Desert Island (comic shop)

Coordinates: 40°42′50″N 73°57′03″W / 40.71389°N 73.95083°W / 40.71389; -73.95083
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40°42′50″N 73°57′03″W / 40.71389°N 73.95083°W / 40.71389; -73.95083

Desert Island
FoundedFebruary 2008; 15 years ago (2008-02)
FounderGabriel Fowler
Area served
Brooklyn, New York
Desert Island in 2009

Desert Island is a comic shop in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. The store focuses on underground and alternative comics, as well as independent and self-published comics sold through consignment. Desert Island also hosts the annual comic book festival Comic Arts Brooklyn, and publishes Smoke Signal, an independent comics anthology that has been nominated for an Eisner Award.


Desert Island was founded by Gabriel Fowler in 2008 in response to the lack of alternative comics stores in New York.[2] The store opened in a location formerly occupied by an Italian bakery, and maintains a modified version of the bakery's signage.[3] The store stocks a wide variety of underground and alternative comics, zines, artist's books, graphic novels, art magazines, and screenprints,[4] sold from both the store's own stock and on a consignment basis from individual artists.[2] The store's "no-restrictions consignment" was inspired by the eclectic selection of Quimby's Bookstore in Chicago,[2] which would open an additional location in New York in 2017 directly adjacent to Desert Island.[5][6] The business's storefront features rotating displays and art pieces by comic artists, including Lauren Weinstein and Marie Lorenz.[4]

Since 2013, Desert Island has organized Comic Arts Brooklyn, an annual comic book festival and art book fair.[7] The store also publishes Smoke Signal, a free quarterly comics anthology newspaper.[2] In 2014, Smoke Signal was nominated for an Eisner Award for Best Anthology.[8] RESIST!, a special issue of Smoke Signal guest edited by Françoise Mouly, was distributed nationally at the Women's March in 2017.[9] Desert Island also hosts a variety of special events, such as author signings and lectures.[10]


  1. ^ "Brooklyn: Eleanor Davis at Desert Island". Forgotten New York. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Sedacca, Matthew (7 June 2018). "The 'Punk Rock' Comic Book Shop". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Metropolitan Comic Booklets". Forgotten New York. 1 January 2013. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  4. ^ a b Davis, Nicole (31 July 2008). "The Illustrated Oasis". Brooklyn Based. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  5. ^ Disser, Nicole (3 February 2017). "In Williamsburg, a New Zine Destination Snuggles Up With a Comics Store". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  6. ^ Knutsen, Chris (4 October 2017). "The Resurgence of New York City's Indie Booksellers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  7. ^ Hogan, Patrick (8 November 2013). "Forget Thor and Pick Over Some Highbrow Comics This Weekend". New York Magazine. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  8. ^ Cavana, Michael (15 April 2014). "2014 EISNER AWARDS: From Aydin to Yang, nominees size up this year's list". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  9. ^ Chafin, Chris (13 March 2017). "Brooklyn 100 Influencer: Gabe Fowler, Desert Island". Brooklyn Magazine. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Desert Island". Artbook. Retrieved 2 November 2018.

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