Travel + Leisure offers an overview of what it dubs "America's Best Comic Book Shops," a collection that, like most any list, is sure to trigger a chorus of "Yeah, but what about --?" Most of the magazine's selections will be familiar to most readers -- Meltdown Comics, Heroes Aren't Hard to Find and Midtown Comics, for instance -- but at least a couple may strike you as "new."
In its introduction, the magazine somewhat vaguely explains what lifts a store from run-of-the-mill to one of the best, saying "Style helps, as does a focused approach to stock" (these kinds of things are subjective; you can't really expect a scientific formula).
However, what I found most interesting was this observation: "Indeed, as comics shift to digital, innovative stores are remaking themselves as community centers. Meltdown Comics in L.A. is a prime example: comics, toys, games, apparel, and collectibles shop rolled into an art gallery and stand-up comedy theater totaling 14,000 square feet. Atomic Books in Baltimore opened a bar in back, pouring beers brewed in collaboration with artists/publishers."