Thursday, August 24, 2017

Sticky Step Thirty: Dr. Comics (now closed)/CannaClinic - 44 Kensington Ave.

Now down to a single opponent after dropping off the second deadly Viking Beetle outside of Seven Lives Tacos y Mariscos in Kensington Market, the Human-Lizard easily dispatches the last of the anthropomorphic insect renegades over side of the cube van they're traveling on as it makes a sharp right turn down the alleyway next to Dr. Comics at 44 Kensington Ave.

The Human-Lizard makes a squeeze play to victory.

Finally, the Human-Lizard is free to meet up with his date, but there's just one problem. It's a tight alleyway already and with man-sized crushed bug guts jamming up what little space is left, it's the end of the line for this rushed delivery driver as he leaps out of the truck's cab to give the Human-Lizard a piece of his mind.

A tight spot in the alleyway next to 44 Kensington Ave.
Originally known in the neighbourhood as Kensington Comics, Dr. Comics took over the space at 44 Kensington Ave. for several years before closing down, moving out and being replaced by CannaClinic, one of the many of medicinal marijuana dispensaries that have recently popped up in the city.

If you're still jonesing for comics, though, not to worry. Although they may have left Toronto and Kensington Market behind them, you can still get your four-colour fix from Dr. Comics in the heart of cottage country at 79 Mississaga St. E. in Orillia.

Next up: Lucas makes tracks up Augusta Ave. past Coalition and the balanced rock art of Sunjye as he tries not to be late for his date!


Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Sticky Step Twenty-Nine: Seven Lives Tacos - 69 Kensington Ave.

After knocking off balance one of the remaining Viking Beetles he's been fighting on the back of a delivery truck while passing several Spadina Avenue shopfronts, the Human-Lizard follows up with a well-placed karate kick to send one of the nefarious Norse nightmares flying off the speeding truck to the street below. Although it's never clear whether this particular mutant marauder made the final journey to insect Valhalla, it is fortunate enough to fall off the truck directly in front of Seven Lives Tacos y Mariscos.

The Human-Lizard evens the odds outside Seven Lives Tacos.

Seven Lives Tacos y Mariscos has been serving up Baja California-style fish tacos (like the house specialty, the Gobernador, served with smoked tuna and shrimp), first as a pop-up restaurant (as part of the Toronto Underground Market, a social food market which ran from 2011 to 2014 to promote local cooks, chefs and food entrepreneurs), before eventually settling into a permanent space at 69 Kensington Avenue in the heart of Kensington Market. A word to the wise, along with an appetite, bring cash and comfortable shoes to wear while standing, because there is almost always a lengthy lineup for these tasty tacos.

Seven Lives Tacos y Mariscos at 69 Kensington Avenue.

Next up: The Human-Lizard wraps up his vicious Viking Beetle battle in a dark alley next to Dr. Comics.


Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sticky Step Twenty-Eight: S&H T's Inc./Levetto Chinatown/Plaiter Place - 380-4 Spadina Ave.

Having zoomed past Guerilla Printing while battling a band of Beetle Vikings on the top of a cube truck, the Human-Lizard presses his advantage after leaving the first of three Buggy Norsemen splattered on the pavement.

The odds tip in the Human-Lizard's favour at the corner of Spadina and Baldwin.

As the truck he's riding on top of makes a sharp turn off Spadina Avenue onto Baldwin Street, Lucas shifts his weight to throw one of the insect raiders off-balance. While doing, the truck passes by the storefronts between 380 and 384 Spadina Ave, home of the T-shirt wholesaler & retailer outlet, S&H T's Inc., Levetto Pizza and Pasta Chinatown and Plaiter Place, which specializes in wicker housewares and home furnishings.

S& H T's Inc., Levetto and Plaiter Place at 380-4 Spadina Ave.

Next up: The Human-Lizard continues the fight for his life in front of Seven Lives Tacos Y Mariscos in Kensington Market!


Friday, June 16, 2017

Sticky Step Twenty-Seven: Guerilla Printing (now closed) - 413 Spadina Ave.

