At a time when high street retail is proving challenging – to say the least – it’s good to hear of a new British comic shop opening.
Niche Comics is a shop selling the latest in Comics, Books and games – including miniatures and products for Games Workshop, Wizards of the Coast and White Wolf.
Located at 147 High Street, Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, it’s run by Adam and Guy Makey, who encourage their customers to browse and share ideas as well as join in the various events.
The shop looks Victorian from the outside but the back is Tudor and plenty of the original building still remains – and the owners spent a lot of time restoring it, as they reveal on their web site.
“Inside the first impression we had was straight walls with a step down to some changing rooms (after all it had been a Boutique),” they say.
“The shop has always had a great welcoming atmosphere and originally we planned to replace the lighting and give it a fresh coat of paint.
But behind the plasterboard (and in some cases two layers of plasterboard) lurked a building that has been around for 500 hundred years. So instead of Victorian, the team discovered many of the arcitectural trappings of a late Middle Ages/early Tudor dwelling.
“Great oak timbers, elm, wattle (thin strips of oak), daub (mud and other stuff…), lime mortar and the occasional nail make up the fabric of the original building,” they reveal. “You can still see the joints as they were first made and the care taken to neatly finish the walls.
“So the decision had to be – do we make do and open the shop quickly and leave it to feel like any ordinary shopping experience, or do we renovate it with natural materials and ensure it lasts for another 500 hundred years and is a shop alive in every sense of the word?”
The team decided on the latter and work on restoration proceeded steadily through the whole of last year, with the shop now open for all to view (and buy from, in store and online!)
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.