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NY's First Comic Book Shop Run By Woman Brings Kitsch To SI

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TWC News: NY's First Woman-Run Comic Book Shop Brings "Kitsch" To SI
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Chock full of vintage science fiction, horror movie merchandise and thousands of comic books, Hypno-Tronic Comics is popular not only for its convenient location right off the Staten Island ferry, but also for its status as the first comic book store in New York to be owned and run by a woman. NY1's Amanda Farinacci filed the following report.

A vintage talking Frankenstein head, a 1952 Captain Video board game and tens of thousands of vintage comic books are just some of the treasures people can find inside Hypno-Tronic Comics in St. George.

The comic book shop opened back in March. Its owners say it is the first one in the entire state to be owned and operated by a woman.

"Most comic book stores are owned by men. It's testosterone all over the place," said Joy Ghigliotti, owner of Hypno-Tronic Comics. "And it's like, I understand that, and I love the guys, but I wanted to make something that was a little bit more female-friendly. I try to concentrate more on female superheroes and villains."

Ghigliotti and co-owner Ed Varuolo combined their massive collections, amassed after shopping for years at garage sales, thrift stores and flea markets, and decided to open a store.

Old movie posters line the walls. Shelves are lined with toys customers probably haven't seen since they were children. There's also lots of other stuff that's fun to look at.

"Anything to do with kitsch," Varuolo said. "Like, if it's in questionable taste, we're going to get it."

The store is one of just a handful of retail options currently available to the thousands of tourists who ride the Staten Island Ferry every day.

Because its sign can be seen from the terminal, and the owners have advertised inside, the store has already started attracting foot traffic from those tourists who come inside to check it out.

"Although 90 percent of the tourists get right back on the boat, the few that come up, they love it, especially the ones from South America and France," Varuolo said. "They say, 'There's nothing like this in our country.'"

The owners say most comic book stores have a cult-like following, and customers typically hear about them by word of mouth.

They're hoping that an outlet mall planned to be built next to the ferry terminal will also bring those shoppers through their front door. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP