People love comics and spend over $7 billion on graphic novels and related items globally every year.
Although industry reports show that even the greatest superheroes have taken a hit in sales during the worst of COVID-19, they are bouncing back as good superheroes should. The pandemic has taken its toll on Superman, Spider-Man, The Avengers and even Batman who some reports are calling the biggest seller of all time.
On Saturday, you can see comics of famous and less famous heroes and villains, their characters and other paraphernalia, as well as comic-related items like fantasy role-playing games, illustrations, posters, specialty items made in hand like gambling dice. and more at the Middle Georgia Comic Convention at the Holiday Inn Macon North, 3953 River Place Dr.
Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and adult admission is only $5. Children 12 and under enter free.
The convention is hosted locally by Macon’s Fanboy Collectibles and Comics store, located at 5854 Columbus Road. Online, they’re at facebook.com/fanboycollectiblescomics where you can find links to the convention’s event page.
Fanboy is one of those businesses that opened a few months before COVID-19 shut everything down but managed to get by – without the help of superpowers but thanks to the love for comics from owners Michael and Monica Huffman.
“We had talked to some friends who were hosting conventions as pandemic regulations started to ease and they bugged us to do one here,” Monique Huffman said. “We planned our first in January 2021 and had a good response. So good, in fact, that we planned another for June of that year and then another for January 22. Now this is our fourth.
Monique Huffman said each convention has grown with the attendance of young and old. Some are comic fanatics, some are just starting to get into comics, some loved comics when they were kids and are picking up the hobby or want to see if they can get their hands on an old problem or favorite character and others are not in the comics, but come see what happens or just go out for something different in terms of entertainment.
“Families come with kids and I love that,” Monique Huffman said. “We’re very family friendly and that’s one of the reasons we don’t have a charge for 12 and under. This is also the age when many children begin to take an interest in reading and comics. We all want to promote literacy, it’s one of my favorite parts of it all. Getting a child to read is one of the best things you can do because once they love stories and reading can take them anywhere.
Literacy? Comics? Oh good?
Go to the show and ask adults where their love for reading comes from. OK, this may be biased, but consider popular authors who learned to love storytelling from comics or wrote comics. That would easily include Stephen King, James Patterson, National Book Award-winning nonfiction writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, and multi-award-winning Doris Lessing, who was commissioned to write comics in a literary style. Many of science fiction’s best-known early authors, such as Ray Bradbury, can also be included.
People love comics, and even with the drop, they’re a $7 billion+ industry worldwide.
Do you think the United States is at the top of the list of comic book buyers?
No, it’s Japan. And even in the United States, Asian cartoons and manga-style comics have helped the industry not only stay afloat, but grow. And it’s worth mentioning that across the board, graphic novels — comics that are more “book” than traditional magazine-style comics — are leading the way in sales growth.
And do you think that comics are just for boys and that they are the ones who create the boom?
There has been an increase in the number of girls/women reading comics. Just half a dozen years ago, the website www.graphicpolicy.com conducted surveys of people on Facebook who had comics as “likes” in their profile. Yes, many comic-related surveys are less than scientific, but reports came back with 42.86% women among those who “like” comics.
Add to that other reports showing that women make up almost a third of comic book writers.
Hence the growing popularity of the Huffman’s type of store, their convention and the other conventions they sometimes travel to to sell — and the multitude of salespeople who will be at their Macon salon.
“We’re still a small show, but we’re growing,” Monique Huffman said. “Our dozen or so vendors sell everything from vintage comics and toys to vintage collectibles, movie posters and more. We even have someone selling items imported from Japan – but even with everything that, we plan to expand to a bigger venue to do more things and more things people ask us to do.
“We hope to be able to bring in guests, notables from the comic world, before long and we also hope to add costume and cosplay contests.”
Contact writer Michael W. Pannell at [email protected]
This story was originally published June 10, 2022 7 a.m.