When I go to conventions or comic marts these days, I usually expect to walk away with one or two British comics if I am lucky. For any event to have more than two boxes of British comics is something that I would consider as a miracle.
However, the second Commando comics meet far exceeded my expectations. I had desperately wanted to go to the first one in September 2017 but was unable to attend for various reasons. When it was announced that there was going to be a second in March 2018, wild horses could not stop me. As I was travelling down, I teamed up with two more of the Scottish contingent and shared a rather enjoyable trip down from Glasgow to Newcastle-under-Lyme with Stephen Hume and David McDermott. If you’re a Jerome K Jerome fan, we were three men in a people carrier with the M74 and M6 replacing the River Thames and rather than discussing the local history, the conversation ranged far and wide until they started talking a foreign language called sport!
Once we got to deepest darkest Staffordshire, we were greeted by the co-ordinator Andy Yates who enabled us to decant our vehicle and begin the set up on the night before. Once our vehicle was empty, our fellow compatriot, Bruce Scott made his appearance as he had braved the horrors of the M25 and M1 to get to Newcastle-under-Lyme from Watford. We helped him to empty his vehicle and do a rough set up. As this swap meet is more for those of us who were after issues rather than increases in our bank balance, we began to get distracted by the various boxes of comics already on display.
Rather than lose the rest of the night in checking what was on display, we retired to our abodes for the evening with Bruce joining us in the Premier Inn where we ate, drank and were merry into the wee small hours.
Come Saturday morning, the rest of our few, our happy few made their appearance and the majority of us were in the hall by 9:00 am and boxes were being checked. The endurance award has to go Andrew Mitchell who drove from Grangemouth to the swap and return in the one day. This meant that he had left his home at the ungodly hour of 4:30 am!
Other collectors that arrived included Colin Henson, Roger Berry, Ian Miller, Daz Munnerly and our sole dealer Kip Wise but with the number of Commandos brought by Kip, I can forgive him for being a dealer.
The rest of the day passed in a haze for me as I had so many comic boxes to check and so little time in which to do so! I was stunned when I was told that it was almost 1:30pm as I could have sworn that we had only been there about 90 minutes. My own collection took a huge leap as I managed to clear over 20% of the remaining gaps in my collection.
Now those of you that frequent some of the comic groups on social media will already be aware that I asked the question of when was the last time that you had 10,000 British comics at any one event. The consensus seems to be that it was the comics marts of Camden and Westminster in the late 1990s / early 2000s and that would have included a whole raft of 2000AD progs, related issues, reprints, Marvel UK and other cool comics. Well we don’t mix with the cool kids and we had a total of two, I repeat two 200AD items and that was only because I had two annuals that were doubles.
However, we did have over 10,000 issues of Commando alone and about another 3,000 plus comics including over 500 annuals, 1,000 other picture libraries, 300 plus issues of Victor and Warlord respectively.
The next event is being planned for the end of September 2017 and will be the first Commando swap meet organised for North of the Border. As I have a few friends who have a connection or three with Commando, I hope that I can impose on one or two to pop along to our event in the Kingdom of Fife.
To finish off with a real feel good moment, Colin Henson was kind enough to gift me with an issue from the first 50!