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Superhero Day revives comic book memories for joke shop owner


5/27/2024 7:26:59 AM

Events & Networking

4 mins read

Wonder Woman, Superman and Spiderman from the Big Foot Events team who will present Superhero Day.

A business which was selling American comic books even before Superman was created will join the attractions on the streets of Hull city centre when Superhero Day returns next week.


Dinsdales Joke & Trick Shop of Hepworth Arcade will line up alongside an array of other city centre retail and leisure business for the event, which is organised by HullBID, but owner Graham Williams revealed his business is the only one which pre-dates the superheroes who inspired the occasion.


He told how George William Dinsdale originally opened the shop 94 years ago to sell and repair records but the evolution of music radio prompted him to think again and he ventured into comic books.


Graham said: “He became concerned that people wouldn’t buy records any more because they could listen to them for nothing on the radio.”


An old publicity photograph for the shop shows that George, who was Graham’s great-uncle, was known as “The Record King” and promised to be “first with the latest” releases from Columbia, Regal-Zon, Rex, Decca and Parlophone.


But he pivoted to pulp magazines when he found he could get copies of Adventure, an American action fiction title which he sourced from dockers who had found them on ships arriving in Hull.


Graham said: “The magazines were inexpensive and there were so many of them that the crew used them as ballast. I don’t know how many he had but he displayed them outside the shop.”


Superhero Day will take place between 11am and 4pm on Friday May 31 with free, family fun starting in Queen Victoria Square, where compere Darren Lethem will take to the stage to entertain the crowds with games and prizes.


The activities will extend throughout the city centre with children encouraged to dress up as their favourite superheroes and young and old fans getting the chance to have their photographs taken with the likes of Superman, Spiderman, Wonder Woman, Iron Man and Batman.


Other attractions will include a giant Hulk statue, free face painting and mask making at The Prospect Centre, giveaways and competitions. There will be superhero themed stalls and a superhero trail will direct families to the free superhero disco taking place at Stage @TheDock on Humber Street from 1pm until 3pm, courtesy of Wykeland. Parking at the Prospect Centre will be reduced to just £1 for the day.


Avant Skills Academy in Jameson Street will present their own “Mr Apprentice” champion on their stall which will feature a green screen enabling people choose a background for their superhero photo session.


Lost City Adventure Golf will unleash their Ollie the Orangutan mascot and will invite visitors to their stall to challenge for giveaways by trying to score a hole in one on the putting game.


Staff from ResQ and Forbidden Planet  are planning to don their superhero outfits and Tiger Leisure will be joined by mascots Roary and Amber at their stall.


Graham said: “I’m looking forward to Superhero Day and it’s interesting to think that our business is older than Superman! He was only created in 1938, Batman came along the following year, Captain America in 1941, and the rest followed, with the Hulk and Spiderman not appearing until 1962.
“I always enjoy it because everyone who comes along – including the businesses – is in the mood for some fun and that’s what we do best! It’s good for business on the day itself and it helps to remind people where to find the shop. I’ll be selling all sort of things including superhero costumers for kids and adults at family-friendly prices because it’s all about giving people a good day out.”
Kathryn Shillito, HullBID Executive Director, said: “Superhero Day has been scheduled to offer families affordable entertainment during the half-term holidays and we’re expecting another big crowd!
“Last year we saw footfall rise by 27 per cent week on week with some businesses experiencing up to a 100 per cent increase in revenue. All our events are designed to support businesses by attracting people into the city centre and Superhero Day is a great way to start, with more attractions planned as we head into the summer.”

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