Showing posts from January, 2011

Retail Therapy Part V: Chicago Comics

(This post is part of an ongoing series where I attempt to visit every single comic book store within Chicago city limits. You can read more about it here!)

Location:3244 N Clark in Lakeview
Public Transit: Nearest buses are the Clark (22); Nearest train is the Belmont Red/Brown/Purple line stop.
Monday: 12-8
Tuesday: 12-8
Wednesday: 12-8
Thursday: 12-8
Friday: 12-10
Saturday: 11-10
Sunday: 12-6

I can still remember my first trip to Chicago Comics when I was a teenager visiting from the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio. This was not your small town comic book store. I was blown away by the many remarkable items on display; kitschy collectibles adorned with pulp pin ups, patches and pins, art books I'd never seen before, comics I'd never heard of at that point. My wonderment was soon accompanied by considerable feelings of inadequacy. I was 16, reading far too many X-Men titles, and surrounded by a whole world of comics I had not known to exist. I'd…

Retail Therapy Part IV: Variety Comics

(This post is part of an ongoing series where I attempt to visit every single comic book store within Chicago city limits. You can read more about it here!)

Location: 4602 N Western Ave in Lincoln Square
Public Transit: Nearest buses are the Western (49B), Montrose (78), and the Lawrence (81); Nearest train is the Brown line Western stop.
Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 12-5
Wednesday: 12-6:30
Thursday: 12-6
Friday: 12-6
Saturday: 12-4
Sunday: 12-4
Website: None, but if you have questions their number is 773-334-2550

Visiting Variety Comics made me a little nervous. Words like dark, dank, and haphazard were thrown around by those who had been there. The store's owner had a reputation for being testy, and the hours were known to be sporadic. It is now too late for me to form my own opinions of Rick. He passed away last year after having owned the store for 30 plus years. The new proprietor is Vinny, a lifetime customer of Variety Comics and close friend of Rick's. Not only did I m…

Review: Buffy Season 8 Finale

 Buffy the Vampire Slayer #40
Publisher: Dark Horse
Writer: Joss Whedon
Artist: Georges Jeanty

Warning: This review includes ample SPOILERS. There's no pussyfooting around the ramifications of Season 8.

I've just finished BTVS #40, the final issue of the ongoing series of comics dubbed Season 8, and I am pretty bummed to see this story come to an end. Since I am a rather late comer to the Buffy franchise, this is the first time that I have finished anything within the Buffyverse without having something to immediately follow. I didn't have to wait months between seasons, or years between the end of the show and the beginning of the comic. I didn't even have to wait long for the first 30 issues of the comic either; I read those in trade paperback and only recently read the comics issue to issue. A few years ago I would have said that I didn't read the comics because I didn't think they could possibly live up to the quality of the show. Deep down I knew really just…

Retail Therapy Part III: Dark Tower Comics & Collectibles

(This post is part of an ongoing series where I attempt to visit every single comic book store within Chicago city limits. You can read more about it here!)

Location:4835 N Western Ave in Lincoln Square
Public Transit: Nearest buses are the Western (49B) and the Lawrence (81); Nearest train is the Brown line Western stop.
Monday: 2-8
Tuesday: 2-8
Wednesday: 11-9
Thursday: 12-9
Friday: 12-9
Saturday: 11-7
Sunday: 11-7

I miss living in close proximity to Dark Tower Comics & Collectibles, a homey store that quickly puts one at ease. With their flexible hours and extensive $1 back issue selection, this was one of my favorite stores for bargain hunting on lazy Sunday afternoons. (When you have a 9-5 job Tuesday through Saturday, you  appreciate the businesses that stay open on Sunday and Monday. Many-a comic book stores and Thai restaurants have broken my heart over the years.) Since moving to another part of the city, I had not visited this …

Christmas 2010: An Overview

Last year saw a lot of Buffy related presents, and this year Joss Whedon continued to make my house a little happier. Not all presents were Whedonesque, but they were all awesomely nerdy. Here's a rundown of the presents that were received (and given) for Christmas and also my birthday.
1. 8 Bit Heart Ring from Aldo
This chunky pixelated ring was a self-picked present purchased from Aldo. If I happen to get into any scuffles while wearing this ring, it'll make a pretty good substitute for brass knuckles.

