When Cory Weddell was a student at Niles McKinley High School, he wished there was a place he go and hang out with people who shared his interest in comic books.
"I read comic books when I was a kid," Weddell said, "but I didn't seriously become a collector until I was in high school."
Over time, Weddell said he built an extensive collection of comic books with the intention of someday opening his own store. That dream was fulfilled a few weeks ago when Weddell opened Check Mate Comics and Games LLC at 110 E. State St. in Niles.
The Niles Times / Kathleen Evanoff
Niles resident Cory Weddell recently opened Check Mate Comics and Games LLC at 110 E. State St. The store is a dream that Weddell has had since he first became interested in comic books while he was a student at Niles McKinley High School. The store is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
A 2006 graduate of Niles McKinley High School, Weddell was raised in Niles and currently works at RTI. The store, Weddell said, is geared toward all age groups with comic books that would interest both children and adults.
"I prefer the old pulp heroes," Weddell said, "like The Shadow, Green Hornet and The Spider."
According to Weddell, it is the current popularity of films about comic book heroes that has sparked the new interest in the hobby. Weddell's collection includes books from the 1930s, including the Black Hat character, which inspired the current Batman character, he said.
For the younger generation, there also is a collection of classic Archie comics and Marvel Superhero comic books for children, he said.
Carrying both classic and new comic books, Weddell said he has new shipments of books arriving each week at the store.
"New books go on the shelves every Wednesday," he said.
In addition to the more common collection of books, Weddell also has books written by former Niles resident Will Pfeifer. Pfeifer's book, "Hero," was loosely based on the city of Niles, he said.
"I read the book before I knew who he (Pfeifer) was," Weddell said, "and I thought this sounds a lot like my home town."
Pfeifer, who was born in 1967 and grew up in Niles, currently resides in Rockford, Ill. and works as the assistant features editor at the Rockford Register Star.
Weddell is hoping to convince Pfeifer to visit Niles and possibly to sign his collection of books, which he will then put up for sale.
Also included in the store is a section of graphic novels, which are comic book characters in novel form that include pictures, as well as posters, used books and vintage books, that Weddell said will continue to increase in value if they are kept clean and intact.
Check Mate Comics and Games LLC is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.