We've made this super easy for you: We've opened a Shopify store! Nearly all of our graphic novels are listed, with single-issue comics in the works. Options for getting your books are the same as usual (local pick-up, weekly local delivery, and Priority Mail shipping) and selectable at checkout. Hopefully you'll find some cool books and be able to get them without too much hassle. If you have any problems with this new initiative, please let us know and we'll try to help. Thanks so much for thinking of us as a way to keep reading comics, and please stay safe.
As of May 1st, Challengers has been permitted by the City of Chicago to offer Curbside Pickup. Customers are still not allowed in the store, but we're happy to offer you the chance to shop online and pick up your order from our Bucktown location. (Our River North location will, unfortunately, stay closed temporarily.) While our store is closed to customers, we'll be instituting new hours of operation. Someone will be at Challengers to process orders and facilitate pickups from 1pm to 5pm on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Here are the details on how you can get your comics from us!
STEP ONE: SHOP.
If you're not a subscriber and/or want to shop our full selection of comics and graphic novels, you can do so through our Shopify storefront. Most orders will be ready within an hour during our normal operating schedule, and you'll be notified when your order is ready.
STEP TWO: DECIDE HOW YOU WANT TO GET YOUR BOOKS.
We've tried to offer folks as many different ways as possible to shop at Challengers during this tricky phase of reopening our business. Here's what you can choose from, and how it'll work.
PICK UP AT CHALLENGERS: Starting Monday, May 4th, we're instituting curbside pick-up. We'll have set hours for it (1pm to 5pm; Mon through Sat). You will not be allowed IN the store. Leave us a note in your purchase telling us what day you plan to come by. Pull up outside Challengers. Call us at 773.278.0155. Stay in your car. We'll put your books on a table set-up outside our front door. Once we're back inside, hop out and grab your books!
SHIP OUT COMICS: All books ship out US Priority Mail. We do our best to make sure your order arrives as quickly and in as high of a quality as possible, but we're a small operation and the USPS is struggling to meet demand. If any problems arise, please let us know.
AT-HOME DELIVERY (WEDNESDAYS ONLY): If you live in Chicago (and are not an insane distance away from our Bucktown location), we can potentially drop your books off at your doorstep. For a handling fee of $5, we will be driving around on Wednesday, dropping off orders. Let us know your address, and we'll let you know if we can deliver to you. IF YOU WANT YOUR NEW COMICS DELIVERED, YOU NEED TO NOTIFY US BY TUESDAY AT MIDNIGHT. After that, you'll have missed the cut-off for the week. Deliveries are only going to be on Wednesday, and we need to have everything ready in advance.
All three options are available when checking out through Shopify, and if you're paying for your subscription items you can just tell us how you'd like to receive your books.
STEP THREE: KEEP READING COMICS.
Hopefully this is all straight-forward, but please email us if you have any questions or suggestions. We're hoping to see you again soon!
UPDATE MARCH 24, 2020:
As you may know, Challengers is currently closed due to the Covid-19 outbreak. We have every intention of reopening our doors as soon as the State of Illinois says it's safe to do so. In the meantime, we've been getting questions from subscribers about how they can pay for and receive their comics. We're still working out some details, and there are larger solutions we hope to have in place shortly, but this is where we're at today.
To go along with everything we're going to list below, we've had some amazing help from the local comics community. Tim Seeley has donated a ton of his own personal comics stock, work he's done for many different publishers, and we'll be including some of it FREE with any purchase of $30 or more. Free comics! It's not a cure, but hopefully it'll make everyone feel a little better,
PAY FOR SUBSCRIPTIONS ONLINE: If you'd like us to get you an invoice you can pay online, just let us know. We'll add everything up the next time we stop by the store, you can pay online, and we'll mark your books as Paid For.
PICK UP AT CHICAGO BOARD GAME CAFE: Our friends at Chicago Board Game Cafe (1965 N Milwaukee Ave) have offered us the ability to leave paid-for orders at their pick-up window, for customers to collect. We'll be stopping by to drop off orders daily(-ish?), so just let us know when you're ready to have your books dropped off and we'll send you an invoice you can pay online. Once your books have been dropped off at CHICAGO BOARD GAME CAFE, we'll let you know! Oh, and since you're there, maybe grab some food to go! They are open for pick-up Tuesday-Saturday between 5pm and 9pm. https://www.chicagogamecafe.com/
SHIP OUT COMICS: If you'd like to have your books shipped to you, we can take care of that. We'll send you an invoice, you can pay online, and we'll pack up your stuff and ship it out Priority Mail. IF YOU WANT YOUR NEW COMICS SHIPPED, YOU NEED TO NOTIFY US BY 10AM WEDNESDAY MORNING. If you hit that deadline, we'll get your books in the mail that day, you should probably have them in hand the next day. If we receive a shipping request after 10am Wednesday, your books will go out at some point over the next week. We'll try to get them out as soon as possible, but we're just not going to be at the store often enough to turn books around quickly. If you're less concerned about speed and more concerned about quantity, you're welcome to ask us about in-stock product for shipping. We're happy to grab stuff off of our shelves to send to you. Just ask!