Having gotten a date on his way home while surfing a TTC bus past the Mr. Sub at 1181 Queen Street West, Lucas then calls it a night. The next day, during his lunch break at work, he calls his parents to tell them that the news story on Hugh's days as the Lizard-Man had inadvertently revealed Lucas' secret identity to his boss and co-workers. Lucas goes on to mention the date he had set up for that night and his mother warns him not to get serious too quickly.

The Human-Lizard battles Beetle Vikings while passing by the 267 College St. Burger King.

Later that evening, while killing time before his date with "RooBarb," Lucas goes out on patrol and ends up tangling with three Beetle Vikings on top of a cube van in Chinatown. Although their origins or motivations are never made clear, it's interesting to note that The Pitiful Human-Lizard creator, Jason Loo has confirmed the Beetle Vikings are directly related to the moon rock stolen from the R.O.M. that the Human-Lizard witnessed Mother Wonder recover the night before.

Lucas valiantly battles the two remaining Beetle Vikings in front of 413 Spadina Ave.

As the truck the Human-Lizard battles on top of speeds along southward, it passes by the Burger King located at 267 College St. (on the corner of Spadina Avenue), before Lucas judo flips one of the insect berserkers from the top of the truck, causing it to splat open on the street in front of Guerilla Printing, at 413 Spadina Ave.

Guerilla Printing's former address at 413 Spadina Ave.

A staunch supporter of the Human-Lizard from the very start, Guerilla Printing's house brand "Made In Chinatown" has been used by Jason Loo to self-publish mini-comics (along with prints and even custom action figures) featuring numerous characters from The Pitiful Human-Lizard between regular issues. Although Guerilla Printing have recently closed their doors in Toronto's Chinatown neighbourhood, they've since relocated and continue to operate in North York at 37 Kodiak Crescent #6, between Sheppard Ave. W. and Dufferin St.

Next up: The Human-Lizard hangs on for dear life as he battles beetles in front of several Spadina shops, including S&H T's Inc., Levetto Chinatown and Plaiter Place.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sticky Step Twenty-Six: Hot Shawarma/Burger Fighter (formerly Mr. Sub) - 1181 Queen St. West

Passing by The Great Hall on his way back home to the secret Lizard Lair, Lucas's life feels a little less pitiful when he finally gets a positive response from "RooBarb" about an evening of board games and beers while checking his messages. To celebrate an evening of successful crime prevention and the prospect of social interaction in the near future, the Human-Lizard gives out a cheer as the TTC bus he's riding on top of passes by Mr. Sub at 1181 Queen Street West, directly across the street from the Gladstone Hotel.

The Human-Lizard on top of a TTC streetcar as it passes 1181 Queen St. W.

The Mr. Submarine located at 1181 Queen St. W. was a fixture of the West Queen West neighbourhood until 2013, when it was replaced by Hot Shawarma. In 2016, Hot Shawarma also began sharing space with Burger Fighter and have continued to offer both burgers and middle-eastern cuisine on their combined menu since then.

Burger Fighter/Hot Shawarma at 1181 Queen St. W.

Up next: Lucas gives his parents a call and then tangles with a gang of beetle vikings on the back of a truck while cruising past Guerilla Printing on Spadina Ave.


Friday, June 2, 2017

Sticky Step Twenty-Five: The Great Hall - 1087 Queen St. West

After an abysmal first date at the Art Gallery of Ontario, "RooBarb" heads home to her second floor townhouse apartment in Toronto's Palmerston neighbourhood and logs onto her online profile to see Lucas' date invitation for the first time. Probably thinking it couldn't be any worse than the evening she'd just spent with "Don Juan," she immediately takes "LuBar" up on his offer.

Barb's townhouse apartment at 634 Bathurst Street.

Meanwhile, at that moment a few blocks south and west, "LuBar" (a.k.a. the Human-Lizard) gets her response while riding home on the top of another TTC streetcar as it passes The Great Hall at 1087 Queen Street West.

The Human-Lizard zooms past the Great Hall's Drawing Room windows.

