An ‘Aladdin’s Cave’ of graphic novels, comics, models and more is on offer at a new store in Ramsgate.
Geek Havok in Turner Street opened its doors this morning and is hoping to attract enthusiasts and families to the shop.
It is the creation of Ramsgate dad-of-two Johnny Simpson and pal Ian Reddin, who is currently studying a PHD and Kent and Canterbury University.
The premises was formerly a doll shop but after several months of clearing and refurbishment it is now a hub of all things fantasy.
Johnny (above) said: “It was a bit creepy, we kept finding dolls in corners with spiders all over them!”
Today’s ‘soft opening’ is in recognition of Star Wars Day (May 4). A full launch is planned for the Bank Holiday weekend with Cosplay members joining the fun.
Former film and media studies student Johnny, 35, Said: “I have always been into comics and films as an only child.
“I spent a lot of time writing and had contact with an American company about my comic books but had to put it on hold as I was going through a break-up at the time.
“I saw the shop in November and went from there, doing bits here and there with help from friends.”
Johnny and Ian, who have been friends for almost 30 years, made plans to open a store some ten years ago but ‘life got in the way.’
Now they have finally realised their dream, the doors are open and they are partially stocked and waiting to hear what customers really want before putting in bigger orders.
The aim is to have something for everyone rather than catering to a niche market.
Johnny, who is also planning to launch a YouTube channel of reviews and comedy clips, said: “We want it to be family friendly here so there is stuff for kids as well as the more niche items for collectors.
“We have comics, graphic novels, encyclopedias, statues, figures, toys, DVDs, all sorts.
“It is going to be an Aladdin’s Cave and a HQ for lots of ideas.”
Ian, (above) who also works in the kitchen at Miles Bar, is manning the store today.
The former Chatham House lad, 35, is busy pricing items and finishing off displays.
He said: “Opening the comic shop is something we always talked about. I was a bit worried as I have my job and I am at uni but it is something we enjoy.
“This is our soft opening, because it’s May 4th, but we will have a proper launch during the Bank Holiday with CosPlayers handing out leaflets.”
Cool artwork on the shop front and inside the store was created by Ramsgate artist Jacqui Wanstall.
She said: “Me and Johnny got in contact through a mutual friend who’d seen him advertising online for a painter to paint a book unit as a Tardis and his new shop front in a sci fi theme. As a huge fan of Dr Who and Star Wars I couldn’t resist and leapt at the opportunity.
“Geek Havok is selling comic books, merchandise and memorabilia; everything from Dr Who and Marvel to The Walking Dead and Deadpool. There will also be some of my prints and canvases for sale further down the line.”
Geek Havok, at 4 Turner Street, is open 9am to 5pm Thursday, Friday and Saturday with plans to add another day each week until it is finally open Monday-Saturday.
To check out Johnny’s comic book creations click here