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Best of Toronto

The Best Comic Shops in Toronto

Posted by Rick McGinnis / September 19, 2012

Comic Shops TorontoThe best comic shops in Toronto might be among the best in the world, a fact that was well-known long before Scott Pilgrim made this city a comic Mecca. Yes, we were the birthplace of Superman (sort of,) but it was when comics got ambitious, dark and literary, that Toronto's geek subculture began making a very palpable mark in the four-colour world.

Comics fans live under a big tent, and while there might possibly be some crossover between Seth and Chester Brown fans and cosplay enthusiasts, it would have to happen after striding through the territory of many tribes, each passionate about everything from Pekar to Cerberus to manga to yet another exploration of the twisted psyche of the Batman. It's a wild world, but it's a robust one, with a persistent knack for attracting new generations of very different kinds of fans every year, thanks mostly to the city's varied comic shops.

These are the best comics shops in Toronto.

See also:

The best bookstores in Toronto
The best used bookstores in Toronto

The Beguiling

The Beguiling

There was a day when shopping at the Beguiling meant running the gauntlet of founder Steve Solomos' withering criticism as you paid for your purchases. Since Peter Birkemoe and Shane Chung took over from Solomos and co-founder Sean Scoffield over a decade ago, the Markham Village store has become friendlier while maintaining its world-famous reputation for promoting comic art and graphic novels and showcasing the thoughtful, non-cape-wearing potential of the medium. More »

The Comic Book Lounge and Gallery

The Comic Book Lounge and Gallery

Rising out of the ashes of venerable comics institution The Dragon Lady, this upstairs College Street space is as much a hangout as a shop, gallery or reading room; all of which it might be, depending on where you're standing. Its brave ambition to make itself a place where readers and creators can come together (and perhaps evolve from the former to the latter) is both worthy and potentially possible, thanks to on-site partnerships with the Toronto Cartoonists Workshop and Guerilla Printing. More »

Labyrinth Comics

Labyrinth Comics

This Annex shop casts its net wide, past Marvel and DC to the places where comics intersect with cartoons and movies in manga, anime, Pixar and Disney. With shelves full of art books, French bandes dessinees and graphic novels, it makes for essential shopping for the Fan Expo crowd in all their cosplay glory. More »

Excalibur Comics

Excalibur Comics

Tucked under the awning of the Kingsway Cinema, Excalibur has been a mecca for west end comic nerds since the late '80s, surviving lean years by selling collectible sets of Pokemon and Yu-gi-Oh cards while keeping its tightly-packed bins full of new and used titles. More »

Little Island Comics

Little Island Comics

A pre-teen offshoot of The Beguiling, just around the corner on Bathurst, this kid-friendly comic shop caters to a very young crowd whose shopping budget comes from allowances and birthday money. Colourful and as impeccably stocked as its Beguiling connection would imply, it's a storefront as happy as any magic kingdom. More »

Red Nails II

Red Nails II

With two locations on Bloor West and in North York, Red Nails caters to the polyethylene bag and card sleeve set; collectors of comics and cards, who know the value of everything and live for the possibility that their investments will pay dividends. It makes for a wary relationship between clerk and customer in the aisles of their very well-stocked stores. More »

Atomic Age Comix

Atomic Age Comix

Out on the Danforth at Pape, and sharing a space with a pet-grooming business, this friendly comic shop tries to make itself a second home for customers, with reasonable prices, kid-friendly titles, and regular tournaments for role-playing Magic fans. More »

Paradise Comics

Paradise Comics

Up at Yonge and Lawrence, Paradise is a magnet for hardcore fans of mainstream comics, and was the founder of the comic convention that became Toronto Comic Con. It remains a heavy hitter on the local comic scene with connections to Fan Expo and stock that's hard to beat. More »

Discussion

51 Comments

Michael / September 19, 2012 at 11:47 am
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Steve, the proprietor of Excalibur Comics, has to be the most personable 'Comic Guy' in all of the GTA. He cares and his shop has always felt a little like a home for all the fanboys and girls.

Some of the stores higher on the list might sniff at your comic selections, while dropping names. Steve would only recommend similar works for you to enjoy...

