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Al n’ Ann’s Collectibles
3819 W. Main St., McHenry, 815-344-9696
 

A McHenry collectible and comic emporium—comics, graphic novels, figurines, action figures, memorabilia, sports cards, T-shirts, and gaming supplies.

 
AlleyCat Comics 
5304 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-907-3404
 

This Andersonville comic book shop has extra cool caché because of its secret entrance, located down a narrow pedestrian alley adjacent to Starbucks. The impressive space, converted from an old garage, carries an organized array of favorites (DC, Marvel, Buffy), kid-appropriate selections (Archie’s, Disney), indies, trades, T-shirts, and figurines.

 
Alternate Reality Comics
3149 W. 111th St., Chicago, 773-881-HERO
 

This Mount Greenwood comic book shop has made its name by offering 15 percent off all new comics, everyday. Shop comics, indies, trade paperbacks, action figures, posters, or browse nearly 50,000 back issues in store.

 
Amazing Fantasy Books and Comics
15948 S. Harlem Ave., Tinley Park, 708-633-0837
20523 S. La Grange Rd. Frankfort, 815-469-5092
582 Torrence Ave., Calumet City, 708-891-2260
1128 S. State St., Lockport, 815-834-1658
 

These pop culture outposts carry comics (Marvel, DC, Fantagraphics, among others), manga, graphic novels, role-playing game paraphernalia, collectibles, action figures, T-shirts, and Hello Kitty and other Sanrio character merchandise.


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Brainstorm Movies, Comics, and Gaming
1648 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773-384-8721
*In-store events
 

Brainstorm has garnered a devoted following for its friendly, uncondescending approach to clientele. No eye-rolling or judgment from the staff if you’re out of the loop, and they are happy to get you up to date. The usual comic book suspects are all found here, as well as discount bins of older books. Subscription service comics are bagged and boarded for free. The shop also carries gaming items such as Magic and Settlers of Catan, and even still rents DVDs.


C

Cat & Mouse Game Store
2212 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago, 773-384-4454
*Free gift wrap
*In-store events
 

This locally owned store carries every type of game imaginable: family and children’s games, checkers and chess, strategy and role-playing games, jigsaw puzzles, juggling supplies, and yoyos. The store also hosts game nights and Dungeons and Dragons events.

 
Challengers Comics + Conversation
1845 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-278-0155
 

A friendly shop that carries comics (DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and more), graphic novels, and manga. Local artist comics and signed prints are a draw, as well as the graphic novel rentals. Register for the Web site to participate in the virtual comic book store with discussions and chats about specific series. The comic subscription service can also be managed online.

 
Chicago Comics
3244 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-528-1983
 

A comic shop known for its huge selection of independent and small press comics (as well as superhero essentials from DC and Marvel and favorites from Fantagraphcis and Top Shelf), manga, zines, and collectible comics. The enormous selection includes drawer upon drawer of back stock comics.

 
Chicagoland Games
5550 N. Broadway Ave., Chicago, 773-728-3656
*In-store events
 

This Edgewater gaming haven has eight gaming tables and more than 450 demo games to try before you buy, including a large selection of board games, role-playing games, Eurogames like Settlers of Catan, and miniatures. The spot also hosts events such as board game night, Dungeons and Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering games.

  
Comic Collector
3246 Harlem Ave., Riverside, 708-442-0399
 

This comic shop carries a wide variety of comics, with a subscription service that includes progressive discounts for the more titles you order. The real standouts are the collector editions of DC and Marvel titles, like first and second edition volumes.

 
Comix Gallery
405 Linden Ave., Wilmette, 847-251-4362
 

Comix Gallery stands out for its excellent stock of kid-appropriate reads and also carries DC, Marvel, indie labels, graphic novels, action figures, posters, and T-shirts.

 
Comix Revolution
606 Davis St., Evanston, 847-866-8659
115 W. Central Rd., Mount Prospect, 847-506-0800
 

Laid-back comic shops designed for the devotee yet welcoming to the uninitiated, they carry comic books, graphic novels, collectibles, Ugly dolls, and a particularly good selection of comic-themed T-shirts.


D

Dark Tower Comics
4835 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-733-4026
 

There are more than 35,000 dollar comics available for sale at this shop, which also has a large selection of back issues, graphic novels, action figures, and other collectibles. Comic book pull service available.

