FOR many of us, comic books may seem like a hobby confined to an American film – but as one comic book fan living in Enniskillen can testify, there’s more of a culture here than some might think.
Paul Trimble, who lives in Enniskillen, holds a collection of over 10,000 comics – and is part of a group of fellow fans who meet to discuss and trade on a Saturday morning.
“I first became interested in American comics in the late 60s”, he explained, “and I can remember bringing them in to P1 in primary school. I wasn’t able to read them myself and had to pester my father to read them to me. There was just something about the colourful adventures that captivated me.”
He recalled how his family used to go over to their caravan in Donegal during school holidays and the little seaside shops, and how they used to have spinner racks full of comics.
“I spent all my pocket money on them’, he stated.
Paul, originally from Castlederg, is now living in Enniskillen with his wife and has two children. His collection of comics exceeds 10, 000, the legacy of over 40 years as a fan.
“I read for enjoyment, not ‘collectability’ or resale value,” Paul continued.
“Comics continue to innovate and break new ground, so my interest never wanes. There are always new writers and artists coming into the industry, bringing something new. Literally every month, there is a new title or creator to get excited about.”
Paul has a particular penchant for comics of the late 60s, and early 70s, and he’s not alone.
“There are a lot of comics fans in Enniskillen and the surrounding area. I’m part of a group who meet in Enniskillen every Saturday to distribute new comics and discuss what we’ve read recently.”
One of the main problems is the availability of comics within Fermanagh, and Paul said that it is difficult for readers ‘to meet fellow comics fans or get the comics they want’.
Paul also noted that the profile of comic books has risen in accordance with the introduction of big films, like ‘Batman’, and ‘Avengers’, and television shows like, ‘The Big Bang theory’.
Local fans also travel to conventions, both in Ireland, and outside of Ireland, where they can meet fellow fans.
“I get to as many comic conventions as I can. Outside of one in Dublin annually, it’s a matter of travelling over to England. The conventions provide a unique opportunity to meet both creators of comics and fellow fans.
“There are ‘question and answer’ sessions, chances for informal chats and to get sketches from the artists. No other branch of the entertainment industry has such a close connection between the creators and fans.”
And what would Paul say to any would-be fans?
“Comics can appreciate in value, but I would always recommend that you buy, and read, what you enjoy. Comics, like novels (and films) can be re-read and enjoyed over and over again.
“I think everyone should have a hobby, something that helps people escape the pressure of life, even for a little while,” he added.
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