Thanks, Steve!
iagree / September 19, 2012 at 11:57 am
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got to agree The Beguiling should be number #1, helpful staff, awesome selection and if they don't have it on hand they will order it for you in an orderly fashion.
Excalibur Comics / September 19, 2012 at 11:59 am
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Is Excalibur Comics still open? The shop they used to have downstairs was closed up and turned into a coffee shop then that went out business as well? And currently sits empty.
Will Lam / September 19, 2012 at 12:14 pm
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Wow, no mention of One Million Comix??
Z replying to a comment from Michael / September 19, 2012 at 01:30 pm
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You have clearly never spoken to Joe at The Comic Book Lounge (formerly of Dragon Lady.) I've known Joe quite a long time and previously worked with him at Dragon Lady. He always has fantastic recommendations, no matter what you're into, and is generally awesome.
Z replying to a comment from Excalibur Comics / September 19, 2012 at 01:37 pm
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Last I was by it was still open, they've just moved upstairs from their previous location. The former shop (downstairs) is a seating/waiting area for the Kingsway Cinema (while you CAN purchase a coffee from the snack bar, it was never a coffee shop in its own right.)
W. K. Lis / September 19, 2012 at 02:09 pm
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Ah, for the days when just about every variety store sold 10¢ (then 12¢, then 15¢) comic books.
Poopdawg / September 19, 2012 at 03:13 pm
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I haven't been to a lot of these places, but I do love me a visit The Beguiling!
Sean / September 19, 2012 at 03:51 pm
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No mention of 'The Comic Room', eh? That's a bit disappointing. They've been in business 35 years and have a very loyal following, as well as new customers. Scarborough stores rarely seem to get a mention on BlogTO.

I understand everything can't be included and BlogTO does a good job of presenting a lot of places regular Torontonians might want to try - but I really feel this is glaring.
Matty / September 19, 2012 at 07:06 pm
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TBH Toronto isn't hurting for comic shops, but there are a couple more I might've thrown in there.

On a side note, I was driving around Detroit in August and way north on Woodward, south of 8 Mile, I came across Detroit Comics...Lovely little store, great layout, terrific staff, worth stopping by.
Alex replying to a comment from Sean / September 19, 2012 at 09:05 pm
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It is a top 9 list. By definition it isn't inclusive.

PS. The gulf between #2 and #3 is MASSIVE. The reality is that the list begins and ends with the Snail and Beguiling. If a dingy mess of a store like Paradise is on the list, that shows how much of a reach you need just to fill 9 spots.
LFH / September 19, 2012 at 09:05 pm
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I have to agree with Will Lam. Where is One Million Comix? Not even an honorable mention category or a list that goes to 10? Don't let this list taint your perceptions. It's not a list of the best, it's a list of 9 comic book stores in Toronto.
Brandon replying to a comment from Alex / September 20, 2012 at 02:12 am
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Paradise Comics is not dingy. They have great customer service, have the best trade paper back selection that I am aware of in the city and have great membership benefits.
Brock / September 20, 2012 at 08:43 am
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The Beguiling is so good! Always has the largest selection of the comics I am looking for (sometimes hard to find all the vol.) and cheaper than anywhere else in Toronto (probably because I have horrible taste and they don't want them in the store anymore...)!
Kevin Boyd / September 20, 2012 at 03:34 pm
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Thanks for ranking the Comic Book Lounge so highly on your list of comic shops, we'll have to get BlogTO to come by and take some new pictures as the store has grown and changed significantly since those pictures were taken and that article that you linked to was written.

There are a couple of other stores that didn't make the list that probably should be on there such as One Million Comix on Yonge near Wellesley, Cyber City Comics on Steeles near Bathurst, as well as Comics and More on Bloor Street near Coxwell - those immediately come to mind as good stores that serve different audiences and neighbourhoods.

Paradise Comics has no Fan Expo connections, so you probably want to correct that. They sold the con I helped found with them in the early 90's to Wizard magazine a number of years ago.
Melissa / September 21, 2012 at 09:40 am
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How do you not include One Million? The staff are friendly and leave you alone to browse as long as you want to. Beguiling is cramped and disorganized. Silver Snail doesn't let you look at their precious back issues without someone helping you.
Ziona / September 21, 2012 at 01:20 pm
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I enjoy shopping in Beguiling and have for years. The staff are helpful and they have an excellent selection of non-Marvel comics and odd out of the ordinary books and comics. One Christmas I found a book by Andy Sidaris about his movies and I was shocked and amazed when I found "Bullets, Bombs and Babes". Bought it for The Boy and he was thrilled silly with it! Think it ranks as one of this favourite gifts.

