Nestled in a highly industrial area in the northeast part of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. There is where you will find this superb store. It first appeared on Jan. 21, 2012. From day one, I walked in and the rest was history.
No one is more working class than the owner: Carlos Camara. He is a Luso-Canadian (meaning that he is of Portuguese decent). This is his baby, his pride and joy, the result of many years of blood, sweat, and tears.
I ran into Carlos in 2008 when he had a small table of exclusive variants at FANeXpo. I especially liked seeing him there in the recurring years since he always had those really-hard-to-find/ultra-expensive/high-ratio variants that none of the other stores. His rates were reasonable ($10) and I walked away a satisfied customer each and every time.
Back-tracking a bit, three weeks into 2012, one of my comic book buddies mentioned a new store opening in Mississauga run by some guy named Carlos. I was jumping for joy like no tomorrow because having another competitor wouldn’t hurt and justify my constant ‘comic runs’ on weekends. I brought another friend from Toronto with me. When I entered the nascent establishment, my jaw dropped upon eyeing the identity of the man behind it all. I literally blurted out: “Oh! It’s you!!” and dropped $130 [on variants. Natch ;-)] Much later that year, Carlos told me I was the second-paying customer that day but I was the biggest spender on that very first day of its existence. FYI, an 8-to-10-year-old beat me by purchasing something small. Carlos framed the $20 bill given by that boy as a memento.
Fast forward to Nov. 2014. The store was running out of space and the 3-year lease was expiring on Halloween! What was once wide open was becoming dangerously cluttered! The success was so resounding that more stock was brought in to the point that even the hidden nooks and crannies of the store were stuffed to the gills. That first weekend of the month, the expansion was in effect. Luckily, the distance was a very short one — across the street to a space three times the size of its predecessor. Carlos had already contemplated making a move shortly after Gotham had its second birthday. He decided that going bigger was definitely better. And it was!!
Gotham Central is fairly young among many other stores in the GTA (Greater Toronto Area). Nevertheless, it has accumulated such buzz and Carlos has major cred in the industry. He is a certified witness for CGC. The selection of statues rivals that of the competitors. What has put Gotham Central on the map are special events. So far, the shop has had three anniversary parties with local artists, renowned comic book creators, raffles for prizes, and free food! FCBD has also been celebrated four times. 2012 had David Finch (a personal friend of Carlos) and Jay Fabok, both on a hot streak at DC’s The New 52 as well as Johnny Desjardins, Ken Lashley, and the massive artist collective known as Spent Pencils!! 2013 had repeat visits from the aforementioned individuals. 2014 had Ken Lashley reappear as well as Leonard Kirk. This year, the major draw was fellow Canadian Jeff Lemire. Woot woot!! Celebration galore with free sketches and signatures, cosplayers, photo-ops, super sales, free comics, raffles, and donations to charity.
In conclusion, Gotham Central holds a major place in my heart. In fact, you can say that I’m locked into that place for three reasons — (1) I’m a bona fide customer, (2) I volunteer there and am part of the staff, (3) Carlos has become a true blue friend who has never done me wrong and has never disappointed me 😀 Mega-love for him and his business <3 To any domestic or international travelers: the store is a hop, skip, and jump away from Pearson International Airport informally known as Toronto Airport. Come one, come all. You will have a ball!! at GC.
P.S., it doesn’t hurt that I scored all 60 free comics. SSSSWWWWEEEEEETTTT!!!!