The onset of the Marvel movie empire has spawned a new kind of nerd: one who has seen all the movies and collects all the toys, but has never run straight from school to a local comics shop in search of the latest issue. Tucked into the corner of a long, commercial strip of Metropolitan Avenue in Forest Hills — Peter Parker’s own stomping grounds — Royal Collectibles has managed to survive this evolution, offering a robust collection of vintage and modern comics for the loyalists, alongside graphic novels and an impressive array of toys. Back when the store opened in 1992, it attracted as many sports fanatics with its collection of memorabilia (since relocated a few doors down) as it did comics fans; today, a booming interest in collectible toys has led to one entire wall being devoted to Funko’s popular Pop! cartoon figurines with oversize heads. Still, the shop hangs on to its quiet Queens charm: On a recent Saturday, co-owner Mike Giordano was hand-packaging comic books in plastic sleeves while his brother-in-law worked the register. A father followed his kids around the store, noting aloud that he loved them but — and here he glanced longingly at the stacks of comic books — had maybe had them a little too soon. Wander around awhile and you might mistake his nostalgia for your own.
96-01 Metropolitan Avenue, Forest Hills, Queens