Snail is fun. I like Snail.

Paradise Comics I've only visited once but I did find a copy of the 2013 Liberty Meadows calendar. Rather thrilled. This is also a Christmas present for a friend. I will visit again in the near future. I recall they also hosted an artist signing with Danielle Corsetto in the past. Very nice.
Sandman / September 22, 2012 at 08:49 am
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Support your local comic shops!
Andrea replying to a comment from Melissa / September 24, 2012 at 03:32 pm
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I agree with Will Lam and I too think One Million Comix should have been on this list as well. Or at least honourable mention category. The staff are friendly,helpful and like Melissa mentioned they leave you alone to do your search and unlike Silver Snail you can search through back issues on your own. I for one appreciate that aspect.
Cosplay / September 26, 2012 at 05:15 am
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I haven't been to a lot of these places, but I do love me a visit The Beguiling!
Michaela / September 26, 2012 at 01:53 pm
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I miss Grey Region on Yonge St. Looked like a craphole from outside, but they had the best graphic novel selection in the city, even better than The Beguiling, and the lowest prices. I heard the owner went crazy?
Michaela / September 26, 2012 at 01:56 pm
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Actually, after the deceased Grey Region, BMV is a better comic shop than all of these places.
Cosplay / September 26, 2012 at 09:45 pm
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Paradise Comics is not dingy. They have great customer service, have the best trade paper back selection that I am aware of in the city and have great membership benefits.
MineCraft / September 30, 2012 at 05:11 am
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woow great
Keith / October 31, 2012 at 06:35 pm
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Can anyone tell me where to sell? Unfortunately, I need to unload my Teen Titans cira early '80s - Good to Very Good. I am in the Niagara region and looking for someone who can appreciate them.
dave / November 27, 2012 at 08:45 am
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which store on this list would you recommend for buying my collection, 2000 comics nothing newer than 1992. all comics are fine to nrmint condition. i'd appreciate help on selling this collection to someone who would appreciate it's quality. there are 300 comics from '70s. thanks for any feedback. dave
Jamie / December 22, 2012 at 05:39 pm
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Check out West End Comics at 1590 Queen Street West ... it only opened a few days ago and has some stuff that you just won't find at any other stores!
Grammar Slammer / December 26, 2012 at 02:07 am
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I usually love the top ten lists on this site but for this list to not include either the Silver Snail or One Million Comix is an insult to the intelligence of Toronto comic readers. It smacks of a really unnecessary agenda on Mr. McGinnis' part. Shame on you, Terry.
Rick / January 3, 2013 at 11:28 pm
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Don't forget CYBER CITY COMIX on Steeles west of Bathurst. Great selection of new and old comics, and a HUGE selection of trades and hard covers. Lots of toys and cards as well. Very friendly owner. Always there to help.
I also discovered they also have a warehouse which is opened one weekend every month.
Claudio / January 8, 2013 at 03:02 pm
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ExpertComics.com is also a good place to find the latest comic books and graphic novels for a good price !
jabalong / January 22, 2013 at 06:17 pm
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A Toronto best comics shop list that doesn't include Silver Snail? What a joke!

And yes, One Million Comix should be on this list too.
Jasa Custom Clearance / March 23, 2013 at 03:28 am
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Alex / March 28, 2013 at 03:37 pm
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Neither One Million or Siveler Snail made the list. Damn. My locals need to step it up I guess. I'd like to visit some of these others.

