Farewell to 2011, Greetings to 2012

We here at Toronto Comics Review hope you have enjoyed a lovely holiday! Maybe you’re enjoying the simple change from October-like weather to frigid cold and fluffy snowflakes and are ready to call in the army. Either way, it’s a wonderful time to give comics (and receive them!), and begin to convert your friends and loved ones to the worship of sequential art in all its strange and varied glory!

Batsanta WINK

Rest assured, we’ve been busy visiting more of Toronto’s many comic shops, and will soon share our findings with you, dear readers.

Tomorrow as you celebrate the impending New Year, please heed our advice. Don’t drink and drive. And don’t get into fights. Especially not with your Kryptonian BFF…

Superman punching BatSanta - SEASONS GREETINGS!

Most importantly: don’t forget to get your bat-groove on!

I don't even know, okay? This is what happens when he doesn't let Alfred pick out his clothes.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

BMV Books

BMV Books
10 Edward St, (near Yonge and Dundas)
416-977-3087

Yup, it’s another bookstore review. We’ll be back to the traditional LCS with next week’s review, but in this round of posts, we’re going to explore comics beyond the LCS. In order to get a picture of the state of comics retailing in Toronto, we think it’s important to review a variety of venues–because comics, both literary and pop, exist outside of what we often think of as comics culture.

You know about BMV, right? It’s a small chain of stores that sell used and remaindered books, music and video (mostly DVDs although they do carry video). Today we’ll be looking at the original Edward St location, which is just a quick walk north from Yonge and Dundas. The best part of BMV is that they will buy your used everything. They buy and sell everything from philosophy, to single issues of comics, to awful Enya CDs, to John Wayne movies, and you can be sure to find a wide selection of stuff, every time you enter one of their stores. They also sell a lot of remaindered books, which means you’ll be able to find that hot read of the year, for half the price you would at Indigo/Chapters.

The Edward St location is quite small, but it’s got a few things going for it. It is, firstly, located directly next to the World’s Biggest Bookstore, making it an instant alternative for disappointed shoppers, put off by WBB’s price point. Secondly, they’ve got comics, which come on, all the points to you. BMV Edward St has a wall o’ trades, an erotica section, and a couple of tables worth of back issue bins. Its comics selection is, in other words, about the size of a small LCS, but without the racks of fresh monthly issues. Because it’s a used bookstore, selection varies. They don’t consistently carry top sellers, but a mix of stuff people got rid of, or ordered too much of. That’s not to say that BMV sells bad comics–there’s plenty of solid stuff on their shelves, as well as real gems you might not find at a superhero-oriented LCS. A big plus is that they don’t just sell comics, they also sell comics commentary and history, and art books. They have back issues of The Comics Journal and Frank Frazetta books. It’s cool.

The second best part of BMV is that because it’s a used bookstore, stuff is cheap. Your two broke girl reviewers (students, both of us) appreciate their highly discounted merchandise. Megan has been slowly acquiring the 28 Days Later trades (shut up, it’s a good story) from their various locations, often for $6.00 to $9.00 a book. These are pretty standard used trade prices, but they come with the added benefit of being able to physically browse the merchandise, and chat with staff and other shoppers about what’s new and interesting. As with WBB, the staff generally doesn’t have the kind of expertise you hope for from LCS counter monkeys. On the other hand, we got to talking with the lady behind the counter, about grandmothers gone bad, so there’s that.

Another point in BMV Edward St’s favour is that the entrance is accessible–no step–and the store is all on one level. Their setup, a mix of shelves and tables, overflowing with books, isn’t so great though, as it’s easy to knock over merchandise with your bag, or get bottlenecked in a corner with other shoppers. Wider aisles would probably be a big help in this regard. We visited the store in the evening when the store is fairly busy, but it is a bit easier to navigate in the day.

We recommend BMV Edward St to downtown bargain hunters, but it’s no replacement for a LCS.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A handful of geeky/arty things to do in the next few weeks

Nerd Nite Toronto Holiday Nerdtacular!

