The halcyon days of comic book shops may be long gone now that fans can purchase their favorite titles and collectibles online. But the feeling of browsing a comic book shop will never be replaced. Luckily a few gems still exist and are worth seeking out.

Next time you’re visiting a new town, why not look to see if there’s a comic shop? They’re great places to pass the time while checking out the local’s take on pop culture and discovering the area’s own indie press. And who knows? You might come across a comic, toy or a rare piece of memorabilia connecting you to a happy moment from your childhood, find something new and exciting to read or pick up some unique and inexpensive souvenirs.

Whether you’re an ardent collector desperate to complete your back catalog or someone who simply enjoys being in a space densely packed with fun and colorful art, we’re certain you’ll love the places in this list of America’s most amazing comic book shops.

Atomic Books, Baltimore

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With its focus on indie comics and small press, this independently owned Baltimore shop offers “literary finds for mutated minds” in the form of “objects made of paper, vinyl, plastic and various other actual materials at the edge of time.” Atomic also the postal address for fan mail to local film (and mischief) maker, John Waters, who’s known to stop by from time to time.

Atomic Books is located at 3620 Falls Road.

Floating World Comics, Portland

Comics. Art. Design. Culture. And in that order! Floating World Comics in downtown Portland is a bookstore “for people who still like going to stores” selling comics, graphic novels, art books, international art magazines and more including rare and new vinyl at is shop-within-a-shop, Landfill Rescue Unit. To be sure there’s a full calendar of comic and local art related events worth keeping in mind for your next visit to this hip little corner of Oregon.

Look for Floating World at 400 NW Couch Street.

Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find, North Carolina

(Image via Flickr CC BY 2.0 – Pat Loika)

America’s comic source since 1980, Heroes Aren’t Hard to Find is one of the oldest, best known and largest comics retailers in the U.S. Whatever your preferred genre or era, you’re apt to find it here (or have the HAHTF hounds track it down for you with expert speed) particularly with respect to Silver and Golden Age comic books.

Not hard to find at all, the shop is located in the Elizabeth neighborhood of uptown Charlotte, North Carolina at 1957 East 7th Street.

Isotope, San Francisco

(Image via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0 – Tom Hackett)

This Hayes Valley, San Francisco “comic book lounge” is proud to represent the “bleeding edge of comic retailing modernism.” For the uninitiated, that means loads of cool comics, graphic arts, live music, workshops and events – and plenty of attractively designed and comfy space to absorb it all. Perhaps the world’s only comic shop that can get away with calling itself swank, Isotope exalts the best bits of pop and underground cultures while giving avid readers breathing room to enjoy comics in public with actual dignity.

Isotope is located at 326 Fell Street.

Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash, New Jersey

Under an hour’s drive south of Manhattan, Jay & Silent Bob’s Secret Stash in Red Bank, New Jersey is filmmaker and comic buff extraordinaire Kevin Smith’s little slice of retail paradise. A brick-and-mortar homage to all things geeky and collectible – not to mention Smith’s films such as Clerks and Chasing Amy and the AMC show Comic Book Men – the shop’s main selling point is that is it first and foremost a place to buy the best newly released and back issue comics.

Situated on the banks of the Navesink River, Red Bank is a fun little town to visit in its own right with lots of locally owned shops, bars, and restaurants in a quaint and walkable downtown. Popular Jersey Shore destinations of Sea Bright, Long Branch, and Asbury Park are only minutes away by car as are the big beautiful beaches of the Gateway National Recreation Area at Sandy Hook.

Meltdown Comics, Los Angeles

Clocking in at 9,000 square feet, Meltdown is the largest “pop culture emporium” west of the Rockies. It’s also one of the best stocked throughout the land and definitely, your best bet for geeking out on your favorite comics and collectibles in L.A. The place has won all sorts of accolades over the 20 plus years it’s been in operation.

Go west and discover Meltdown at 7522 Sunset Boulevard.

Midtown Comics, New York

The biggest comics shop in the United States, Midtown Comics is a two-story Times Square shrine to the best in comics now and then. With more than half a million back issues in stock, plus plenty of signings and special events.

Home of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee and Spider-Man, it’s fitting that America’s biggest comics shop is in New York at 200 West 40th Street at the corner of 7th Avenue. (with locations at Grand Central and Downtown Manhattan as well). Nuff said.

Where’s your favorite comic book shop? Share your recs in the comments section below.

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About The Author

Chris Osburn

Chris Osburn is a freelance writer, photographer, consultant, curator, and the driving force behind the long running and award winning blog, tikichris.com. Originally from the American Deep South, Chris has lived and worked all over the world. He's called London home since 2001.