Riding Fandom: RePete’s Comics and Collectibles

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Granite Staters are harnessing the power of their comic book fandom and creative hobbies to start small businesses and side hustles. 

Between Free Comic Book Day (Aug. 14) and Granite State Comic Con (Sept. 18-19), Manchester Ink Link will be showcasing these entrepreneurial nerds, who have opened comic and toy shops, started selling aftermarket comic books and collectibles or offering professional photography that specializes in cosplay, to name a few. 

Owner Peter Swain opened RePete’s Comics & Collectibles in Belmont in March of 2021. Photo/Ryan Lessard

BELMONT, NH – At the center of downtown Belmont — a small, rustic town with a distinctly New England feel — between a barbershop and Town Hall, is a new store called RePetes Comics and Collectibles.

Owner Peter Swain opened the shop in March, selecting the location in part for its low rent. He studied the traffic patterns on Main Street and found that with some active marketing he could make it work.

Swain modeled the store’s concept to focus heavily on art, either with the 2D art by other local artists he displays and sells on consignment or the comic hero statues and movie-themed furniture Swain assembles and paints himself. 

“Our end of the comic scene is artistic-wise,” Swain said. “We push art heavily.”

Swain’s girlfriend, Jeanne Blair, is also an artist, and teaches art at Compass Classical Academy in Franklin and Laconia Elementary School.

One of the many collectibles you’ll find at RePete’s Comics & Collectibles. Photo/Ryan Lessard

Swain’s claim to fame has been his collection of pieces like a six-and-a-half-foot vintage swamp monster statue (he asked it not be named due to legal trademark issues), which he remolded, assembled and painted. He’s also done tables with familiar Star Wars features like the Millennium Falcon. 

“I want the store to speak for itself,” Swain said.

The work sometimes decorates the store, and he does some projects on commission, but it’s not the bulk of the sales, which are divided evenly between vintage toys and used comic books, he said.

For the past five or six years, he’s wanted to open a shop of his own. He remembers loving the old comic shop in downtown Manchester, now closed, that was near the dry cleaners where his mom worked when he was a kid. He used to make any excuse to go in there and admire the artwork.

Comics and T-shirts display at RePete’s Comics & Collectibles in Belmont. Photo/Ryan Lessard

RePetes has a significant comic collection from his friend and fellow artist Matt Dimasi, and his inventory includes a wide range of value — from boxes full of 50-cent comics to graded and sealed collectibles that are priced in the hundreds of dollars.

He also carries every comic book written and drawn by his friend, Michael Mitchell, who died suddenly in 2019 at the age of 53. This year they started what they hope to be an annual scholarship in Mitchell’s name, and awarded $500 to a high school graduate named Chloe Andrews. 

Swain said they’ll take store donations and auction off some of the high-priced collectible books to help raise money for the scholarship.

Display cases heavy with eye candy for comic geeks and collectibles nerds at RePete’s Comics & Collectibles. Photo/Ryan Lessard

So far, the store has been successful. Swain said the business is growing, and they recently opened up a rear part of the store, previously used for storage, for customers to browse.

Belmont Old Home Day coincided with Free Comic Book Day this year and Swain said he had about 300 customers in the store and sold a lot of old comics.

Local residents love coming to the store to hang out and talk pop culture and comics with Swain.

After GraniteCon and the Bangor Comic and Toy Con in Bangor, Maine, where Swain will have tables set up, he hopes to put on a big Halloween bash at the shop.

RePete’s Comics & Collectibles is located at 141 Main St., Belmont, NH. 

Hours: Closed Tuesdays. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday: 12 – 6 p.m.; Sunday 12-4 p.m.

On the web ⇒ repetes.org

About this Author


Ryan Lessard

Ryan Lessard is a freelance reporter.