Thursday, 10 September 2009

(S)Mart People

Yes, (S)mart people - the witty headline for a quite fantastic feature in the 1988 2000AD Sci-Fi Special.

If you've ever been to one of London's occasional comic marts or read my reports (see sidebar. ED) then you know that these glorified jumble sales at The Royal National are quite downbeat occasions. But it wasn't always like this. When I were a lad, London's monthly mart was a HUGE event, a veritable comics bazaar staged within the cavernous confines of Westminster's Central Hall, and a real highlight for serious comic collectors.

I honestly used to tick off the days on my calendar between these gatherings. There were no trades back then, see? No internet either. If you wanted to read an old issue of Marvel Team-Up (and I wanted to read them all) you had to go and find one in the wild, and there was no better place to do that then at Central Hall. It was such a big event that even the top creators used to pitch up for a squizz.

Ah, the memories. I'd save all month, load up on 10p comics then get the 24 bus home and lay my haul out on the frontroom floor, gazing in wonder at the glossy covered American exotica, before devouring it in front of the A-Team.


Of course, the time when comics and roleplaying ruled the world are long since gone. Those huge marts are the stuff of legend now, but, thanks to old copies of 2000AD, you can relive the magic. All of the scans below can be clicked to blow up the nostalgia. Enjoy...

Sorry to butt in. Love this pic! Pat Mills looks like he should be in The Sweeney!

There you go chums. Hope you enjoyed that little trot down memory lane. Catch you later.


JJT said...

Priceless, I only managed to talk my old man into taking me to one of these from the Westcountry but ended up meeting Hunt Emerson weirdly... Cheers for the nostalgia!

Mr A. P. Salmond, esq. said...

Christ, you just made me all misty eyed for the days of collecting. There was only one comic shop anywhere near me* that involved a day trip into the city, which I only did on the holidays. I would save up all my money and go for a splurge, taking home a sack full of goodies. There was nothing like having that big stack of unread treasure to work through.

* I was able to get new stuff from local newsagents and the second hand bookstores were all great sources of comics. Also, that comic shop? I wound up managing it. Living the dream, baby!