In the past decade, comic books have seen a huge boost in popularity. You can definitely thank the Internet, which made comics more accessible to readers in the early 2000s. It doesn’t stop there, though.
Consumers have been buying more hard copy books in recent years too. This might be because big movie studios have put out hoards of comic book-based blockbusters in quick succession, sparking interest in viewers who might never have given Captain America’s backstory a second thought. Whatever the reason, Chicago is a great place to be for comic book lovers who’ve been loyal since the beginning and those who only recently caught up with the most popular heroes and villains.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Every year, Chicago hosts an enormous convention for all things comics, cosplay, and pop culture. Called C2E2, which stands for Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, the event features fan favorites from every corner of the entertainment world, including comics, manga, anime, TV shows, movies, and more. The self-proclaimed “biggest geek party in the Midwest” offers up screenings of films, panel discussions from the biggest names in comic books, autograph signings, and cosplay costume contests (plus a ton more awesome events for fans, such as photo ops and meet-n-greets). This is the comic event of the year in Chicago, so definitely get tickets in advance. C2E2 2019 is slated for March 29–31, so book your hotels, polish your lightsabers, and gear up for a non-stop weekend of stimuli.
CAKE: Chicago Alternative Comics Expo
For anyone who thinks the current comic climate has gone too mainstream, CAKE, the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo, offers a welcome antidote. Chicago has a storied history when it comes to underground operations, and not just in the world of gangsters and moonshine. Comic book authors, illustrators, and publishers have been working independently for many years, creating universes and stories unknown to fair-weather fans or readers only well-versed in popular comic books that have been turned into blockbuster films. Comic devotees can purchase comic books, attend panel discussions, take workshops, and check out tons of original artwork during the long weekend CAKE puts on each year. The ultimate perk? Admission is free both days (June 2–3, 2018).
This festival is for readers who admire up-and-coming comic book artists—and those interested in creating their own books. To be considered a true zine, publications at this fest have to have a circulation of 5,000 or less. Zines are typically passion projects, run by writers, illustrators, and designers who don’t make a living off the zine but show up to produce the art they love. In fact, most only have a circulation of about 50 readers or so. This year, 2018, will be the ninth year of Zine Fest. It will feature workshops on bookbinding your own comics and comic framing techniques, the latter hosted by CAKE illustrator Jackie Roche. This festival is perfect for comic book lovers ready to take the next step from fandom to production.
Wizard World Chicago Comic Con
This exhibition is the place to be to meet real stars from current comic TV series and movies. As one of the largest conventions of its kind in the country, the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con does not disappoint. Guests consistently include top names from TV shows and movies. Several stars from Outlander and Guardians of the Galaxy were added to the most recent roster, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Again, authors and illustrators are available for panel discussions and autographs. Arts and crafts booths featuring work paying homage to your favorite comic book stories, characters, phrases, and designs are strewn throughout the enormous convention center, not to mention the countless bookstores and jewelry vendors present with awesome memorabilia. The best part? Many cities around the country host this event. If you’re in or around Chicago from August 23–26, 2018, make a point to get to the Wizard World Chicago Comic Con.
Heroes and Villains Fan Fest
The Heroes and Villains Fan Fest offers attendees more hands-on opportunities—with a stronger focus on horror and sci-fi than other fests in the Chicagoland area. Aside from meeting celebrities from hit shows, movies, and comics (a given at these events), participants can try their hands at archery (for real) or bungee jumping (also for real) to get a taste of what their favorite heroes and villains get to do on a daily basis. This year the festival celebrates its 6th anniversary and occurs in conjunction with Walker Stalker Con, an event that revolves entirely around The Walking Dead (aka, get your zombie make-up ready).
Challengers Comics + Conversation
Voted Best Comics Store in Chicago by the Chicago Reader in 2010, Challengers Comics + Conversation prides itself on its collection and its community. Though the Bucktown shop doesn’t buy personal collections, they do offer an amazing subscription service to readers with specific selections they know they’ll buy every month. Basically, Challengers Comics will pre-order your faves so that they’re ready for you each month. Plus, you get a 10% discount. It’s free to join and a great way to support local bookstores and meet other people just as passionate about comics as you are. Have no fear if you don’t live in Chicago—the shop hosts events around the year to celebrate cosplay, new releases, and the comics community in general.
The best store for buying and selling comic books in Chicago is Chicago Comics. Boasting the vastest selection of comic books in the Midwest, this Lakeview shop has just about everything from manga to anime, zines to mainstream publications, and local to international books. Better yet, if you don’t see what you’re looking for, Chicago Comics will special order it for you (that is if it’s not hiding in one of their many filing cabinets in the back, which it very well may be). If you create your own comic books, you can apply to sell your work here too. Since getting its start in 1991, Chicago Comics has become a major player in the city when it comes to comics, indie publications, and all things superhero.
Chicago Comics, 3244 N Clark St, Chicago, IL, USA, +1 773 528 1983
The Dark Knight filming locations
It’s safe to say that every comic book fan has seen The Dark Knight, the 2008 Batman film for which Heath Ledger won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar after his portrayal of the Joker riveted millions. There are many locations around Chicago that fans of the movie (and Batman in general) should check out. Filming took place in tons of nooks and crannies throughout the Windy City, both inside and outdoors. Part of a Batpod chase sequence was filmed inside the Millennium Park Metra Station; a parking garage on Randolph Street is the location where the Scarecrow, among other ne’er do-wells, is captured. One of the best spots is the Twin Anchors bar in Old Town. During filming, Harvey Dent (played by Aaron Eckhart) lost his temper and slammed his fist down onto the bar. You can see the scuff marks and indentations from Eckhart’s strength on the bar for yourself—they’re still there.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
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Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
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Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
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