Comic Book Stores
Blockbusters like The Dark Knight and Iron Man have proven what some of us already know: comic books are totally hip. They can be framed as art or casually displayed, adding retro charm to any room. Plus, they're super-fun to read. Get the goods at these local comic book stores.
Rebel Base Comic & Toys
VIBE The tiny shop is practically wallpapered with comics.
THE GOODS Find an extensive inventory of action figures, from G.I. Joe to Dr. Who (about $15). Monthly, Stephen King fans snap up artist Jae Lee's adaptation of the Dark Tower series ($3.99).
SPLURGE Spider-Man comics from the 1980s are surprisingly affordable (starting at $5).
701-C S. Sharon Amity Rd., 704-442-9660, rebelbasecomics.com
Heroes Aren't Hard to Find
VIBE The 1930s building boasts stamped-tin ceilings and exposed-brick walls. Note the giant hanging sculpture of Spiderman battling Dr. Octopus, designed by Mike Wieringo.
THE GOODS At the annual Heroes convention more than 500 artists sell original sketches (priced from $10 to $3,000), which make amazing wall art. Peruse the porcelain and resin sculptures (starting at $150). Heavy and hand painted, they function as bold bookends.
SPLURGE Meet other comic buffs in the graphic-novel discussion group without spending a dime.
1957 E. Seventh St., 704-375-7462, heroesonline.com
A. Pennyworth's Comics, News, and Collectibles
VIBE The 1,200-square-foot storefront specializes in comics meant to be read, not preserved in plastic.
THE GOODS Stock up on accessories, such as Dark Knight T-shirts ($22.99). Find mainstream favorites including trade paperbacks penned by Frank Miller (he's behind movies like Sin City). Or explore Japanese anime, such as the Berserk series.
SPLURGE A 1960s edition of House of Secrets featuring the first appearance of Swamp Thing sold for $300.
11100 Monroe Rd., 704-849-2287