One of the many reasons comic book fandom is so different from other communities is the role that comic book stores have historically played in the hobby. While comic book stores are technically just a business, they also function as community centers for an area’s fans. As such, they are more than just places to buy weekly releases and merchandise. They become a home for friendships and belonging.
But, as mentioned, comic book stores are businesses, and a substantial portion of this industry is buying and selling unique collector’s items. While most comic book stores have items specifically for collectors, there are some stores so focused on collectibles that they are must-visit destinations.
Here are some of the comic book stores that every collector should visit.
With the announcement that Kevin Smith’s cinematic franchise, Clerks, will be returning for a third installment, it’s a great opportunity to highlight his comic book store. Inspired by the character Smith and Jason Mewes play in View Askewniverse films, the store started out as “Comicology: in the mid-90s.
It not only sells merchandise directly connected to Smith’s movies, but also has an incredible variety of valuable comic books – such as Amazing Spider-Man #1 and Fantastic Four #1, as well as other collectibles.
Given that this shop was also home to the AMC show Comic Book Men and shaped how many people envision what comic book stores look like, the Secret Stash is an incredible destination for collectors.
Address: 65 Broad St, Red Bank, NJ 07701
Hours: Monday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Tuesday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Wednesday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Thursday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Friday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
This store was founded in 1969 by Chuck Rozanski when he was just 13-years-old. While the company was initially run out of his parents’ basement, Chuck would go on to open a physical store in 1974.
Since then, Mile High Comics has accrued an inventory of over 10 million comic books, 300,000 trade paperbacks, and thousands of other collectibles. This is a collection that towers over the majority of comic book stores in the United States. So, if you are ever in the Denver area, Mile High Comics is a store comic book fans should visit.
Address: 4600 Jason Street, Denver, CO 80211
Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Saturday 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM, Sunday 11 AM – 5:00 PM
Founded in 1961, Golden Age Collectables is possibly one of the oldest comic book stores in existence. The star customer of Golden Age in its early years was a teenager named Rod Dyke. He was so proficient at buying comic books and reselling them to his friends that the owners sold him the store in 1971. In addition to hosting events and being filled with various comic books, Golden Age Collectables is a pillar of Seattle’s fan community.
Also, with the store’s owner believing that “Golden Age Collectables is a dish best served hot and in-person,” you can only buy products from them in the store’s physical location. So, each visit is a unique experience because one never knows what the store has available for sale.
Address: 1501 Pike Place #401, Seattle, WA 98101
Hours: Sunday 9:30 am – 7:00 pm, Mon thru Wed 9:30 am – 6:00 pm, Thurs thru Sat 9:30 am – 7:00 pm
The secret origin for House of Secrets dates to 1991, when Paul Grimshaw founded ACME Comics in Montrose, California. In 1996, Grimshaw moved himself and the store to Burbank, CA., and renamed it House of Secrets. Its location near the L.A. entertainment industry has enabled the store to acquire incredible collectibles and become a home-away-from-home for the area’s geek community.
Address: 1930 W Olive St, Burbank, CA 91506
Hours: Monday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Tuesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Wednesday 11:00 am – 8:30 pm, Thursday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Friday 11:00 am – 8:00 pm, Saturday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm
With the opening of a store in Times Square, Midtown Comics was founded in 1997 and quickly became the comic book store in New York City. The store not only has an incredible array of high-quality graded comic books and other collectibles, but has also become the go to store for NYC and national media outlets, and was also the home for the short-lived reality show Comic Store Heroes.
Simply put, if you are a comic book fan visiting New York City and you can only visit one shop, Midtown Comics is a must-visit destination.
Address: Times Square – 200 W. 40th Street (corner of 7th Ave), New York, NY 10018
Hours: Mon-Tue 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Wednesday 8:00 am – 9:00 pm, Thursday thru Saturday 11:00 am -9:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm -7:00 pm
Located about an hour northwest of Detroit, Back to the Past was founded in 1990 and has become a pillar of the area’s comic book and collectors communities. In addition to selling new comic books, valuable back issues, and a variety of other merchandise, the store has been hosting live auction events since 2011 and is much more of an auction house these days than a traditional comic book store. Their success allowed them in 2020 to expand to a new facility with a gallery showroom and 10,000 feet of warehouse.