When: December 8, 2011
Where: TRANZAC, the Main Hall, 292 Brunswick Avenue
Admission: $5.00
http://toronto.nerdnite.com/

We’ll be hearing about 2011 highlights, how to survive the coming apocalypse, Toronto history with a holiday spin…. and special guests The Cowgirl Choir! Bring forth your ugliest Christmas sweaters, practice your dreidel spinning and start training for your Festivus feats of strength.

Artists With Fire

When: December 8, 5 – 9pm
Where: Coopers Fine Art Gallery, 111 Bathurst Street
Admission: $10, or free for people of low income
http://www.touchedbyfire.ca/index.php

“Extreme creativity does often leave a person a little bit unhinged, maybe, and vice versa,” [Lorette C. Luzajic] says. “I’m not sure if being mentally ill and being creative are the same thing so much as I think that they are sometimes connected—and let me stress sometimes.”

This connection will be in focus at Coopers Fine Art Gallery tomorrow evening, when the annual Touched By Fire art show and sale gets underway for the fifth time. The event is run by the Mood Disorders Association of Ontario and features exclusively the work of artists who suffer from depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Those in attendance will be treated to hors d’oeuvres and live jazz as this year’s 86 show pieces—selected from more than 450 submissions—are unveiled.Torontoist

Small Press Toronto Winter Book Fair

When: December 10, 11-5pm
Where: Hart House, 7 Hart House Circle
Admission: Free
http://www.smallpressoftoronto.wordpress.com

The Small Press of Toronto’s mission is to support reading, encourage publishing and writing, and to increase an awareness of the literary community in Toronto and the GTA. The Fair has become an integral part of Ontario’s literary community and is a greatly-anticipated part of the literary seasonal calendar.

Come to Hart House and meet local emerging and established authors, find new literary gems, and stock up on holiday gifts.Toronto.ca

Toronto AnimeCon

When: December 11, 11 – 5pm
Where: Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front St. W
Admission: $10.00
http://www.hobbystar.com/upcomingevents/torontoanimecon2011.html

Another one of those smalller Hobbystar cons. Their special guest is Sean Schemmel, who voiced Goku in Dragon Ball Z.

Dinosaur Comics Book Launch and Holiday Party

When: December 19, 7:30-10pm, doors at 7pm
Where: Pauper’s Pub, 2nd floor, 539 Bloor St. W.
http://www.facebook.com/events/142914792480565/

Oh my gosh you guys! Just in time for Christmas, it’s the release of the long-awaited new collection of DINOSAUR COMICS, the awesome webcomic by Toronto’s own Ryan North! It’s called “Dinosaur Comics: Everybody Knows Failure is Just Success Rounded Down”, and collects all of the strips originally appearing in 2007—STILL IN FULL COLOUR! Author Ryan North will be on hand signing books and meeting and greeting with all types of fans! Copies of the new book will be on sale at the event, as will past books, shirts, and prints! Can you think of anything more awesome to do…ON A MONDAY?

And they’re doing Secret Santa. Check it.

That’s it for now.

PS. I think this may be the worst Christmas gif ever. Just terrifying.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

The World’s Biggest Bookstore

World’s Biggest Bookstore
20 Edward Street
(416) 977-7009

Just north of Eaton Centre, this Indigo-Chapters affiliate has retained (some of) its indie spirit. If you go indie for the vibe more than say, the politics involved, World’s Biggest should suffice. And hey, you can use your Plum Rewards or iRewards card, just like you can at Indigo/Chapters/Coles.

We visited the store at night and were their last customers for the day (though we’ve been there many a time before). Their hours, nine to ten every day, are more generous than the average LCS. They were incredibly polite and professional about booting us out, by the way, which is always a good sign. It’s hard to maintain good service, in the face of customers who refuse to go home, because by golly, they’ve got to have the softcover of Jay-Z’s Decoded for 20% off (that was Megan).

