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Inside Forbidden Planet’s Less Forbidding New Location

Photos: Sarah Darville.

At Forbidden Planet’s new location, which opened last Tuesday, the shelves still overflow with comic books, graphic novels, and action figures  – but according to manager Jeff Ayers, there’s one big difference from the old store at the corner of Broadway and 12th Street. “It’s not a cave,” he said, pointing at windows in the front and a skylight in the back. “There’s a sense of actually being able to breathe.”

The new location at 832 Broadway is the store’s third on the block south of Union Square where it first opened in 1981. For those who remember sky-high shelves and bumping into other customers in the aisles, the 40 percent increase in space will likely be a shock to the system.

“F.P. has always had that cool, grimy — not dirty… but that reputation of being jam-packed,” Mr. Ayers said. “We want it to be the same, and a little classier.” The store’s most recent Yelp reviewer appreciated the upgrades, writing, “So much more room and THE A/C WORKS!!!” Read more…

Kim Deitch’s Ode to Joel Fabrikant

DEFIINITELY USE Deitch Black and Blue EVO Mar 3 1969 EVO BEST BEST copy Mar. 3, 1969 cover by Kim Deitch

He was a roughneck.  He certainly wasn’t politically correct and his blunt management style definitely took getting used to. In fact I really didn’t know what to make of him at first. But during the time I worked at The East Village Other, I received any number of sanctimonious promises from the people I worked with that didn’t seem to amount to much. Joel Fabrikant was no sanctimonious hippie or any other kind of hippie, but he always kept his word.

I was actually drawing comics for EVO, as it was called by most of us, before Joel got there.  The first time I showed up at the storefront office on Avenue A was at the start of 1967. Allen Katzman, EVO’s nominal editor, looked at the art samples I brought. He told me they were interesting, but that EVO was looking for work that was more, “psychedelic.” Psychedelic was a buzzword of the moment.  Put simply it meant, “trippy,” or drug-influenced.

I didn’t have to go far to pipe directly into that. Before I even left the office, Allen Katzman introduced me to Bill Beckman, the art editor. I knew who Bill Beckman was. In fact he was one of my initial inspirations for showing up at EVO.

Back in Westchester, where I had been employed as a child care worker, perhaps nine months prior to this, I showed a co-worker some of the artwork I’d been doing in my spare time. A curious thing about this artwork was that at a certain point, it had started morphing into primitive comic strips. Read more…

Where Underground Comix Lurched Into Life


The Local East Village continues its celebration of the pioneering alternative newspaper of the late 1960s and early 70s, The East Village Other. This weekend, further to last week’s piece by artist Trina Robbins, we’re keeping our attention on the paper’s trailblazing illustrations, starting with an essay from Patrick Rosenkranz, the author of “Rebel Visions: The Underground Comix Revolution 1963-1975.”

Crumb Gothic Blimp Works first issue Cover of the first Gothic Blimp Works issue, by Robert Crumb

I never worked for The East Village Other but I was a captivated reader from the first time I picked up an issue in 1966. As an 18-year-old naïve Catholic scholarship student at Columbia University, I was ripe for the revolution. My roommate introduced me to smoking dope that winter and my enhanced appetite often drew me to the student cafeteria, where I couldn’t help but be attracted to the radical contingent from Students for a Democratic Society sitting around their regular table. They looked to my eyes like bomb-throwing anarchists who were having wild sex every night. They often left behind copies of The East Village Other, which I picked up. It was love at first sight.

I’d never seen a publication like this before. It was full of wild accusations and bawdy language and doctored photographs. It had President Johnson’s head in a toilet bowl. It had naked Slum Goddesses, truly bizarre personal ads, and a whole different slant on the anti-war movement than my hometown paper upstate. But best of all, it had the most outrageous comic strips. The continuing saga of Captain High; the psychedelic adventures of Sunshine Girl and Zoroaster the Mad Mouse; Trashman offing the pigs and scoring babes left and right. While I enjoyed many aspects of EVO, I liked the comics the most. Read more…

On St. Marks, Comics on the Big Screen

St. Mark's ComicsMeghan Keneally St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Marks Place.

This summer, the posters lining the walls of movie theaters could just as easily have been found in a teenager’s bedroom as comic books are hitting the big screen. “Thor” came out in May, “Green Lantern” in June, “The Green Hornet” in July, “Captain America: The First Avenger” debuted last weekend and new teaser trailers for the prequel to Spider Man and the return of “The Dark Knight” franchise were recently released.

Gossip Web sites and fashion magazines splash pictures of Hollywood stars greeting enthusiastic fans at Comic Con, the comic book trade show which finished Sunday in San Diego.

The public attention and adoration that equals big bucks for movie studios — “Captain America” brought in $65.8 million in its first weekend — does not necessarily translate into traditional book sales.

“Good movies help, and bad movies hurt,” said Mitch Cutler of St. Mark’s Comics, one of the oldest comic book retailers in Manhattan.
Read more…