The announcement this week that Northern Ireland’s biggest newsagent chain Easons has closed has left comic fans there wondering where to get their favourite comics there, especially as WHSmith does a not have high street stores there. We’ve got some solutions for you.
For those of you who don’t wish to subscribe to comics and are hunting for newsagents or convenience stores for copies of the latest 2000AD or DC Thomson regular titles such as Beano, Commando or Beano Specials, all are distributed by Seymour, who have a handy easy to use shop search facility here.
(This service works for the rest of the UK, too. Beano and Beano Specials are of course available through many supermarkets).
Also, don’t forget to check out Northern Ireland comic shops on our Comic Map, who of course stock 2000AD and more.
The closure of Easons will be big blow to magazine and comic sales in Northern Ireland, even though they had only seven stores still open.
Until the closures were announced, Eason and Son had more than 60 outlets in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, the flagship being their store in O’Connell Street, Dublin. Their shops stock an extensive range of books, newspapers, magazines, greeting cards, and stationery. Some shops also stock music, video, DVD’s, toys, and computer accessories.
Sadly, the retailer announced on Wednesday that all seven of its stores in Northern Ireland would not be reopening having closed for lockdown on 23rd March and furloughed all staff, to the dismay of regular customers and authors in the province.
Eason and Son employed 144 staff in Northern Ireland, at stores in Belfast, Londonderry, Coleraine, Bangor, Lisburn, Enniskillen and Newtownabbey. Its Ballymena outlet closed in February.
In a statement, Easons announced it would “commence a consultation process around proposals not to reopen its seven stores in Northern Ireland.
“The announcement follows a detailed review of the stores in Northern Ireland in the context of the devastating impact of Covid-19 on current and future trade and the implications of a number of other significant factors on the future prospects and sustainability of the business in Northern Ireland.”
The announcement has no impact on the company’s operations in the Republic of Ireland.
“Up until only recently the selection of magazines and comics on the shelves of Easons would have put any mainland WHSmith to shame,” notes downthetubes contributor Jeremy Briggs. “They carried titles like MAD that you simply didn’t see anywhere else on the high street.
“The original Belfast Easons in Anne Street was the touchstone for any of my early 1980s trips into the city centre – it didn’t matter what other shops I went into, Leisureworld, the Model Shop, APCK or Caroline Music, Anne Street Easons was always included. I remember where the SF and horror novels were in it, where the imported Marvel comics got put out, where Starburst would be, and even the New Year Sales table where I got copies of the 1979 Space:1999 annual and the Look and Learn Book of Speed and Power.
“So many of the books, magazines and comics of that period that I still own today came out of that Easons.”
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With thanks to Jeremy Briggs
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.