Earle to host Comic Expo
Local shop owner spreading fandom across the
Robert Walker is bringing a little bit of geek to Earle.
Walker, who owns The Daycare Kids Comics, Toys & Antiquities in West Memphis, will be hosting a Comic Expo in Earle on the lot across the street in front of the library on July 28 from 10-2 p.m.
A long-time comic book collector, Walker was contacted by the branch librarian and the school district about coming to the city to give a talk about comic books. But rather than just talk about comic books, Walker suggested bringing a full blown comic expo to Earle where kids get a chance to not only hear about comic books, but get to dress up in costume, meet a real life comic book artist in person, and walk away with some comic books of their own.
“It’s not going to be a big, major event,” “Walker said. “There will be maybe two or three vendors and two or three presentations. If nothing else, you can watch kids smile when they get to buy a comic book for 25 cents or a toy they never had a chance to buy.”
Comic cons today are big business. Major cities host the events which draw thousands of fans from all over the country, vendors with new and vintage comics, well known comic book writers and artists, and big name celebrities.
Big ones, like the one in San Diego, often serve as a launching place for the latest Marvel or DC movie or television shows.
Walker said Earle isn’t a place that would normally attract a comic con, but he enjoys acting as an ambassador for comic books and thought it would be a perfect event to introduce kids to comics and the fun that can be had at a comic con.
“Those are usually held in big cities,” Walker said.
“But you have a lot of kids in Earle who like comics and superheroes and anime who are in to this sort of thing. So we thought it would be a great place to bring something like this.”
Since opening his store, Walker’s shop has become a mecca for comic book and toy collectors. Collectors come in and are instantly transported back in time to their childhood years. The store has thousands of back issue comic books dating back 50 years or more to the present, and hundreds of actions figures and other memorabilia.
Walker said he still remembers the first Comic con he attended. It was held in the Chicago Civic Center in 1973.
“My brother and I skipped school and went,” Walker said. “I met Bozo the Clown. But the thing I remember most was that Amazing Spiderman #1 was $65.”
He still attends comic cons all over the country. He’s also involved in shows closer to home like the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, which will be held Nov. 16-18 at the Guesthouse at Graceland.
Walker said Comic cons aren’t just for kids. Adults will also find plenty of things to do and might even walk away with a comic book or toy that they remember from their youth.
“They’re addictive,” Walker said. “And when you’re an adult, not only do you revert back to a kid, but you get to go there with your kids or grandkids and get to watch them smile at the came comic book character you smiled at when you were their age.”
But more importantly, Walker said a comic convention is a great place for fans to gather with other people who share their same interests.
“Comic cons are cool because it’s for the fans,” Walker said. “It’s the feeling that ‘I’m here.’ And it’s the thrill of finding something you’ve always wanted or have never seen before or never thought you’d get. The celebrities and the comic book artists — that’s just an extra feature.”
Walker will have a booth at the Expo with boxes of inexpensive comics and some vintage toys. There will also be a costume contest where kids can dress up and win prizes, free passes to the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, and presenters who will talk about the hobby.
Walker said the expo will be fun for all ages and is a great chance for people to experience what a comic con is like.
“I’ll be bringing a lot of geek to Earle,” Walker said. “We’re not bringing a lot of expensive stuff out there. If they want the expensive stuff they can come to the store. The stuff we are bringing is stuff that a kid with two dollars can have a souvenir from the show and enjoy a comic book.”
By Mark Randall