Comic show returns to Lumberton

First Posted: 5/1/2014

LUMBERTON — It was in “Detective Comics” No. 27 that artist Bob Kane first introduced readers The Batman. At the time the comic was valued at 10 cents, but 75 years later collectors like Robeson County’s Michael Chaudhuri have valued the Caped Crusader’s first adventure as high as $65,000.

On May 17 through May 18, hundreds of collectors from around the state will assemble in the hopes of uncovering similarly valuable treasures at the Biggs Park Mall for the Comic Book, Toy & Collectible Show.

“I don’t recommend collecting as a way to make money, it is more something to do because you love it,” said Chaudhuri, who is not only a collector but the organizer of the event. “But you never know, if you’re careful in what you buy you might find something of value down the road. You want to look for conditions and stuff that will be in demand later.”

Chaudhuri, now 54, has been reading comics since the age of 7, and has used his massive collections to both help pay for both graduate school and law school.

The idea for the biannual event, which is now in its fourth year, came to Chaudruri upon noticing the lack of places in Robeson County for comic book enthusiasts to gather or purchase comics — or for that matter, other popular collectables such as action figures, cards, coins and military memorabilia.

According to Chaudruri, the event has been a hit and attracted visitors from across the region.

“There is just nothing like this in this area, or even in Fayetteville,” Chaudruri said. “Really, there is nothing like this all over the southwest of the state.”

Chaudruri and other comic book vendors will be offering appraisals to collectors who are curious as to the value of their collections, though some, like student Katrina Bolinder, who collects “The Walking Dead” comic books, are less interested in finding out the value of her comics so much as collecting more.

“I just save them because I like them,” Bolinder said. “I don’t keep [their value] in mind. I’ll probably eventually pass them onto a friend or sell them.”

Today comic book fans come in just about every demographic. According to Chaudruri, a common misconception about comic books is that they aim at only very young readers.

“Compared to the silver age days where superheroes were put in every ridiculous and wacky situation comic writers could think of, the characters of today [are] simply more relatable and fleshed out,” said collector Tony Chavez. “Comic stories these days are all about pushing these heroes, who generally walk among our modern age of amazing technology, to their limits, both morally as well as physically.”

The second Comic Book, Toy & Collectables Show will take place on Dec. 20 and Dec. 21.

James Johnson can be reach at 910-272-6127 or on Twitter @JJohnsonRobeson.