AT-HOME DELIVERY (WEDNESDAYS ONLY): If you live in Chicago (and are not an insane distance away from our Bucktown location), we can potentially drop your books off at your doorstep. For a gas-related handling fee of $5, we will be driving around on Wednesday, dropping off orders. Let us know your address, and we'll let you know if we can deliver to you. (There's only two of us, and one vehicle, so there's parts of the city that we just won't be able to get to on one delivery day.) All the rules and options for shipping apply here, in that IF YOU WANT YOUR NEW COMICS DELIVERED, YOU NEED TO NOTIFY US BY 10AM WEDNESDAY MORNING. After that, you'll have missed the cut-off for the week. Deliveries are only going to be on Wednesday, and we need to have everything ready in advance. Much like shipping out books, if you'd like to add anything to your standing orders, just let us know and we'll throw it on for you.
SOMETHING ELSE: If you have any suggestions on how we can get you your comics, please let us know. We're happy to try and work with you!
NOTHING, DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT: Everyone's life is being upended by the coronavirus outbreak. We hope that comics, subscriptions or otherwise, can help you through tough times. What we don't want is for your comics buying to stress you out. If you've got enough going on right now that you don't want to think about your subscriptions, that's okay. No one's books are going to be put back out while our doors are closed. No one's going to miss out on their orders. Do not stress about this. If you want your books, we want to work with you on getting them. If you don't, that's okay, take care of yourself, and we hope to see you when things settle down.
UPDATE March 21, 2020: We're closed, as are all non-essential businesses in Illinois (I know--we also thought we were essential!) until April 7th (if not longer). What that means is you cannot come in to shop at Challengers! But you can still get your comics! Mail order! Local pick up (at Chicago Board Game Cafe)! And more options coming real soon! This is all brand new to us, so we need a minute to have concise options. Also, since when is there no spell-check in this program? I know I for sure spelled concise wrong at first. I fixed it, but the program didn't tell me it was wrong. Huh. Uh, anyway, we'll update here as soon as possible!! Thank you!! Also, I found spell-check and turned it on and there were 5 more words in this paragraph alone I misspelled or miss-typed. Yeesh.
Yes, even we are posting about the Covid-19 Coronavirus. You can't deny that it is a concern and something to be aware of. Are you worried about catching the virus, but still want your comics? Are you choosing to self-isolate and want to make sure you have plenty of things to read? Challengers is here to help you out.
First and foremost, we promise to keep our shops clean and disinfected regularly. And if any of our co-workers feel even slightly under the weather, we’ll send them home (and scrub every area they even looked at). We don’t want you to get sick and we also do not want us to get sick. But, if you’re worried about actually coming in, even for the 2 minutes it would take to get your books rung up, you can always…
A) Pay over the phone and have your books ready for a fast hand-off as you literally run in!
B) Send a car! Hire a Lyft or Uber to grab your books. Pre-pay over the phone and tell us a driver is coming in, and we’ll have your books ready!
C) Have your books mailed out! Just shoot us an email asking to have your books shipped, and we'll email you an invoice with shipping costs added in that you can pay online. Most books ship out of our stores within 24 hours, and delivery in the city is generally next-day!
Your health and safety is important to us, and selling comics is also important to us. Be well! Be safe! Wash your hands. And Keep Reading Comics!
It’s true! Both Challengers Comics + Conversation locations are BAD IDEA stores!
So just what does that mean? We’re glad you asked…
BAD IDEA is a brand-new comic book company doing things in a new way. They are self-distributing their comics, and only to a select number of stores around the world (100 stores, to start). Both Challengers locations are the ONLY Chicago stores that will have BAD IDEA comics for sale (again, to start). Here’s an article about them from The Comics Beat, but keep in mind that initial number of stores has already changed from 20 to 100.
Also, there will be NO collections of their series, and NO digital versions available, either. Just single-issue comic books, plain and simple. And NO variant covers. Only 1 cover per issue.
And here’s their other big rule. Only ONE (1) copy per person of any BAD IDEA single issue. Period. We are not allowed to sell you multiple copies of ANY of their titles. That is a hard rule, so please don’t try to get around it. I’m sure your best friend really, really, really wants a copy, too, but they’ll have to come get it on their own.
So now, here’s how it works at Challengers.
If you want to subscribe to any of their titles, to be picked up at either of our locations, you are absolutely welcome to join our FREE Subscription Service. In fact, here’s a link to a handy form for it. That form also has all our rules on it, so be sure to give it a close look. And hey, you’ll get 10% OFF of every title on your subscription list!
Here is our one catch: If you want us to hold any BAD IDEA titles for you, you have to subscribe to the whole series. Our subscription service is not for individual issues; it is for ongoing series.
We will not hold a copy of a single issue of any BAD IDEA titles for you. But they will be available on the shelves, so you are always welcome to come in and grab yourself a copy (ONE copy) if you don’t want a subscription.
Will we Mail Order subscriptions? Sure, but you’ll have to pre-pay for the first 4-issue arc and pay $10 for USPS Priority Mail shipping. Your bagged and boarded books will be shipped out after all 4 issues have been released. You can order that at this link.
And that’s it! That’s all you need to know! We’re sure you’ll be hearing a LOT more from BAD IDEA in the immediate future and we’ll do our best to keep you updated, too!