2. Carnivale Season 2 DVD and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World Blu Ray DVD Combo
The husband really delivered this year. Now that we have finished the Angel: Complete Series DVD box set from last Christmas, we can enjoy Carnivale as well. For those who don't consider this to be a nerdy gift, keep in mind that this is the series that writer / producer Ronald D. Moore made in between his work on Star Trek: Next Generation and Battlestar Galactica. It's an overlooked Depression…

Retail Therapy Part II: Evil Squirrel Comics

(This post is part of an ongoing series where I attempt to visit every single comic book store within Chicago city limits. You can read more about it here!)

Location:6928 N Glenwood Ave in Rogers Park
Public Transit: Nearest buses are the Sheridan #151 and Clark #22; Nearest train is the Redline Morse stop.
Monday Closed
Tuesday - Saturday Noon til Close
Sunday Nine til Close

Evil Squirrel Comics is another shop here on the North side of Chicago, and it is one I've been curious about for several months. I work in Evanston, so everyday on my way to and from work, I see this store from the Redline. It's located just next to the train tracks, and it's nestled in between an independent theater and a greasy spoon diner. I found the area was even more charming in person than it looked from high on the L train. Across from the storefronts are large, vibrant murals that extend the length of the street and wrap around to the Morse tr…

Comics Are Like, Art

The blog has been very Chicago-centric lately, but clearly this town has a lot going for it. Mark your calendars now for these current and soon to happen events!

Challengers Comics SIXTH GUN Weekend with Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt
Where: Challengers Comics in Bucktown
When: January 14th and 15th

With all of the holiday hub-ub, I missed the first official gallery opening in December at Challenger's new art space, the Rogue's Gallery, but here's another chance to see fine art on display and also meet with the creative team behind The Sixth Gun. Did I mention this is taking place at a comic book store? Sure, stores have signings, but how often do you get to see the original artwork at the same time? The opening night even features a fancy dress reception. Social events at this store are a hot ticket, so get there early!

New Chicago Comics at the MCA featuring Jeffrey Brown, Lilli Carré, Anders Nilsen, and Paul Hornschemeier
Where: The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago
When: …

Retail Therapy Part I: Third Coast Comics

Location: 6234 N Broadway in Edgewater
Public Transit: Nearest bus is the Broadway #36; Nearest train is the Redline Granville stop.
Monday Closed Tuesday 11:00 - 6:00 Wednesday 11:00 - 7:30 Thursday 11:00 - 7:00 Friday 11:00 - 7:00 Saturday 11:00 - 7:00 Sunday 12:00 - 6:00 Website(s):
Third Coast Comics was a great place to start my comic book store project (more details here). It's a well lit, well stocked store with friendly staff. First off, I did not inform employees of the project until after I'd had a good browse around. Doing this gave me a better impression of how any customer off of the street would be treated as opposed to the girl carrying a massive camera and asking lots of questions (that comes later). I came in on a Thursday, a relatively quiet day, but several customers came and went during my walk through. You won't get a better impression of a store than by seeing how customers are treated and how they interact wi…

Retail Therapy: Chicago Comic Book Stores

January tends to be a very slow time for retailers, and this year comic book publishers are attempting to give readers extra reasons to brave the cold and visit their local stores. The much talked about price cuts from DC will be going into effect this January, along with the Point 1 initiative from Marvel (cheaper intro books intended to attract new readers to low-number flagship titles), but many have noticed that there will be less books coming out in January and February than in past months, particularly from the largest publisher, Marvel. Less books = less incentive to come in. Those pull boxes tend to fill up during the winter months while readers wait, often for weeks at a time between visits to purchase their books. Post-holiday months have historically been leaner, but with so many record low sales for several months this year (at least three consecutive months failed to see a single book cross the 100,000 mark), there won't be much of a nest egg to cover operating costs…

Cliche Beginning of Year Post

Here we are, another year older, wiser, and with lighter pockets. Twenty-ten brought a lot of changes to the industry, and this year will surely be remembered as a turning point. All major publishers are now offering an outlet for digital comics, and the growing popularity of the iPad and other digital tablets is a game changer with results yet to be seen. Many months posted lower direct market sales than last year, proving that no industry is recession proof, and that giant crossover events do help individual issue sales after all. Without Blackest Night to make many DC titles “must reads”, sales have slumped, a theory that I myself support considering I dropped all tie in books upon the crossover’s end. The return of Bruce Wayne hasn’t resulted in any shake-ups either, in stories or sales. (It might’ve helped DC if readers did not see this predictable non-event coming). Despite gimmick after gimmick (the new and vague Heroic Age, enough Deadpool titles to rival the X-books, vampire…