By day, Stephen McMahon is a mild-mannered charity shop manager.
But by night, the 42-year-old transforms into one of the biggest comic book magnates in the city.
I just didn’t know where to start, to be honest, I’d never seen a collection that largeStephen McMahon
Mr McMahon was astounded when a donation of 10,000 comic books from the likes of Marvel, DC and Action Comics was made to his Oxfam store on Morningside Road. The collection – valued at anywhere between £10,000 and £15,000 – was so large, it took almost a year to fully categorise and price.
However, after a superhuman effort by Mr McMahon and friend and comic book expert David Hendry, the collection has finally gone on sale.
Mr McMahon, originally from Dublin, said he was “shocked” over the size of the donation when it first arrived, but said the store already had a reputation for selling graphic novels.
“I just didn’t know where to start, to be honest, I’d never seen a collection that large before,” he said.
“We never really get donations of anything that size, but comics are always popular in our store, so we know there’s a market for them.
“There’s two things we never have to work hard to sell; records and comic books, I think they’re both just fashionable things to own.”
The donation – made by the partner of a deceased comic book collector – includes several volumes of Marvel’s ultimate Spider-man, Secret Warriors, Fantastic Four and X-Men, DC classics including Batman and The Flash, Action Comics’ Superman and Supergirl and several independent comics including Conan and Strangers in Paradise.
Mr McMahon said he remembered reading some of the comics as a child, describing the process of sorting through the collection as nostalgia-filled.
“I remember things like the Batman and Superman ones from the ’80s, so that’s taken me back to my childhood a bit,” he said.
“I used to love those, so it’s funny how these kind of things have come back around, especially with how popular superhero films are today.”
In 2014, a first edition of Action Comics #1, which introduced the world to Superman, was sold on eBay for $3.2million – around £2.5m – despite costing just ten cents when it was first published in June 1938. And while there was nothing quite as valuable as that donated to the Morningside store, Mr Hendry said there were a few sought-after items in the collection.
“There are a few Batman editions in there from the ’80s which are considered classics now, they’re always coveted by collectors,” he said. “They aren’t going to fetch huge money, but maybe £10 or £20 for a single book which probably cost about £1 when they were released originally.”
“There’s been a surge in demand for comics and graphic novels recently because of how popular the characters are in mainstream entertainment; basically the more films that Marvel or DC make, the more popular the comics become.”