Newbury Comics’ Boston history

The store began out of a love of comics and has blossomed into a go-to spot to find pop culture merchandise in the Northeast.

The exterior of the original Newbury Comics store, seen from Newbury Street in Boston

This is the store where it all started.

Photo via LGagnon on Wikimedia Commons

If you’re a local music or comic collector, you likely have at least one memory at Newbury Comics. The locally founded store started as the sound of the underground and a place for locals to discover media. Decades later, it’s become a pop culture legend that has a special spot in the hearts of Bostonians.

💥 The early editions

Newbury Comics’ story spans back to 1978. Founders and MIT roommates Mike Dreese and John Brusger opened the first store in a converted studio apartment on Newbury Street with a love for video games and Brusger’s comic book collection.

By 1982, Newbury Comics opened its second store in Harvard Square. The business continued to expand, including a store in Faneuil Hall that opened in 2008, and it currently has approx. 30 stores in the northeast. However, the original location at 334 Newbury St. closed in 2018 and relocated to 348 Newbury St.

Did you know: Newbury Comics jokingly dubbed its incense-infused aroma Toothé? If you’ve set foot inside one of the stores, you know the smell.

Exterior of the Newbury Comics store at The Garage Harvard Square.

Shopping at The Garage in Harvard Square means a trip to Newbury Comics.

Photo via Rhododendrites on Wikimedia Commons

🎧 The plot twists

As the name implies, Newbury Comics began by selling comic books. Shortly after it opened, the store earned a reputation for selling music — specifically alternative and punk records. By 1980, ~90% of the store’s revenue came from music sales.

Since then, music sales have declined nationally, but Newbury Comics prides itself on its ability to morph to trends. You can still find vinyl records and comic books, along with apparel and pop culture merchandise in the mix.

While other media retailers have left our city (we miss you, Virgin Megastore), Newbury Comics has solidified its legacy in local history. Add it to your calendar: In 2019, former Mayor Marty Walsh declared April 6 Newbury Comics Day in the city.

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