Your favorite comic book heroes now at a store near you!

While bookstores are struggling to stay in business in an age of Kindles and e-books, a comic bookstore stands out amid the row of stores on Linking Road in Khar West. With an impressive collection — from Star Wars, Marvel, DC comics to Indie comics — this store has turned out to be a must-visit for comic book fans.

“When I was growing up, there were no comic book stores around me. So, instead of waiting for someone else to set up a specialized bookstore, I chose to do it myself,” said Hamza Sayyad, the owner of the store.

The 25-year-old was the only comic book seller at Comic Con Mumbai in 2019. “We first started selling books from my living room. It was an online store operated by a single person, one computer and with a small capital. All the comic books would lie around the room. During the lockdown, our sales went up. We started getting orders from all over India. That encouraged me to open the store,” he said.

The store, which opened in March 2022, features a large selection of comics of different genres — horror, time travel, adventure, among others. The store also sells rare collector’s items. “Our books are authentic since we source them directly from the distributors,” Sayyad said.

With the iconic Stan Lee’s face adorning the facade, the bold letters and bright yellow exteriors, the store is hard to miss. Inside, there are three walls of indie, Marvel, and DC comics, with each wall dedicated to a specific genre. The top shelves have vintage issues and copies signed by notable comic book creators such as Stan Lee and Alex Ross.

The store also sells apparel and posters.

Running the book store, however, comes with its own set of challenges. Sayyad said, “Comic books are susceptible to water and shipping damages.”

Occasionally, the authentication certificate is removed during transit.

When asked if pirated comic book sites are a threat, Sayyad said, “Piracy is a growing concern but very few titles are available online. If someone is pursuing a particular story, they may not find all the issues online.”

He added that he was confident that a dedicated comic book reader will always prefer a physical copy to a pirated one.

The store has titles that will appeal to readers across age groups and they are reasonably priced. The starting price of comic books such as The Avengers, Power Rangers and True Believers is Rs 99. Sought-after graphic novels such as Batman: The Killing Joke, Watchmen (the international edition), Deathnote and others are priced at around Rs 1,000.

Sayyad, who has also opened a company called The Comic Book Store, is working on introducing a monthly subscription service. This will provide digital comics to customers who do not have access to the store, he said. He also plans to open a new store in Bangalore by the end of this year.

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