Howling Pages, a Kickstarter-funded bookstore, opens in Portage Park with thousands of comics and graphic novels

PORTAGE PARK – Around 1,300 colorful comic books and graphic novels sit on tables and shelves inside Portage Park’s brand new bookstore as its owners prepare for the long-awaited crowd-funded store opening.

Howling Pages, 4354 N. Milwaukee Ave., opens Friday. The owners have spent months rehabilitating the shop and securing independent books from European, local and national independent presses and community donations.

And other books should soon fill the shelves, said owner Alain Park.

“Even with everything here, my goal was to start at 1,500 and go over 2,000 pounds,” Park said. “There are still about 300 to 500 that we have ordered that are on the way.

The store sells international, local and independent comics; graphic novels with a children’s section; and illustrative and printed local artwork. Stickers and postcards are also on display, and patrons are greeted by a massive black-and-white mural painted by Park. It features six well-known comic and graphic novel artists and writers whose work is in the store.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Howling Pages, 4354 N. Milwaukee Ave., has a mural depicting six designers whose work is in the bookstore.

The independent bookstore is a dream come true for Park, a writer and artist who has lived in Portage Park for 16 years. The bookstore got started with a successful crowdfunding campaign that helped build inventory, rehab and add interior decor to the space, and help with rent for the first few months.

Park turned to the community in October to raise money for the bookstore and offset start-up costs. The fundraiser received over $16,000.

Between the support of the crowdfunding campaign and neighbors and comic book blogs sharing news of the store and its offerings, Park has felt the love from the community and is ready – albeit a little tired – to open its doors after months of hard work, it said. -he declares.

“I greatly appreciate everyone’s efforts and [them] knowing what we want to do and what we want to contribute,” he said. “They get it, which is cool – they get it. It is to affirm. … Now we just need people to show up.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Howling Pages, 4354 N. Milwaukee Ave., is bringing over 1,300 graphic novels and comic books to Portage Park, as seen May 10, 2022.

Howling Pages recently held a pop-up art event with Seventh Corner Gallery, which drew hundreds of people and helped the store gain exposure, Park said.

Donors were also invited to tour the bookstore ahead of its official opening, and they voted on ideas for what Howling Pages should offer alongside the community.

Among the main winners were creations by local youth, a high-quality printer allowing artists to print work in-house and art lessons for children.

Park hopes all of these ideas will come to fruition and wants to focus on helping the next generation of artists by exposing young people to art and teaching them what it is to be an artist.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Howling Pages, 4354 N. Milwaukee Ave., is bringing over 1,300 graphic novels and comic books to Portage Park, as seen May 10, 2022.

“I can definitely see anything to get people excited about doing things in the neighborhood,” he said. “There are many different uses for a space like this.”

Co-owner Ashley Towne, Park’s wife, who is also in the art publishing industry, will help run the store, along with their two children. They helped paint the bookstore in CYMK colors and organized recent events. They are full of energy and ready to help make the store successful, Park said.

Howling Pages will also offer consignment to local artists wishing to sell their visual work in the store, with creators keeping 60% of each sale, the owner said.

Store hours are 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Saturday. Park will offer free cupcakes and juice boxes from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and a happy hour from 5 p.m. for the Friday opening celebrations.

Credit: Ariel Parrella-Aureli/Block Club Chicago
Howling Pages, 4354 N. Milwaukee Ave., is bringing over 1,300 graphic novels and comic books to Portage Park, as seen May 10, 2022.

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