Having worked in a comic shop through most of high school and into college in my home town of Lima, Ohio (R.I.P. The Comic Connection), I understand a little bit about the day to day stressors our favorite comic shops go through. With the world swirling into chaotic and uncharted territories, comic shops are in real danger of not being able to keep their doors open even after this pandemic is over and done with. These are small businesses, not corporations I’m talking about. Diamond has stopped taking orders and will stop delivering new comics as of April 1. Comic publishers are shutting down the presses and adjusting their schedules. Projects are being delayed and postponed until further notice. All of this means that the front lines, aka the comic book stores, are going to need support in order to survive. That’s why I wanted to write up this little post talking about four of my favorite comic shops, what makes them special, what they are doing to make sure they are getting you your comics, and how you can help them out!

One of my favorite stores is AlleyCat Comics at 5304 N Clark St, Rear, Chicago. By far this is the most unique store I’ve ever been in. Located at the end of a long alley, off the beaten path, tucked away in the heart of Andersonville, AlleyCat Comics is a little slice of geek heaven. In true Chicago tradition, AlleyCat Comics makes you feel like you’ve stumbled into a speakeasy where comics are served on tap and by the barrel. Nick and Selene always make the store a friendly and vibrant place to browse comics and enjoy geek culture. They also do weekly gaming tournaments and project free screenings of awesome movies outside of their store all through the summertime on Saturdays. AlleyCat Comics is adjusting to the current craziness by offering curbside service and shipping to those in need of a comic book fix. So call them at 773-907-3404, email them at orders@alleycatcomics.com, and check out their website here and they’ll be happy to help you out!

My second go-to place in Chicago is First Aid Comics at 1142 W Taylor St. close to S. Racine and the UIC campus. Tom and his staff are as friendly as a certain neighborhood Spider-Man and knowledgeable about everything from comics to gaming and beyond. Tom was one of the first guys to sell me comics when I moved to Chicago many moons ago and runs an amazingly cozy store with a little bit of everything you might need. First Aid Comics is offering curbside service, shipping, and delivery and they’re easy to connect with by phone 312-733-2080 or email tomfirstaidcomics@Gmail.com, or find them on Snapchat @masterdude1 to see new releases! Reach out to them and find out how they can get you the comics you need!

When I travel back to my home town of Lima, Ohio, I always make a point to stop in at Alter Ego Comics at 230 North Main St. in Downtown Lima. I’ve done quite a few signings at Alter Ego and found some essential books I’ve missed for one reason or another in their massive store. Marc is always there to help you with his vast knowledge of all things geek and has some fantastic taste in both cinema and comics. I’ve appeared a couple of times on Marc’s podcast to talk about my comics and con experiences and he’s always welcomed me home with a smile and a store full of fun. Alter Ego is offering free shipping on orders over $100.00 and a mere $5.00 flat rate for other orders. You can find out what’s new and cool at Alter Ego Comics by phone at 419-224-6700, email at marc@alteregocomics.com or on their website here!

Last but surely not least is Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex at 4327 Main Street, Philadelphia. While I have never been to this store, it is something I plan on putting at the top of my to-do list once this plague is over with and we can all leave our houses. The owner of Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex is none other than my dear friend JD who I’ve had the pleasure of podcasting with for over a decade. While we rarely agree on anything from who is the best Robin to what is the best Star Wars movie, I love him like a brother and his passion and dedication to the comic book and geek culture is unprecedented. If he runs his comic store like he did our Spoiler Alert Podcast, it’s got to be top of the line. I hope nothing but the best for JD’s store during these tough times. Johnny Destructo’s Hero Complex is adjusting their services by offering curbside service and mail-outs! You can reach out to JD by phone 215-482-7700, by email jdsherocomplex@gmail.com, or on his store’s website here for everything and anything geek related. I know JD will go out of his way to make it easy for you to get your comics!

We’re going to see the other end of this crisis, folks. It’s just a matter of time. But in the meantime, please be safe, try to stay healthy, and try to be good to one another. I’m hoping the comic industry will bounce back or if it changes, I hope it changes for the better. Comic shops are sacred spaces to many, many people and the best way to ensure they’ll be there when the dust settles and normalcy rears its ugly head is if we support them as much as we can now when times are tough. Please help out these shops I’ve listed and the comic shop near you if you can. Here’s the link to the comic shop locator if you don’t know where your local comic shop is.

All the best, be well, and for god’s sakes, read more comics!
ML Miller
3/24/20