The newest employee of 4th World Comics and Toys, a popular comic book store in Smithtown, is a local who has already made a name for himself on stage as part of the band Patent Pending.
Michael Ragosta is a customer-turned-employee of the comic book shop and he's worked at 4th World for about a month. He used to perform with his brother Joe who is the current lead singer of the Mt. Sinai-based pop-punk band that captured the top prize in the Billboard Magazine Battle of the Bands at the Billboard Music Awards on May 20.
While Hollywood uses the most popular characters from comic books to make blockbuster movies, locals experience the stories before they hit the big screen by picking up comic books at the comic ship, which is approaching its 30th anniversary.
“We’ve been around for 30 years – 10 years in St. James, 20 years here in Smithtown,” said Glenn Fischette, owner of the store. “We’re the biggest one on Long Island … there’s no other store that’s this size and carries as much stuff as we do. Most of the guys that go to the city say we’re even bigger than the city stores.”
Fischette, along with his wife Christine, and son Terence – who said his beginnings in the store were in “a crib on the counter,” own and operate the business with manager Chris Cregeen. New hire Ragosta was once a passionate customer of the shop before he was brought on board.
"I spent years touring the United States in a band and I would go to a comic shop at every single spot," he said. "This is my favorite comic book store in the United States."
Now Ragosta splits his time with the comic book shop and performing with his new band, This Good Robot.
Ragosta isn't the only person who raves about the store, located at 33 Route 111, as it has a five-star rating in the Patch directory and numerous satisfied reviews on Yelp.com, one of which states "a better comic store on Long Island, you will not find."