Show to celebrate milestone

The Virginia Vintage Comics and Collectibles Show will mark its 20th anniversary on Saturday, August 19 at the Salem Civic Center. This marks two decades for the event billed as “the only Vintage Comics show in the Eastern United States.”

When Roger and Nancy Mannon of Floyd started the show in 1998, it was a local event, but drew support  from 14 states, including Florida, New York and the Midwest.

Chris Budel, of Nostalgia Zone, has made several trips of 1,100 miles from Minneapolis. He described the show as “the best one-day, small-city show in the United States.”

Comic books were a staple of life in the mid-20th Century, and recently regained popularity. One reason is the proliferation of blockbuster movies based on comic books.

Standard superheroes like Superman and Batman have generated popular movies for decades.  In recent years, other comic book characters like Spider-Man, Iron Man and Thor have become film hits, and even obscure titles like “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Suicide Squad” have gotten cinematic treatment.

For several years, the Vintage Show was the only comic-centric event west of Richmond. In recent years, interest in comics has led to more shows; six this year in the Roanoke Valley, as well as shows in the New River Valley in Dublin, Blacksburg and even Woodlawn.

In addition to the impact of comics as popular culture, there is increasing interest in comics as a valuable collectible. Some comics that sold for a dime in the 1940s and 1950s are now sold for thousands of dollars.

A few years ago, a box of old comics found in a house in Martinsville fetched $3.5 million at an auction that drew national attention.

“Not all old comics are worth big bucks,” Mannon noted. “We have lots of good comics priced at $2 or $3 at the show.”

The most valuable comics are usually designated by date of publication, “Golden Age,” from the 1930s and 1940s, and “Silver Age,” from the mid-1950s through 1960s. Values depend on significance, scarcity and condition.

In addition to comic books the show features other vintage collectibles, such as pulps, digests, books, magazines, toys, advertising and memorabilia.

The Salem Civic Center is located at 1000 Roanoke Blvd, with easy access from Interstate 81 via Exit 141.

Show hours are 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Admission is $3 for adults, age 12-under free. In celebration of the show’s anniversary, drawings for $20 prizes will be conducted hourly, with one $50 drawing during the day.

For additional information, call 540-789-7056 or 540-320-7056.

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