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Blast Off Manhattan: Comic Book Superstore

“It’s a word you never get tired of saying,” says Mary Gibbons, referring to the store’s name Rocketship, which has no reference to any comic book whatsoever. In 2006, Mary and business partner Alex Cox, opened up their Brooklyn store, which has been increasingly drawing a comic-happy crowd of avid readers, many like myself who are now enjoying the sweet post-adolescent reboot of a nerdy pastime. To quote Paul of Tarsus, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child … but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” Of course Paul never read Watchmen.

Somewhere in the last several years I awoke from my own comics slumber, as all good fanboys do, and found myself walking into a store called Rocketship on Smith Street in Cobble Hill. How fitting was it that they still had the old school pharmacy sign above the front window? Rocketship was the opium-cure to my undiagnosed adulthood blues. Hooked instantly, I had suddenly returned to the oasis of imagination that comic books represent.

Rocketship evokes hipness. It comes across as a setting to some new Nick Hornby book, whereby having an elusive hobby is part of your cool – even if it is fetishistic. It’s a reminder to all you latent nerds, geeks and spaz artists that “adult” is what you make of it, perhaps one of the remaining redeeming legacies of recyclable hipster culture in this New York, U.S.A. of ours.

The setup inside is simple: shelves of new release comics, graphic novels and trade paperbacks along the walls and on tables. Books are shelved according to creator rather than title and there are just as many small print indie gems, (Scott Pilgrim and Strangers in Paradise to name a couple), as there are men-in-tights superhero comics from the big two of DC and Marvel. Browse through them all to the low hum of indie rock, which co-mingles nicely with conversations about Michael Lark artwork or whether or not Civil War was poorly executed or just poorly conceived.

Rocketship has an event calendar chock full of artist and creator appearances usually only reserved for the busy floors at comic conventions. There are also lovely bars and restaurants to read your new purchases at, once you leave the store (see our recent article on nearby Court Street for ideas). New products arrive on Wednesday. Rocketship Rocketship Rocketship.

How to get there: Rocketship is located on that most forgiving of social stretches in the outer borough’s Smith St. in Cobble Hill. The store is located between Baltic and Butler, which can be arrived at via the (F) or (G) to Bergen Street stop. Just look for the “Stride Rite” sign and you’ll find Rocketship underneath. They are open seven days a week from 11-7 Sunday and Mondays, 11-8 Tuesday and Thursday, and 11-9 Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. (208 Smith St., Brooklyn, 718-797-1348, www.rocketshipstore.blogspot.com for announcements on upcoming events.)