Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Car Boot Comics

In a bid to rid my house of decades of accumulated junk, I attempted a car boot sale at the weekend. For the right person, my stall was a treasure trove of old science fiction novels, comicbook memorabilia, Dr Who toys and several misprinted copies of the best-seller “Morris Telford’s Salopian Odyssey”. Correctly printed copies are still available in all good book shops.

I also brought along a small box of comics, mostly DC, mostly of little value, but a nice run of Starman was in there, some Animal Man with Bolland covers, a couple of dog-eared Graphic Novels, even the odd signed issue picked up at conventions over the years. There was a real mixed bag in there, I hadn’t really looked through it properly but I was confident there were no Golden Age gems in there, I’d have been able to smell them.

Sadly there was little interest in the comics until a dark haired boy and what I presumed were his grandparents came over and the boy started rummaging through them with all the enthusiasm of a starving man at an eat-all-you-can buffet. He spent ages looking through them, making a little pile and pestered the cash. I think he bought 5, and he was gone, another happy customer.

The day went on, I sold the hamster cage, the old sci-fi novels, the broken laptop that’s probably got all my Ebay and Paypal passwords on it, the Daleks and a surprising number of items I’d never even seen before that my children will probably be looking for next week. Not much interest in the Morris Telford books though.

Then it happened. The Grandfather and Grandmother from earlier came back. Without the boy this time. Had I sold an unsuitable comic to his grandson? Had that copy of Sexy Zombie Mutant Slavegirl I thought I’d thrown away found it’s way into the box and he’d come back to chastise me like a modern day Fredric Wertham? No. He’d got home and his Grandson had sat straight down and started devouring the comics, getting very excited about them, telling his Grandad after reading the first couple that he wished he’d bought some more.

So, and this is the moment of awesomeness,  the Grandparents had left him at their house, and without telling him driven back to me at the Car Boot sale to buy the whole box. The whole box. To give to him as a surprise. I gave them it for a few quid, it was an act of generosity and fantastic Grandparenting that deserved to be facilitated.

I wish I’d noticed which 5 comics the kid bought, but it was good to see someone getting genuinely excited about comics, and great to help someone start what could be a lifetime’s obsession. Maybe in 30 years he’ll sell them on to some other kid….. I hope so.

If you have a house full of comics you never read – Share them. Give them to kids you know, donate them to your local library and make sure they don’t just rot away in your attic. Just think about what a kick YOU would have got as a kid if someone gave you a whole box of comics.