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The San Francisco Bay Area has played an invaluable part in creating and advancing some of the most recognized and cherished comic art of all time, and the Bay is home to some of the best comic book stores anywhere on earth. Read on for five favorites around the Bay Area.
650 Irving St.
San Francisco, CA 94122
Since 1980, Frank McGinn has been offering the latest new comics, action figures, silver age comics, T-shirts and collectibles at his Amazing Fantasy comic book store. One longtime customer, a professional cartoonist, says, “Frankly, Amazing Fantasy is the best comic store I’ve ever seen.” That about sums it up. The place is such a Bay Area favorite that any discussion on comic books immediately references Amazing Fantasy. What makes Amazing Fantasy such a fan favorite is its incredible amount of not only comic books, but also its inventory of everything else comics-related.
320 W. Portal Ave.
San Francisco, CA 94127
Two Cats, one of the newer comic book stores around, has the latest in gaming and new comics. It is packed on Saturdays with gamers playing at tables in the back, and in the front is a wide assortment of hardcover comic collections and cold cast superhero sculptures. In fact, Two Cats is especially liked for its collectibles of action figures and other notable figurines. One frequent customer shared, “I have bought a number of superhero chess pieces from England here.” Parents can bring their kids here and not worry that there is nothing for children to safely read because there is a dedicated comic section just for kids.
326 Fell St.
San Francisco, CA 94102
More than a comic book store, Isotope combines a place for comic books with an art gallery, educational venue and meeting place for creative folks who adore everything comics. Isotope is dedicated to comics, so don’t come looking for toys and statues, but if you are crazy for comic books, this is the place to be. There are couches to sit on for a relaxing read. Isotope hosts workshops and events, like artist book signings, at Isotope University (check the website for the upcoming schedule), plus the staff is known as “amazing” when it comes to answering comics-related questions. And the not-to-be-missed Toilet Seat Museum exhibit lining the walls is definitely an original.
3090 Claremont Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705
“As always, we have FREE Comics everyday,” The Escapist, The Great Comic Bookstore announces on its website, adding, “First 2 comics on the sidewalk sale table are FREE, 50 cents per copy after that.” The Escapist has a full range of what comic lovers want most, including a ton of valuable vintage comics that collectors are looking for. The place feels jam packed with something for everyone, including toys, graphic novels, books, trade paperbacks and those hard to find back-issue comics, along with the largest kids comics section in the East Bay.
2050 Lincoln Ave.
San Jose, CA 95125
As the oldest comic book store in San Jose, Hijinx has been around for many years to the happiness of its loyal fans. While this is a pretty small shop with a lot crammed in and well stocked with the latest issues, Hijinx may not be the best spot for the collector, since the place is not big on back issues, but is well stocked if you are looking for the best current titles and issues. Another perk is the Hijinx Comics Book Club, a chance to earn store credit for buying graphic novels and trade paperbacks.