The Captain's Veranda by Joe Sarno


In the 50's and 60's there were a number of book stores just north of the downtown area that catered to the collector. These stores handled magazines and comics in large quantities. Their suppliers were mostly junkyards. THE A-! BOOKSTORE was located on North State Street. ACME, A.B.C., THE GALLERY and WILLIAM OSTFELD (formerly CORREY'S) were all on the same block on Clark Street, just north of Grand Avenue.

For a short while A-1 relocated next to the Woolworth's on Randolph, just west of State Street, and in my opinion was the first TRUE Nostalgia Shop in the Chicago area. This store carried large quantities of comics, pulps, magazines, movie posters, movie stills, trading cards, and other paper collectables. It was brightly lit, and in a high traffic are, but it was gone from that location in two or three years, having moved to State Street north of Chicago Avenue.

Some of these stores had been established in the 20's and 30's, and by 1985 they were all gone.

In the early 1970's three comic book specialty stores opened up on the north side, and by 1975 the south side got their first comic stores. In 1978 Gary Colobuono opened up the first suburban comic specialty store. By 1992 there were close to 100 comic boob specialty stores in the greater Chicagoland area. Today there may be around 60 or so, and the number seems to be diminishing every month.

Just yesterday I was talking to a comic dealer that had been around since the 1970's, that is thinking of closing it's doors, and I could tell you that a few other long time store owners have also indicated to me that they may have to "get out" in the next couple of years. Things are changing! DRASTICALLY!

Please don't assume too much in the industry these days. How many times have Nancy and I heard in recent times, "Oh, this is great!! I'm glad your store carries as many back issues as you do--there isn't enough stores like this around these days." Well e-Bay and are changing the way the world does business. Wait and see! Wait and see!

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Originally published in the C.B. WEEKLY (Comic Book Collectors Bulletin) Vol 2 #31 August 4, 1999, copyright Joe Sarno and respective copyright holders 2003.