The foundation of ComicBook.Com is comics. While we love to cover all aspects of pop and geek culture, our roots lie in the comics community and the plethora of characters and stories that have sprung from it. If you speak with anyone in the comics community about what has made the medium successful in North America, you’ll quickly discover one answer that stands far above the rest: local comics stores. They are the bedrock of comics in the United States and Canada, supporting fans, communities, and conventions with open doors and a dedicated staff.
This year on ComicBook.Com we are highlighting this important aspect of comics and culture by taking a look at one local comic store each week. These are stores that embody what it means to support culture and community. We hope you can visit some of them throughout 2017.
Success, experimentation, and change. None of these concepts are tied to age in a business, especially not for comics stores. Many of the most beloved and innovative shops in the American direct market are relatively young for retail outlets. That’s part of what makes comics exciting, and sometimes terrifying for retailers, though. It’s up to each individual store to discover what makes the medium work within their own community and help it to grow. Few local comics stores combine innovation and youth like Challengers Comics in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago.
Challengers Comics first opened its doors on March 31, 2008, established by co-owners Patrick Brower and W. Dal Bush. Since then it has accomplished more since than many shops intend to accomplish throughout their existence. Challengers has almost doubled in size, shifted its readership base, hosted an art gallery, created a room specifically for young readers, and won an Eisner Award. It’s no surprise that they’ve attracted so much attention in such a short span of time.
Brower and Bush’s goal from the outset was clear…