Best Comic-Book Store - 2010
Comics Toons & Toys
This 22-year-old comics shop has been tucked in its current location, a Tustin strip mall just over the Santa Ana city line, for the past 16 years. That long a stint in the comics biz means Comics Toons & Toys has found some kind of magic formula for selling all manner of illustrated goodness that's sweeter than Betty, more tempting than Veronica and just as draining on your wallet as the two ladies are to Archie's funds. (Or, were. He should have married Betty, and we all know it.) The shop is two storefronts wide, with an expanded manga collection along one entire wall, a slew of designer toys and a small rack of comics-inspired T-shirts. They have every graphic novel you could ask for, including an entire section that seems to be dedicated to Neil Gaiman. The place is sprawling, but not messy. Its nooks and crannies hide long-forgotten treasures such as those yellowed Star Trek novels that have been waiting for you to discover them. If you're not sure what you want, just stick to the wall closest to the front door. The week's new offerings are clearly labeled and arranged there, staff picks included. You will walk out feeling lighter either because you're flying high in the mist of comics ecstasy or because you spent your weekly paycheck.