This year marks 36 years of ACE Comics, and I see this as a time for reflection and a sign of old age when I find myself wondering “where did all the time go?”

I have seen retail chains come and go… Beatties, Toymaster, Toys R Us, Borders, Woolworths, Andy’s Records and Athena, to name a few. Some of these even came and went while we have continued to trade. With times proving particularly tough at the moment, until our inept politicians stop fighting and actually start working for the good of the country, I can foresee this year being another tough one for retailers, as indicated early by the precipice upon which HMV seems perennially perched. Maybe this time they could be shutting their doors for good?

Despite HMV being a competitor as sellers of graphic novels and toys, the store still proved to be a valid entry point for the general public to discover comics. People who would initially never have dreamed of entering a comic shop may have bought from HMV and then discovered their local comic store later on as their interest need for a wider variety of choice increases. Many of our customers at Ace Comics in Colchester migrated to us via HMV. Also, it would be very sad to lose the biggest player in bricks and mortar retail of music. Personally, I have never downloaded music and much prefer the physicality of CDs and vinyl. As a person who never rid himself of his vinyl collection, I am pleased – and a little smug – that this format for listening to music has been growing in popularity again in the last few years.

I have made many friends over the years through the world of comics and count all of our customers as friends too, joined by our love and interest in the rich and wonderful world of comic book entertainment. Thank you so very much for enabling us to reach 36 years in business, and for allowing us to continue on through these uncertain times.

Now I had better give a quick comic review…

Justice League #14

How have I overlooked this new series? I have certainly taken my eye off the ball. In issue #14, the secret of “Hawk-World” caught my attention as it was about Hawkman and Hawk Woman (who would have guessed?) and I have a particular soft spot for the insanity of a feathered hero who flies around wielding a huge mace. A ludicrous idea perhaps, but the visuals are usually stunning in all his incarnations, and the stories have always intrigued me. Also, very few people were squashed, mace-wise, in the making of the multiple series.

Anyway, back to Justice League #14. Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV produced, for me, such a master class in how to script, pace and draw a comic, that many others should stop and take a look at it. The art was excellent. All of the characters were clearly defined and constant in appearance and there was no need to try and guess who they were supposed to be. Art does not always tell the story, and the opening page – which some writers would have left almost captionless – had eleven captions that let us know exactly what was going on, what Batman was thinking, what had happened and was about to occur. There was true expression on faces, there was tension in the plotting and there were surprises in the plot. Stan Lee himself would have been proud of the number of word balloons on some pages, as the characters enhanced the story and all of the wording was necessary. My final thoughts after reading the last page? …“How long until the next issue?” – The definitive sign of a great comic!

Mission for the month:

Let your politicians know what and how you feel about the current fracas in Parliament. Oh, and keep buying the comics!