a new place to find books. The Wow Cool | Alternative Comics Bookstore and Newsstand — located at 21607B Stevens Creek Blvd. in the Monta Vista neighborhood of Cupertino — opened its doors to the public this winter. The store specializes in small press and self-published comic books, graphic novels, ‘zines and art books. The shop also stocks a selection of vinyl records and CDs by local labels and current issues of many magazines, including Maximum RockNRoll, Wax Poetics, Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Kung Fu Tai Chi and foodie magazine Lucky Peach.

There is a wide range of comics that do not feature superheroes and their adventures as their main subject matter, and they cannot usually be found in the Silicon Valley’s many comic book shops and chain and independent bookstores. The subjects of the comics range from the silly to the serious to the outright stupid. They include small, badly copied manifestos scratched out in suburban basements and New York Times bestsellers, like Congressman John Lewis’s civil rights memoir March. The Wow Cool | Alternative Comics shop stocks as many of them as can fit on its shelves.

The store shares space with the offices of the two companies that give it their names: Wow Cool – a multiple media studio and mail-order house in operation since 1988, based in Cupertino since 2009; and, Alternative Comics – publisher of creator-owned comics and graphic novels since 1993 — relocated to Cupertino in 2012. Both companies are managed by Marc Arsenault, a book and advertising designer who has previously worked for the publishers Fantagraphics and Kitchen Sink and the Bay Area’s Comic Relief and Computer Currents. 

Apart from the house imprint Alternative Comics, the store also stocks books from independent comics publishers Top Shelf Productions, Koyama Press, Ad House Books, PictureBox, Drawn & Quarterly, Last Gasp, Fantagraphics and several others. Wow Cool | Alternative Comics has the largest selection of self-published and micro publisher comic books in Silicon Valley; including hard to find books by the artists Michael DeForge, Kate Beaton, Gabrielle Bell, Brandon Graham, Brian Chippendale, Hellen Jo, Matt Furie and hundreds of others. There is also a large selection of zines and other books that don’t have quite so many pictures in them, including: Cometbus, Doris, Fluke, and King Cat. Dig a little deeper and you will find small press offerings from the likes of Neil Gaiman, Michel Gondry and Robert Crumb.

The store is open from noon until 6PM, every Tuesday through Saturday. It’s right off of the CA-85 Cupertino/Stevens Creek exit near the intersection with I-280, in the same parking lot as Silicon Valley landmark Paul & Eddie’s. The Wow Cool | Alternative Comics shop accepts cash, check, PayPal and all major credit cards.

Wow Cool | Alternative Comics Bookstore & Newsstand
21607B Stevens Creek Blvd.
Cupertino, CA 95014 – map
(408) 921-5164

Hours: Tuesday-Saturday, Noon-6PM


  1. Good luck, and I hope I’m wrong, but it’s in what I’d call a destination location; if you’re not planning on going to it, it’s unlikely you’ll happen across it. While that’s a very high traffic intersection, the majority of the traffic will be getting off 85 and heading for the other side of Stevens Creek, where there’s a lot of shopping and DeAnza Jr. College. I think the only time I went to that “other” side of Stevens Creek was en route to a party at someone’s house. But then, I’m also not familiar with Paul and Eddie’s, not being a drinker, so I could be wrong about the amount of casual traffic going by.

  2. Tom, Monta Vista has come a long way since they closed the train station. It’s actually turning into a cute little neighborhood. Apart from the post office and several useful services and stores, including watch/jewelry repair, martial arts schools and salons, there is now a great little indie organic grocery, a custom guitar shop, and an excellent sushi restaurant. We’re way at the back of our building so we never expected much casual traffic, hopefully some local… once people learn we are here. Being right off of 85, basically the only route from San Francisco to L.A., we are hoping people will make it a stop. Of the many comic shops we are lucky to have down here I can’t think of any, other than Heroes in Campbell, that aren’t pretty tucked away in a strip mall. Comics shops… any specialty shop is a destination location and we never had any expectations beyond that. Otherwise, good to hear from a local! Stop by sometime. The location is primarily our offices. We have the storefront so we made use of it. If things go well we will start thinking location. There are some very sweet spots open in the Cupertino area right now.

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