Thursday, October 6, 2011

Strange Adventures in Halifax

Sometimes you have to wonder where coincidence ends and cosmic intervention begins.

Case in point: We are on a cruise and make a stop in Halifax, Nova Scotia. One of the highlights to visit in the city is the Citadel. Not surprisingly, this massive fortress sits on the top of a hill overlooking the harbor... a fairly steep hill, at that.

Ignoring the suggestion of a friendly traffic director that we follow one street about six blocks and then head straight up the hill, I decide that we should zigzag, thereby making the trek up the hill a bit less strenuous by breaking it up.

So what are the odds that our across-and-up path should take us up a side street where the only comic book shop in Halifax, Strange Adventures, is located? Laurie will insist it is the hand of fate that does this.

So we enter the shop and, as she is wont to do, Laurie immediately asks if the owner is there. Cal Johnston identifies himself and Laurie says, "You should meet my husband. He's famous."

As I am wont to do, I just roll my eyes and say, "Oh, here we go." We have gone through this scenario in other places and it usually leads to a response like, "Oh...okay." This time, however, as I identify myself, Cal exclaims, "Wow! The Answer Man is in the house!"

Cal and I had a pleasant conversation about my Answer Man column that ran in the comics in the '70s and '80s. I offered to autograph some books, but the most recent volumes containing reprints of my work (Secret Society of Super-Villains, Greatest Batgirl Stories, and Showcase: Robin #2) were all sold out.

Cal apologizes. "If we'd known you were coming, we would have ordered a few more copies."

"I'm sure you would have, but I didn't know I was coming!" was my reply.

Despite the lack of comics I wrote, Strange Adventures is quite well-stocked. Comics, books, and related material are all arranged to attract attention and invite browsing. It's easy to see why they are called Canada's best comics shop. As Laurie put it, "I have no interest in comics, but I would buy things here."

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