The Silver Snail is among Toronto’s eldest and most venerable of comic book establishments, and a frequent stop on my downtown journeys (partly because it is close to four different tea shops and two yarn stores, but that’s rather beside the point). Besides its huge selection of comics, toys, and memorabilia, it is also notable for the fact that it is entirely above ground! I love comic book shops, and one of the reasons that I love them is that they are usually in basements, attics, or, in one case, squished into the former ticket office of an independent movie theatre. But no, the Snail has its own two-storey building crammed with wonders.
Including the ten cent bin.
Oh, how I love this bin – though, in truth, it is less of a bin than three or four long cardboard boxes. Everything in said boxes is on sale for ten cents (which is rather obvious). I love these boxes. I love finding old treasures and new treasures and plain weird treasures. Old favourites that I had forgotten about, classic finds that I can’t believe are in here.
So, in a two-part series, I present The Best Sixty Cents I Ever Spent (Plus Tax).
Deady the Evil Teddy Vol 3
Date Published: 2004
Author: Voltaire (and guest authors, including Neil Gaiman)
Original Price: $5.95
Price Paid: $0.10
When I was in college, my best friend was a neo-emo goth-loving nerd with a thing for classical music and awesome TV series of the eighties and nineties. So I got exposed to a lot of new things, including JAG, Magnum, Mozart’s weird nephew, and Voltaire. The modern comedy writer, not the French philosopher. Well, both, but the former wrote Oh My Goth! and the latter wrote Candide. Voltaire (Deady) is, in my opinion, hilarious. He freely lampoons the goth culture he is a part of in his comics and songs, and flaunts his nerdery in entire albums of Star Trek-themed music. Deady the Teddy, poor thing, is an abandoned teddy bear who was possessed by the spirit of the most evil thing in the galaxy, and now torments the kind people of Earth who have taken him in. Short strips by a variety of authors and artists make this read like a twisted and dark Archie comic – in the best possible way. Worth the whole six bucks.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Graphic Novel
Date Published: 2005
Author: Gary Reed and Frazer Irving
Original Price: $14.50
Price Paid: $0.10
From the first time I read Frankenstein in high school, I knew the truth: Victor Frankenstein is a raging dick. His creation gets screwed over time and again by this little pansy. Poor guy. So I don’t know why I love this novel so much when it makes me so very angry, but I do. I read every version of it I can get my hands on, watch every movie adaption they’ve ever made – I highly recommend the De Niro one. Anyway, straight from Puffin Classics I found this graphic novel version of the story. The art is tight and dynamic, the writing is crisp and doesn’t overwhelm the story. It perfectly captures the horror of the account. Reminds me of the ‘Curse of the Black Freighter’ segments of Watchmen.
The Dark Gate
Date Published: 2003
Editor: Brett Evans
Original Price: $13.95
Price Paid: $0.10
I had to read this one a couple times. It’s . . . wow. It’s a black-and-white anthology of short stories, most a combination of sci-fi and horror, that touch on everything from terrorism and government cover-ups to giant alien chickens. I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s like Preacher for the sci-fi set, but even stranger. Just . . . wow.
So that’s Part One.
What have you dug out of bargain bins and basements that you’re proud of? The treasures of Goodwill and the library rummage sale? Share your victory finds!