World’s Biggest is not an LCS. It’s–as the name suggests–a bookstore, but it’s got a generous selection of comic trades (mainstream and literary) and manga. They also have a limited selection of monthly issues. However, if you’re looking for Wednesday’s latest, you might be out of luck, as they frequently don’t have the latest issues on the rack. This is a pretty typical situation for bookstores today, and there’s nothing about World’s Biggest that sets it apart as a comics retailer, outside of a larger selection, long, uncrowded shelves, and high ceilings. Unlike an LCS, World’s Biggest does not cater directly to comics nerds, so you won’t find the typical value adding deals here. No membership (outside of Indigo’s programs), no US cover prices, no preview pamphlets, and no gonzo counter staff, ready to throw down on the subject of Hulk vs. Rulk. (Probably. We’re sure there are staff who could hold their own in such a high level confab, but obviously they aren’t hired purely on the basis of their encyclopediac knowledge of Silver Age monkey comics). However, as mentioned above, you can take advantage of Indigo’s Plum Rewards, and their various deals and sales, to thereby get yourself some cheap comics.

Both the store and the staff are about what you’d expect from a chain retailer: wide aisles, organized, browseable shelves and displays, and generally friendly staff. The store is for the most part accessible, with ramps, secure handrails, direct but not oppressive lighting, and a layout that leaves room for maneuvering around corners. There are few places to sit down or rest, however. Aesthetically, the store fails to stand out in any way. It’s pretty darn bookstore bland, is what we’re saying. Likewise, the staff has been thoroughly coached on customer service, but may not be able to provide good recommendations about new and interesting comics.

World’s Biggest has the advantages and disadvantages that most big bookstores do: regular turnaround in stock, ability to special-order stock, or bring it in from other stores, lots of popular and acclaimed titles but few rare ones. We recommend it for people who haven’t yet found a LCS that works for them, people who have a good idea of what comics they’re interested in picking up, and deal-seekers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Things to do and read

Things To Do

As always, there are lots of geeky things to do, and events to attend in Toronto. Here are a few you might dig:

Toronto Draws Tintin

Where: Steam Whistle Brewing The Roundhouse, 255 Bremner Blvd. Toronto
When: November 27th

The closing party “will feature a Tintin Discussion and Silent Auction. The French creator Stanislas will be coming from Paris for the official English-language launch of The Adventures of Herge (graphic novel biography of the Tintin creator) for a Q&A session with Peter Birkemoe, owner of The Beguiling.

All proceeds from the silent auction will go to The Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund who are fighting against against censorship and for the rights of Canadian comics readers, artists, and publishers. CLLFD started in 1987 after a comic book shop in Calgary was charge with obscenity for selling adult comics to adults.”

Toronto ComicCon

Where: Metro Toronto Convention Center
When: November 20th, 11Am to 5PM
Website: HobbyStar.com

This looks to be a smaller convention, but maybe that’s your thing! Guests include Leonard Kirk, Dave Ross, Raffaele Ienco, David Cutler and Kent Burles.

Miss Representation screening

Where: Thomas Lounge, Student Campus Centre (Ryerson University), 55 Gould Street
When: November 25th, 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Website: MissRepresentation.org

“The film explores how the media’s misrepresentation of women has led to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence.”

Check out the trailer:

Newest Miss Representation Trailer (2011 Sundance Film Festival Official Selection) from Miss Representation on Vimeo.

***

Things To Read

There’s been lots of talk around the interwebz about these projects. If you haven’t already checked them out, do so! They may be relevant to your interests.

Womanthology

In their words, “Womanthology is an anthology graphic novel created entirely by women for Charity. The purpose of the book is to showcase the works of female creators of every age and experience levels.

The Graphic Novel will majorly consist of many short stories interpreting our theme for this volume; “Heroic”. We’ll also have interviews and how-to’s with some of the industry’s top female pros, as well as talks with young girls who someday want a career in comics.”

