Thursday, October 22, 2009

Heroic Dreams: New kid on the block!

A new store has opened just down the street from me: Heroic Dreams. I have only visited the store once, but here are my feelings and opinions:

General Info

Heroic Dreams is located at 1121 Kingston Road, Unit 7, in Pickering. The store is in a small strip plaza, just west of Liverpool Rd. The store is average size, but in a decent location. As far as I know, this is the only comics book store in Pickering.


So, since the store hasn't been open long, there isn't a huge selection like an established store. It is stocked with many hardcovers and trade paperbacks, and there is a good selection of new comics. Although, I didn't see many of the smaller publishers such as Radical comics (a personal favorite).

The back issue selection is lacking, but again, it is a new store, so I'm sure it will grow.

The store does carry some collectibles and toys, some of which I haven't seen before.


The store is very clean, which would be expected for a new store. I really hope the owner takes good care of the store and doesn't let it go the way of other stores .

Customer Service

I was the only one in the store at the time. The owner (I'm assuming he was the owner) was very friendly and asked if there was anything I was looking for. I asked if he carried certain things, and I had a general discussion about his store and what he carries. A good experience.


Even though the store has only been open for a few weeks, there were quite a few hardcovers and trades already on sale (I believe in the 25-50% off range).

I did make a purchase (trade). The owner gave me a free copy of the new previews catalog, which my local store doesn't offer. I'm sure it was just an initial offering.

I asked if he offers a pull list service and he told me he did. The owner mentioned that if I was a regular customer, I would receive a 10% discount (same as my regular store).


Heroic Dreams is a decent store. Due to the lack of stores in the Pickering (Durham) area, I'm hoping it sticks around. Even though it is the closest store for me, it won't be my regular store. I'm sure I will go back to look for items I can't find at my regular store.

Only negative thing about the store was there was no sign out front. The owner told me he was having problems getting installed.

I'll make sure to provide an update to this post, when I go back.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Golden City comics is closing!

While it comes to no surprise of this comic collector, Golden City Comics will be closing this fall.

I had intended on doing a review of this store, as I had visited it a couple of times. It wasn't going to be a good review.

While I have heard that the store owner was a "good" guy and provided great service to his loyal customers, the store was a bit of a train wreck. Poor lighting, kinda grungy, not the greatest selection, really bad layout ("Where is your new issues rack?" "Back behind the fridge.").... the list goes on. He had a decent location, as he was situated on Kingston Road in Scarborough, a very busy road for commuters out of the downtown Toronto core but obviously couldn't build on that.

Whether or not the owner had the choice of staying open is still a mystery.

It will be interesting to see how this impacts other stores in the eastern part of the GTA. I don't think he had a huge regular customer base, so the other stores may not see an increase in traffic. On the other hand, if they do, there are both pros and cons to the situation: Pro, my store will see an increase in traffic and sales, which means my store may end up getting more variant covers in; Con, I will have to add more monthlies to my pull list so I don't miss issues.....

RIP Golden City.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fan Expo 2009: My first big con!

So, before I say anything about Fan Expo, I have to give a disclaimer: this was my very first big con and my first Fan Expo. That being said, here are my thoughts....


Was it busy.

I've worked retail (as per my second post about my life experiences), been to Disney World many times, and gone to other events with large crowds (concerts, sporting events, etc.), but nothing prepared me for Fan Expo.

I didn't get a chance to go on the Friday (something called my job) and my plan was to only go on the Saturday (family life does that to you). I half expected it to be a busy day, as other fans warned me.

We arrived early (wife and son in tow), to make the 10am open and we hit a wall of people on the 600 level (we parked in the south building lot; we ended up with one of the last spots). "Is this the line to get in." "I don't think so. I think it is the line to buy tickets." We headed down to the 800 level and were hit by another wall of people. "Is this the line to get in?" "I think so...."

After trying to find the end of the line, we ended up in a second line for another entrance that was about 1/8 the size of the other line. Ended up on the con floor in no time....

Our first order of business was to visit the Tron booth (remember, I'm the Disney fan). It was cool to see the new Tron bike (which was at SDCC), but disappointing to see that they didn't have any free handouts (EPIC FAIL). The people manning the booth had some pretty cool shirts on, but of course, they weren't selling them.

Next stop was the DC booth for the trip around for free stuff. Not a big disappointment, as we left with a bag full of comics, buttons and Black Lantern rings.

