Sunday, January 11, 2009

The Comic Room: The Benchmark

So before I get into to many details, I want to state that my review of the following store is a little biased. I know, not the best way to kick off my reviews. The Comic Room is my regular store. I was introduced to this retailer about a year ago, and due to its proximity to my home and work, and because of the comments in my review below, I frequent this store every 2 weeks.

That aside, let us begin.....

General Info.
The Comic Room is located at the intersection of McCowan and Lawrence (659 McCowan Rd.), in Scarborough. The store is actually in the basement of the Paperback Exchange, which is also a great used book store. The store is run by Troy (the owner, I believe) and Sean, and has been in existence for almost 30 years..

The store isn't overly big, but is big enough to carry a wide selection of new issues, back issues, graphic novels and toys/collectibles.
The stores' selection is pretty good. They have a good volume of new comics, but of course, with a hot new release they sell out fast. If they do sell out, Troy is always willing to re-order, if stock is available.
The back issue selection is also pretty good if you are looking for fairly recent issues. I honestly have not looked for older issues (>10 years old), but I really haven't been disappointed when looking for a back issue to complete a current story arc.
The graphic novel selection is varied. Again, there aren't a lot of older trades. The books are accessible (a later review of another store will explain why I state this), which makes browsing easy.
The store also carries toys and statues, but it is not their strong point. I don't mind that the selections is small as, I don't collect the toys (yet....).
I want to preface my comments about the store in this section... Cleanliness is really important me. I have been to a few stores, coming out with dust and dirt all over my hands. I'm pretty sure I'm like most collectors and wash my hands before I read or touch my comics. So, how can I go into a store and buy something that has dust all over it.
That said, The Comic Room is very clean. You can tell things are dusted regularly. I have never felt dirty coming out of the store.
Customer Service
By far The Comic Room has great service. Troy and Sean are very personable and completely accessible. They are always willing to help out with special requests and talk about comics. Another great advantage, is they have free Pull List services. I know of other stores that charge their regulars for this service.
Up until early December, the store was charging the American cover price, instead of the Canadian price. Obviously, with the state of the Canadian dollar, that has changed. I can't blame them for this move, as they do have to stay afloat. But, if you are a regular, you can expect a discount. They also run promotions on select books. For instance, they are currently giving 40% off of back issues on Fridays.
Obviously, I think this is a great store as evidence that I'm a regular there. You can't exist for close to 30 years without knowing what you are doing.
I highly recommend The Comic Room. Truly a hidden gem!

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