 
Dreamland Comics
105 W. Rockland Rd., Libertyville, 847-680-0727
 

A large array of comics including DC, Marvel, Top Cow, and Dark Horse, as well as role-playing and collectible card games. Space is set aside for card and board games, and a comic subscription service is also available.


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Fair Game
5150 Main St., Downers Grove, 630-963-0640
*In-store events
 

A store that offers respite from video games and encourages people to gather around more traditional games. Shop every kind of game imaginable—children’s games, strategy and war games, word games, family games, card games, and role playing games. Fair Game hosts many game nights for Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, and Heroclix.

 
First Aid Comics
1617 E. 55th St., Chicago, 773-752-6642
1142 W. Taylor St., Chicago, 312-733-2080
*In-store events
 

This friendly Hyde Park comic book shop carries comics (DC, Marvel, and more), graphic novels, action figures, and hosts Yugioh, Magic, and Dungeons and Dragons tournaments. Subscription and pull service available.


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Galactic Force Toys and Games
1121 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago, 773-327-1369
*In-store events
 

A game shop that mostly specializes in Magic, World of Warcraft, Warhammer, and Dungeons and Dragons but carries a wide range of gaming products. The shop frequently hosts games but emphasizes casual play over a competitive atmosphere or tournaments.

 
Games Plus
101 Prospect Ave., Mount Prospect, 847-577-9656
*In-store events
 

It seems there’s always an event going on at this suburban game shop, which frequently hosts demos and gaming tournaments and has gaming tables available every night for play. (Reservations recommended.) The store is stocked with role playing, strategy and fantasy games, as well as collectibles, miniatures and modeling supplies, card games, and gaming magazines.

 
Game Stop
Visit gamestop.com for locations
 

The largest video game retailer in the world where customers can buy, sell, and trade-in games and consoles (as well as iPods, iPhones, and iPads) for all of the major gaming platforms.

 
Gamers World
Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, 847-517-1103
4132 N. Harlem Ave., Norridge, 708-456-1422
 

Although you can find board game classics in this shop, the real specialty is strategy and role playing games, World of Warcraft, chess, and puzzles.

 
G-Mart
2641 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago, 773-531-4847
 

This friendly Logan Square comic haunt carries DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, Boom Studios, Archie comics, among many others, plus graphic novels and trade paperbacks. Take advantage of the pull and subscription services and browse the popular bargain bin.

 
Gorilla Games
Yorktown Center Mall, Lombard, 630-953-9224
1131 E. Butterfield Rd., Wheaton, 630-517-8348
*Birthday parties
 

Shop for new, used, and retro games and gaming systems (available to buy or trade). Stop by a store to play in The Cage, a gaming chair and 46” HD TVs.

 
Got Comics
330 E. Army Trail Rd., Glendale Heights, 224-353-4902
 

Comics, trades, graphic novels, a large selection of dollar comics, collectibles, action figures, tees, and DVDs are the bread and butter, but Got Comics also carries and hosts gaming events for collectible miniatures game Heroclix. Of more relevance to grownups is the supplemental digital service that converts VHS to DVD, creates picture collage posters, and restores pictures.

 
Graham Crackers Comics
77 E. Madison St., Chicago, 312-629-1810
3162 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-665-2010
5443 N. Broadway, Chicago, 773-561-5010
1550 Ogden Ave., Downers Grove, 630-852-1810
1207 E. Butterfield Rd., Wheaton, 630-668-1350
1271 Rickert Dr., Naperville, 630-355-4310
16030 S. Lincoln Hwy., Plainfield, 815-254-3410
610 S. Randall Rd., St. Charles, 630-584-0610
*In-store events
 

Since 1982, this local comic book chain has stocked a huge inventory of hundreds of thousands of items and has the advantage of checking across all of their stores to locate titles for customers with specific requests. All locations carry a broad selection of comic lines (DC, Marvel, etc.) as well as many independent lines graphic novels and figurines. Graham Crackers also has a good bargain bin selection (as low as 99 cents for back issues), and a free pull and hold service.


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Keith’s Komix
528 S. Roselle Rd., Schaumburg, 847-534-9436
 

This Schaumburg comic shop, owned by the eponymous Keith Anderson, carries a good selection of American and indie comics, signed merchandise, and collectibles. The vibe is friendly and welcoming, even to newbies.

