The First Year of Queen City Bookstore

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Discussing our 1969 Debut

The first 50 years of Queen City Bookstore sure have been something. Comic book cost averaged just 12 cents each in 1969.

Interesting things were happening at both Marvel and DC Comics. Multi-million dollar intellectual properties were arriving every month from comic book legends. In fact, some of the most innovative storytelling was just on the horizon. Marvel Comics was becoming the number one company in comics publishing, and DC Comics was shifting to focus on better art in response. By 1969, comics were just being recognized as “high art” due to the efforts of Andy Warhol and others. The 1970s and 1980s would hold amazing evolution for the comic book art form.

It was a great time to be a fan of comics. Here’s some highlights from the year that Queen City Bookstore opened.

Queen City Bookstore front 1969

Starting in the Sixties

The original Guardians of the Galaxy debuted in Marvel Super-Heroes #18 that January.

The first published comic art by Bernie Wrightson appeared in House of Mystery #179 . He later co-created Swamp Thing for DC Comics.

In June, DC Comics raised their cover price to 15 cents. We were shocked, and wondered if the “expensive” price would last.

Underground publishing was just rising. Joining Robert Crumb’s Zapp Comics were the debut of Rip Off Press and Gothic Blimp Press, as well. Fat Freddy’s Cat makes his debut in Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers, too.

By August, Marvel Comics raised their cover price to match the DC Comics price increase. Controversy erupted due to underground comic rebel Robert Crumb‘s controversial Zap Comix strip Joe Blow, which showed incest in an all-American family. The magazine is banned from many stores due to public outrage.

The first issue of the horror comics Vampirella and Tales of Shadows appeared in September. The first appearance of the Thor: Ragnarok villain Grandmaster happened in The Avengers #69. Also, Neal Adams updated the Green Arrow’s costume in The Brave and the Bold #85. His future wife, Dinah Lance, the Black Canary, would debut in a few months. Captain America’s partner Falcon also arrived this month in Captain America #117.

Marvel anticipated the needs of the secondary market for collectors when they begin publishing reprints in October’s Marvel’s Greatest Comics. DC Comics had converted their Strange Tales anthology into a reprint book back in March.

In November, Kinney Shoes (soon to buy Warner Bros. Studios) buys DC Comics parent company, National Comics Publications for a few million dollars. Disney wouldn’t buy Marvel Comics until 2009, for $4 billion.

Queen City Bookstore Leads

To explain how far ahead of the industry Queen City Bookstore was, 1969 is the year that the founder of Colorado comics superstore Mile High Comics began selling comics from his parent’s basement. Chuck Rozanski was only age 13.

The Comic Book Industry sure has changed a lot in 50 years, and Queen City Bookstore has been there for all of it. As we stand poised upon another 50 years of great stories and art from the next generation of masters, we’re here for all your comic book needs.


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Buffalo, NY 14214
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