CORNWALL, Ontario – When Michael J. Fox was hitting the silver screen and inviting audiences to go back to the future, Cornwall’s longest running comic book shop was also making its debut. After three and a half decades, Randy Sauvé has proven that comic books have more staying power than New Coke.
While Tuesday, February 4 marks the official 35th anniversary for Fantasy Realm on Pitt Street, denizens of comic books fans were out in full force to celebrate alongside Randy and his partner Carol Grant this Saturday.
“I’ve been in this physical spot since February 4th 1985,” said Sauvé. “The idea that it’s been 35 years is mind boggling to me…there are people who’ve just discovered the store and don’t realize we’ve been around that long…It really doesn’t feel like 35 years, I’ve been coming in to the store every day it just doesn’t feel like it’s been that long.”
Fantasy Realm has experienced many changes in its time as a staple storefront on Pitt Street. At one point, Sauvé had expanded to include a location at the Cornwall Square shopping mall, and another brief foray in Brockville. But just like New Coke, Fantasy Realm proves that the classics play best with fans.
“We’re up to the second generation of our customer base now,” said Sauvé, as he reflected on what has helped him in his success. “From my point of view, it’s just being very devoted to the selling of comics and making sure that comic books get into the hands of everybody…It helped me with reading when I was younger, it expanded my vocabulary for sure.”
In recent years, Sauvé and Grant have garnered regional attention for their hard work bringing together the Cornwall & Area Pop Event (CAPE), which will be kicking off its fifth year on April 25th and 26th, attracting legions of pop culture fans to the Seaway city.
“Those teenagers that were 15 when fantasy realm opened in 1985 are celebrating their 50th birthdays this year,” said Sauvé.