Screaming Pages bringing comics and more to Portage Park after successful fundraising campaign

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PORTAGE PARK – After a successful crowdfunding campaign that has attracted over 140 backers, an independent comic bookstore and community space is set to become a reality in Portage Park.

Screaming Pages, the bookstore of Portage Park artist and writer Alain Park, exceeded its fundraising goal of $ 15,000 by the December 1 deadline, raising more than $ 16,000 in less than two months.

Park turned to the community in October to raise money for the bookstore and offset start-up costs. The fundraiser received donations from friends and strangers from the area and from the local comic book scene, which was a nice surprise.

“It sounds like validation – that the idea is a good idea and other people see it too, and see it as a need as a creative community in the neighborhood,” Park said. “It feels good [and that] you are not alone in your thought patterns.

Park estimates that he will need $ 30,000 to $ 40,000 to start the store. Her family members have set aside $ 15,000 of their own money. With the support of the community, the money is enough to move forward.

Now the real work is starting, Park said.

The first step is to secure a storefront. Park is considering two near Milwaukee and Montrose avenues and hopes to complete the one location deal in a few days, he said.

Then it will take a few months to rehabilitate the space, get furniture and install the inventory of howling pages, which will house international, local and independent comics; graphic novels with a children’s section; and illustrative and printed illustrations.

“The big boost will be that once we have a space and a physical address, then I can get my reseller license, and that will allow me to get products from the wholesalers,” he said. .

Some of the funding will help create an inventory, which will cost $ 15,000 to $ 20,000, according to Park.

The Park family have donated books and artwork from their own collection, but Howling Pages receives more donations from the community. To donate comics or graphic novels, email Park at [email protected]

Park plans to have a smooth opening in March and a grand opening a month or so “after all the issues are resolved,” he said.

Credit: Provided
Howling Pages will sell a variety of printed artwork by local and international artists, including pieces the Park family have collected over time.

Park said he was grateful to the community for supporting his vision for the store, which can be seen as a “third place” for neighbors to foster creativity, inspiration and networking. The family hopes to organize get-togethers, talks by local authors, classes and workshops on comic book making and printmaking, etc.

“What will make this different from a local comic book store is the atmosphere of a bookstore. … It will be so familiar to many types of people, ”he said previously. “The other thing it brings is affordability. We want the printed side to be accessible and to be in the same price ranges [as the books] because there is a lot to explore.

Comic book and graphic novel enthusiasts Lisa and Bill Roe, who live next door to the Park family, are excited that Howling Pages is serving the neighborhood, which lacks an independent bookstore for people of all ages. The couple donated to the fundraiser when it launched.

The Roes moved to Portage Park from Logan Square in 2013. They have previously told the Block Club that they are happy to see more artistic opportunities that can fuel their passions and help them connect with like-minded residents. .

“Our daughter loves graphic novels and our son loves manga, [so] the store is exactly in that area of ​​our interests, ”said Lisa Roe, a local librarian who runs a monthly graphic novel reading group.

Bill Roe called himself a longtime comic reader and said Howling Pages will bring more culture and business to Portage Park – and allow it to expand its consumption of comics.

“I think the neighborhood is starting to recover. … There are so many abandoned storefronts in the area, so anything that can fill these stores with varied interests and bring more culture to the neighborhood is amazing and great, ”he said.

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