Photos by Alexander Shedd
By Alexander Shedd
Vintage comic book fans from around the valleys and beyond came out of the woodwork on Saturday to visit the 25th Annual Virginia Vintage Comics & Collectibles Show at the Salem Civic Center. This year’s show was titled “Silver Anniversary” in celebration of Silver Age comics from the 1950s and 60s.
In keeping with the theme, door prizes for the event included silver dollars and silver bars as well as gas cards. Admission was $3 as an homage to the “vintage” price of entry to such events.
“Our attendance was up about one hundred people from last year,” noted Roger Mannon, a longtime promoter for the show. “We’re the longest running comic show in Virginia, and it was a milestone. I think people coming out from the pandemic really boosted our numbers.”
The Silver Age of comics refers to a period of artistic and commercial success in the 1950s and 60s during which time iconic characters such as Spider-Man, The Avengers and The Justice League made their debuts. Names such as Stan Lee and Jack Kirby became known far and wide in this era.
“What sets us apart is a focus on vintage and older material, especially from the 40s, 50s and 60s,” said Mannon. “Most shows do all eras.”
The Civic Center community room, where the event was held, was covered nearly wall to wall and floor to ceiling with highly valuable and rare comics and collectibles in this vein, with each of the couple dozen hobbyists and businesses in attendance also keeping boxes filled with old issues. Silver Age Avengers titles dominated top shelves while guests and fans busied themselves with thumbing through the boxes for specific franchises. Popular local spots such as Salem’s Frank’s Cool Stuff and Pulaski’s Vintage Investments were also in attendance, the latter of which specializes normally in Civil War and WWII weapons and memorabilia.
The energy of the room was excited and amiable as vendors and collectors discussed the comics endlessly. Most tables, it seemed, were there for just that purpose rather than to profit off their trade.
While the Salem show has ended, most vendors in attendance will be following up at the Roanoke Valley Comicon at Tanglewood Mall on Oct. 22, 2022. The show will be sponsored by Untamed Worlds, which also presented an impressive display at the Civic Center. Untamed Worlds will also be hosting the Tri-Cities Comicon in Bristol, Va., on Oct. 29.
Mannon also noted that the tentative date for next year’s Vintage Comic Show at the Civic Center will be Aug. 23, 2023.