DeKALB – Kevin Healy has been reading comic books since he was 7 years old, and now, he’s teaching DeKalb residents about the comic book culture.
Healy is the assistant manager of Graham Cracker Comics, 901 Lucinda Ave., DeKalb, a store that will celebrate its 15th anniversary April 15. Healy began working at the shop in 1999 while attending Northern Illinois University, where he graduated as an illustration major.
“This is something I’ve loved doing,” Healy said. “If I was going to take a shot to jump in, this was the time to do it.”
The largest comic book chain in the country, Graham Cracker Comics is an Illinois-based chain that sells all published Marvel and DC books, as well as numerous independent comics. The DeKalb store has about 600 different titles, the majority of which come out on a monthly basis, said Graham Cracker Comics manager Charles Fischer.
Customers come from as far as Dixon, the Quad Cities, Rochelle and Rockford to visit the two-story store, Fischer said.
The DeKalb location will host a variety of events to commemorate its opening in 1999.
To kick things off, the comic store will partner with the DeKalb Public Library from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. April 12 for “Star Wars” Day at the library, where children will be taught how to draw Yoda and participate in other activities and trivia, Fischer said.
“Heroclix for a Cause” will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. April 13 at the comic store. Participants in the miniature war strategy game need to bring five canned goods to play. The goods will be donated to Rochelle Christian Food Pantry. A raffle also will be held in which attendees can donate either $1 or one canned good.
Star Wars trivia will take place at 7 p.m. April 14 at the store. Children who bring their Yoda drawing from the library event will be entered in a raffle in which they can win free Star Wars-related comic books, toys and graphic novels, Fischer said.
April 15 is the official anniversary. Everything in the store will be 15 percent off.
The store will host a free viewing of “Captain America: The First Avenger” at 6 p.m. April 17 with a potluck dinner, and then watch “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” at 8 p.m. at Carmike Cinemas, 2160 Sycamore Road, DeKalb. Participants must purchase their own tickets, Fischer said.
Graham Cracker Comics customers can play “Magic: The Gathering,” a trading card game, at 6 p.m. April 18 for free. The store has a designated area where people can play, Fischer said.
Lastly, at 6 p.m. April 19, the store will begin its new reading group called “Speaking of Comics.”
The DeKalb comic store is located in the Village Commons Bookstore plaza near NIU. It changed locations in October to expand to its current 2,300-square-foot facility, Fischer said.
“It has been nonstop work and nonstop fun growing the store and expanding our selection,” Fischer said.