Farewell to a Geek’s Second Home: KerSplatt! Comics and Collectables

(8PM Sunday, December 31st, 2017) РThis is a re-post of a short article I wrote on Facebook about the closure of KerSplatt! Comics and Collectables, a Cairns retail store. It was originally posted on the evening of Friday, December 29th, and was edited a few times in between; the posting here includes a further paragraph.

On Thursday, the 31st of May, 2012, I was lucky enough to be the first person through the door at the newly-opened KerSplatt! Comics & Collectables. The photo with the receipt below is of their first actual customer purchase, made by yours truly.

Tonight, I was privileged enough to also be their last official customer. After a tough year across the retail sector, owner-operators Mal and Amy made the decision to close the business they started over five and a half years ago, and their last trading day was Friday, the 29th of December, 2017.

The last purchase at the register at KerSplatt Comics and Collectables. Sadly, all the remaining Iron Man stock had been sold.

With KerSplatt’s closure, a chapter in the community of, for want of better words, geeks and nerds in Cairns also closes. While the presences of big brands such as Warhammer / Games Workshop, EB Games and Zing in town, as well as the fantastic friendly local game store The Wicked Goblin, are strong indicators of the ongoing Cairns geek culture, none of those places are as truly a second home to as broad a cross section of the community as KerSplatt! was.

Amy Milligan and Mal Semmens. Photo taken in 2012.

Credit for that can be laid pretty squarely at the feet of shopman Mal, whose laid back nature and sardonic wit made a friend of anyone who spent more than a minute chatting with him (I know it was a rare week that I didn’t spend at least one lunchtime sharing a chin-wag). It would be a crime, though, not to acknowledge all the hard work Amy, who was happier in the back office than on the front counter, put in behind the scenes.

Both Mal and Amy are comic book fans; while Mal loves Marvel’s Spider-Man family, KerSplatt! was founded on Amy’s desire for the licensed comic books based on the¬†Buffy The Vampire Slayer TV series and its spin-offs, which the few retail outlets that stocked comic books (typically newsagents and second-hand bookstores) couldn’t reliably procure for her. It’s probably one of the ironies of making an income from your passion that, with the closure of the store, they will likely both have more time to actually read the comics they love now.

Mal, Amy, thank you again for opening your fantastic store. It was a pleasure getting to know you, and I wish you all the best with wherever the future takes you next. My only regret is that my limited fun-money budget wasn’t enough to get you to ten years and beyond. The Cairns geek community is poorer for the loss of KerSplatt! in ways it mightn’t yet realise.

KerSplatt Comics and Collectables in its original location in Oceana Walk on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012, the day before the store’s first day of trading.
KerSplatt in its second location on Grafton Street; photo taken December 4th, 2017, twenty-five days prior to its final day of trading.

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