Group of Circles

This week Chris and Walt explore the brave new world of local comic book clubs; the grassroots gathering of fans that like to talk comics, trade stories and maybe even trade books.

Please let us know what you thought of the show: leave a comment in the comments field. All we ask is that you keep things civil.

Do you belong to a comic book club?

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Walter Durajlija
Walter Durajlija

Walter Durajlija is an Overstreet Advisor and Shuster Award winner. He owns Big B Comics in Hamilton Ontario.

Articles: 1671

9 Comments

  1. The great thing about getting together with comic fans is that you begin to realize that many of them are also fans of great art, literature, film, history and Gord knows what-all, and not just comics fixated, so the conversation can be incredibly wide-ranging and enjoyable. I think too that Spider had a great idea a while back when he was talking about maybe a post of just plain great comics for five bucks and under. He has already enjoyed Fantastic Four Vol.3 #56 immensely on my recommendation and they are readily available and cheap. After he mentioned it, I actually sat down and made a list of about twenty individual issues or runs where each book is five bucks and under, and they are all great reads with wonderful art (my favourite combination!) at bargain basement prices! My favourite place to gab about comics is at my local comic shop. I’ve know Andy Brast (of Carry On Comics in Waterloo) for about 40 years, and I go there every Wednesday before the shop opens for our own private gabfest. Truly some of the most relaxing and enjoyable moments of my hectic week! Before it closed, Harry Kremer’s Now and Then Books in Kitchener was a hotbed of comics chat every Saturday, and the conversation frequently spilled out into local coffee shops and bars (let’s not forget bars!), and many lasting friendships were formed! I go through comics like most people go through coffee and I buy tons of bargain books, read them, and then put them down in the lobby for the kids in our building. You would be amazed how many adult fans have now come out of the woodwork, and I even host the occasional sale in our tenant lounge. But, truth be told, there is nothing more enjoyable about comics than sharing them and sharing our love of the medium on posts such as this! Let’s face it you guys are the toast of the town!

  2. You hear that Chis, we’re toast !

    Thanks for the kind words Mel and I’ll second that Andy is a great guy, I used to see more of him when I’d come up Kitchener way and I used to love visiting Harry at Now and Then. Kitchener/Waterloo is quite the comic book hotspot. I love that you leave the comics for the kids in the lobby Mel, such a nice gesture.

  3. We began an informat comics group in the Sacramento, Calif area a few years ago. Started with 3 o4 4 of us, and now we try to meet regularly every 2 months or so. One of the guys has a killer back yard and pool (Alex Grand aka ComicBookHistorians.com) so we could hang out safely outdoors, even through the covid months. We do lots of show and tell; old fanzines back to the 1930s, original art, rare Golden Age, a GN Alex’s wife just did, just about anything is game.

    We corralled in some local artists: Kelly Jones and Thomas Yeates (Prince Valiant) have made it, and we’re working on Dan Brereton and Brian Peets (A-1 Comics, the best comic shop in the area) to come by. There’s even a little buy and sell going on. I picked up some original daily strips of Reg’lar Fellas, and some early fanzines from the 1940s. And Golden Age. Three of the guys used to work for Comics & Comix which I co-owned from ‘72 to ‘88, so we can swap old flyers and ads for some great artist appearances, plus other stories about the old days….Dave Armstrong from LA even made it by a couple times with some killer original art to share with us. And he always has great stories.

  4. The social aspect of collecting ANYTHING can not be overstated ! Getting together with friends, enthusiasts & experts/professionals in your field of interest only serves to expand your love, understanding & appreciation of your hobby! I truly miss the old comic conventions that I used to attend in the GTA back in the 1980’s as the act of physically going to & enjoying the show in person can NOT be duplicated by bidding on an online auction. Meeting favourite dealers, both local & American & connecting with other collectors was always part of the fun. Going to a show would be a full days pilgrimage , leaving home in the morning & getting home in the evening after a full day’s activity, but instead of being tired..I’d be wired ! I’d spend all night going through my new purchases & the details of some of these transactions are still fresh in my mind, almost forty years later ! Geez, I can recall exactly what I paid for my Wonderworld #3 back in 1986, but I have trouble remembering my own kid’s birthday !!!

