Visiting Chicago’s best comic book shops often involves a trip to an interesting, hip neighborhood in the city. Blending in with unique storefronts such as tattoo parlors, art galleries and avant-garde clothing stores, a journey to find great comics can be its own adventure. That said, some of the best comic book shops in Chicago embrace their neighborhoods, offering local events and in-store happenings, thus creating a unique bond between readers and their comic book shops.

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Challengers Comics and Conversation

1845 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 278-0155

Challengers is one of the friendliest comic book shops in Chicago, and a comic book collector’s favorite. Yet the best thing about the store is its meticulous organization, which makes finding favorite comic books a breeze (not always true for their rivals). The welcoming environment of the store (with lots of seating) will likely entice you to spend far longer browsing than planned, so allow plenty of time, especially if it’s your first visit to the shop. The store hosts numerous community and comic book-related events, so sign up online or at the store for weekly email alerts. From neighborhood barbeques to local charity events, Challengers is a great neighborhood meeting place. And they have an awesome comic book selection as well.

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Chicago Comics

3244 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 528-1983

Located in the famed Second City Comedy Club neighborhood, Chicago Comics offers friendly service. Like most Chicago comic book shops, the store sells comics suitable for all ages, such as DC and Marvel. Their strength, however, is offering a wide variety of alternative comic books, from self-published local Chicago artists to indie comic books not often found at other stores. There is also a section of adults-only comic books with sexually explicit topics (geared to both straight and gay audiences). Even with this more unusual selection of explicit offerings, however, Chicago Comics is a family-friendly place.

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Dark Tower Comics

4835 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60625
(773) 773-4026

This tiny comic book shop packs a big punch. Dark Tower Comics is so popular, in fact, that it often garners awards for being the best comic book shop in Chicago. This is the place to go if you are on a budget because Dark Tower offers thousands of comic books priced at just $1. They also have discounts (up to 20 percent), depending on the volume of comic books purchased. One of their best outreach tools (fun for every comic book fan) is their weekly pod cast every other Friday.

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Graham Cracker Comics

2562 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60614
(773) 665-2010

One of the biggest and best comic book shops in Chicago, this nationwide shop has at least 10,000 items for sale online. For the real experience, however, Chicago comic book lovers need to venture over to Clark Street to ogle at the hundreds of thousands of comic books in their store, including an extensive selection for just 99 cents. One of the best events that Graham Cracker Comics holds is its yearly free event in which the store remains open 24 hours, and budding artists are invited in to create their own comics, which are then scanned and posted online for everyone to read.

Chicago comic book lovers are spoiled for choice by the shops in their city. Not only are there thousands of possible selections, but most of the best comic book shops in the city feature fun interactive events, as well as great selections of comics.

By Christine Zibas