One Stop Comics owner Rick Manzella doing business with longtime customer Mark Houston.Photos by La Risa Lynch/Contributor

Oak Parkers probably missed the legendary webslinger Spiderman swooping down from a skyscraper last month to save One Stop Comics from impending doom.

Or maybe not, since it didn’t really happen — not just because Spiderman isn’t real but also because there aren’t any skyscrapers at Ridgeland Avenue and Lake Street for him to swoop down from.

One Stop Comics, however, does appear on the cover of the latest Spiderman comic book. It was among thousands of comic book stores nationwide that vied for a cover shot, part of a promotion by Marvel Comics, the webslinger’s corporate company. To qualify, the stores had to roughly double the amount of sales for a Spidey issue they typically sell. They then had to agree to buy 1,000 of the “variant” issues with the altered front cover. About 140 stores in all were able to get a cover shot, out of 5,000 participating.

One Stop, located at 111 S. Ridgeland, was the only Chicago-area comic store to make it, said Rick Manzella, the store’s owner. But he took One Stop one step further — including himself in the photo that appears on the July 26 issue.

“It’s supposed to be a logo or a banner,” Manzella said on a busy Friday evening at his store. “And then one of my customers, Rich Seely, told me, ‘Well, aren’t you going to be on the cover?’ I said, ‘Well no Mr. Seely, just a picture of my store. He said, ‘Well if it were me, I’d stand out there when they take a picture of the store to make sure you’re on the cover’ — and I did that.”

An extra treat was that the issue came out a couple of days before Manzella’s 51st birthday.

Instead of using superpowers, he did a little photo-shopping to include not only himself and his Oak Park store, but also the outside of his Belmont store location.

“There’s never been any comic stores on the front cover of a book before,” he said.

The front cover promotion is part of Marvel’s rebooting of the Spidey series. The Amazing Spider-Man #666 includes the regular issue and the variant version showing Spidey defending a store from a lizard monster.

Manzella’s shop itself is a labyrinth of comic books, toys, statuettes and encased glass with superheroes and other creatures peering out — yes, those are actual action figure apes from the 1968 film, Planet of the Apes.

But the front cover promotion has garnered some increased attention for One Stop. Manzella’s been asked to sign a few copies. And some longtime customers were among the first to want to get their hands on the issue.

“I haven’t actually read the issue yet, but I bought it here,” said Mark Houston, an Oak Parker who’s been shopping at One Stop for five years. “It was pretty cool to see someone I know on the cover of a comic book.”

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