Monday, 4 August 2008

A visit to a London Comic Market

To the mart with Mr Wheatley and chum Gareth.

A particularly shabby affair I must say. Turnout was way down on July's stinkfest, leaving most of the dealers ashen faced. The rows of 25p and 50p boxes grow longer by the month and the dealers trying to get rid of expensive silver age books are virtually redundant. There might still be money at the top end of the back issue market, but for the boys knocking out mid-grade bronze and silver age comics the game is almost up. No wonder these purveyors of four colour treasure look so fucking miserable.

Still, as Gareth remarked, they could improve their chances of survival by at least trying to be customer friendly. He's got a point. To the newcomer many of these scowling misery guts can be off-putting. Often they're too engaged in discussing how terrible business is to pay any attention to potential customers. In the case of those knocking out comics at basement prices, they can't even be bothered to put their stock in alphabetical order.

Yeah, yeah, I know that bargain bins are traditionally chaotic and non alphabetical. But if you were having a hard time making cash (as a lot of these blokes seem to be) wouldn't you consider organising your stock? I'm sure it would boost sales among casual punters looking for specific titles. Not that the dealers seem to agree.

"Have you got any Batman?" I heard one bloke (who was clearly frustrated by the chaotic jumble of yellowing junk he was faced with) ask.

"Yes" smirked the dealer "They're filed under TW for twenty five pence"

Ho-Hum. Didn't stop me buying a stack of cheap tat from him obviously. Not that I was too happy with him when, on returning home, I discovered that a couple of his comics had pages missing. CUNTTTTTTTTT!!!!

It wasn't all bad news. I picked up a few lovely bargains including Adventure Comics #390, which features a quality story about Comet the Super-Horse and his frankly species inappropriate feelings for Supergirl...


Needless to say he gets his wish, transforming (via some goddess or other's spell) into a cowboy before getting it on with Supergirl...

Click the image to enjoy this inappropriate moment in full

Marvellous, if mildly disturbing, stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

Also shoved in the old nerd sack: this copy of Action Comics...

I like that cover a lot, Superman looks like he's straining to have a shit while laying waste to Metropolis. Class.

A couple of crappy old Cap issues including this one...

Margaret Thatcher: Nazi Hunter
(Actually that's quite a good idea)


And various mouldering horror comics, full of brilliant old ads like this...

Strangely old looking teens? Or...

ZOMBIES!!!!!!!!!!!

So yeah anyway, shit like that is what keeps me going back, but every month's mart is shabbier than the last. Let's face it, there's just no place for it in a world of cheap reprints and Ebay bargains. The event is dying on its arse, and pretty soon it's just going to be me, a desperate dealer and a couple of boxes of Bunty in a huge and otherwise empty hall.

Until next month...

6 comments:

Bruce Mehlmann-Wicks said...

These are all fantastic, I especially like the horse one. I'll have to get down to the comic mart one day before it dies.

mr wheatley said...

if you can bare the man sweat! comicon it aint! I didnt buy anything in the end. It was interesting to go full circle though, once i was a fresh faced nerd child laughing at the loser old men who were still interested in comics and now i am the old man.

Dom Sutton said...

Bruce there's one every month. Keep an eye on the comic mart website.

Wheatley, the difference is that there are now very few fresh faced nerd children to laugh at you!

Anonymous said...

Hey!
Massive comic fan that I am, I have never been to a comic mart!
Oohh how I have dreamed!
Come on mate. Give your ol pal a break and invite to the next one.
I would have loved to have seen you and Wheatley and perhaps made Gareths aquaintance!
Keep us posted!

Goli Mar,
D

tpcat said...

hello
I've never been to a comic mart. Just wondering...did you see anyone selling comic books they created themselves? Thanks

Dom Sutton said...

no it's just old stuff I'm afraid. There's a weekly stall in Camden Lock market where folk sell their own stuff I think