I think it was a year or two back, I realized, "Hey, I drive through Illinois all the time, I should see if I could swing by Metropolis for their Superman Celebration some year." So I looked up where Metropolis, IL was, and realized that it was an extra three hours out of my way from any trip I take through the state. That's an extra three hours on top of the three hours I would need to get to a point where it would start to be out of my way. No offense, but I've never been that much of a Superman fan.
Actually, when I'm headed to Illinois, I usually run through a good chunk of Indiana first. And I thought maybe a side trip to the Hall of Heroes Museum might be okay. That's about two hours out of my way. A little more do-able, but still not quite enough on most days for me.
The problem is that, while I know where a lot of big cities are, I don't know the whereabouts of the small towns that are home to some of the more obscure pieces of comic memorials. I've never heard of Pawnee, Oklahoma or Amesbury, Massachusetts much less know where they are relative to, say, Oklahoma City or Boston. So I started mapping them so that I would have a readily accessible record of where some of these places are, on the off chance that I happen to be in the neighborhood.
Being the geek that I am, though, I didn't want to peg these in a vague, "Oh, here's Naperville, Illinois" way. I wanted to be pinpoint the exact spot in Naperville where that Dick Tracy statue is located. So, now, if I'm wandering around St. Paul, Minnesota looking for one of the many Peanuts statues located in that city, I can find exactly where they are. Or I can walk down Hollywood Boulevard and know precisely where to find Stan Lee's star. So if I'm in town on business or have a tight schedule, I can more readily figure out if I have enough time to swing by. (One of the many cool things about Google Maps is that you can zoom in close enough to actually see most of these locations, if I only have an address instead of the exact longitude and latitude. Also cool is that their street views and user-uploaded photos provide visuals for most of these locations if you're never able to visit personally.)
I figured, naturally, that since I'm plugging all this into an online map anyway, I may as well share it with everyone online. It's still a work in progress, so there's plenty that's not included yet. (As I said, there are MANY Peanuts statues in St. Paul!)
I tried to figure a concise way to explain what I'm trying to include here. I don't want to include comic shops or publishers' offices, but generally more "in honor of" types of locations. Statues and memorials and such. But I've also included a few theme parks. And while I'm tagging individual locations that are part of a single theme (the bronze Peanuts statues in St. Paul) I'm not tagging every individual item of a large location, like a museum. It basically boils down to me tagging things how/as I think they'd be personally useful. If I'm at Islands of Adventure, I'm not hunting for all the superhero images because they're everywhere. If I'm in St. Paul, I'm going to be looking for random Snoopys among whatever buildings and traffic and whatnot is going on.
Anyway, with all that said, here's my (WIP) map of comic-related locations. Feel free to use it or not as you see fit.
View Comic Locations in a larger map