By Silkcuts 20 Comments
This blog was inspired by Sara's "Comic Vine Loves Your Comic Shop" Thread.
Part of the reason I love living in Toronto is because of the rich history it has in comics. Canada in general, but Toronto has to be one of the best places in the world when it comes to comics. I have spoken to a few people who come across the boarder during Fan Expo and they all seem to love what Toronto offers. I was once told that Toronto has the most Comicbook stores for its population. This doesn't shock me at all since I will share with you all my favorite places to pick up Comics in the Greater Toronto Area and why.
I will list the stores in alphabetical order to avoid visual bias:
BMV.There are three locations: 2289 Yonge Street, 10 Edward Street and 471 Bloor Street - all Toronto, Ontario, Canada. BMV deals mostly in used and overage books and movies. Because they do not directly work with diamond, but other sources, they can get huge varieties of books at very low costs. Their prices reflect the product and what they paid for it, so if a used comic was purchased for like $2, it may sell for $6. Some trades I've seen go for $2, such as the Andy Diggle Swamp Thing trade.
- Jeff Lemire's local comic shop. If you are lucky you may bump into him there, I have during a signing. This store has been around for over 20 years and the owner still seems to enjoy comics. There is a pretty good selection. His back-issue situation is randomly addressed so on a good day you can get great deals. Besides the Jeff Lemire signing, I have found a bunch of good stuff there too. I rarely go there because its out of the way of my Wednesday root.
- Darwyn Cooke's local store. This comic has a great fairly untapped back-issue section. Me telling you that is a big secret. I found Peter Milligan Batman issues from long past as well as Brian Azzarello's OOP Marvel Max CAGE there.
- The Labyrinth is the rewards program, where roughly if you by 10 trades you get the 11th free and if you buy 10 comics you roughly get two free.* Confirm in store for details. Another reason I love The Labyrinth is that the staff knows me as "Kevin the Hellblazer guy". I pick up my Hellblazer stuff there, like monthlies and trades.
HAIRY T NORTH 6979 Yonge St. (647)430-1263 - This is the warehouse with the back-issues
HAIRY T WEST 2949 Dundas St. W - The smallest location, not bad. I got lucky there with a few random stuff.
- synchronicity and if you ever stop in, never know I may be besides you. This is the place I picked up a lot of sweet deals. Such Superboy: Boy of Steel for $12 CAD and Absolute Sandman's $40-60 CAD each. I mentioned this is my occult shop because if I want anything in the occult, from Tarot cards to magic books, this is where I would look. I trust the staff there.
- Francis Manapul and his girlfriend Agnes Garbowska both have made promises to do Free Comic Book day there. Francis and Marcus To missed this year, because DC kept them busy, but if they were free that was the store they would be at. Another nice thing about Stadium is they have a trade paperback reward program, by 10 get 11th free for up to the value of $20 or use that $20 towards a more expensive trade.
I can understand the urge to save money buying online. I don't blame you and I do buy online myself, most ebay for rare books. But for the Normal stuff I just shop around and do not depend solely on sites like Amazon. I know in Toronto we have a healthy comic culture, so these stores can all provide something special. It could be the service, the product selection, promotions and specials, local comics shops are there because that is how comics stay healthy. We are suppose to go to these shops and flip through and judge for ourselves if we want to read those comics. Depending only online you are tend depending on others to tell you what is good.
One of the nicest things about comics is the hunt. Because of reprints and the industry now being controlled by a younger audience, many of the older good books are being forgotten. I always love finding books no one has seemed to have read, it is fun and its like find treasure if its really good or fools gold if its really bad. Supporting your local comic shops is a win-win for everyone.
I attached the link to the "Comic Vine Loves Your Comics Shop" thread. But I would also like to know what great comic shops are in your area. Who knows, may be I'll need that info if I am in your town.