Retailer Roundup – January 2011

Nova Scotia

It’s seems the Strangemobile went kaput earlier this month, the engine blew up. Calum tells us times are tough, he was ripped off for 3k by a contractor in 2010, and that he’s cutting costs rather than laying off staff. Pure speculation, but with the economy in Canada still not up and running (recent reports say that bounceback-wise we are in 6th place of the G7), a third store expansion to Dartmouth last year has resulted in a rise of fix costs such as rent, heat and hydro and staffing costs (salary, WSIB, CPP, EI & tax) have had an impact on the business. The good news is: the Bug is back.


The Comic Hunter is blogging like crazy in 2011, giving lots of opinions and reviews of comic series. Including telling us that about how much they hate Grant Morrison.

New Brunswick

New comic shop Enigma Comics and Games are must be doing okay, as they are now open Sunday.


Publisher D+Q had some of the creators they publish appear. Lynda Barry was in town and gave a talk at the Ukrainian Federation. Dave Cooper went to the shop itself. Next week Jeff Lemire will appear and he will be interviewed by the CBC and discuss Essex County, published by TopShelf.


Comic Connection in Hamilton is celebrating 25 years in business.

The Gauntlet in Orangeville are reducing their hours, closing on Mondays but open the other 6 days a week.

The comic market in Ottawa in flux? The Comic Cave is not a full service shop, but instead a model and gaming store that stocked comics. Yet things are so bad in their comics division that they are only selling pre-orders. Nothing to be stocked. That is a very defensive maneuver, but there has been a lot of speculation that comic shops will be under serious economic pressure through Q1 and Q2, 2011.

The Dragon hosted a Buffy the Vampire Slayer Birthday Party to coincide with the release of Buffy Season #40 (the final issue) and Buffy Summers B-Day, natch. Vampire bite butter cookies!

Paradise Comics will be hosting Danielle Corsetto on Jan 19th and Shane Kirshenblatt on Jan 22nd.

Scott Thompson showed up at The Beguiling, signing his new comic The Hollow Planet.


Comic-Kazi has begun pre-selling celebrity photo ops for the upcoming Calgary Comic Expo.

A new shop opened in Edmonton, aptly named The Comic Shop. Most interesting about this store: they sell only back issues. Back issue comics have been virtually abandoned in Ontario shops because the $ per sq/ft they provide is too low. The labour involved in gathering, bagging/boarding, pricing and replenishing back-issue comics, the staple of comic shops for 30 years, doesn’t justify their presence in modern business environment. It’s a great way to make your shop look like it is full of product though (or tired and out of date…). Anyway, I find this most interesting. I suppose a similar shop could open up in Toronto and do really well… but for the fact that there is a comic convention every other week here, and the retailers climb over each other to sell you back issues for nearly nothing, would likely mean that bin divers have a means to be sated.

Happy Harbor comics will be crushed by Godzilla. IDW offered a cute promotion in the recent Previews: order 500 copies of Godzilla #1 and you will get your store will put on the cover… being crushed by Godzilla. I liked the idea, but moving 500 copies of Godzilla? Well Happy Harbor is juming into the breach!

“Why are we pimping a Godzilla comic? See that picture and the big empty space under his foot. Happy Harbor is going to be there! Yep, a special limited edition cover variant of this issue will feature Godzilla stomping on your very own Happy Harbor! This variant will be limited to 500 copies and with more than 600 file customers, you better get your advance orders in fast!”

Happy Harbor have also been updating photos of their ongoing reno to the new shop. It looks like after expanding to 4 shops, then closing 2 of them, then moving the remaining 2, HH is renting a large space they can grow in to.

Check out the Harry Kremer Award hanging on the beam.

Business is good in Edmonton as Quantum Comics is now open 7 days a week, having cut the Monday-off day which is so common for US based comic shops.

Not comics: Thunderground in St. Albert is hosting a midnight Magic The Gathering event. It’s limited to 8 participants: “If you know how to play Magic and can play quickly (emphasis on “quickly“), then this event is just for you!” Crazy.

British Columbia

Grey Haven Hobbies celebrated it’s 17th Anniversary this month.


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