Headed over to the Labyrinth booth. There were a couple of books that the owner had picked up at SDCC that I badly wanted. Found them with ease. It was a good thing I bought them first; when I went back by the booth before I left, one of the books was already sold out.

We ventured around a little bit more, saw the celebrities (didn't end up with any autographs, since I couldn't justify paying for them...) wandered some more and stopped for lunch before my son and wife left me to go home.

At this point, I met up with a buddy and headed for artist ally to get my comics signed. I was successful in getting autographs from:
  • Ivan Reis (Blackest Night FCBD book)
  • Karl Kerschl (Wednesday Comics #1)
  • Alex Maleev (The Last Days of American Crime sampler from SDCC)
  • Marko Djurdjevic (Shrapnel #5)
  • Ty Templeton (The Batman Adventures #1-3)
  • Darwyn Cooke (Parker: The Hunter book)

I missed Deodato (which didn't bother me) and Francis Manapul (but I can get him at other Toronto cons).

Had some interesting experiences with some of the creators: Ty Templeton was critiquing an artists work that brought his work to him to look at. It was an interesting conversation to listen to. He then proceeded to tell a tale of how he sold one of his original covers on eBay, behind his wife's back, to cover a speeding ticket.

Alex Maleev and Marko D. were sitting beside each other. Both gave their opinions of dealing with Radical comics (Marko's wasn't very nice). I came away from the experience with negative feelings towards both artists.

Walked by the celebrities one more time, where I snapped some pictures (guy from Heroes, Walter Koenig, Billy Dee Williams, Ferigno and the "Soup Nazi"). My buddy had me stand in front of him, so he could get a picture of Mary McDonnel. For some stupid reason, her personal assistant was stopping people from taking pictures.

We stopped and talked to the Soup Nazi, which was really cool. He was a very personable guy and we talked for a few moments about his upcoming work. He mentioned he auditioned for the NBC show "Chuck", which I hope he gets as it is a really great program.

We wondered the floor some more, stopping by the Anchor Bay booth to find out when Leslie Nielson was coming by. We were told 2:30ish. Then I had a look at the line up for him and I knew there was no chance of me seeing him before I left (Post con note: apparently he never showed up, so it's a good thing I didn't wait around).

I had a look at a few more booths and left at around 2:45. I could have easily spent 4 more hours there.

While I did take $120 with me, I only spent $40 (post con note: the balance of my cash was spent at The Comic Room on Sunday, on 3 weeks of comics sitting in my pull list).

Lessons learned:

  • You have to go with a game plan. Before the weekend, I figured I would wonder the booths, but that never happened. And I wanted to see some of the artists, but again, didn't happen due to time constraints and crowds, which leads me to my next point...
  • One day isn't enough for Fan Expo. Next year, I will have to go for 2 days.
  • Don't take my son. As much as I love the little guy, it was too crowded to wheel him around.
  • Have more money to spend!

Well, there's always next year.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Hobbystar Toronto Comiccon: Fan Appreciation show.

This weekend is the Hobbystar Toronto comiccon. If you are coming down it is $10 on the Saturday and free on the Sunday if you picked up a voucher at your local comic store.

As with the last con I'm going to write a couple of posts when I'm not getting autographs or shopping for back issues.

I have a dozen or so books to get signed. I also have a couple of sketches lined up. I won't say what sketches I'm getting as I want to keep it a surprise.

I'll also try to take some pics with my phone to show what the atmosphere was like.

Stay tuned.
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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Silver Snail: A Toronto Icon

If you are a comics collector living in Toronto and have never been to "The Snail", you have been living under a rock!

General Info.

The Toronto Silver Snail store (there is also one in Ottawa) is located at 367 Queen St. W (between Spadina and John St.), on the south side. The store is fairly large with 2 floors of great merchandise. How long the store has been around is beyond me. I do remember that they used to have a store at Yonge and Eglinton, where my mother would take me when I was a young lad and in my infancy of collecting comics. I miss that store as it was smaller but still a great shopping experience.


Well, with 2 floors you should expect a good variety of "stuff" to buy. The first floor is pretty much dedicated to comics. The 2nd floor is mostly action figures and collectibles. I do collect some action figures so the 2nd floor does add some value to my visits. A couple of years ago I was able to pick up the 2nd set of LOST figures at a fairly good discount.