There’s a preview of the anthology here, for your reading pleasure. The book is available for preorder on Amazon.ca. Although hey, it never hurts to contact your retailer about bringing a book in!

Comic Book Comics

Fred Van Lente and Ryan Dunlavey have published a comic book history, of the comic book industry! The last issue, number six, will be available digitally… any day now.

The first issue looks at comics prehistory and its earliest days: “Before there could be comics, there had to be newspaper strips, animated cartoons, and pulp magazines. Thrill to publishing giants William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer duking it out over The Yellow Kid! Tremble at the war between Walt Disney and Max Fleischer for animation domination! Follow the bizarre trail of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s first superhero from sci-fi pulp to comic strip to the birth of a new medium! Plus: The early years of Jack Kirby, Will Eisner, Winsor McCay and Joe Simon!”

Check out the series on Evil Twin Comics.

***

And finally, your moment of zen.

Canadian comics writer and artist Ty Templeton responded to Frank Miller’s anti Occupy Wall Street screed with a toon:

Ty Templeton comic about Frank Miller

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Halloween Festivities!

If you’re wanting to get into the spooky spirit of things this week, you’re in luck, Torontonians. You’re kind of spoiled for choice here. Below is a list of some events we’ve collected.

What: Toronto After Dark Film Festival
Where: Multiple venues.
When: October 20th to 27th
Website: http://torontoafterdark.com/2011/
The 6th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival features 8 nights of horror, action, sci-fi, and cult movies! Check out the schedule here. Regular screenings cost $13, with Gala screenings at $15.

What: Screemers
Where: Queen Elizabeth Bldg, Exhibition Place, Toronto – 200 Princes’ Blvd, M6K 3C3
When: October 14th to 31st, opens 7pm each night
Website: http://www.screemers.ca/toronto/
Indoor scream park with haunted attractions, the Midway of Madness, a vampire lounge and more. (Maddy went to this last year. She would describe it as fun, silly, and scary.) Admission: $23.50

What: Halloween Haunt
Where: Canada's Wonderland, 9740 Jane Street, Maple, ON L6A 1S6
When: Fridays & Weekends + Monday October 31st, 7pm – midnight
Website: haunt.canadaswonderland.com
Mazes, live shows, monsters, chilling rides and more. Admission: $30-$36

What: Powerhouse of Terror
Where: Power House Recreation Centre, 65 Colonel Samuel Smith Park
When: October 13th to October 31st, 6pm
Website: http://charityhaunt.ca/
Walk through mazes filled with monsters and zombies. This event raises money for the PACT Urban Peace Program which is dedicated to helping at-risk youth.

What: Haunted High Park
Where: Colborne Lodge, High Park, Toronto
When: Fridays, October 21 and October 28, October 30: 8 to 9:30 pm. Thursday October 27, 7 to 8:30 pm.
Website: http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm
Hear ghostly tales and legends about the park, for ages eight and up. Admission: $12.50, child $7.50.

What: All Hallows Eve at Black Creek Pioneer Village
Where: Black Creek Pioneer Village, 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, near Steeles and Jane
When: Saturday October 29th, 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm
Website: http://allhallowseve.ca/
“What spirits lurk in the deep dark corners of a 19th century country village?” You can find out at Black Creek and enjoy a variety of events and activities, including Ghost Encounters in historic buildings, the Haunted Maze, and Fortune Telling. With topics like Victorian mourning, Postmortem Photography, curing ailments, “Spiritualism”, Memento Mori, and the trouble with 19th century cemetaries, you can learn all about how people dealt with death and All Hallows Eve in the 19th century. Buy your tickets ahead of time and it costs $15 for Black Creek members ($20 at the door), and $20 for non-members ($25 at the door).

What: Night of Dread Parade: Clay and Paper Theatre
Where: Dufferin Grove Park, near Dufferin south of Blook (Google map)
When: Saturday October 29th, Parade assembling at 4pm, Parade departing at 6pm
Website: http://www.clayandpapertheatre.org/
Community parade and celebration to banish our darkest fears, with stilt walkers, musicians, dancers and more. $10 or pay what you can.

