Recently, we’ve been surveying readers and staff, and cluing you in to some of our favorite indie shops around the country. First we did bookstores, then we moved on to record stores. Both lists generated healthy debates, and lots of suggested additions. Now, we’ve asked our Facebook followers (along with some expert friends) to tell us about their favorite comic shops. The top 10 we’ve come up with is certainly skewed by our own prejudice for stylish, wide-ranging stores that also stock indie comics and graphic novels, rather than old-fashioned places that only cater to superhero devotees. And we’d much rather see a small, well-curated store than a big one that stocks the same stuff as every other big one. Page through our list after the jump and weigh in with your picks in the comments.
Atomic Books – Baltimore, MD
Surely the platonic ideal of an indie comics store, Atomic Books is pretty much the be-all and end-all for comic fans of the non-superhero variety. While the shop hardly confines itself to comics, it is the likeliest place to find lots of underground stuff, from small-press single issues to DIY mini comics and zines. Its mail order business is legend, and we pore over the place’s weekly newsletter. Purists may turn up their noses at the wide range of other products Atomic sells: literary novels, art books, design toys, crafting guides, music, DVDs… etc. But what matters is that its entire stock is meticulously curated by its whip-smart staff, which means the junk quotient is minimal. Their wonderful events feature readings, a weekly knitting night, and a book club. Their blog is actually worth reading. And just in case you weren’t impressed yet, Atomic is also the only store in the world that has been given the esteemed privilege of collecting John Waters’s mail.