Zapping the recession

Comics and SciFi Fair at the Workstation: Sam Frazer (6 - left) and Rebekah Lloyd (9) playing with Star Wars figures
Comics and SciFi Fair at the Workstation: Sam Frazer (6 - left) and Rebekah Lloyd (9) playing with Star Wars figures

You can bank on comic heroes for fantasy and escapism during these hard times. David Bocking meets enthusiasts at a fair in Sheffield

BATMAN, the Incredible Hulk and The Swamp Thing seem to be fighting off the effects of the recession rather valiantly. “We think the market is holding up and may even be growing,” said Mr Golden Orbit (aka Gez Kelly) last Saturday.

The regular Sci Fi, Comic and Card Fair held at the Workstation in Paternoster Row is primarily all about comics, said Gez of Golden Orbit, and added that comic traders are seeing an interest from younger people again, as well as original fans of the golden, silver and bronze ages of comics. (The 1950s onwards, that is).

“There’s a very wide audience now,” said Chris Young of Bang Bang Comics. “We’ve had a really good start to this year,” added Sumyra Ihsan, of Lucky Target Comics. “I don’t think the recession had much of an effect on the comics industry. People still want their fantasy and escapism and if they have something left after paying their bills, they’ll go for what makes them happy and comics make a lot of people happy.”

The 20 traders at the fair brought in more than 200 people. The comics on sale were supplemented by several stalls of collectors cards, toys and models. Chris Young noted that internet giants like eBay and Amazon hadn’t yet overwhelmed the comic world’s smaller traders. “People still come to us because they want to see what they’re buying,” he said.

The fair included comics from £1 to collectors items at nearly £500, with titles ranging from superheroics and horror to politics, romance and Rupert the Bear. “Comics these days are definitely not just for kids,” said Chris Young.