Whether you’re an aspiring young reporter travelling with a small white dog or caped superhero keen to take off your glasses and fly free, we’ve got the best destinations for every kind of comics fan.
New discoveries and Americana in Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Cosplayers dressed as a Harley Quinn, Catwoman and Poison Ivy from Batman
The inaugural Comic Con AHOY Rotterdam is scheduled to take place in the spring of 2018 with a super-soldier serum strength line-up of local talent and Hollywood stars. The agenda includes panels, photoshoots, manga, game publishers, anime, cosplay, and, of course, comics, comics and more comics.
Assuming you can tear yourself away from the Rotterdam Ahoy Centre make sure to check out House of M Comics in the city centre. Devoted completely to American comics, this Rotterdam institution has over 250,000 back issues from mainstream and obscure publishers. Once you’re all conned-out crash at the Charlois Ahoy and spend a fewhours perusing your new purchases.
Superheroes in New York, USA
The Flat Iron Building originally housed Marvel's newspaper: The Daily Bugle
Not only was New York City home to and inspiration for some of the world's most iconic superheroes, it also has the Superheroes Walking Tour. This incredibly detailed alternative guide to New York provides visitors with a knowledgeable guide and a shortcut to all NYC’s comics-themed sites.
Marvel Comics fans are particularly fond of this tour as it includes a guide to filming locations and Spiderman’s favourite lurking destinations. If you prefer DC, Batman also gets a good mention, with a trip to the offices where the caped crusader was first drawn, and the tour finishes at a mystery bar where New York’s comics artists have been drawing and drinking since the 60s. Stay close to the legendary JHU Comic Books shop by checking into the nearby MADE Hotel.
Politics in Hong Kong
Sai Yeung Choi Street in Mongkok, Hong Kong
The practise of using comics as a political tool first appeared in Hong Kong in 1911 when the founder of the Republic of China (Sun Yat-Sen) used them to criticise the Qing government. Some of these original comics are still on display at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.
Of course, comics have long continued to be an instrument of satire and political dissent, with protest movements like the Hong Kong Umbrella Revolution frequently depicted. Travellers hoping to discover the latest comics talent should head to the Sino Centre, a gigantic shopping mall with stores specialising in comics, graphic novels, anime and alternative culture. And you can stay nearby at The Cityview.
Adventure and Nostalgia in Brussels, Belgium
A comic mural in Brussels, a.k.a. the Kingdom of Comics
In addition to being very good at waffles and chocolate, Belgium is also the Kingdom of Comics and a trip to the capital city of Brussels is a must for comics fans. Especially those with a penchant for good old fashioned adventure. Start your visit at the Belgian Comic Strip Center, home to the Comics Art Museum, exhibitions and tributes ranging from Tintin to the Smurfs.
Speaking of The Boy Reporter, there are murals dotted around Brussels featuring artwork by Tintin creator Hergé. While his style is pretty easy to spot, most hotels have free maps of the city’s street art and there are daily tours around the city centre and the Laeken neighbourhood. Keep the comics theme going by staying at the pop art-inspired Radisson Red Hotel Brussels.
Anime in Tokyo, Japan
Shoppers at Mulan Akiba in the Akihabara district of Tokyo
Tokyo is an anime fan’s dreamland, as tributes to well-known franchises like Pokemon and Dragon Ball-Z sit alongside obscure anime bookshops and Cosplay centres. J World Tokyo is the world’s largest anime theme park and will keep you entertained for days, but do carve out some time to visit the city’s Akihabara district.
Here you’ll find cheap manga merchandise, anime DVDs and the Cospa Gee Store which caters to every kind of fan. Once you’ve browsed and shopped to your heart’s content (or, let’s be real, until your bank account is groaning) head back to the comics-themed Capsule Net Omotenashi no Oyado and enjoy their extensive anime library.