10 Best Comic Book Stores in the US

Comic books aren’t just for shy and bookish kids anymore. Thanks in part to Hollywood and to the upsurge of counterculturalism, the world of fantasy, superheroes and villains that once only belonged to introverts is now a cool thing. Just look at the crowds that swarm ComicCon in San Diego every year.

One of the best things about comic books – aside, of course, from the fact that they promote heroism and assert that good guys always triumph in the end – is that they’re easily the most accessible and the most effective way to distract the kids, especially on long flights or drives.

So if you happen to be visiting one of these cities with the kids and they’re getting somewhat antsy, a pit stop at these awesome comic book stores might just be what your vacation needs:

 

Austin, TX – Austin Books & Comics

Austin Books & Comics in Austin, TXAustin Books & Comics in Austin, TX (Google Maps)

Opened in 1977, Austin Books & Comics is one of Texas’ biggest and longest running comic book stores. Taking your comic book fans and young collectors here is a must while in the Texan capital. Not only do they sell the latest issues and lines, they also carry many first editions and back issues as well as an entire department dedicated to collectibles, which means that you might have to discuss their shopping allowance before your visit. (5002 N Lamar Blvd, 512-454-4197)

Baltimore, MD – Atomic Books

Founded in 1992 in downtown Baltimore, this independent Hampden comic book store sells alternative and underground comic books as well as zines and books. If the young comic book fans in your family are ready to upgrade from the usual superhero stories to the more experimental or unconventional titles and comic lines, they’ll definitely enjoy a visit or two. This store is so radical, in fact, that director John Waters actually picks up his fan mail there regularly. (3620 Falls Rd, 410-662-4444)

Charlotte, NC – Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find

What’s in a name? Well, with an epic one like “Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find,” this North Carolina comic book store, owned by HeroesCon founder Shelton Drum, impressively lives up to expectations. It’s not only one of the largest comic book retailers in the US, it also has an impressive collection of back issues as well as prides itself in the diversity of its comics, carrying lines from virtually every genre. (1957 E 7th St, 704-375-7462)

Chicago, IL – Quimby’s Bookstore

Quimby’s Bookstore in ChicagoQuimby’s Bookstore in Chicago (Flickr: Pat Loika)

An independent bookstore in Chicago’s Wicker Park, Quimby’s is more for those with a taste for the avant garde. They specialize in underground comics, unusual publications and independent zines. If your teen is tired of the usual superhero in spandex tale and is looking for less mainstream reads, this bookstore is definitely a necessary stop while in the Windy City. (1854 W. North Ave, 773-342-0910)

Los Angeles, CA – Meltdown Comics

Located on the famous Sunset Boulevard, this 14,000-square-foot comic book store is frequented by comic book fans visiting Los Angeles. And its massive collection of not just the latest, but also the best comic books is but a tip of the iceberg. Meltdown Comics also has a lot of cool collectibles, merch and toys for your young collectors and an art gallery for the artists in your family. (7522 Sunset Blvd, 323-851-7223)

New Orleans, LA – Crescent City Comics

With their friendly and knowledgeable staff who are more than willing to offer recommendations and a treasure trove of comic book goodies – from comic books and graphic novels, some staff-curated, to action figures and other toys and memorabilia – this Big Easy comic book store is a sure hit with the locals, young and old. (4916 Freret St, 504- 891-3796)

New York City, NY – JHU Comic Books

JHU Comic Books in New York CityJHU Comic Books in New York City (Flickr: Joey)

NYC has a number of impressive comic book stores, including fan favorites Midtown Comics and Forbidden Planet, but JHU Comic Books is more of a purist’s paradise. While other comic book stores in the city fill their shelves with other products like cards and board games, JHU focuses more on the comics themselves, with shelves filled with great selections of the latest releases and back issues from wall to wall. Plus, the staff is very friendly. (32 East 32nd St, 212-268-7088)

Portland, OR – Floating World Comics

Floating World Comics in Portland, ORFloating World Comics in Portland, OR (Floating World Comics)

A true Portland establishment, Floating World Comics is more than just a comic book store. It’s a hip community, hosting art shows and a tiny vinyl department. Priding itself on cool aesthetics and style, this is a comic book mecca with a vinyl store feel where independent works, art books and zines fill shelves just as much as the more mainstream comics, graphic novels and mangas. Both the future artists and the comic book lovers in your family will more than appreciate a stopover during your Portland vacation. (400 NW Couch St, 503- 241-0227)

San Francisco, CA – Cartoon Art Museum Bookstore

What can you expect from a store that is attached to the only comics and cartoon museum in the West Coast? Where do we even begin? To start with, comic books and cartoons vie for shelf space with history, how-to and art books. Then there are the DVDs, toys, postcards, and other comics and cartoon-related merch. And just because this bookstore in San Francisco’s Financial District is packed to the brim with virtually anything you’re looking for in a comic book store, doesn’t mean they don’t have space for other things. They also support local young artists and regularly host hip community events. (Cartoon Art Museum has temporarily closed its doors to prepare for a move to a new location, and have temporarily moved to the Renaissance Entrepreneur Center (275 5th Street). Keep checking their site for updates on their new home.)