What: The Skeletons In Montgomery’s Pantry
Where: 4709 Dundas St W
When: Saturday October 29th, 7:30 pm
Website: http://www.montgomerysinn.com/events/current-events/
The Skeletons In Montgomery’s Pantry And Other Chilling Tales (for adults). Ghastly storytelling with Nan Brien. $20.

What: Masquerade Dance
Where: 4709 Dundas St W
When: Sunday October 30th, 2pm and 3:30 pm
Website: http://www.montgomerysinn.com/events/current-events/
The Fort York Regency Dancers hold a spooky 19th-century masked ball in the historic assembly room at the Inn. Learn a few steps too, if you dare! Lessons included in admission.

What: Grindhouse Ghoulies: A Tribute to Cinematic Sleaze
Where: Revival, 783 College, Toronto
When: October 27th, 9pm
Website: http://www.skintightouttasight.com/
Halloween burlesque with Skint Tight Outta Sight. Admission is $25.

What: Fort York After Dark
Where: Fort York, 250 Fort York, Toronto
When: October 28th, 29th, 7:30 pm
Website: http://www.toronto.ca/culture/museums/featured-events.htm
Tour the grounds and hear stories about the haunted lighthouse and the bloody Battle of York, for ages eight and up. Admission: $12.50

What: Toronto Zombie Walk
When: October 22, 3:00 pm
Where: Trinity Bellwoods Park
Website: http://torontozombiewalk.ca/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-Zombie-Walk/
Why dress up like a zombie and shamble through the streets of Toronto? Why not? Register now.

What: Trick-or-Treat Comics!
Where: Little Island Comics, 742 Bathurst Street
When: October 29th & 30th
Website: http://www.littleislandcomics.com/2011/trick-or-treat-comics/
On Saturday Oct 29th, make Spooky Comics with Terry Woolcott, 12pm-6pm, every hour on the hour. October 29th-31st, in-store trick-or-treating (bring your kids, costumes encouraged!).

What: Attack of the Teen Zombie: DIY Zombie Guide
Where: Lillian H. Smith Library, 239 College Street
When: October 29, 2:30-4:30 pm
Website: http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDM82357&R=82357
Decomp on a dime! A do-it-yourself guide to zombie makeup using household products to create blood, gore and rotting flesh. Afterwards, make yourself up using the techniques. Please register: 416-393-7746. For ages 10-17.

What: The Haunted Streets of Downtown Toronto: Muddy York Walking Tours
Where: Meeting outside the ROM
When: This two-hour tour takes place every night at 7pm up to and including October 31st (Call ahead to arrange other times for tours, as this tour is available year-round)
Website: http://www.muddyyorktours.com/haunted.html
Delve through Toronto’s history and its haunted spooky spots on this walking tour. Individual price is $20, $15 each for two or three people, $10 each for four or more people.

And if all else fails, carve yourself a Wolverine Pumpkin, care of Ultimate Pumpkin Stencils:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Some upcoming events

Greetings good citizens of Torontopolis!

We’re here to update you with a few more upcoming comics-related events you’ll want to check out.

What: Toronto Cartoonists Workshop “Sneak Peak” classes
When: A number of dates, starting October 18th
Where: Toronto Cartoonists Workshop, 587A College St (near Clinton)
Website: http://cartoonistsworkshop.com/wordpress/workshops/drop-in-classes-2
The Toronto Cartoonists Workshop offers a variety of courses on writing, art, and making comics. This fall they’re offering “sneak peaks” at a few classes including Writing for Comedy, Inking for Comics, Cover Design, and Drawing Hands. Each Sneak Peak class is three hours long and costs $25 + HST.

