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New Comic Book Store in Staten Island Sells Vintage Sci-Fi

By Nicholas Rizzi | March 22, 2013 8:57am

ST. GEORGE — From tiny robots, laser beams, space invaders and bad monster costumes, a new comic shop in St. George is stocking up on vintage science-fiction and horror movie merchandise.

Aside from the usual stock of superhero comics, Hypno-Tronic Comics will sell everything from Elvira dolls to Star Trek laser-disks.

“We’re different,” said co-owner Joy Ghigliotti. “We try to cater to sci-fi, horror movies, television, pop culture stuff, as well as the comics.”

The store already has a large collection of memorabilia culled from garage sales, conventions and the personal collections of owners Ghigliotti and Edmund Varuolo.

Vintage toys, comics and board games from popular sci-fi movies and television series like “Battlestar Galactica,” “Star Wars,” “Star Trek” and “Aliens” line the shelves, but the shop also features a collection of weird and unusual items.

There's superhero toilet paper, Oscar Wilde action figures, vomit bags from campy sci-fi flicks — anything the owners find cheesy, amusing or outrageous can be found on the shelves, Varuolo said.

“We will offer the weird stuff, the wacky stuff, the stuff you won’t see in other comic book stores,” he said.

Aside from the vintage collectibles, the two are always on the look-out for odd new things to fill their shelves, Ghigliotti said.

“We have new stuff coming in every day,” she said. “I try to look for unusual things, things that you’re not really going to find anywhere else.”

The shop will also buy residents’ merchandise or sell it on consignment.

Varuolo, famous to some for his late night public-access show “Industrial Television,” has been collecting merchandise and selling it since the 1970s, most recently through eBay.

“We’ve been collecting for years,” he said. “Joy and I are both from the same warped mindset. We both see something like the crazy cat lady action figure and we’re like, ‘We got to get that.’”

He said most sci-fi dealers are closing up brick-and-mortar stores to only sell online these days, but they decided to do the opposite.

Because the shop is next door to the county clerks' office, across the street from borough hall, the sign they ordered for the storefront can be seen as soon as passengers leave the ferry terminal. Varuolo said that if even 1 percent of the people who come into the neighborhood visit the shop, they’ll be OK.

“Whenever you've got to do any sort of business or legal stuff on Staten Island, you've got to come here,” he said.

The store will have a soft opening on Saturday, and a grand opening when their sign is ready in a couple of weeks.

But, even without a sign, the two said passersby have already been knocking on the door looking to buy comics.

“The buzz is crazy,” Ghigliotti said. “The kids come in and they’re like, ‘Thank you for opening this.’”