Supply stores

Burnaby’s coolest pop culture store is thriving amid COVID-19

Metropolis Comics and Toys is aimed at collectors and enthusiasts.

When customers enter Metropolis Comics and Toys, they are greeted by a familiar face: Han Solo.

And not just any Han Solo – it’s Han Solo who looks shocked after being frozen in carbon at the end of The Empire Strikes Back (for those who don’t watch the Star Wars movies, don’t don’t worry, he lives).

It’s just one of the many cool pop culture items you’ll find in Metropolis, which has labeled itself as “Vancouver’s Secret Stash” on Kingsway in Metrotown since 2009.

Owner Jonny Botsch and his assistant Andrew Barrow have run the shop together for 13 years. They say the comic book collecting community in Burnaby is small, but active.

“It’s a mix,” Barrow said. “A lot of people who are regulars just buy comics because they like the stories. There is also a community of active collectors.

There are a variety of customers who shop at the comic book store, including hobby collectors or speculators.

“There was a little difference between a community of collectors and a hobbyist,” Barrow said. “People who like to read comics for the sake of reading comics, and there are people who like to buy comics, because they like the collectible vintage aspect, they want to speculate on who will be the next big thing.”

The local comic book store has been affected by the most recent change in the comic industry, as there are now multiple distributors instead of just one.

“One of the biggest things that has rocked the comics industry over the past two years has been the separation of distribution partners; Previously, everything was under one umbrella, which was Diamond Comics Distribution. They’ve had a monopoly on comic book distribution since the 90s – every single publisher; Marvel, DC, Image Comics, Dark Horse Comics,” Barrow said.

The COVID-19 pandemic and shipping supply chain issues also impacted the store.

“COVID shipping issues in general, things coming in overseas by boat and so on, everything is delayed and nothing is guaranteed,” Burrows said.

For Metropolis staff, it’s about providing customers with the latest and greatest items.