What: International Festival of Authors
When: October 19th to October 30th
Where: Various locations
Website: http://www.readings.org/?q=ifoa/32nd_annual_international_festival_of_authors
The 32nd International Festival of Authors at Harbourfront has a number of comics guests, including Kate Beaton, Daniel Clowes, Mario Tamaki, and Seth. Box office info can be found here.

What: Get Animated!
When: October 27 to November 2
Where: Toronto Mediatheque, 150 John Street
Website: http://www.onf-nfb.gc.ca/eng/mediatheque/schedule.php?id=2634
Get Animated! serves up some of Canada’s finest (and funniest!) animation, offering free screenings, workshops and a special master class.

What: Tintin: A Hero for the 21stC
When: Thursday, November 3rd, from 8:00 to 9:30
Where: Lillian H. Smith Library
In celebration of the forthcoming film The Secret of The Unicorn, join Michael Farr for a fun and fascinating look at The Life and Work of Herge (Georges Remi, 1907-1983). This lecture is free to attend.

What: Toronto Draws Tin Tin
When: November 2nd to 27th
Where: Steamwhistle Gallery, 255 Bremner Boulevard
Website: more info at The Beguiling
The Beguiling and Steamwhistle Brewery present Toronto Draws Tintin, a month long art show and celebration of Tintin, comics and illustration. Are you an artist? The last day to submit a piece is October 31st. All events are free.

Gallery Opening Party: is on November 2nd, from 7 to 10 pm.
Tintin Discussion and Silent Auction: Sunday November 27th, from 7 to 11 pm.

That’s it for the time being.

And now, your moment of zen:

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Silver Snail

Silver Snail
367 Queen Street West
416.593.0889
https://www.silversnail.com/shop/index.html
http://twitter.com/#!/SilverSnailTO

Silver Snail, along with The Beguiling and the collected Hairy Ts, make up the (un)holy trinity of famous Toronto comic book shops. They’re often the only shops that non readers, or casual readers, remember and recommend. Silver Snail in particular is that shop—the one you visited when you were downtown; the one where you got that Green Lantern statuette, lo those many years ago. It’s a great store, but maybe not an ideal local comic book shop.

Located on Queen West, just shy of the strip of bars and eateries that host NXNE and similar festivals, the store gets a lot of browsers. The clientele is a mix of seasoned, Wednesday comics people, window shoppers, and people dipping their toes into comics fandom. Like other downtown shops we’ve reviewed, Silver Snail draws a little bit of everybody, and… a lot of teenagers. (Which seems to be a theme of stores with a lot of toys, apparel and other stuff). The staff too, is a mix of younger-older, male-female, and their particular interests and specialties vary. There’s the guy who can help you out finding a particular back issue. The girl who knows everything there is to know about busts and statuettes. This is a store that takes itself seriously as a place of business, without being obnoxiously focused on sales.

While the decor of the shop is pretty typical—glass cases full of figurines, racks of licenced t-shirts and hoodies—they’ve put real thought and effort into how things are displayed, and how they use space. Silver Snail isn’t an accessible shop, but their wide aisles and merchandising restraint will be a pleasant surprise to those used to an all the things approach to lcs displays. Regardless, Silver Snail does carry a lot of merchandise, and a lot of toys, toys, toys. The top floor is almost completely dedicated to toys, (and posters, and gaming supplies).

Like One Million Comix, Silver Snail displays its selection of comics in the back of the shop. This is a wise merchandising decision; impulse buys are front and center, along with pieces designed to attract the attention of browsers. Comics don’t feel like an afterthought though, and my god, the gorgeous shelving. A diverse collection of trades is slotted onto a ring of shelves, with back issues collected in plastic-fronted drawers below them. This part of the stores is organized (so organized), and checking out their stock is therefore easy and enjoyable. New issues are displayed magazine style, and the store keeps a couple of weeks worth on hand at any time.

