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Playing up the secret hideout angle is only one of Alleycat Comics' many charms.



Tucked Back in an Andersonville alley, Alleycat Comics isn't the easiest spot to find—but that hasn't stopped curious passersby from filling the store. "I thought it was such a neat idea that people would have to walk to a secret hidden store, and it seems to keep drawing people," says co-owner Selene Gill.

The inspiration to open Alleycat was born from Gill's struggles to navigate through her husband Nick's large comic-book collection, which occupied a good part of their small apartment. And it came to an ultimatum: get rid of everything or open a store. In May of 2011 Nick made his decision, and Alleycat found a home on the corner of Clark and Berwyn. The couple essentially built their store from scratch in an old garage previously used for fixing and storing old cars; they created new walls and leveled out the floor, but kept the glass-plated garage door as its storefront.

To help foster the growth of the Alleycat community, Gill incorporates her own interests into free activites. Along with wall-to-wall comic books and graphic novels, there are screenings of horror films once a week, game nights three times a week (frequently including role-playing games amusements like Magic the Gathering or Settlers of Catan), and a monthly karaoke night (a personal favorite of Gill's).

Beyond just selling comics, Gill hopes to create a safe place for their neighbors to hang out. "We're just a spot for people to feel comfortable," Gill says. "They can be whoever they want to be."

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