The Captain's Veranda by Joe Sarno


Before we get onto those "infamous Clark Street Stores" I happened to remember a few other stores in the Chicago patheon of famous stores that bought and sold back issue comic books. First was a store on Elston Avenue about a block from Irving Park Road owned by a teacher named Gus. We referred to the store as GUS'S and he always had several stack of comics and other related items including Big Little Books and toys. Gus picked up most of his stuff at the Maxwell Street Flea Market.

The was a place on Madison Avenue near the expressway called ADMIRAL SALES run by a fellow named Harry. I first discovered this place in the 1950's and bought a few comics there. I rediscovered his 2nd store (as he had moved a half a block east because his other store was torn down to make was for the expressway) in the late 1960's. He catered to what ws politely referred to as his "Itenerants" (drunks) in the area but carried a wall full of pocketbooks, stacks and stacks of coverles pulps, and a rck full of used, often coverless comics. I found some neat stuff there including a copy of Famous Monsters of Filmland #1. One of the important things I found out about Harry was that he received shipments of old magazines and books every Tuesday and Thursday from a junkyard in the area--and I later learned that the Clark Street stores also received a lot of their "finds" from junkyards--usually paying for them by the pound.

I should also mention HANLEY'S BOOK STORE in Evanston. While Mrs. Hanley carried just a few back issue comics, she carried a number of books and semi-professional fanzines that you could not get other places, such as Ed Aprill's comic strip reprint books.

There was one other store that I found that carried comics. It was called DAVE'S TRADING POST and he was located on Fullerton Avenue. Dave was an antique store that carried a lot of collectibles. I ran into Dave and his brother at a flea market on the south side one time, and discovered that early in the morning before the market was opened to the public the brother would go around looking for comics while Dave was setting up. I topped going to that flea market. I would run into the brother (whose name eludes me right now), at shops on Kedzie near the Ravenswood "L" stop.

There were two other places that carried collectibles--one was run by a woman named Connie who often found comics and related items at real estate sales. The other was a small store just north of her shop that carried some odds and ends collectibles; and one time I found Buck Rogers Sonic Ray guns and other collectibles. I was informed that his brother had bought out the warehouse stock of an old Dime Store that went out of business in the early 1950's, and was setting up a temporary shop on Milwaukee Avenue to sell the merchadise. I went there the very next day, and you wouldn't believe the items that I pulled out of there, including more Buck Rogers ray guns in their original boxes, puppets, "comic cubes" and other stuff--I had just missed a few comics that he had found in an oversize 3x3x5 foot boxes.

There was a little used furniture store near Elston and Pulaski that "finds" could be made from time to time--and once I pulled out some great Space toys from that store. I could go on and on--through the years there were a number of stores where comics and related collectibles could be found. They would be there, then gone, to be replaced by others. Just as the Clark Street stores would eventually disappear and be replaced byby a new generation of comic collectible stores like mine and LARRY'S and VARIETY COMICS--which all still exist today, but may someday be gone.

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Originally published in the C.B. WEEKLY (Comic Book Collectors Bulletin) Vol 3 #40 October 4, 2000 copyright Joe Sarno and respective copyright holders 2003.