Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Return to the mart!

So, the mart then. It's been a while since I went. I've missed it.

Arrived nice and early for my return to the fetid fray, largely because I was meeting Tam who had very kindly offered to donate me a full set of Paul Jenkins' run on Hellblazer. Top score. Thank you sir.

Anyway, picked up huge plasi bag of Hellblazer comics and watched as the early arrivals filed into The National. No fucking about for me as I headed straight for the 25p bins in search of gold. Didn't find any, but I did dig up plenty of nice tat, including Dazzler and Power Pack number ones, a bunch of Iron Man Armor Wars issues, a couple of very beat up silver age comics and a terrible issue of The Flash which features a villain called Ubermensch. Ubermensch is a sort of Hank Pymesque figure who knocks his missus about...

She leaves him for The Flash (yes really)...

so he injects himself with shitloads of steroids...

and dons a special suit to become a super-powered wife-beater...


On the way to The Flash's house he kills a horse...


and runs into a wall by mistake....


What an utter loon.

When he eventually gets into The Flash's gaffe, he's completely blown out his eyes smashing into stuff, but he still manages to grab his missus from Flash's bed and jumps out of the window; at which point The Flash delivers this immortal bit of dialogue...


I don't have the next issue. I don't want it. This is the perfect end to the story.

Apart from that I got the first three issues of Warlock, the 80s Fighting Fantasy magazine. I bought these as they were coming out and this was a purely nostalgic purchase for me. They were a bit pricey (£4 for number 1 and £3 for the other two) but they will keep me warm in my old age. Ah.

Afraid the speculator in me took over when I spotted this in mint condition for £2...


I know, it's worth fuck all, but I did see other stalls at the mart knocking it out for a tenner, and you can sometimes get a fiver for it on ebay, so errm, you know.

For the same price I also scored issue #12 of Super-Villain Team-Up. I've gone on at length about my love of this series. Although I own the reprints, issue #12 is the one where Doctor Doom fights Red Skull and his flying Nazi cock gun on the moon...

and this was a beautiful cents edition for £2! So I had to have it.

From there I scored four very tatty copies of early 2000AD issues and wandered around idly looking at freaks before my eyes fell on the day's big prize - a complete run of the 1980s DC Who's Who + the updates for £11! Not in the best of nick, but what a treat - 31 issues of encyclopedic goodness. Less scholarly than the Marvel equivalent (which I also love) but even crazier and suffused with a sort of disco colored light that gives them a trippy camp vibe. Magical stuff.

I remember reading Who's Who as a lad and loving the entry for War Wheel. Obviously it was the first entry I flipped to in my newly acquired set. Still a thing of glory, so it is. I was going to write about its wonderfulness, but someone has already beaten me to it and frankly there's no way I can do better than this.

Genius.

So happy was I to have found that War Wheel entry after all these years that I wittered on a lot about it to John, Tam and Nell in the shit pub outside The Royal National. They listened politely. We had a nice chat. Good times.

Later on, as John and I finished our last drink and watched the depressed dealers packing longboxes of unsold tat into their vans, King Stinker (who I have mentioned before at the end of this mart report) loped into the pub. His T-shirt was stained yellow by months worth of sweat and he was hauling a heavy sports bag of comics behind him like a ball and chain. As he moved from table to table drinking the dregs of leftover pints and eating bits of food from long since abandoned plates, it became clear just what a terrible state he was in - utterly mad, mired in squalor, a deranged tramp. I felt momentarily awful for taking his photo all those months ago. Let's face it, I've taken the piss out of this tragic fellah. Not nice. Not nice at all.

As I was experiencing this rush of guilt, two lads got up from their table and started snapping pics of him. They laughed and I felt even worse.The guilt didn't last. See, I'm still a cuntish teenager at heart, so I'll go on taking photos of him and the rest of the oddballs who attend this strange get together. I really am fascinated by them. Morbidly so. They'll be gone soon. The marts will be gone soon. Someone has to record them in all their stinking glory. Might as well be me.

7 comments:

mr wheatley said...

But Mr Torrance.. you've always been here.

great bit of writing Dom.. think you've found the subject for your book.

mr wheatley said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
BruceMW said...

Great stuff! I remember buying about a million copies of that Spiderman #1 about 2 months before I stopped buying comics altogether. I also have a load of Power Pack comics that I am saving for Hartley, poor boy.

Tam said...

I love how that 'He's blind, he's crazy. He didn't make the curve. He's going straight into a Texaco oil depot' quote doesn't include a single exclamation mark but does clarify which oil company owns the depot. Why can't more comics be like this?

JJT said...

Really wanted to meet up for your post mart drink-up to put faces to names, but had to rush off to Honest Jon's. Did you see Mr & Mrs Useless flogging tatty paperbacks, they kept getting asked about Philip K Dick books but they'd "left them in their van". How daft can they be? They went to all the trouble of bringing their tat along but were too dopey to actually put out the easiest items to sell... AND did you see the Krypton guys with their inflated half price silver-age sale? Shocking!

Dom said...

JJT - yes! I saw that stall. Couple of robbing gnomes they were.
Krypton have been using htat old half-price trick for yonks.

eye-melt said...

Bloody jokers. Still can't believe I got Nell to come with me, and she even (pretended to) enjoy it. She's responding well to the introduction of comics to her diet.