Get your geek on at the Comics Shop
New Daycare Kids’ Comics, Toys & Antiquities store open in West Memphis
Wade “Weasel” Walker has dreamed about owning his own comic book store since he was 13 years old.
In fact, you might say he owes his life to comic books.
His father, Robert, or Mister Robert of Mister Robert and the Day Care Kids as he is known, had to close his own comic book store and sell off part of his own prized comic book collection to pay for life saving operations for both Wade and his older brother, who were born with birth defects.
So when Wade bought his first comic book collection, he decided that he would help re-build his father’s lost collection.
“When I was younger my dad gave up his collection to save my life,” Wade said. “So I always thought in the back of mind that I would get it back for him.
Well, in the process of getting it back for him, I started my own collection.” He and Robert have been buying and selling comics ever since and are known as the “go to” source for many collectors worldwide because of their extensive collection.
Now that they have gotten back a lot of what Robert had to part with nearly 20 years ago — and then some — Wade’s dream of finally being able to open a comic book shop has come true.
The Daycare Kids Comics, Toys & Antiquities had its grand opening last week in West Memphis at 704 Ingram Boulevard.
New comics. Old comics.
Vintage toys. You name it, they have it.
“Anywhere from ALF to X-Men,” Wade said.
But if you think it is just a place to come to and buy comics you’re in a for a surprise.
“It’s not a comic book store,” Robert Walker said.
“It’s a museum.”
Mixed among the rare and special issues of comics that line the wall is a virtual smorgasbord of toys.
There are action figures from just about every cartoon and movie and comic book hero ever made.
Star Wars. Battlestar Galactica. Clash of the Titans. Dungeons and Dragons. Herculoids. Space 1999. Challenge of the Superfriends. And if you look up, spaceships of every shape and size.
And for those who grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons and monster movies from the 1970s, there’s Robert’s favorites — Shogun Warriors and Godzilla figures.
“I’ve been collecting toys for 47 years,” Robert said.
“When I was nine years old, we would go to yard sales and my grandmother would buy every action figure she could find. So I’ve been accumulating since I was nine years old. I wasn’t just collecting comics. It was comics and action figures. I remember when Space 1999 was in the Sears catalogue and I wanted it, but my brother got it.”
Robert’s own story of how he got started collecting comics is just as unique.
His grandfather “delivered” magazines in the 1940s and 50s, but was really selling moonshine.
He would deliver the shine to his customers and then throw the magazines in his barn. When Robert cleaned out the barn there were seven stalls stacked to the roof with four or five copies of magazines and some of the rarest, most valuable comic books in the world.
Together, their collection exceeds over 50,000 comics.
If you can’t find what you are looking for, chances are they have it at their house.
What you see in the store is just a fraction of what they have still at home.
They have only partially emptied out the contents of Wade’s bedroom so far.
“I slept on comics,” Wade said. The store is still a work in progress. According to Robert, they don’t have nearly enough in the store yet to suit him. He still has 800 toy space ships he wants to hang up on the ceiling.
“When you can’t see the ceiling tiles, then I’ll be happy,” Robert said.
Right now, with the release of the new Wolverine movie, the hot comics that everybody wants are Logan and X23. Also, King Kong and anything with a movie or TV tie in — Avengers, Flash, Harley Quinn, and Suicide Squad — is in demand.
“We go over every week to pick up the new issues everybody needs,” Wade said. “And if I don’t have it in the store, we can go home and get it.”
While Wade enjoys hooking collectors up with the prized issues they are looking for, he remains first and foremost, a collector himself.
“I’m not just selling comic books,” Wade said. “I am a collector. If I buy a collection and there is a book I don’t have, it goes in to my collection. I sell certain things to keep collecting.”
Wade said he hopes the store will be a gathering place for young and old collectors to come and share their passion for comics.
“We need something like this to bring West Memphis back,” Wade said.
And if all goes as planned, someday there could be a Daycare Kids Comics in all 50 states.
“My dream is to have a comic book store in every state,” Wade said. “I want to franchise it.”
For Robert, the shop is now his retirement. Every dime he makes from the store will be used to continue to fund The Day Care Kids for underprivileged youth.
“I’m done working,” Robert said. “This is what I am going to do.”
But even more importantly to him, it’s about memories.
“I tell everybody, if you can walk through here and not smile and revert back to being a 13 year old kid, I haven’t done my job,” Robert said.
By Mark Randall