 

N

North Shore Comics
3155 ½ W. Dundee Rd., Northbrook, 847-480-1996 ‎
*In-store events
 

North Shore Comics carries titles like DC, Marvel, and Dark Horse (and can special order almost anything else you may want), plus a good selection of trade paperbacks. The shop hosts frequent signing events, a free subscription service, and hosts weekly tournaments for Magic: The Gathering.


O

One Stop Comics
111 S. Ridgeland Ave., Oak Park, 708-524-2287
 

This Oak Park comic shop features shelf upon shelf of comics, collectibles, toys, T-shirts, and more. Comic titles include DC, Marvel, Archie, Boom, and Dark Horse, with a large back stock of the previous six months of issues, and collector’s editions from the 1930s through the 1970s. Pull list and subscription service available.


P

Pastimes Cards Comics and Games
8351 W. Golf Rd., Niles, 847-470-9636
*In-store events
 

Gamers into World of Warcraft, Magic: The Gathering, Dungeons and Dragons, and YuGiOh! descend upon this store for its packed calendar of gaming events, and to shop for collectible card games, board games, comics, and graphic novels.

 
People Play Games
3268 N. Clark St., Chicago, 773-883-8813
 

A well-organized assortment of nostalgic video games and gaming systems (Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Atari, Sega, and Genesis), as well as controllers and games, some in their original boxes.

 
Play n Trade
158 N. York Rd., Elmhurst, 630-993-9600
1401 W. North Ave., Melrose Park, 708-223-0178
3048 S. Cicero Ave., Cicero, 708-656-0000
*In-store events
 

As the name suggests, this video game outpost allows customers to buy, sell, and trade their games. Customers can also test games and consoles in-store before buying, participate in local and national gaming tournaments, and bring in consoles for repairs.


Q

Quimby’s Comics
1854 W. North Ave., Chicago, 773-342-0910
 

A Wicker Park landmark, this independent shop specializes in small press books, comics, and zines. The store does have kid-friendly items, such as Charley Harper’s ABCs book, but truth be told, this is a place to check out without the kids or at least not let them wander. (The nature of small press results in pretty oddball merchandise, including adult comics.) The sister store, Chicago Comics, is more kid-friendly.


T

Third Coast Comics
6234 N. Broadway, Chicago, 847-863-7450
*In-store events
 

Third Coast Comics began on the Internet and later opened a bricks-and-mortar spot in Edgewater to host comic and gaming events and induct newbies into the comic book and graphic novel sphere.

 

Top Cut Comics
6390 S. Archer Ave., Chicago, 773-229-0824
15420 S. Route 59, Plainfield, 815-267-6078

These outposts carry a large selection of comics, graphic novels, trading card and fantasy names, collectibles and more including Pokemon, Yu-Gi-Oh! and Magic the Gathering. Both stores have large tournament areas with weekly events.


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Unicorn Comics & Cards
216 S Villa Ave., Villa Park, 630-279-5777
 

Located along the Illinois Prairie Path, this family-owned comic shop has served generations of kids hopping off their bikes to pick up the latest DC or Marvel title. Unicorn has scores of boxes of back issues, as well as a sampling of collectibles.


V

Variety Comic Book Store
4602 N. Western Ave., Chicago, 773-334-2550
 

Anyone who has ever driven down Western Avenue has probably spotted the superhero mural in the front window of this comic book shop, which carries heavy hitters like DC and Marvel (among others), but is known for its extensive stock of back issues.

 
Videogames Then & Now
4351 N Harlem Ave., Norridge, 708-457-2260
 

Want to show your kid how to play Duck Hunt on an old Nintendo system? This is the place to find both. As the name suggests, it carries old and new gaming systems and the accompanying games for each, from old school systems like Atari, Sega, and Genesis to current Xbox and Playstation consoles.

 
Vigilante Press
1931 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-423-6774
 

This small Ukrainian Village comic shop carries DC, Marvel, Japanese anime, horror and crime/noir, as well as indie labels, artsy toys and T-shirts.


Z

The Zone Comics
18107 Dixie Hwy., Homewood, 708-798-1006
 

The largest comic book and gaming store in the south suburbs carries a vast assortment of comics and anime from DC, Marvel, Dark Horse, and Avatar Press, among others. Take advantage of the comic pull service—the store will set aside your favorite comics every month at no extra charge.