Built in 1889, and lovingly restored to it's original glory after decades of neglect, The Great Hall is now home to four different venues (The Main Hall, Conversation Room, Longboat Hall, and the Drawing Room) to cater to any kind of upscale event, from concerts and shows to corporate meetings, weddings and even film location shooting. For more information about booking an event, please visit The Great Hall.

The Great Hall at 1087 Queen St. W.

From 2014 to 2016, the restaurant space in the first floor of The Great Hall was home to the British pub, The Bristol, but has since been replaced by the German themed, Otto's Bierhalle.

Up next: The Human-Lizard celebrates the prospect of social interaction while passing by Mr Sub on Queen St. West (now Hot Shawarma/Burger Fighter).


Monday, May 15, 2017

Special Sticky Step: Sticky Footprints gets the royal treatment in The Pitiful Human-Lizard #13!

I'm breaking off from the usual location to location journey through the Human-Lizard's Toronto in this post to give a shout out to The Pitiful Human-Lizard creator, Jason Loo. Ideally, once I'm right up to the minute following the Human-Lizard's adventures, that will be the idea anyway, to post news and updates between issues of PHL. Not only on the comic itself, but as Toronto constantly continues to undergo a Metroplex-like transformation, I also want to report on changes to the locations featured in the stories, as well. For today though, I just want to take a moment to open up my heart in response to an incredible gesture of friendship and kindness made by Jason, which I received in full this past weekend at the Toronto Reference Library during TCAF - The Toronto Comic Arts Festival.

I'd say that look says it all.

Back in late December of last year, at a time when many people try to cope with the pressures of the holidays and adjusting to the darkest season of the year, I was dealing with those very same issues, as well. Same as every year really, but this was a bad one. Social media was getting the better of me in the worst way and I can admit now that the muse that inspired Sticky Footprints as a pursuit had completely fled. In the moment, I rationalized by telling myself that it was just the winter season and trips to Toronto for photos were difficult enough to plan in the warm months, but the truth is that I'd been carrying around a lot of unresolved emotional baggage since the summer. A death in the family and a job lost in the same week was crushing and it happening just as this blog journey was beginning made for a powerful confusion of feelings on top of that. Add a prolonged period of estrangement from a friend going through momentous changes in their own life and I can tell you there was a veritable witches brew stewing away in my head. Let simmer until the most stressful time of year and then brace for impact.

Original art of page 19, issue 13 of The Pitiful Human-Lizard.

And then, unplugged from the rest of the world and feeling my absolute lowest on a Festivus morning after a premature online airing of grievances, Niki woke me up to tell me she'd gotten a message from Jason Loo. Then she showed me a photo on her phone of Jason's version of me sitting next to the Human-Lizard chatting him up. What can I say that Dr. Seuss hasn't already? My heart grew three sizes that day and that's how the Human-Lizard saved my entire holiday season. I resolved then and there to finish the remaining few Sticky Footprints posts for the first issue of PHL before the end of the year and then make use of the winter downtime to plan out the coverage of issue #2 first and foremost and then focus beyond that afterwards. You'd think I'd have learned by now that you've got to take things one step at a time, no matter how sticky it gets!

The Pitiful Human-Lizard #13 cover by Jason Loo.

Fast forward to TCAF this past weekend and a royal reception from Jason as he pulled out the original art page featuring that chat between the Human-Lizard and I and an advance copy of The Pitiful Human-Lizard #13 that it appears in. Finally, the whole story surrounding this amazing introduction to Toronto's most vulnerable superhero can be told, and the best part is, it's not even the whole story! As the second part of a crossover with the first issue of Captain Canuck's third volume (did you get all that?), there's still an epic battle featuring Chapterhouse Publishing's heaviest hitters to look forward to reading! And who knows? Maybe someday I'll be tapping one of them on the shoulder to tell them what they mean to me, too.

Captain Canuck (2017) #1 cover by John Gallagher.

Up next: Back on the hunt as the Human-Lizard heads home and finally gets a phone message while riding past The Great Hall, but after the events of the past evening will he have a date or not?