The 1st floor is actually 2 sections. The front section has the cash register and some toys and other fun things. There is a hall that leads into the back half of the store; in that hall there are some display cases with higher end collectibles including some Kidrobot items.

The back half houses the comics. There are plenty of back issue bins to browse through and a good selection of current issues. Everything is easily accessible.


The store is nice and clean. Something you would expect from a big player in the comic scene.

Customer Service

Service is both good and bad. On past visits to the store, I have encountered staff that really couldn't care about you except the money in your pocket, while others went out of their way to ask me for help.


I really can't comment on the pricing, as it has been awhile since I was in the store. My guess is they are in line with most stores out there.


I should mention that Silver Snail does have a booth at some ComicCons. They had a fairly large presence at the Hobbystar ComicCon last April, but I found they were selling more toys and action figures than comics. I did buy a couple of Kidrobot Dunny's from them, so they did serve a purpose at the show.


Like I said, Silver Snail is a Toronto Icon. I guess if you are a first time collector, it is a good first stop to experience the comic scene, but the store does have a "big company" kind of feel. I will go back to the store for nostalgic reasons, but once a year is enough for me.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

February 1st Toronto ComicCon--Full Review

I know it has been almost a week since the Toronto ComicCon, but other priorities have taken up my time (namely a baby and work). Finally have found a moment to give my take on the Toronto ComicCon, put on by the wonderful folks at Hobbystar.

I arrived at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre around 10:45am to find a lineup of around 200 people. Spent most of the time writing my first blog post and listening to the person in front of me have a conversation with the person behind me. This was my second convention, so I'm still not used to running into the vast array of people that show up at these events. Makes for an entertaining day!

Once inside, I made a beeline to the back of the room to line up for Kevin Maguire. The wait wasn't too bad, and I was able to get my Batman Confidential and Robin II books signed by him in no time. Apparently Kevin wasn't in the greatest shape as he was recovering from some food poisoning that he picked up before arriving in Toronto. A funny side note, the Robin II book was the last one in the pile, and he made a funny sigh when he signed it. I guess he's not a big fan of that cover! LOL!

After I was done with Kevin, went back outside to see Marcio Takara. Some of the guest artists were set up outside the room, which made it easier to talk to them. A fellow collector friend was telling me before the show that Marcio was the artist working on the new Incredibles comic coming out from Boom! publishers. Of course being a Disney fan, I had to ask for an Incredibles sketch, which he was more than please to oblige.

Next to Marcio was Kurt Lehner. I was admiring his wide variety of work when I noticed on his poster behind him a Gargoyle. Of course, that prompted a conversation, where I found out that he was the initial artist on the animated series. He told me that he created the original characters based on outlines provided by Disney. That meant I needed a Gargoyles sketch from him. Again, not a problem!

Once I was done talking to some of the artists, it was time to hit the sellers tables to look for some back issues. I had no problems finding most of my priority items. I will say the room was kinda difficult to navigate because of the size of the crowd. There were a couple of large sellers that had a lot of $1, $2 and $3 long boxes. I really wasn't in the mood to go diving as I was on a mission to find specific issues.

The 2 sellers that I did well with was Myths Legends and Heroes and All New Comics. I have bought from All New Comics online before. They are a really great bunch and I learned very friendly. I was able to pick up some great $1 back issues that were all from the last couple of years.

After a couple of hours, I was pretty much out of money (I actually left with some in my wallet) and done looking for other books. I went back to see Marcio and Kurt to see if my sketches were done, but they both needed some more time. I took a small lunch break (ya, fries aren't really lunch). I wandered the room for a little while and took stock of my purchases.

Kurt was the first artist complete and let me tell you the wait was worth it:

Truly a great piece!

Marcio need a little more time, but his was also a great addition to my collection:
Next show will be the 2 day ComicCon/Fan Appreciation event April 18th and 19th, again put on by Hobbystar. Can't wait.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Toronto comic con part 2

So just winding down my time at the show. The crowd was pretty big. Apparently bigger than the November show. Was able to pick some back issues that I have been looking for, for awhile.

I'm waiting on a couple of sketches. The Incredibles one from Marcio and a gargoyles sketch from Kurt Lehner. Found out that he did the original TV series for Disney. I will try to have some scans of the sketches soon.

I will also have a full report of the show later this week.
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