Have you ever watched a movie, read a book, or better yet, read a comic book, where you noticed a familiar place? Feels good, doesn’t it?
But it doesn't happen very often. In the world of comics, we’ve seen so many stories develop in other settings to the point where we can confidently identify with another city (Spiderman, Daredevil...Latveria?) but don’t tell me you didn’t feel like a VIP to a special party when you noticed your own local landmark.
We’ve all seen New York drawn, but what about Toronto? Here’s a list of comics that take place in our own backyard which not only turn our enigmatic city into a setting of bad-assery and heroism, but also highlight our endearing characters a good Torontonian would know of.
1. Secret Identities
Has Toronto ever been the host to an epic battle between good and evil? This series begins with a fight tearing up the city. The Front Line, a team of superheroes protecting the innocent, unknowingly introduce a mole into their ranks whose job is to discover their identities. What what’s even cooler is that the good guys’ secret base lies hidden inside a vanquished monster lurking somewhere in Lake Ontario. Don’t believe me? Pick up an issue and see for yourself.
Meet Dana, a woman who is forced to adapt as her neighborhood changes around her. This graphic novel explores the effects of an increasingly shifting urban landscape. The landscape in question is Queen Street West. We’ve all been there, we’ve all wined and dined there, and I’m sure a majority of us feel that it’s an endearing place which is an important part of the mosaic that is our city. How do you feel about change?
3. The Pitiful Human-Lizard
Lucas Barrett did something risky by agreeing to be a test dummy for a pharmaceutical company. He came out on top, though, by developing regenerative powers which thrust him onto the stage of greatness. Read and enjoy Barrett’s adventures as a nine-to-five data consultant fighting monsters around places such as Regent Park, the Financial District, and Chinatown, under the alias of The Pitiful Human-Lizard.
4. The Rabble Of Downtown Toronto
If you’ve gone to Ryerson University, hung out at Yonge and Dundas square, or spent time shopping at the Eaton Centre, you would be familiar with the local characters. Yes, this means THAT Jesus dude who waits until you’re a foot away to scream a quick, devastating, seek and destroy, sermon in your ear as you wait for the walking signal to cross the street. Also, that talented drummer who always finds a new recruit to jam with on plastic containers and a makeshift drum kit, making more noise than the traffic. There are a handful of individuals that make their presence very clear and this graphic novel is gives you a biography of each of them.
5. Scott Pilgrim VS The World
Scott Pilgrim is a 23 year-old slacker whose only serious commitment belongs to a band called Sex Bob-Omb. He’s also hopelessly in love with an American delivery girl with a terrifying amount of baggage. In the six volume series of his misadventures, this sheepish bass guitar wielding underdog (giving all of us lanky guys hope) squares off with a variety of evil ex-boyfriends in popular Toronto locations – such as the Reference Library and Lee’s Palace. I dare you to read the comic and not get pumped up seeing Honest Ed’s in the background…before they tear it down.