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Kensington Comics

Posted by Staff / Posted on December 22, 2012

kensington comics torontoLocated in the heart of Kensington Market and sitting above Nepal Handicrafts, Kensington Comics is a new comic book store that opened in late October. This compact store is unique in that it possesses a simple mission statement sure to wow collectors and new fans alike: to sell vintage single issues for low prices.

kensington comics torontoGeorge Karpouzis, proprietor of The Hot 'n Dog and The Coolest Little Ice Cream Shop, explained how Kensington Comics was born. "I buy used comics from old collectors who want to make room in their homes. I started about two years ago, getting them for my ice cream shop because a lot of my customers were kids. Someone sold me some long-boxes and suddenly I had a total of twenty-thousand comics on hand.

kensington comics toronto"It exploded. They were incredibly popular, so I thought 'Well, I better go buy more,' and before I knew it I was sitting on almost a million comic books. There was no way I could sell them all from the one store, so I bought retail space and expanded."

While still relatively young, Kensington Comics has a lot to offer. The stock is extensive, considering the space, and remarkably varied. Down a tight corridor sit two rooms storing Karpouzis' hoard. Paintings by local artist Calvin Truong decorate the walls. Back issues dating as far back as the 1960s (and perhaps further) can be found in each corner of the store. Shelves stacked to the ceiling fill the space from the front door to the windows.

Devoid of any organization, each row features a hodgepodge of titles which can be frustrating for people who would prefer alphabetized shelves. Expect to find issues of Rom: Spaceknight behind Thor behind Donald Duck beside Batgirl and Iron Fist, and so on.

kensington comics torontoMore importantly, each book is priced at $0.50. This is the big modus operandi for Kensington's business--to not only have these books available but to also have them available at the lowest price possible. For those who don't mind a laborious search through such a mixed catalogue, this store is for you.

kensington comics torontoA common curse with a lot of shops, however, is getting to them once you've finally tracked them down. As many comic stores fit themselves into lofts and along the upper floors of buildings, it also costs them accessibility for people in wheelchairs or parents with children in strollers.

When asked whether Kensington Comics would ever feature ramps to accommodate said citizens, Karpouzis confessed that due to the structure of the building itself, it might not be an option. "But honestly, I'll find a way. If you call me and tell me to put a book aside I will, and then I will run down and put it in your hands myself if I have to."

kensington comics torontoIt is that same passion that guides Karpouzis' business ethic. His desire to reach the public and experiment gives room to consider a variety of angles to explore. Already, one can find rows of jeans and vintage t-shirts for sale next to giant Pez dispensers. In the future, Karpouzis plans to make room for toys and other merchandise.

What's next for Kensington Comics? "We're planning to set up a booth at ToyCon in Burlington, but we're going to have to look at the logistics of that," Karpouzis admitted, "But I'd much rather spread the news the old fashioned way: through word of mouth. And I want to be there at the door to know names, and know people and their tastes. That way, I don't just get customers: I make friends."

kensington comics torontoKensington Comics' hours of operation are from 1 PM to 6 PM from Tuesday to Friday, and 11 AM to 6 PM on Saturdays and Sundays.

Writing by Robert Iveniuk. Photos by Denise McMullin.

Discussion

8 Comments

Jason / December 22, 2012 at 03:58 pm
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I discovered George and his shop one day while leading one of my Toronto Urban Adventures walking tours and was blown away by his friendliness and his business model. He's selling his books at well below market value in most cases, but he doesn't care! He wants you to walk out of his store with a smile on your face.
Georgeisawesome / December 23, 2012 at 12:01 am
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Last weekend he asked me to bring my sons in and he would hook them up with free comics and he did he gave each of 20 comics. because he wants as many kids as he can to read comics. Plus he gave me an incredible deal on a stack of comics. Everytime he I go in their he gives me a awesome deal, I am hooked.
Sandman / December 29, 2012 at 09:11 pm
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George is a great shop owner.
Originally met him in Parkdale's The Hot 'n Dog and very welcoming.

I hope more kids get into comic books because of George!
jkarps7 / March 30, 2013 at 08:45 pm
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georges store is amazing! things ARE neatly organized, and its better the way it is. if you just organize them by title or author, the store is totaly going to turn into chapters. the store shouldnt change and george is not careless! no one else is complaining. what is lazy is people who wont value there time to actually look at the comics and freak out if not organized. kengsinton comics is not messy, dis organized, or cruel to any comics, because its the best comic store. no one can change that, and no one will try.
john silva / June 3, 2013 at 08:05 am
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Kensington Comics is now called Dr.Comics, check them out at http://www.drcomics.ca
john silva / August 17, 2013 at 08:38 am
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Chris Claremont - Legendary X-Men & Wolverine Writer is signing at Dr.Comics on Sunday September 29. For details visit http://www.drcomics.ca
John Silva / October 25, 2013 at 10:28 am
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Huge Halloween Comicfest sale this weekend at the store. Visit their Facebook for details http://www.facebook.com/1drcomics. Great store and service!
John Silva / March 10, 2014 at 09:13 am
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Chris Claremont - Legendary X-Men & Wolverine Writer is signing at Dr.Comics on May 3 Free Comic Book Day. For details visit http://www.drcomics.ca

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