HUDSON — Edward Uvanni, the owner of the only comic book shop on Warren Street, is brainstorming ways to integrate and share his passion for graphic novels with Hudson’s community.
“I think a lot of people have a very specific idea in their minds when you say comic books,” Uvanni said. “A part of my goal with my store is to show people that your idea of what comics are might not necessarily be true.”
Over the past two decades, comic books have experienced a cultural paradigm shift that went from appealing to nerd-niche audiences to asserting a mainstream appeal in literature and film. This is partly due to the general allure of Marvel Comics—a publisher of comic books since 1939 that were made into movies derived from its classic comics beginning in 1944 with Republic Pictures’ “Captain America.”
In recent years, comic books made into movies have focused on the superhero journey. Films like “Spiderman,” “Black Panther,” “The Avengers,” and dozens of other cinematic stories have garnered billions of dollars for Marvel, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company.
Uvanni wants people to realize that comic books are not only about superheroes. There are historical comics that focus on real-life events, narrative-driven graphic novels, and much more.
Many potential customers who walk into Uvanni’s store have never read a comic book or graphic novel, he said.
“With someone who is not interested in comics or not super familiar with them, the goal is to find what other art they consume through a conversation,” Uvanni said. “If they can give me a touchpoint, I can find a recommendation.”
This is because Uvanni has an encyclopedic knowledge of comics, though he is too humble to admit it.
He’s read comics since he was a kid growing up in central Florida.
“I always used to call myself an omnivore when it comes to comics because I love everything from mainstream superhero comics to weird underground comics from the
’60s and ’70s to manga to experimental art comics to everything in between,”
Uvanni previously worked as a comics ordering manager and programs director for Coliseum of Comics, the largest comics and games retailer in the Southeast.
It has always been his dream to run his own comic book shop. During the pandemic, a desire for an arts-driven community brought him and his wife de él, a quality food safety manager at ADM Milling Company, to the Hudson Valley.
For Uvanni, operating Pure Folly Books has been both difficult and rewarding.
He is experiencing a learning curve when it comes to the business logistics of owning a comics shop, and a surge of inspiration from conversing with customers interested in comics.
“It was a slow winter,” Uvanni said.
He opened Pure Folly Books in December and is learning how to navigate the difficulties of owning a small business in the wake of a global pandemic.
Uvanni anticipates a surge in customer interest and sales with the warmer weather.
The global comic book market is projected to grow from $9.21 billion in 2021 to $12.81 billion in 2028 according to Fortune Business Insights, a global market research company based in India.
Uvanni also plans to become more involved with the community in Hudson. On May 7, he is participating in Free Comic Book Day and will provide free comics to everyone who visits his store.
“And just because you maybe don’t want to jump into the superhero universes doesn’t mean that there’s not amazing art that isn’t out there to be shown,” he said.