Between the Lines: Bear Wolf

By Jessi Haish

Bear Wolf is working toward world domination by doing what he loves to do.

“I plan to take over the world one small town at a time,” Wolf, owner of New Game in Town, 811 W. Lincoln Highway, said. Wolf is in the process of opening a second store in Iron Mountain, Mich. Although he will be sharing his time between the two locations as his lease in Michigan begins this month, he plans to continue contributing to the DeKalb community.

As the owner of a comic book/game shop, Wolf never dreads having to go to work. Wolf purchased On Board Games in August 2009 and made it into the New Game in Town that locals know today.

“I got tired of working for other people,” Wolf said. Wolf was an English professor at Rock Valley College and was ready for a change of plans when the shop became available.

“I like to play games and read comics,” Wolf said. “If you’re going to work, you better be doing something you love.”

However, life in the gaming community is not always like The Big Bang Theory makes it out to be.

“I hate that show but everyone loves it,” Wolf said. “Sure, we’re our own community like they show, but they make them [the characters] so caricatured.”

Owning a business centered around entertainment is not always fun and games, either, Wolf said. He can be at work until 2 a.m. doing paperwork or inventory. However, it’s worth it for Wolf, who said he likes being his own boss.

“I don’t have to deal with idiots who are supposed to be my supervisors,” Wolf said. “That’s pretty great.”

Wolf attended NIU, but DeKalb hasn’t always been his home. Born in Cleveland, he has lived in many different places, including Native American reservations, and has had different names.

“I think everyone grows and changes,” Wolf said. “Your name can change with that.”

During Wolf’s time as owner for New Game in Town, he has been building something he can be proud of: a place for people to go when they feel like they don’t fit in anywhere else.

“I was the guy who was stuffed in lockers by football players,” Wolf said. “I want people to feel comfortable here. The first thing you see when you walk in are couches and a TV and you think ‘Well, that’s awesome!’”

Because of this home-like atmosphere, gamers and comic book lovers keep coming back to New Game in Town.

“Here we encourage loitering,” Wolf said. “We’re not in it for the money.”

Tournaments are held almost every night, and on any given day patrons can see a wide variety of customers, from children to middle-aged men.

“It’s a big, scary world out there,” Wolf said. “I want people to come here, forget about it and have fun.”

Wolf gives back to his community in various ways. He occasionally hosts tournaments that require food or clothing as an entrance fee and the donations go to shelters in DeKalb. Wolf is also involved with Toys for Tots. The NIU Comic Book Club also utilizes New Game in Town as their centralized meeting place.

When Wolf isn’t reading comics, playing games or running the shop, he’s also a writer and musician. Someday he hopes to write comic books and open a comic book company. While he’s still in the process of world domination, Wolf looks forward to what is yet to come.

“The fact that I get to play games and read comics all day is pretty awesome,” Wolf said. “Someday, I hope to be on a beach in New Zealand, collecting royalty checks.”