Earlier this year, Time Warp Comics in Boulder began the celebration of its 35th year in business on Free Comic Book Day. On September 29, the anniversary day arrives, and owner Wayne Winsett is blowing the doors off the joint in a massive celebration that will last for more than a week.
“I never thought we’d get this far,” Winsett said in an email to his loyal customers, "but the comic book business is still very strong, and we’re still having fun. So we’re not giving up now.”
Time Warp’s anniversary celebration is tent-poled by two separate events: first an auction of classic and hard-to-find comics at 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 28. Up for bids are over fifty treasures that range from the vintage to the modern-but-limited edition. There’s a 1979 Mego Human Torch action figure still in original packaging; the Robot Chicken cover of Superman/Batman #9; an Amy Reeder autographed copy of Batwoman #0; rare collected editions like Kevin Smith’s Green Arrow: Quiver hardcover; and old comics like Action Comics #250 (1959), Ghost Rider #1 (1967), Batman #232 (1971), Conan the Barbarian #4 (1971), Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142 (1981), and a whole lot more. (A full pictorial auction list is available on Time Warp’s Facebook page.)
And then there's Time Warp’s annual 24-Hour Comic Book Day extravaganza, which runs continuously from 10 a.m. Saturday October 5 through 10 a.m. Sunday, October 6. During that event, there will be themed sales and a whole crew of comic book artists there to create a trade paperback in one marathon session. Flaming Carrot creator Bob Burden will also come to town to mark the occasion, though details are forthcoming. Meanwhile, Time Warp has put everything in the store on-sale for 20 percent off.
We spoke with Winsett to learn more about these two weekends full of comic-book goodness and what it’s like to survive — and thrive — over the course of more than three decades serving the nerdiest needs of fandom.
Westword: Time Warp’s 35th Anniversary Party takes place over the next couple of weekends. What’s your favorite part of the celebration so far?
Winsett: Really just the joy of sharing our store with people who maybe don’t come in too often but get our emails or see our mentions on Facebook and come back in to help us celebrate. We’ve been offering hefty discounts to every customer who has come in for a couple of weeks now, and customers are responding very well.
You mention in your email to the fans that the auction is being included “by overwhelming popular demand.” Customers really love the auctions, I guess?
Yeah, I’m really looking forward to our auction Saturday night. I held a monthly auction at the store every month for the first ten years we were in business. Back then it was a necessity, as I had steep affiliate payments to make since I was buying my business from another entity. After those ten years passed, I’ve only done auctions every five years or so. I did one five years ago, and since it’s birthday number 35 this weekend, I decided it was time again. I frequently have people tell me how much fun they were and how much they miss them, so the time is right. I really enjoy doing the auctioneering myself, although my cadence has sure slowed over time.
What should people expect when they make it to the store for the auction Saturday night?
We’ll have cake and door prizes and a good time. Auctions in general are just fun. When you really want something, the bidding can get pretty intense. Even when you don’t really want something really badly. I think people sometimes just get in the spirit of the event and bid a little more than they want to because they just get caught up in the fun.
How did you choose the items in the auction this time around? It’s a long and pretty awesome list.
This auction was easy to assemble. I looked in our office for some oldies but goodies, which are pretty plentiful in our store, and also looked around my house for stuff out of my personal collection that I thought people might want. I could have listed hundreds of items but settled on the best 56. I was going to do 54, since 1954 was the year I was born, but it morphed a little bit.
Talk a little about the the 24 Hour Comic Book project on October 5 to 6. Who’s participating this year, and how can someone get a copy of the product?
We’ve done 24 Hour Comic Book Day for ten years now, and it’s also a lot of fun. The store stays open 24 straight hours, from 10 a.m. on Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday morning. Eight local artists will be set up at tables and create their own comic. The artists are Tom Studholme, Kevin Caron, Sean Tiffany, Ted Intorcio, Hamza Pecenkovic, Sydney Studholme, Dan Ellis and Shawna Gustofson.
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As for getting a copy, they take a little while to get all compiled, but we sell them here in the store when they’re printed. We keep all the previous years’ offerings in stock, too.
What’s the best thing about owning and operating Time Warp Comics and Games for three and a half decades?
The best thing about working here is the interaction with the customers who all love the same things I do. I get a great deal of satisfaction sharing my love for this great and unique hobby with everybody who comes in. I’ve been offering a money-back guarantee on my suggestions to customers, and nobody ever brings anything back. Many of my best friends are/were customers who just became close, and they just morphed into satisfying relationships down the road. That’s really cool to have close ties with people who I’ve known all these long 35 years.
Time Warp Comics will host its auction on September 28, and its 24 Hour Comic Book Day the weekend of October 5 and 6, at 3105 28th Street, Boulder. For more details, see the Time Warp Comics website, or visit the shop on Facebook.