The store’s great failing though, is inaccessibility. Silver Snail has two floors and no wheelchair access/elevator. Even worse, the comics are a couple of steps up from the ground floor, a serious problem for folks using mobility devices. The (smart) focus on fandom merchandise, as opposed to just comics, also means that the store is at times uncomfortably busy—this too, may pose a problem for shoppers using mobility devices, or even moms accompanied by small children.

We said above that the Silver Snail is not an ideal local comics shop. This isn’t a slight against the store, which is very good at what it does, but a reflection on its atmosphere, which fits in well with the busy shopping district outside. It’s not overwhelmingly populated by regulars and locals, and it doesn’t really feel like the kind of shop you’d hang out in and debate the merits of Crisis vs. Infinite Crisis, for an hour or two.

But hey, if you’re not interested in visiting the shop irl, they have a strong online presence. Their website has the rundown on membership privileges, deals, and an online store (not accepting credit card payments at this time, unfortunately). They also have a Twitter account, which is updated regularly, and hey, whoever’s updating it is friendly, and ready to answer questions.

We recommend Silver Snail for downtowners who don’t mind a busy atmosphere, anyone who’s in the neighborhood, and those looking for a Toronto-GTA delivery service.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Hairy T North

Hairy T North (3rd Quadrant Comics)
6979 Yonge St.
(647) 430-1263
http://www.hairyt.com

The owner fell asleep. Awkward.

With that out of the way, we’d like to tell you more about the store. Near Yonge & Steeles, Hairy T North is a lot like Hairy T South, but located in a cave, rather than a converted house. Much like the creaky staircase of Hairy T South, the stairs down to Hairy T south are… intimidating. Dimly lit, industrial, and quiet, new customers will wonder if they’re in the right place. Keep going, though, and you’ll find a smorgasbord of comics, toys, and other pop culture paraphernalia.

Action figures like Dr. Zaius, whatshername from the Drew Carey show, Wonder Woman villain Circe, and the bridge from the Enterprise D, sit beside (and above) bin after bin of obscure back issues, and a solid selection of manga, superhero, anthologies, webcomics, indie and international books. Monthly comics, while present, are limited and take a backseat to the collection of trades and manga shelved throughout the store. Hairy T North seems to specialize in carrying all the things. Not only does the store host game nights, it stocks board games, D&D, cards and gaming supplies.

While the store lacks any kind of organization (books and toys are all over and some product is still in boxes), there are some real gems. Superhero paintings on the ceiling of the shop are a nice touch. The store is set up garage sale style, in a wall-less, underground unit. Low lighting contributes to a black hole effect, and there is a large gaming area in the back, (which appears to also contain a portal to some Cthulian hell dimension). A makeover in terms of decor and organization would be welcome, but their stock can stay just as it is (awesome). This is not an accessible store. The flight of stairs and poor lighting would be an obstacle for many.

The owner is friendly and ready with recommendations of all kinds. He’s the former proprieter of Queen West’s 3rd Quadrant Comics–you might remember it as that tiny underground shop, near the entertainment district. Like Hairy T North, 3rd Quadrant had all the things. Things you never knew you wanted… and maybe still don’t. Hairy T North has a lot of stuff. Perhaps too much for new readers, or shoppers with little time.

The collected Hairy Tarantulas share a website, where they list sales and special events. However, it’s not the clearest, or most useful LCS homepage we’ve seen.

We recommend Hairy T people looking to source particular back issues or merchandise, but we can’t recommend it as a monthly shop, or for new readers.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Comics-related Events in Toronto!

Yeah, they are kind of a regular thing here. Below are a few updates and reminders on those we’ve previously mentioned but are still upcoming, and a few new ones! Hold onto your capes.

What: Word On The Street
When: This Sunday, September 25th, 11:00 am – 6:00 pm
Where: Queen’s Park
Website: http://www.thewordonthestreet.ca/wots/toronto
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/torontowots
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/The-Word-On-The-Street-Toronto-Festival/

This literacy/literary festival has readings, presentations, contests, a marketplace, independent spotlight, and kids activities. The Word On The Street is a non profit, “that celebrates Canadian reading and writing, and champions literacy, primarily through a free, annual outdoor festival.”

