Toronto is a city with much comic book history. Joe Shuster, co-creator of Superman in the 1930s, based the architecture of Metropolis on his boyhood home here in Hogtown. Today Toronto stands as Canada’s hub of comic culture.

With the massive popularity of movies like The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and Iron Man 3, interest in comic books and graphic novels is at an all-time high. These days it’s not just basement-dwellers and fanboys who are perusing the pulp parables. It seems that the art form (yes, it is an art form) is gaining attention from more… “socially skilled” segments of society.

Image Courtesy of the Silver Snail

Whether you’re a DC acolyte or a Marvel true believer, there are plenty of shops for you to geek out at. So where are you – a savvy cosmopolitan intellectual who is incredibly good looking – going to get your comic book fix in Toronto? There are plenty of options to choose from…

The Silver Snail
Recently relocated to Yonge and Dundas, the Snail has a very modern feel. With a huge selection of new releases and graphic novels, plus an array of toys and high-end figurines, this shop is a Toronto institution. Be sure to grab a cup of espresso at their café overlooking Yonge Street while you flip through your new mags.

One Million Comix
Located at Yonge and Wellesley, these guys have loads of t-shirts, toys, and nerd-tastic merchandise. If you want a gift for that special geek in your life, look no further. They also have a massive collection of modern back-issues (although slightly less than one million). Are you missing that elusive gem from your otherwise complete collection? One Million Comix probably has it.

Paradise Comics
North Toronto’s source for gold, silver, and bronze age rarities (investment grade comics from the late 30s through the 70s), this Lawrence Park outfit also has an impressive selection of graphic novels and compilations. Paradise is soon to be expanding – with double the space they’ll increase their already ample offerings. Look for them to bring in some top industry names for signings in the near future.

The Beguiling
Next to Honest Ed’s on Markham Street, this shop is one-of-a-kind. The Beguiling puts the focus on compelling storytelling and independent artists, so don’t expect the typical superhero fare. If you like alternative graphic novels and sequential art, this one’s not to be missed. Their sister store, Little Island Comics, is North America’s first dedicated children’s comic store – a perfect place for kids 12-and-under to enjoy a fun and engaging hobby.

Comic Book Lounge & Gallery
At College and Clinton (next to the The Mad Italian in case you crave some gelato with your graphic art) there is a new concept in comic stores. Sharing space with Guerilla Printing, this bright loft space (with couches!) showcases local independent talent alongside the traditional Marvel and DC books. Original art adorns the walls and one can often find an artist-in-residence holding court and taking requests for custom drawings. Get that drawing of Ghost-Batman-in-space that you’ve always wanted!

PS For dedicated fans, shop loyalty transcends mere geography. The force is strong with the nerd community, and some fans have been known to travel for miles every week to get new releases on their home turf. If you’ve got a favourite comic book shop in Toronto that’s not on this list, then let us know!