Canada’s First Comic Shop?

An interesting video from the CBC archives about Memory Lane Books, opened May 1967 in Toronto by George Henderson.

This predates Harry Kremer’s Now & Then Books by four years.

A really great interview.  Henderson felt comfortable opening a comic shop now that people weren’t embarrassed to be buying them.  He sold a Batman #1 for $250 and was seeing Superman #1 going for up to $300.  Yikes!

The shop is packed full of golden age material, just sitting on racks.  No comic bags or boards, everything out in the open ready to be handled.

Take a look at that giant shelf of fanzines.  It’s hard to remember in this age of the internet how plentiful and diverse the fanzine era was.

Check out that new comic shelf, loaded down with issues of X-Men.  Crazy.  Take notice that the walls are covered in original artwork.

Back issue bins crowded with silver age material.  Condition doesn’t seem to be a concern for any of the books in the shop.

Unfortunately comic shops the world over seem to suffer the same clutter issues today as Henderson did fourty years ago: books piled everywhere, walls covered in merchandise.

As an aside, was television still black and white in 1970?  Can you believe how Canadian everyone sounds?

Scott VanderPloeg
Scott VanderPloeg

Scott works in I.T. but lives to eat and read. His other ramblings can be found at AE Index and eBabble. Art collection at Comic Art Fans.

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10 years ago

Ultra cool !
Amazing to see the hobby as a baby
The innocence of the first people taking it seriously and appreciating them before prices went crazy

9 years ago

Good grief! This is where I started collecting comics in the early 1970s before the beginnings of the direct market! I bought my complete run of Spideys (39-101) from Captain Geoege, as well as many Ditkos. The most I ever paid was $1 for ASM 17. Most were 10 cents to a quarter a piece. I remember Conan #1 being outrageously priced at 75 cents. I’d go every Saturday at noon. Truly is memory lane!

Kevin A. Boyd
9 years ago

Yeah, in all my years collecting comics and visiting comic shops I never could find Memory Lane on Markham Street, but by that time I’ve been told it was a shadow of it’s former self. Note that those fanzines were the ones he published himself, and was later asked to cease-and-desist doing because he was reprinting copyrighted strips. He also arranged to have Stan Lee visit Toronto for the Triple Fan Fair, one of the first proto-conventions on Markham Street in 1968.