With a 100% approval rating on eBay, Back to the Past is a welcoming location for new and old fans alike.
Address: 50420 Dennis Court, Wixom, Michigan 48393
Hours: Monday By Appointment, Tuesday By Appointment, Wednesday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Thursday By Appointment, Friday By Appointment, Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sunday By Appointment
As home to South by Southwest and various other companies, Austin, TX is a hub for technology, media, and entertainment. Present in Austin since 1977 is Austin Books & Comics, one of the biggest and longest-running comics and pop culture stores in the area. This store has not only been a Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Retail finalist multiple times, it is also in The Austin Chronicle’s “Best Of” Hall of Fame.
Beyond those highlights, this store has incredibly rare back issues, a rich array of new issues, and hosts book clubs as well as other events. In short, Austin Books & Comics is a nexus for the collectors and comics community.
Address: 5002 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, Texas
Hours: Monday 1:00 pm– 7:00 pm, Tuesday 1:00 pm – 7:00 pm, Wednesday 11:00 am –7:00 pm, Thursday 1:00 pm –7:00 pm, Friday 1:00 pm –7:00 pm, Saturday 1:00 pm –7:00 pm, Sunday 1:00 pm –7:00 pm
Established in 1987 as Dungeon Comics, the store was renamed Alternate Reality Comics when Ralph Mathieu purchased it in 1995. Owning a comic book store not only allowed Mathieu to indulge in and share his lifelong love of comic books, but it was the place in which he met his wife, Katherine. Alternate Reality Comics is also home to new comic books, classic collectible comics, and a wide variety of unique merchandise.
In short, this store is filled with passion and incredible content.
Address: 4110 S Maryland Pkwy, #8, Las Vegas, NV 89119
Hours: Monday – Tuesday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm, Wednesday – Saturday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Sunday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Tampa, FL is home to several incredible attractions. From beautiful beaches, great museums, and cuisine from all over the world. Tampa is also a prime destination for comic book fans. The city is home to the Tampa Bay Comic Convention as well as Metrocon. For those more interested in a traditional comic book experience, there is also the Tampa location for Coliseum of Comics.
In addition to Coliseum of Comics being covered wall-to-wall with comic books and other collectibles, it regularly hosts game nights and has an active presence in local conventions.
Address: 19402 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647
Hours: Monday – Wednesday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm, Thursday – Saturday 10:00 am – 8:00 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm
10) Gods & Monsters
Orlando is one of the top destinations for geeks and nerds. Home to Disney World theme parks, Universal Studios, and various other pop culture attractions. For comic book fans wanting a more authentic experience, Gods & Monsters is a must-see location. In addition to it being part traditional retail store, it also has a post-apocalyptic gaming bar, and an escape experience.
Basically, Gods & Monsters offers an experience few other stores can come close to mimicking.
Address: 5421 International Drive, Orlando, Florida 32819
Hours: Monday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Tuesday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Wednesday – Thursday 11:00 am – 10:00 pm, Friday 11:00 am – 11:45 pm, Saturday 11:00 am – 11:45 pm, Sunday 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
11) MaximuM Comics
Las Vegas is not only home to almost every type of trill a person can legally purchase, it is also home to several great comic book stores. The second store from Sin City to be included in MaximuM Comics. Only founded in 2007, MaximuM Comics quickly became the largest comic book chain in the state.
By hosting parties, signings, and events as well as selling comic books, MaximuM Comics became another gathering point for comic book fans. Moreover, MaximuM also sells an eclectic array of rare comic books and collectibles.
Address: 5130 S. Ft. Apache #285, Las Vegas, NV 89148
Hours: Monday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Tuesday Closed, Wednesday 9:00 am – 7:00 pm, Thursday – Friday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm, Saturday – Sunday 10:00 am – 7:00 pm