Washington D.C. – Big Planet Comics

If the cool aesthetics of their blue-and-yellow exterior doesn’t get the kids dragging you through the doors, then Big Planet Comics’ impressive collection inside will. This store, originally from Georgetown, prefers the more independent, small-press titles as well as stuff from Europe and Japan that your kids probably haven’t even heard of, but they also carry the more popular ones. True to its name, BPC has established its own comic book world, with podcasts, book signing and meet-and-greet events, and their very own, albeit tiny, comic book publishing house. (1520 U St NW, 202-342-1961)

 

(Originally published on MiniTime.com)

all rights reserved. no part of this blog post may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author.

8 Best Bookstores for Kids in the US

The world would be lost without books. Even with rapid growth of the Internet, offering high volume of information that we probably won’t have access to otherwise, books still remain children’s constant source of not just information but also escape and relaxation. And there are still a great number of kids out there who remain loyal to books, despite technology.

August 9 is Book Lovers’ Day. So to those of you, young and old, rich or poor, who find exquisite joy in the turn of the pages, are stirred by the incomparable nostalgic smell, and take pleasure in the adventures awaiting in the letter, here are the 8 of the best bookstores in the country, in the hopes that one day during one of your real life quests, you’ll find yourself in one of them.

 

Strand Book Store (New York City, New York)

Strand Book Store in New York CityStrand Book Store in New York City (Strand Book Store)

The impressive New York City’s Strand Bookstore claims to be the city’s booklovers’ treasure trove and to house “18 miles of books” in its 1927 East Village location. Your kids will love their children’s section, which features children classics, young adult fiction, and toys and games plus hold family hours when authors stop by to read and sign copies, Strand staff hold storytime, and book characters drop by for a visit. It’s a bookstore worthy of its reputation and address in one of the cultural meccas in the world. (828 Broadway, Manhattan, NY; 212-473-1452)

Green Apple Books (San Francisco, California)

Established in 1967 is the Bay Area’s very own, Green Apple, which has an amazing and extensive collection of titles and sections from the classics to children’s books. While its large volume of books is in placed to impress anyone, its charmingly old setting and atmosphere – along with its adorable handwritten signs that read “absolutely effing hilarious” or “aaah! little books! aaah!” – are designed to appeal and entice any and all book lovers, especially the kids and teens. (506 Clement St, San Francisco, CA; 415-387-2272)

Prairie Lights Bookstore (Iowa City, Iowa)

Prairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, IowaPrairie Lights Bookstore in Iowa City, Iowa (Flickr: Stephen Cummings)

Internationally famous for its “Live from Prairie Lights” reading series, Iowa City’s poets-owned Prairie Lights Bookstore is definitely one bookstore not to be taken lightly. Not only has it been making its mark in the literary word since 1978, it also takes pride from specializing in fiction, poetry, children’s books, and travel books as well as its staff recommendations and 40,000-something titles. (15 South Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA; 319-337-2681)

Politics & Prose (Washington, D.C.)

A long line of power players can’t be wrong. The likes of President Bill Clinton, then-senator Barack Obama, J.K. Rowling, and Annie Leibovitz have graced this D.C. independent bookstore’s famous author events with their voice. Founded in 1984, this bookstore also has a reputation for its amazing staff and their recommendations, its children and teen events and classes, and its Book-a-Month gift program to which you can enroll your child or teen to receive carefully selected books every month. (5015 Connecticut Ave, NW, Washington, D.C.; 202-364-1919)

Powell’s City of Books (Portland, Oregon)

Powell's City of Books in Portland, OregonPowell’s City of Books in Portland, Oregon (Flickr: Kenny Louie)

If you ever made your way to this hip city of artists and artisans, be sure to save a day to breathe in and explore Powell’s Bookstore flagship store, proudly dubbed Powell’s City of Books. This legendary realm occupies an entire city block in downtown Portland, has 3,500 different sections, and houses over a million new and used books, an incredible number of which are for kids and teens. It’s dressed to impress and makes it hard for anyone to dispute its claim as the world’s largest new and used bookstore. (1005 W Burnside St. Portland, OR; 503-228-4651)

The Last Bookstore (Los Angeles, California)

It does not occupy an entire city block and it hasn’t been around for decades, but since its humble beginnings in 2005, The Last Bookstore has become one of LA’s most beloved treasures. Under its high loft ceiling is literally a utopia of used and new books sitting in columns of shelves dotted only by quirky whimsical sculptures and art installations that make the whole experience of book exploration, especially for your young book lovers, even more wonderful. A few hours here will transport the kids to a different time and place. (453 S. Spring St. Los Angeles, CA; 213-488-0599)

Elliott Bay Book Company (Seattle, Washington)

Celebrating its 40 years as an independent bookstore, Elliott Bay Book Company is Seattle’s pride and joy. From its tiny humble beginnings, this bookstore has survived many a challenges, including the recession and the invention of eBooks, and is still going strong, with as many as 500 author readings a year, random titles you’ll never find in other stores, and excellent staff picks that include age recommendations in their favorite kids’ books list. (1521 Tenth Ave, Seattle, WA; 206-624-6600)

John K. King Used and Rare Books (Detroit, Michigan)

Over one million used volumes are packed like sardines in the four-story book labyrinth that is Detroit’s very own John K. King Used and Rare Books, considered by many as one of the best bookstores in the world. Trust that this inexpensive independent bookstore will have virtually any title you’re looking for, from children’s books to biographies, and that you’re not leaving the building, a repurposed glove factory, without a treasure or two in your hand. (901 W. Lafayette Blvd, Detroit, MI; 313-961-0622)

 

(Originally published on MiniTime.com)

all rights reserved. no part of this blog post may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written permission from the author.