Whenever I travel I always like to check out and LCS or five. I've visited shops in Chicago, Manhattan, Oshawa, Windsor, Peterborough and Kitchener-Waterloo.
Alex / March 28, 2013 at 03:48 pm
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As a guy who buys mostly mainstream comics (Marvel, DC, Vertigo, Image) I only go to The Beguiling if I don't have the time to go the One Million on Yonge. Beguiling is too cramped, their back issues are a mess, and up stairs you can only pay with cash. If you don't have cash you have to go down stairs and deal with Peter, for whom it seems like such a burden to ring up my captain america and batman comics.
Joe Diesel / April 15, 2013 at 11:04 am
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go check out Dr. Comics (formally Kensington Comics) 44 Kensington Avenue, 2nd Floor Toronto. He just started up again, he had a shop in the late 90's early 00's and his comic itch got him back into comics. He has loads of $1 comics for now but he's getting New comics & statues soon. Its a cozy place for now, until he rearranges the shop. So go check out Dr. Comics.
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John Silva / June 3, 2013 at 07:48 am
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Just went to Dr.Comics on the weekend in Kensington Market. All I can is WOW! Huge selection of comic books for only $1.00. Also have a great varierty of key issues on the wall, toys and statues. Go check them out for great service and selection of comic books both old and new weekly titles. I just joined there annual membership program, huggggeee savings.
Dani / June 8, 2013 at 07:16 am
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There is definately a lot to find out about this subject.
I really like all of the points you've made.
Chris / June 24, 2013 at 01:04 pm
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Expert Comics really are brilliant. Their website is worth checking out as well as they have regular reviews and editorials about their products.
Henry / July 8, 2013 at 09:31 pm
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I some great stores from back in the 80s when I was into comic books - like Queen's Comics in the Beaches, Legends at Greenwood/Danforth, Ye Olde Comic Book Shoppe in Scarborough; also then, Dragon Lady was on Queen West near Silver Snail

A related question: does anyone know the name of the comic book conventions/fairs that were held back then at places like The Masonic Temple, the Ex (the building where Medieval Times is) and the Ontario College of Art?
Taylor replying to a comment from Keith / August 5, 2013 at 03:58 pm
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I know who would like them!!! The people at Rednails are the BEST they would love to get some comics from you because the whole store started by the two owners Eddie and Danny who were comic and card collectors so they would LOVE to have more comics there and cards if you have any!
Taylor replying to a comment from Keith / August 5, 2013 at 04:01 pm
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I know who would love your comics!!!! The people at Rednails II are always enjoying more customers selling or buying comics from them and they are extremely kind to people so that would be a good place for you
Rob / August 6, 2013 at 11:50 am
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There's card and comic book show coming up this Sunday Aug 11th at the Toronto Plaza Hotel..it's actually the hotel right across from Red Nails on Wilson Ave
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John Silva / March 10, 2014 at 09:08 am
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Dr.Comics is going to have Chris Claremont signing at their store on May 3 - Free Comic Book Day - check out the details at http://www.drcomics.ca
Mike / April 4, 2014 at 11:53 am
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Does anyone know how much my Canadian Shield issue 2 comic book worth? I have tried to find anything related to price for this comic but could only find pictures of the cover and comments that it's ultra rare. Is this true? Please help, I bought the comic for 5$ at a comic book store in Toronto and it looks to be in good condition, someone offered me 200.00$ for it is this a good price? Thanks
Kevin Boyd / April 8, 2014 at 08:02 am
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Ch-ch-changes at the Comic Book Lounge + Gallery. In November 2013 we were joined at the location by TEMPLE OF TOYS a new and vintage toy dealer. In February 2014 we celebrated our 2nd Anniversary at 587A College Street. In April 2014 Guerilla Printing restructured and has relocated to 413 Spadina Avenue. Starting May 1, what was once GP will be transformed into THE BACK SPACE, an exciting first in Canadian comics retailing - a multipurpose event space that will be used for adult classes and workshops, after school and summer programs for kids and teens, parties, book launches, geek swap marts, trivia nights, gaming tournaments and a whole lot more. Come check us out on Saturday, May 3, 2014 for the official launch of Back Space Toronto with a full Artist Alley of comic book artists and creators!
Kevin Boyd replying to a comment from Mike / April 8, 2014 at 08:08 am
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Hey Mike, the one featured here? http://tytempletonart.wordpress.com/2010/08/06/candian-shield-comics/ Um, that's something done for a recent Heroes of the North Project and not an actual vintage comic. You can visit their website here and read it for free, paper version is $6: http://www.heroesofthenorth.com/COMICS/CANADIAN_SHIELD1/

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