Here’s some comics people and programming to check out:

  • Cartoonist/illustrator/author Evan Munday is participating in the “Mastering the Mystery – How to Keep Readers Guessing” panel from 12:00 pm – 12:45 pm at the “This is Not the Shakespeare Stage” area
  • “How to Create Your Own Comic” runs from 2:30 pm to 3:30 pm at “This is Not the Shakespeare Stage” with Kill Shakespeare comic creators Anthony Del Col, Conor McCreery, and Andy Belanger.
  • At the Children’s Activity Tent, the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop hosts “Draw Your Own Comics” from 2:00 pm to 2:45 pm with David Lapp.
  • Comics and visual arts exhibitors to see include: Border Crossings, Broken Pencil Magazine, Drawn & Quarterly, Hairy Tarantula, The Labyrinth, Powie Studios, and more.

According to their program guide, there is even bicycle valet parking, which sounds kind of awesome.

What: TCW Industry Night with Francis Manapul – DC: The New 52: The Flash #1 Release Party & Gallery Show
When: Friday, September 30th, 7:00 pm – 11:00 pm
Where: Toronto Cartoonists Workshop, 587A College St (near Clinton)
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=190760787660393
Admission is Pay What You Can, with a suggested amount of $4 (proceeds go to the Joe Shuster Awards). There will be art from The Flash on display and for sale, along with copies of the comic and original art by Francis Manapul for sale. You can also enter to win a DC New 52 prize pack. Hosted by the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop.

What: Little Island Comics Grand Opening
When: 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on Saturday October 1st, and 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm on Sunday October 2nd
Where: 742 Bathurst St
Website: http://www.littleislandcomics.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/littleislandcmx
Little Island Comics is a brand new store exclusively selling kids’ comics (apparently the only such store in North America). On Saturday special activities include an appearance from Fiona Smyth (The Never Weres) at 1:00 pm, and at 3:00 pm the launch of Claudia Dávila’s Luz Sees the Light. Comics creator appearances on Sunday include Clayton Hanmer (Cton’s Super A-Maze-Ing Year of Crazy Comics!) at 12:00 pm, Jeremy Tankard (Boo-hoo Bird) at 2:00 pm, and at 4:00 pm Kean Soo (Jellaby) and Tory Woollcott (Mirror Mind).

What: Star Trek Day
When: Sunday October 2
Where:Toronto Underground Cinema, 186 Spadina Ave
Website: http://www.startrekdayto.com/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/StarTrekDayTO
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StarTrekDayTO
Star Trek Day TO is a fan run event that aims to “cater [to]both to the casual fan and the hardcore Trekker with trivia, a costume contest, musical performances, comedy, the screening of to-be-announced Star Trek feature films and a 19+ after party for mature Star Trek fans.” It seems to be on a smaller scale than big conventions, so it might be good fit for folks just exploring the magnitude of their geekiness. And it’s kid friendly! Tickets (http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/185549) are on sale now.

What: Toronto After Dark Film Festival
When: October 20 – 27
Where:Toronto Underground Cinema, 186 Spadina Ave
Website: http://torontoafterdark.com/2011/
Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/TADFilmFest
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/torontoafterdark
After Dark is what it says on the label: “8 days of horror, sci-fi, action and cult movies!” One of the best parts of After Dark is that it, like Midnight Madness, premiers new genre features and shorts. And like Midnight Madness, screenings are attended by a great and geeky crowd, and often by the writers, stars, and directors of the films. But take note, screenings and after parties are all 19+.

What: Toronto Zombie Walk
When: October 22, 3:00 pm
Where: Trinity Bellwoods Park
Website: http://torontozombiewalk.ca/
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Toronto-Zombie-Walk/
Why dress up like a zombie and shamble through the streets of Toronto? Why not? Register now.

And that just about wraps it up, for now. Have fun!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment