Comic books are a cultural staple, but truly special comic book shops are few and far between. Isotope doesn't just take comics seriously — it takes store design seriously, too. It's stylishly outfitted with space-age décor: red-and-white sofas, black countertops, chrome accents. The checkout counter is a repurposed wet bar that's been upholstered to match the furniture. And the store's zoot suit-wearing proprietor, James Sime, could star in a series called Ultimate Extrovert. Sime has dedicated himself to creating a community around the store. Isotope regularly hosts events that go well beyond straightforward author or artist appearances, and swinging events they are, with mixed drinks and the stamp of Sime's generous, energetic personality. In the last year, Isotope has hosted a Walking Dead bar crawl, artist Frank Quitely, writer Grant Morrison, author Lauren Beukes, and coverage of Noise Pop 2012 by a panel of cartoonists presented in conjunction with Spin magazine. Forthcoming this year? More fun, including something tantalizingly called MorrisonCon. We are staying tuned.