‘Aw Yeah!’: Comic book store celebrates opening
Nicolas Aureliani, 12, son of Franco Aureliani, comic book creator and co-owner of Aw Yeah Comics, poses with Spider-Man and Kid Flash Saturday during the grand opening of the store in downtown Skokie. | Michael Jarecki~for Sun-Times Media
AW YEAH COMICS
WHERE: 4933 Oakton St., Skokie
WHEN: 11 a.m..-7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Wednesday; 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday; and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
CONTACT: (847) 423-2916;
Updated: June 11, 2012 8:12AM
If the plethora of comic book fans who visited a new downtown Skokie store this weekend had two words to express their joy, they might be these.
Although Aw Yeah Comics in downtown Skokie opened more than a month ago, its Saturday grand opening was the official celebration. The shelves and tables are now stacked with comic books and memorabilia as the three owners had been preparing for this big day for a long time.
“We wake up and we think comic books,” said co-owner Art Baltazar. “Anything with words and pictures we’re ready.”
Baltazar and co-owner Franco Aureliani are also comic book writers and artists who created DC Comics’ popular Tiny Titan series and a new Superman series. They are joined in ownership by Marc Hammond who for years worked at Acme Superstore in Orlando, Fla., one of the oldest and largest comic book stores in the country.
With 15 years of experience on the retail side of comic book operations and five years as a convention planner, Hammond moved to this area to handle the day-to-day operations of the Skokie store.
Aw Yeah will have nearly 30,000 comic books for sale as well as a large variety of toys including action figures. It has a six-month plan to open a Web store and can be found on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Saturday’s grand opening included guest visits by Spider-Man and other action heroes as well as drawing demonstrations by comic book artists Baltazar and Aureliani. The two also autographed comic books for visitors of all ages, some of whom came from out of town.
Uncoincidentally, the grand opening was also held on national Free Comic Book Day.
According to the store website, Aw Yeah Comics “celebrates and promotes everything that is wonderful about comics, toys, artwork, and the joy they bring to people. Our name says exactly how we feel about it. Positive and upbeat, we invite you to come in and experience our selection and atmosphere.”
Aw Yeah plans to host a wide range of events, as well as expanding product lines.
“If you have children and have been looking for a family friendly store, look no further,” the owners state. “Kids reading comics are a huge part of our reasons to open the shop.“
The owners promise that Aw Yeah will become an integral part of downtown Skokie and the neighborhood.
“We intend to be incredibly active in the community itself,” Hammond said. “Whenever we can cross promote or co-advertise as long as it makes sense to all the businesses, we’re going to do that. We look forward to becoming part of the civic identity here.”