MIT students John Brusger and Mike Dreese started Newbury Comics in 1978, peddling the tales of Batman, Superman and Spider-Man from Brusger’s amazing comic book collection. But it didn’t take long for the Boston-based company to broaden its horizons into music, collectibles, clothing, toys and pretty much anything that falls under the category of “pop culture.”
At the dawn of the 1980’s, a box of records placed among the comics did so well that it started Newbury Comics off and running into the music business. The 7-inch punk releases Dreese brought back from England, and a burgeoning local music scene in Boston, helped the small store at 268 Newbury Street make a big impact. The company branched out with Boston Rock magazine, giving a boost to local groups such as The Neighborhoods and Mission of Burma and setting the tone with groundbreaking bands like The Clash, The Pretenders and U2. Modern Method Records, another Newbury Comics spinoff, turned out to be an important outlet for early local punk acts, including The Freeze, Pastiche and Gang Green.
The list of stores began to rapidly expand around New England, and in 1986 and 1987, Newbury Comics made Inc. Magazine’s list as one of the top 500 fastest-growing companies in the country. Along the way, Nirvana stopped in for a pizza party the day before they released the “Nevermind” album and Radiohead played a couple of company parties. Now Newbury ships music and pop culture items around the world through a highly successful web business and 26 “brick and mortar” stores.
A trip to Newbury Comics represents a diverse and multi-faceted trip down Alice’s rabbit hole; a wicked pop culture emporium of fun. With a vibrant, edgy attitude and a helpful and passionate staff, Newbury Comics is on-point for innovative and adventurous gifts. Whether it’s a Star Wars comic or vinyl records, Dr. Dre or Doctor Who, Pokemon cards or superhero gear, Newbury Comics has you covered.
“The key to us remaining competitive has always been driven by a respect for independent ideas and alternative forms of expression,” said company co-founder and CEO Mike Dreese. “We embrace all artistic ideas and let our customers decide what they like. We’re the fun part of people’s lives.”