Gene Ha is a rare bird: a lifelong comics fan whose talent vaulted him into the upper echelons of the superhero biz. The Chicago native and Berwyn resident, 53, has won four Eisner Awards (the Pulitzers of comics). His most recent achievement is 2022’s Wonder Woman Historia: The Amazons, a stunningly detailed book packed with Greek goddesses and optical illusions. One way the innovator recharges his creative batteries is to browse local hubs for cool collectibles. His favorite spots represent the best of geekdom, from film to funky toys.

Challengers Comics + Conversation

1845 N. Western Ave., Bucktown

“How much do I love Challengers? I designed a T-shirt, free of charge, to help them stay afloat during the pandemic. Tell them what novels or TV shows you love, and they’ll tell you your next favorite comic book.”

‘Fantastic Four: Full Circle’ by Alex Ross
Photograph: Harry N. Abrams


Fantastic Four: Full Circle “A perfect dive into superhero comics. It’s a classic Jack Kirby/Stan Lee tale, retold by Chicagoland native and modern comics master Alex Ross.” $25


Reel Art Collectibles
Photograph: Reel Art

Reel Art Collectibles

6727 Stanley Ave., Berwyn

“If you don’t know what to buy the budding Taika Waititi in your life, the film nerds of Reel Art are here to help.”

Chicago International Film Festival poster
Photograph: CIFF


Chicago International Film Festival poster “I love the image. I love the film festival. I love the poster so much, but I don’t have enough wall space left in my house.” $50

Superman Crazy Foam “I love it because it makes no sense. It encourages mischief, which is so opposite of Superman’s personality, which makes it perfect. A Joker one wouldn’t be as funny.” $10



2780 N. Lincoln Ave., Lincoln Park

“This designer toy store and art gallery has the right balance: Everything there is beautiful and clever, cute and deeply disturbing.”

Dumpster Fire Night Light and ‘Birdie’ by Charles V. Bennett
Photography: (art, night light) Rotofugi


1. Dumpster Fire Night Light “Everyone needs one! I’ve been thinking of stocking up to give as gifts.” $28

2. Birdie by Charles V. Bennett “It’s one of a kind, made from an old skateboard. I’d made some money at C2E2 and said, ‘I want to blow my money on that!’ ” $300