Royal Collectibles: A Family’s Journey Through the Ages

Mohamed Farghaly

Capturing a moment of nostalgia and community at Royal Collectibles, where Bob and Diane Lazauskas continue to preserve comic book culture in Forest Hills since the 90s.


Located in the heart of Forest Hills, Royal Collectibles stands as a testament to the enduring love for comic books and collectibles. Founded in the late 90s by a father-son duo, the shop has since evolved into a family affair, now managed by Bob Lazauskas and his wife, Diane Lazauskas.

Situated at 9601 Metropolitan Ave #1, Flushing, NY 11375, Royal Collectibles has become a staple in the local neighborhood offering a treasure trove of comics, collectibles, and nostalgia to community members and visitors alike.

“We’ve just been in the business of buying, selling and trading collectibles, comics and everything else for the past couple of decades,” Diane said.

The inspiration behind opening a local comic book shop stemmed from the monumental event of the “Death of Superman” in the 90s, which ignited a frenzy among collectors and enthusiasts. The “Death of Superman” storyline, which unfolded in the early 1990s, marked a watershed moment in comic book history. It wasn’t just a narrative arc; it was a cultural phenomenon that captivated audiences worldwide. The storyline, which saw the Man of Steel facing off against the seemingly unstoppable creature known as Doomsday, culminated in Superman’s heroic sacrifice to save Metropolis and reverberated far beyond the pages of comic books.

The impact of the “Death of Superman” was felt not only within the comic book community but also in mainstream media. News outlets covered the story, sparking widespread interest and speculation about the fate of the beloved superhero. As collectors scrambled to get their hands on multiple copies of the issue featuring Superman’s demise, a fervor swept through the industry. Comic book shops found themselves inundated with eager fans seeking to own a piece of history.

It was amidst this frenzy that the founders of Royal Collectibles recognized an opportunity. They saw firsthand the passion and enthusiasm of collectors and enthusiasts, and they envisioned a space where fans could come together to celebrate their shared love for comics. Forest Hills, being their hometown, became the natural choice for their venture, solidifying its roots in the community.

Mohamed Farghaly

Explore a treasure trove of comics, collectibles, and nostalgia at Royal Collectibles, where enthusiasts can find a diverse array of offerings to satisfy their passion for pop culture.

At the time, the comic book industry was akin to street vending, with enthusiasts setting up tables to sell comics sporadically. However, recognizing the potential for a thriving business, they collectively decided to establish a permanent storefront, viewing it as a significant venture.

“A lot of stores popped up because everybody was just like, well, there’s money to be made here,” Diane said. “At the time, there were basically like street vendors, setting up tables here and there to sell comics. But then we thought, Alright, this is like big business. Let’s open up a place.”

Over the years, Royal Collectibles has witnessed the flow and decline of different pop culture trends, adapting to the ever-changing landscape of collector’s interests. From comics to Funko Pops and vintage memorabilia, the shop has remained agile, catering to the diverse tastes of its clientele.

“One of my favorite quotes about comic books is ‘comics are the gateway drug to literacy.’ I love introducing kids to the world of comics,” Bob said. “I also wanted to emphasize that I attribute a large part of our success over the years to our amazing customer base and community support. It’s endearing how our customers love to support mom and pop shops which are becoming few and far between these days.”

Despite facing challenges throughout the years like the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced temporary closures and redefined business operations, the Lazauskas family persevered, embracing online sales and virtual events to stay connected with their loyal customers.

Mohamed Farghaly

Discover the crown jewels of Royal Collectibles: prized possessions like the original X-Men #1, showcasing the shop’s commitment to preserving iconic pieces of comic book history.


One of the distinguishing features of Royal Collectibles is its commitment to fostering a sense of community. Through hosting local events and showcasing the work of neighborhood artists, the shop has become more than just a place of commerce—it’s a hub for creativity and camaraderie. From welcoming renowned names like Neil Adams to nurturing emerging talents, Royal Collectibles continues to be a beacon of support for the local arts scene.

As the years passed, Royal Collectibles evolved into a hub of activity, hosting a myriad of events aimed at enriching the lives of its patrons. One such event is Free Comic Book Day, an annual celebration that Royal Collectibles has embraced wholeheartedly. On this day, comic book shops across the globe offer free comic books to visitors, encouraging both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers to explore the medium. Royal Collectibles goes above and beyond, curating a selection of titles that cater to a wide range of interests and ages. This year it will take place on Saturday, May 4th.

In addition to Free Comic Book Day, Royal Collectibles also hosts the annual Makers Faire—a vibrant showcase of local talent and creativity. This event transforms the shop’s parking lot into a bustling marketplace, where artisans and creators from the community come together to share their work. From handmade crafts to original artwork, the Makers Faire offers something for everyone, fostering a sense of connection and support among local artists and entrepreneurs.

Beyond these marquee events, Royal Collectibles continually seeks out opportunities to engage with its patrons on a deeper level. Whether through artist signings, themed parties, or charity drives, the shop remains dedicated to creating memorable experiences that extend beyond mere transactions. For the Lazauskas family, Royal Collectibles is not just a business—it’s a labor of love, a place where they can share their passion for comics with others and make a positive impact on their community.

Nestled within the vast array of collectibles at Royal Collectibles lies an iconic piece of comic book history—the original X-Men #1. This prized gem, dating back to the Silver Age of comics, holds a special place among collectors for its pivotal role in introducing the world to the mutant superhero team. This is just one of many unique items the local comic book shop has in their inventory.  Priced at $5,500, this relic serves as a tangible link to the early days of Marvel Comics, where Stan Lee and Jack Kirby first envisioned the groundbreaking world of mutants and superheroes.

As Diane Lazauskas reflects on the journey Royal Collectibles has taken, she highlights the joy of witnessing customers rediscover the magic of their childhood favorites and passing on that love to future generations.

“For me, it’s seeing people, grown adults shopping for stuff that they may have enjoyed as a child and like that nostalgia factor,” Diane said.

In addition to its main location, Royal Collectibles expanded its offerings with Royal Sports and Entertainment down the block, catering to sports enthusiasts and gamers alike. The dual presence on the same block underscores the shop’s versatility.

For aspiring entrepreneurs looking to venture into the world of comic book retail, Diane offers sage advice: stay organized, stay attuned to collector’s interests, and embrace the online marketplace to weather any challenges that may arise.

“Now the difficulties in this business is that things come and go in popularity, there’ll be a time where comics are super-hot, and everybody’s coming in, everybody’s opening a pull list, everybody’s here or there,” Diane said. “Back then, half the shop was Beanie Babies.”

As Royal Collectibles continues to evolve with the times, one thing remains constant: its unwavering dedication to preserving the magic of storytelling and the thrill of collecting. In the bustling streets of Forest Hills, this family-owned shop stands as a testament to the enduring power of imagination and community spirit.

Courtesy Royal Collectibles

Owners Mike Giordano and Chuck Marrone share a moment with comic book legend Stan Lee, celebrating the rich history and passion for comics. 

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