New Beverly shop taps into growing comic book fan base – The Salem News


Paper Asylum, one of Cabot Street’s newest additions, may sell comic books, but don’t call it a “comic book store.”

Owners and longtime friends Anthony Gallucci and Pete Kreitchet  just opened a couple of weeks ago. But along with comic books and other graphic novels, the new shop sells a variety of related merchandise as well as vinyl records.

“We identify as a pop culture store that happens to sell comic books,” Kreitchet said. “This is not your dad’s comic book shop.”

Paper Asylum is the latest effort to feed a growing interest in comic books and the characters that lie within.

In just a couple of weeks, Beverly Comic Con will crowd into Porter Mill on Rantoul Street. The gathering, which brings together fans and vendors of comic books, graphic novels, poster art and other collectibles,is promising to be the biggest one yet, said organizer Andrew Houle.

But like Paper Asylum, Comic Con has other elements. Since Porter Mill houses artist spaces and galleries, there will likely be many open studios. A DJ and other live musical performances are planned, as well as a magician.

Movies featuring comic book characters may be fueling the renewed interest, according to Kreitchet and Houle. Think “Iron Man”, “The Avengers”, “Deadpool” and, most recently, “Logan,” which is currently in theaters, to name a few.

The shop, Kreitchet said, wants to cater to this newer group of fans as well as lifetime comic lovers.

“We want to help them celebrate that,” he said.

Along with DC and Marvel comics and the accompanying merchandise, Paper Asylum has books like “March,” which tells the story of John Lewis, a current U.S. congressman, during the Civil Rights movement. There’s also “Masterpiece Comics,” which take classic literary works, like those of Shakespeare, and turn them into sequential stories.

“We’re finding that there’s different ways to get people into sequential story telling,” Gallucci said.

For those who love the older classics, Paper Asylum has those, too. Gallucci recalled one customer who was trying to complete a collection, and they were able to help.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a grown man squeal with joy,” he said.

This year marks Beverly’s fourth Comic Con. “We’re trying to figure out if we’ve actually outgrown Porter Mill,” Houle said. “That’s a good sign — that we might be too big for the building.”

The Comic Con was created after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings; Boston Comic Con was canceled that year and enthusiasts were looking for a way to still host an event.

Beverly’s event was thrown together in 12 hours, Houle said.

Now the Comic Con is ready to host around 50 vendors on Saturday, April 8. The event is free, and Houle expects about 1,000 people to make their way there throughout the day.

“People outside of comic book culture are taking notice,” Houle said.

For Gallucci and Kreitchet, opening in Beverly came after searching throughout the region, from Amherst to Providence, Rhode Island, for the right location.

Paper Asylum has a slightly different offering than Jerry’s Comics, a more traditional store at the other end of Cabot Street.

“Beverly won out,” Kreitchet said. “We took one look at Beverly and we saw the demographics we wanted to see.”

Arianna MacNeill can be reached at 978-338-2527 or at amacneill@salemnews.com. Follow her on Twitter at @SN_AMacNeill. 


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