- IAN SELIG
First priority: find a comic shop. New Comic Book Wednesday doesn't stop just because you're getting adjusted to dorm life. Strange Adventures (5110 Prince Street) is the downtown go-to, and Monster Comix Lounge (2089 Gottingen Street) is a haven for gaming. And a bit further of a trek from campus, but most definitely worth it, are Cape & Cowl Comics (536 Sackville Drive) and Giant Robot Comics (114 Woodlawn Road) in Dartmouth.
Giant Robot is the place for collectables. Owner Darryl Wall is a life-long Transformers nerd, and it shows; he hosts regular toy trade events and monthly Gundam gatherings. He's also commissioned locally-themed comic covers for years. "We've done Transformers a few times," says Wall, "Ninja Turtles, Jem, The Walking Dead. Looks like it's going to be Power Rangers [this year]."
Cape & Cowl is run by Jay Aaron Roy, and he's got the comic shop with a conscience. His store has great swag, but his priorities are to expand literacy and provide a safe space for at-risk youths. "My number one goal is making sure everybody—no matter how they need it to be accessible—can enjoy the space," says Roy. "We all do something a little bit different," says Wall. "Check out all the stores, and see which one is the best fit for you. "
Any comic shop worth their salt will have Magic the Gathering or D&D. But for the best gaming experience, hit up The Deck Box. They just moved to 1980 Brunswick Street to double their occupancy, because they needed it. "It's given us the space to take in 60 people on a day-to-day basis," says co-owner Joshua Pyle-Carter. "We get a lot of people coming in this time of year."
Their events are casual on purpose. It's to encourage new folks to come out and make new friends. "It's a really good way of coming out, meeting people, and making connections," says Pyle-Carter. "The more people that you meet in play, the more [likely] you're going to find a playgroup that resonates with you."
The middle ground
Something that's changed in recent history is that nerd culture has become so prevalent. There are plenty of ways to have a fun night out with friends–even "normies"–that don't involve the club scene.
Halifax has escape rooms and VR salons, and even two axe-throwing lounges all within walking/biking/bussing distance of campus. But the place that's really hopping is the Board Room Game Cafe (256 Barrington Street). "We kind of appeal to both crowds," says shift lead Michael Strickland.
A $5 cover gets you full access to its extensive library of games (including Codename: Pictures), along with the grub and pub fare. Though, consider hitting them up on a weeknight–the line to get in on a Saturday can be long.
You're probably already aware of Halifax's annual nerd convention, Hal-Con. And, yes, you'll want to get tickets–like, NOW–but the group behind it is not confined to that one weekend. Hal-Con has several sub-communities, gatherings and events throughout the year—its next reading and discussion series event is Sunday, September 22 from 2-4pm at the Halifax Central Library. They're also often looking for volunteers.
Those are a few good starting points for you to settle into your nerdy niche here in Halifax. The pop culture community in the city is, luckily, a pretty warm and welcoming one; no matter how you go about it, you're bound to become a part of it.