J.C. Glindmyer, who made Earthworld Comics a home, remembered


J.C. Glindmyer’s favorite comic book hero was Spider-Man. He liked the idea that Spider-Man could be any average Joe behind the mask. Anyone could be a superhero simply by doing the right thing and caring about his community.

“If that’s what makes a superhero, then (my dad) certainly was,” said Jordan Glindmyer Yanatos.

Glindmyer’s superpower was making whoever entered Earthworld Comics, the Albany store he owned, feel like family with his infectious laugh, thoughtful and personal comic recommendations, unyielding generosity, the occasional shots of Patron and, as former employee Amanda Furfaro put it, the “best hugs.” The beloved owner died May 8, two days after Free Comic Book Day, from cardiac arrest at age 65 in Voorheesville.

Yanatos remembers her dad as the “quirky, fun parent” who would take her and her brothers to Blockbuster on Fridays and read Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel “The Sandman” as a bedtime story. He encouraged his children to be authentic, regardless of what others thought. Reading the outpouring of love on Earthworld Comic’s social media posts announcing Glindmyer’s death made Yanatos realize he was that kind of caring, supportive father figure for many who worked or shopped at the store.

“It’s been a wild ride hearing all these stories about the versions of my dad that he was to different people,” Yanatos said. “It’s been really touching.”

For 35 years, Glindmyer owned and ran Earthworld on Central Avenue location near Manning Boulevard. He grew up in a military family, Yanatos said, and was never in a place long enough to plant his roots. Earthworld became that place for him, and he used it as a platform to give back to his community through fund raisers, book donations to schools and libraries and events. As Glindmyer wrote in his Facebook bio, it was “not the greatest name in the world, but when I purchased the store, it came with the fixtures, a cheap stereo, a half broken register and endless possibilities.”

He transformed the store into a haven for many. Furfaro, who began working at the store around 2013 shortly after moving from Brooklyn with her then partner, now husband Chris Martinez, said Earthworld was the first place that felt like home for her in the Capital Region. Jesse Corradino, who began working at Earthworld in 2002, said Glindmyer became a mentor and pseudo-father to him. Andrew Falkenhainer, who first met Glindmyer as a kid on the hunt for a specific comic in the early 2000s, said Free Comic Book Day became a reunion for former workers and regular customers. Glindmyer was behind the counter for this year’s Free Comic Book Day on May 6.

“He really had a community of people that didn’t care about the books that were out that day, they would just come in to see him,” Falkenhainer said.

Despite being regarded as a haven for misfits, the general world of comics hasn’t always been the most gender-inclusive, but Glindmyer wanted to challenge that with Earthworld. When longtime employee Alicia Messineo pitched a regular ladies’ night, Glindmyer kept the store open after hours and acted as bouncer. Wonder Woman’s cape hung next to Batman’s, and the selection of titles was diverse. Prices started at 25 cents so anyone on any income could buy a book.

“He truly was just somebody who understood the ins and outs of the comic book industry,” Furfaro said. “He understood representation. He understood making people feel included, and he takes care of his people.” 

If you knew nothing about comics and entered the store, you wouldn’t get shunned, Falkenhainer said. Glindmyer loved comics — a glance at any page, and he could identify the inker, year and a slew of other facts — and wanted to share them with anyone who was interested. He especially loved getting a comic into the hands of a kid.

“He always used to say, ‘Every comic can be someone’s first comic,’ ” Falkenhainer said.

Former employees describe Glindmyer as exacting — he had a clear idea of how he wanted the store to run — but he was deeply caring and a “big softy” once you got to know him, Furfaro said. Glindmyer was giving perhaps to a fault, Corrandino said, constantly treating those around him to meals and drinks and never wanting or expecting anything in return. He let Furfaro and Martinez record episodes of their podcast “Brotherhood of Evil Geeks” after hours in the shop. Glindmyer even became ordained to officiate weddings of employees, including Corrandino and his wife and Furfaro and Martinez.

Glindmyer also had a goofy sense of humor and liked to have fun in the shop, whether it was looping “Last Christmas” by Wham! for three hours after learning of Fufaro’s deep dislike of the song, letting the staff smash up a broken printer a la the film “Office Space” or encouraging Falkenhainer to put an issue of a Venom comic in a microwave because he read somewhere the foil cover would change from red to black at a certain (spoiler alert, it caught on fire).

Glindmyer is survived by his wife, Laura Lee Glindmyer, sons Nick and Taylor Glindmyer, daughter Yanatos and four grandchildren. Nick Glindmyer will take over running Earthworld, per Glindmyer’s wishes, and continue the legacy his dad started.

“My dad loved it because of the art and the culture and the storylines and the heroes,” Yanatos said. “I think that he realized that there’s something for everyone, and everyone needs a hero. You can find that in the books and get lost in it.”

Because flowers weren’t Glindmyer’s style, the family set up a scholarship in his name. The J.C. Glindmyer Superhero Scholarship Fund will award $1,000 to Schenectady High School seniors graduating from a vocational program. All three of Glindmyer’s children attended Schenectady High School, with Nick and Taylor attending the BOCES program for Culinary Arts, and Yanatos, after graduating from the College of Saint Rose, attending Paul Mitchell for hair styling. The suggested minimum donation is $5, or roughly the cost of a comic book. Donations in Glindmyer’s honor may also be made to the American Heart Association.

A memorial service will be held from 2 to 5 p.m Sunday, May 21, at one of Glindmyer’s favorite places, McGeary’s in Albany.

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