Comic Book Culture is Alive!
By Marisol Ledezma
Earlier this week, I decided to check out Graham Crackers Comic Books. After hearing about Jordan’s experience at Third Coast Comics, I figured I could do a little more research about comic book culture. I decided to go to Graham Crackers because I remember having a pleasant experience a few years ago while on an adventure with some friends.
As a part of our collaboration with Cozy Corners of Chicago, I was curious to find out if there are any local comic book stores that truly value relationships with the community. I was shocked to hear that after Cozy Corners of Chicago and our very own Jordan visited a local comic book store, they felt that the social appeal of comic books was dead.
Upon entering Graham Crackers Comic Books, I immediately felt welcomed. I was greeted by one of the employees and upbeat music was playing in the back ground. I began to roam through the store, taking in all that they had to offer. They not only sold comic books but t-shirts and action figures as well. As I explored around the store, I noticed that two of the employees were actively engaging with customers, helping them find specific items and talking about comics.
I was impressed to find that Graham Crackers has a section dedicated to local independent work. At first, I was super shy and nervous to ask for more information regarding the local artists. After building up some confidence, I started talking to one of the employees. Earl was very nice and willing to answer all of my questions. He informed me that most local artist go into the store with samples of their work, which is later placed on the shelf. This offers local artist a great opportunity to showcase their work and network.
I asked Earl, if they host any community events. Every month the shop hosts a “Ladies’ Night” where women get together to discuss what they are reading or drawing, listen to guest presentations and eat snacks. He also mentioned that they participate in 24 Hour Comic Book Day where people go into the shop and draw a comic book within a 24 hour timeframe.
Graham Crackers is also a partner of the Hero Initiative. This initiative was designed in 2001 to help comic book creators in need. The Hero Initiative is the first organization to create a financial safety net for comic creators who may need emergency medical aid or financial support for life essentials. The profits from Hero comics go toward the Hero Initiative. The partnership between Graham Crackers and the Hero Initiative demonstrates that this comic shop truly cares about the comic book community.
Graham Crackers has proved to me that comic book culture is not entirely dead. This shop serves as a positive example for other local shops looking to engage with the community.
P.S I have added a playlist featuring George Gershwin, which Earl plays as background music in the shop.