Not to brag, but I know, like, a lot about comics. I mean, I’ve been around the block. The comics block. It’s like other blocks, but with more colorful spandex on one side, and black & white pretension on the other.
I know who Ch’p is. I’ve read Sandman, everything you’d expect from Top Shelf and Drawn & Quarterly, and can even keep X-Men storylines straight.
That last one was a lie, nobody can keep all those X-Men books straight.
But I try.
I’ve read Blankets (though I won’t admit to crying), love Lynda Barry, and follow all the Chicago guys: Jeffrey Brown, Paul Hornschemeier, Chris Ware, Anders Nielsen and many more. I’ve even made my own comics, gone to the cons, and spent quite a bit of time in Artists’ Alley.
Why am I ramblin’ on about this? What the heck is my point?
Simple: I know a lot about comics. Ergo, I know a lot about comic shops. Here, my friends, are what I consider the top five comic shops in the Chicago-land area. They’re not the only shops, mind you – we are blessed with many shops. Nor are they the only good shops, there are plenty of good shops in the city. These just happen to be what I think are the top five.
And, you know, I’m usually right.
115 West Central Road
Mount Prospect, Illinois 60056
606 Davis St.
Evanston, Illinois 60201
Admittedly, Comix Revolution is my comic shop. Not like I own it or anything, just that it’s the shop I’ve been going to longest. The shop that I am more loyal to than any other thing… in my life… at all. If blood runs thick, graphic novels and glossy covers run thicker…er.
So I do, in fact, have a small bias.
But, bias or not, both Comix Revolutions are great shops. Each is slightly different, demanding its own moment to shine.
Mt. Prospect has more of a super hero tilt, while still offering great alternative comics. Evanston tends to cater more to the alt and indie comics, without ignoring the tights and the spandex. If you’ve got more of a hankering for toys and anime t-shirts, try Mt. Prospect. If you’re curious about radical literature and prefer your graphic novels be black & white, try Evanston. Regardless of your tastes, both stores are clean, well lit and happy to cater to their customers’ needs. As long as you’re not a jerk, that is.
You’re not a jerk, are you?
3244 North Clark Street
Chicago Comics holds up to its namesake, being the Chicago comic book staple. A friendly and comfortable shop, it’s perfect for those who consider themselves Justice League International experts, Alan Moore acolytes and comic novices alike. It’s one of those places that is so great that you don’t feel bad for cheating on your usual comic haunt to check it out once in awhile.
First Aid Comics
1617 East 55th Street
Chicago, IL 60615-4555
First Aid Comics isn’t only the best shop in Hyde Park, it’s also, to my knowledge, the only comic shop in the area. Regardless, it’s a great store with great comics! They’ve got a good selection of the mainstream, and are also able and willing to special order anything they might not have in store (which is a deal breaker for me. If you won’t order that Rocket Raccoon trade for me – that is totally in print – then I won’t shop at your store).
Challengers Comics + Conversations
1845 N Western Ave 2R
Chicago, IL 60647
Everything in Challengers is nice and neat. Organization is something a lot of shops lack – but not this one. They’ve got a great community thanks to events they hold at the store and a lively podcasts on their website. Their selection in trade paperbacks is also nice, supplying you with everything from DC to Manga. Challengers isn’t only a great shop, it’s a great community.
Graham Crackers Comics
77 East Madison Street
Chicago, Illinois 60602
Graham Cracks Comics isn’t my favorite shop, but it’s the biggest chain within the Chicago-land area, so I kinda can’t NOT mention it. Their Madison Street store, right by the Art Institute, is a nice stop for when you’re downtown and desperately need a comic fix. The store is nice and large–especially compared to their old location next door–and has all the latest issues of everything imaginable, along with a large back issue selection. If you’re into alternative covers for your favorite super heroes, this is the place to go.
Excelsior! ‘Nuff Said! Yadda yadda yadda…