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Saturday October 7th, 2017

Posted at 9:00am

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Original Wyandotte Street East location )File photo)

While a lot has changed in Windsor since 1987, at least one thing has stayed the same.

Opening their doors in Walkerville 30-years-ago, Border City Comics (now located at 4449 Tecumseh Road East) is getting ready to celebrate the occasion. With a massive sale set for Saturday, October 14, the store has come a long way since originating as an antiques shop.

It all began when Ken and his wife Pat Girard came across some interesting items.

“In the mid 1980’s, we had purchased a collection of old estate items which happened to include a rather sizeable Silver Age comic collection,” said their son and co-manager Tim. “That collection re-awakened an interest in comics for us and from that interest we decided to open our own store. Comic sales were on the rise and the 1989 Batman movie was right around the corner. Interest in the medium was starting to really blossom and we wanted to be a part of that growth leading up to the early 1990’s.”

From there, the shop bounced around Walkerville for several years: Before moving to their current home, they had four different locations on Wyndotte Street East between Langlois Avenue and Devonshire Road.

Operating for so long, that isn’t the only thing that’s changed however. As trends evolve, several notable developments have impacted the comic book landscape since Border City first opened.

“The emergence of creator-owned and creator-friendly companies like Image Comics   gave top notch creators more freedom to do the types of stories they wanted and to retain ownership,” said Tim. “The emergence and success of comic book related movies and TV shows is also a big change. They’ve really shined a spotlight on the hobby and brought a respectability factor that hadn’t previously existed.”

Not all changes have been positive though. Drastic cover price increases, internet sales and digital comics have made things more challenging. This has resulted in many shops closing over the past 30 years as well.

Still, the family-run business has seen it all. From Joker paralyzing Batgirl and the Death Of Superman to Spider-Man’s clone saga and Marvel’s Civil War.

Despite this, there’s still one event that stands above the rest.

“Our biggest event year in, year out has to be Free Comic Book Day,” said Tim. “It’s a day that the industry gets together as a whole and celebrates the medium by holding special events, reaching out to the community to promote comics and giving out free comics to anyone who comes in to a participating store. It’s grown exponentially each year and continues to amaze us how much new interest it garners.”

As popular as that day is, many will probably come celebrate the store’s big milestone as well. Graphic novels, hardcovers and trade paperbacks will be 50% off, current issues will be marked down to $1 with box back issues at $0.50 and variant covers at $3. Mystery boxes will also be sold for $20 and may contain toys, graphic novels, gift certificates, vintage comics or other items. Each box is valued at $40 with some reaching $100 or more.

While the event is important to the Girards, it’s also a thank you to their loyal customers: As readership gets older, they’ve allowed the store to survive.

“We have had a number of customers right from the beginning,” said Tim. “They’ve been critical to our success and longevity. Our celebration is as much for them, as us.”

It’s also this longevity the family is most proud of. After weathering different storms in the industry, all three are just happy to still be a part of the community so many years later.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a comic book discussion without talk of time travel though.

“If I could go back in time, I guess I would tell our past selves that it’ll be a bit of a bumpy ride but stick with it, said Tim about opening the shop. “It’ll be worth it. We’ll meet all kinds of awesome and interesting people and even make some lifelong friendships.”

Border City Comics’ 30th anniversary sale will take place on Saturday, October 14th, from 12 to 5pm.

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