I woke up one morning and had a dream... Could I own every single issue of Detective Comics, Batman and all of the other subtitles in the Gotham universe?
Insane? Stupid? Inspired?
This can only end in obsession and financial chaos.

Monday, 17 October 2011

The Quest ... in Swindon!

My relationship with Swindon is like Carlos Tevez's with Manchester. Yes, I made a living there, but at the end of the day I always thought it was a shithole. A place that heaped misery and misfortune on me in equal measure. In short, I wouldn't go back there unless I was forced too.

And I was forced to, so I decided to pop into Swindon's only redeeming feature: Swin City.
Swin City sits behind the main shopping area, opposite a huge car park in the New Town's shopping area. And you can't really miss it. How many shops will have a giant, green Hulk painted on the side of the building (probably the only thing of cultural value in New Town)? Believe me, in the UK this sort of blatant marketing behaviour is frowned upon. Especially if you are a sole trader.

Swin City is a small shop that is split over two floor. The main entrance and ground floor, which features new comics, trades and a whole manner of figures. They also sell American candy, if you're interested by that kind of thing. Which I have only tried once (this stuff instantly caused cavities and several fillings).

Upstairs is where the back issues sit, not many for sure. However there is a reasonable number of reasonably priced 'name' books of which Batman is a reasonable percentage. Swin City is also the UK's proudest pusher of 10p comics books. Hell, they work on the philosophy that if it ain't shifting after a year or so, reduce it so it will be sold. And over the years they have done this and I have always left the shop knowing that I have got a few cheapo bargains. If there is one downside to this area is that their prime, key comic books that are hanging on the wall are beginning to become very sun-bleached (and if I was in charge of this place that would be a major issue I would rectify). Occasionally, you can pick up a bargain: I picked up a few early Miracleman issues for a song years ago. As a result there are very good reasons to make rare, repeated visits (should you get past the ridiculous Magic Roundabout, that Swindon is 'famous' for), as you never too sure what new stock might turn up.

The staff are pretty pleasant. You get the impression that these are guys that like a good night out as much as they like their comics. Mind you, being inebriated and inducing any other form of escapism must be a necessity if you have to live and work in this awful town.

Swin City is a shop that is proudly growing (as coverage in the local press attests), and good luck to them. I know that the owner is obviously a shrewd entrepreneur as he managed to acquire another shop in the affluent, student city of Bath (used to be American Dream Comics, never been there but I feel I ought to). The entrepreneurial spirit is also best shown by the importation of American candy, so be mindful of sugar-crazed kids on Swindon's High Streets.

As for my haul, got a couple of Batman back issues. But I mainly picked up a load of 10p back issues that make the trip worthwhile.

And the Hulk on the back of the building? That is really the only decent thing to look at in Swindon.