    I went to seven Pulpcons in Bowling Green or Dayton, Ohio between 1990 & 1998 & those days were Nirvana for me- some of the best days of my life! The shows running for four days- Thursday through Sunday every time. The halls were filled with true fandom- dealers & enthusiasts, many of whom actively participated in various study groups & publishing both fanzines & prozines fairly regularly. We enjoyed the dealers room. attended all the live auctions, attended all the lectures & interviews with pulp veterans, artists, writers and publishers & all re-enactments of Old Time Radio shows ! Pulp fandom never died & there are many professionals & fans still publishing fanzines & prozines [ & blogs ] to this day. Many publishers have sprung up to reprint classic material from the pulps in beautiful hardcover or softcover editions. Their work may be easier because they are dealing with much public domain material, but the effort to find & collate every appearance of a lesser known pulp detective from the pages of a long dead & vaguely remembered magazine are awesome to behold ! It is the efforts of these fans & enthusiasts that keep the fires burning for many of us & their efforts are much appreciated.

    This is what separates the true collectors from the ‘investors’ sitting at home throwing huge bids at sealed books on an online auction. The true collectors work to improve the knowledge & understanding of the things they love- they publish books, fanzines, blogs & websites devoted to the objects of our passion & help to fuel our fires. The investors do nothing, but attach themselves to our hobby like lampreys to the body of a shark ! Suck, suck, suck ! The ‘investor’ is a dead branch that needs to be pruned- he doesn’t care about his product ,other than what it is worth & will impart nothing to the knowledge base of the item he possesses.

  5. I now have a friend locally I talk comics with. We are different collectors as he gets almost everything graded and loves signatures. We do have friendly debates now and again like is or isn’t the band on Luke Cages head a tiara…I say it isn’t!
    When I was a teen there was a comic club in Colorado Springs started by Chuck Rozanski who I never net and that I never got to go to but was taken advantage of trade wise by an older member. Because of that experience I had always maintained a lone wolf status fearing the worst. Its only here that I have found people I like talking comics with on a regular basis!

  6. Spider, head of the Melbourne chapter reporting:

    Quite simply there aren’t enough members in my area for group meetings so I’ve come up with an alternate strategy; I lure fully grown men into my home with coffee and books. I will import a book that they are trying to locate with one of my shipments from the states, then they come over to collect the book and are greeted with a lovely dining room (Blackbutt wood table sitting on an Eames base, surrounded by Kai Kristiansen chairs…some Radiohead gently spinning on the stereo)…and the table is covered with Mylar clad beauties that have just arrived from overseas.

    They sit, drink coffee, look at their new book, look at everything else on the table and just have to talk; immediately the passion for the books and art and writing and their childhood joy and their plans, their failing, the books that got away…it all comes spilling out for it has been held in, painfully restrained, their wife, partner, lover unable, unwilling to hear about this side of their life. I nod and smile, feeling much like a confessional priest hearing about their illicit tryst with the neighbor’s wife at the Saturday BBQ.

    They leave; high on art, plots, characters, caffeine & sound!!!

  7. Gerald, you are correct, your friend is wrong. There is no grey in the argument. I put it to you both like this:

    Luke Cage is standing in front of you both, chest heaving, steel-hard skin gleaming, a giant hole now stands where there used to be a brick wall, the dust is settling on the rumble at his feet. Is your friend going to ask him ‘is that a tiara on your head?’

    I think not.

    and therefore you both know the answer: it’s a headband to keep the liquid awesomeness out of his eyes whilst he is kicking @ss!!!!

  8. Those sound like fancy parties Spider, is it invite only? Do you tell people what they’re allowed to sit on or are there signs? Is the coffee organic and fair trade? Any Velvet Underground ever get played? I get an easy feeling knowing the Melbourne chapter is in good hands.

    Bud, I can just imagine the size of the community you’ve helped create over the years, we offer our thanks. Those must be fun gatherings, are they invite only too?

    Sorry to hear abot that bad experience Gerald but it just goes to show the power of these gatherings, they can either inspire us or leave us bitter.

    Live Frog, I’ve seen investors turn into collectors as well, there is hope for all.

  9. Walter; invite only, you sit at the head of the table with your book in front of you waiting to be inspected…but then the table is just full of the rest of the shipment for you to peruse too. Radiohead, sometimes jazz too: Lee Morgan’s The Sidewinder is great!

    Beans are locally roasted..but the sugar is panela, raw cane sugar. Milk is from a state dairy co-operative that prides itself on it’s quality, yes, mouth feel is superb. Will send you photos the next time we have a Melbourne chapter gathering! One member has a few Marvel team-Ups in the shipment, another has an X-Men #49 in VF/NM condition!

    What I’m excited about: Neal Adams Batman, Deadman and Green Lantern all in the next shipment. We certainly lost a legend last month.

    What I’m astounded about: have you guys seen what’s happening to the price of X-Men #133, Wolverine’s fist solo cover etc. It has really been recognized as a key for Wolvy collectors, I was hunting for nice, tight raws and they used to be $100us, now I’m seeing them at $300us regularly. Walt, I think you missed that on the Undervalued column?

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