For over 20 years, Abbotsford residents have had a destination to find comics from yesterday and today, and now the owners of the newly christened Heroes for Sale comic shop want to bring some of that wonder to more eyes at the first-ever Fraser Valley Comic and Collectibles Show.
The inaugural event is set for June 16 at the Matsqui Community Hall, and event organizer and owner of Heroes for Sale Ivan Sekulic said it’s been a long time coming for a local event like this.
“After living in the Valley for the last eight or nine years, I just haven’t seen any event like this out here,” he said, noting that his customers often make the trek to quarterly shows in East Vancouver. “I just felt it was time to have one out here.”
He said the show will likely skew more towards comics, but Sekulic said the show is over three-quarters full and he has received interest from a number of different collectible communities.
Vintage records will be available at the event, along with loads of comics, old-school video games and likely sports cards. Local artists will also be on hand displaying some of their work.
The comic industry has been a life-long passion for Sekulic, and he said he leapt at the opportunity to buy the former Four Aces Comics, which sits on George Ferguson Way in Historic Downtown Abbotsford.
The shop has been at that location since 1995, and Sekulic added that the previous owner also owned a comic shop on South Fraser Way years before that. He took over and re-named the shop in 2018.
The purchase of the shop was an early retirement of sorts for Sekulic, who managed a comic shop in Richmond in the 1990s and never lost his love for the industry.
“I always regretted not buying into that business when I had a chance,” he said, of his former occupation. “I had it in the back of my head to buy it as a retirement thing so, when I saw this store for sale, I had to take the opportunity.”
Sekulic was a long-time customer of Four Aces, and said it’s very unusual to see comic book shops ever up for sale; they often just close abruptly.
“It’s so rare for a shop like this to come up for sale with all of its clientele intact and really everything was there,” he said.
But the purchase hasn’t come without its challenges.
“It took us months to completely organize,” he said, noting that the store contains tens of thousands of different issues of all types of books. “I had a friend come help four hours for every Saturday and just that took six to eight months. It’s a never-ending project.”
He noted that Heroes for Sale is one of the few comic book shops remaining in the Lower Mainland with an extensive back issue catalogue of almost every company and hero you can think of.
He said year one of the shop has been a learning curve, but he has received mostly positive feedback from customers. He’s also pleased to see a new generation of comic book readers being groomed thanks to the popular Marvel movies.
“Initially, it was comic guys just gouging each other on certain comics related to the movies,” he said.
“But now, in the last few years, a lot of the people that grew up with those movies are in their 20s and they seem to be starting to get more into the original source material. That generation is beginning to look to find some of that.”
The first-ever Fraser Valley Comic and Collectibles Show runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 16 at the Matsqui Community Hall.
Admission is $6 for those 13 and over, but free for kids 12 and under. Attendees can receive $1 off admission with a non-perishable food item donation for Cyrus Centre.
For more on the event, visit heroesforsale.ca.