FOLLANSBEE – The door to a new business at 150 Rockdale Road on Hooverson Heights looks no different than many small town stores, but one step through it will lead visitors to a multitude of worlds inhabited by knights and wizards , superheroes and crazy scientists, vampires and zombies.
It is the home of Marty’s Marvelous Comics and Collectibles, a store featuring current and back issues of a variety of comic books, statuettes, and toys inspired by various fantasy and science fiction series; and games that allow players to assume the roles of these fantastic characters.
His owner, Mike “Marty” Martin, operates the business almost full-time when he is not working at another full-time job. But that doesn’t seem like a job for him, he said.
“I no longer have time to do what I have to do. Now I’m doing what I want to do.” said Martin, who had read comics in his youth and then revisited them in recent years.
“One day I started reading Captain America comics again and it was fun, so I got back into it,” he said.
Over the past few years, Martin has amassed hundreds of comics, which he has sold at conventions in Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky.
And Martin still frequents the convention scene, bringing home treasures clients seek and others they don’t yet know they must have.
And that can include not only a rare number from “X-Men” or “Conan the Barbarian,” but also a statuette of the Raven, a 1990s comic book character who was featured in a favorite cult action movie, or characters based on popular characters. of Japanese anime.
For decades, the Eastern nation has produced hundreds of animated films of various genres for young and strictly adult audiences, and articles about them are among the magazine’s bestsellers.
“If it’s anime, it doesn’t last. It’s in the door and it’s outside. We can’t get it fast enough,” said Martin.
He said the store’s top-selling comics include Star Wars, Red Sonja, Vampirella, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Batman.
The store also has walls full of Funko Pop figures, large-headed cartoon statuettes of pop culture stars ranging from members of the singing group TLC to the many heroes and villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Martin confirmed that the popularity of the many Marvel Comics-inspired films has helped sales, noting that his shelves include figures related to the recent release of “Thor: Love and Thunder.”
There are also cards and other accessories for Magic, Pokemon and Dungeons & Dragons fantasy games and assorted versions of Monopoly with characters from franchises such as “Star Wars” and “Dead Pool.”
Martin is occasionally aided by his son, Roman; and girlfriend, Cindy Hunter; and regularly by his brother, Tim, with whom he sold artistically crafted swords at a Wheeling store for a time.
Located in the suburb of Hooverson Heights, just outside of Follansbee, the store has served as a pharmacy and restaurant over the years, but in its various incarnations it was often a gathering place for local residents.
Martin said he hopes his store continues to fill that niche, adding that with the cooperation and support of building owner Larry Perez, he has tried to create a fun atmosphere.
Just inside the door is a Treasure Chest game machine that challenges players to use a mechanical claw to lift one of an assortment of Hot Wheels cars, action figures and other toys from its bottom.
“It’s proven. Everything can be won. I sat there (playing) for two hours to be sure,” said Martin.
It welcomes those interested in selling comic books and other items, especially Silver Age issues (a time period generally defined by comic book enthusiasts as the mid-1950s and 1960s) or Bronze Age (largely the 1970s), while emphasizing, “Good condition is everything.”
Martin also offers to help collectors find the rare issue or collectible they are looking for.
“If you are looking for something, let me know. I know people who know people,” he said with a smile.
The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Thursday and from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Information about this can be found on his Facebook page at Marty’s Marvelous Comics and Collectibles Group.
(Scott can be contacted at [email protected])