Private Project

My Comic Shop Country

In 2015, New York comic book store Alternate Realities closed after 23 years in operation, setting filmmaker and former AR employee Anthony Desiato on a quest to explore the culture, business, and fandom of comic shops across America.

Comic book characters are box office gold, but why isn’t the same necessarily true for comic book stores? My Comic Shop Country ventures behind the scenes of more than a dozen stores from coast to coast, revealing an industry in transition as shops strive to remain relevant. The film is a multifaceted, heartfelt exploration of the power of comic shops to build community through face-to-face interactions, one customer at a time.

  • Anthony Desiato
    My Comic Shop DocumentARy, By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story, Wacky Man: The Rise of a Puppeteer
  • Anthony Desiato
    My Comic Shop DocumentARy, By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story, Wacky Man: The Rise of a Puppeteer
  • Anthony Desiato
    My Comic Shop DocumentARy, By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story, Wacky Man: The Rise of a Puppeteer
  • Stephanie Desiato
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Feature
  • Runtime:
    1 hour 25 minutes 55 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    April 8, 2019
  • Production Budget:
    15,000 USD
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Country of Filming:
    United States
  • Language:
  • Shooting Format:
    Digital 4K
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
  • Chain NYC Film Festival
    New York, NY
    United States
    August 11, 2019
    World Premiere
    Best New Work
  • YoFiFest
    Yonkers, NY
    United States
    November 6, 2019
    Official Selection
Distribution Information
  • First Run Features
    Country: United States
Director Biography - Anthony Desiato

Anthony Desiato, owner and founder of Flat Squirrel Productions, is a lifelong Superman fan, documentary filmmaker, and podcast host.

While attending law school, Anthony fulfilled a long-held ambition by turning the camera on Alternate Realities, the New York comic book shop where he worked for more than a decade.

The result, My Comic Shop DocumentARy, screened at film festivals across the country and garnered press in multiple media outlets, including The New York Times. Anthony followed up his debut with the award-winning short By Spoon! The Jay Meisel Story and the feature-length Wacky Man: The Rise of a Puppeteer. He recently completed his fourth documentary film, My Comic Shop Country, exploring the business, fandom, and community of comic book stores across America.

As a podcaster, Anthony hosts My Comic Shop History (available on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and Podomatic).

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

When I was five years old, a routine trip to the local galleria with my parents proved seminal when we happened upon the now-defunct comic book store Heroes World. To advertise the headline-making “Death of Superman” storyline, the store staged its window display with a Superman action figure in a small box mimicking a coffin. That moment in front of Heroes World drew me into the world not only of comics, but also of comic shops.

Ten years later and one town over, I was making one of my weekly visits to Alternate Realities in Scarsdale, NY, when the owner asked the question that would ultimately set me on my path: “Hey, kid, how’s your alphabet?” He was offering me a part-time job alphabetizing back issues, but really, he was inviting me into a community. I unpacked shipments, stocked shelves, worked the register, and did so much more over the following years. More importantly, I became part of a second family comprised of staff and customers alike as we bonded over our shared passion in that cluttered, but warm, store. Lively conversations, weekly dinners, and movie outings became part of my routine at a time when I did not have other people in my life who shared my hobby.

The Alternate Realities community was the subject of my first documentary film, and when the store eventually closed in 2015, I embarked on a quest to see if what I found at my shop also existed at others. The end result is My Comic Shop Country, which explores comic book stores across America and the different types of places they represent: they are clubhouses, time capsules, gathering places, and destinations. They are—individually and collectively—a community. At a time where face-to-face interactions, let alone meaningful ones, are increasingly rare, comic shops are struggling but enduring by remaining part of people’s routines. My hope is that the documentary inspires its viewers to reflect on the places and rituals (comic shops or otherwise) that have given them a sense of belonging, as my comic shop did for me.