Comic book stores might not be as popular as they once were with the advent of the internet making comics readily available online. However, there are still plenty of people that enjoy physically going into a store, holding the comic book with their hands and seeing which one they’ll enjoy for the collection. Throughout Canada, there are many famous comic book stores, but the one that was declared the top in the country resides in Edmonton.

The comic book store is Variant Edition Comics, which was named the best at the Joe Shuster Awards. Co-owner Danica LeBlanc said that “It’s a labour of love,” and that “We basically started a store that we would enjoy and found out it’s a store that a lot of people enjoy.” Along with Brandon Schatz, the two have seen a lot of hardcore comic book fans coming through their doors.

“Our sense of community comes first,” LeBlanc added. “We don’t just sell books, we sell stories. We invite readers in. It’s not just, ‘Here’s a comic or here’s a graphic novel.’ We try to make a connection with you and find a story that you’re really going to connect with.”

The comic book store came under criticism by some fans for choosing not to stock a particular book by Richard Meyer, which means that their title of Canada’s best comic book store is a sweet one. It was a “certain measure of vindication,” Schatz said. “At Variation Edition, we’ve always been careful to curate a welcoming experience, not just to some, but to all,” he said.