Marina Desclavis of Chaos City Comics 19 Jan 2022
Friendly and in the neighbourhood is award-winning shop Chaos City Comics stocking the latest adventures from all your comic book heroes
Nestled in Heritage Close is this amazing treasure trove of comics run by Italian born Marina Desclavis. Often referred to as Lady Chaos, a Marvel character with incredible energy, Marina has an enthusiasm and passion for comics that have been drawing customers in for over 20 years. We caught up with her to hear more about her life in St Albans and the incredible world of comics.
What brought you all the way from Rome to St Albans?
I left Italy because I wanted to learn English and travel the world which I did and when I arrived in St Albans, it was love at first sight…and I am still in love with it. Of course, being from Rome and with St Albans as a former Roman city, I naturally felt very at home. St Albans has everything London has, without the craziness and of course it is very close to London if you want to visit. Plus, there are great restaurants and nightlife and a real community atmosphere which was especially noticeable through the pandemic when everyone pulled together.
What started your love of comics?
I was a lazy child and never wanted to read so when I was 6 years old my mum bought me Mickey Mouse comics and through the pictures and stories my love of comics began. When I was young, it was nerdy to like comics but finally my time has come, comics are cool, and I have my own superpower!
Who are your customers and what do they read?
We have customers aged from 3 to 86 years old! The main racks are for teenagers and upwards but we now also have a range for younger children from 3-11 years so every age will find something they want to read in the shop.
The most popular at Chaos is Batman, but Spiderman is also extremely popular especially with the release of the latest film. Batman is a man with no superpower but is very strong and incredibly clever so I think people find they can relate to him more.
What do you sell in the shop?
We stock all the major publishers including Marvel, DC, Image, IDW etc. We sell Manga and some French and Italian titles, and everything is translated into English. We also sell Indy titles from minor publishers as well as graphic novels which are a wonderful way to jump into a story without waiting for individual issues. Everything is laid out clearly in the shop but if you can’t find something, we are always here to help.
We also sell Pokémon cards and merchandise including t-shirts, collectable figures, pens, posters and lots more, so it is a great place to find a gift.
What sets you apart from other comic shops?
We have an incredible range of comics, one of the biggest in Hertfordshire, if not THE biggest. Our whole basement is filled with old editions dating from as far back as the 1980s and everything is carefully wrapped to preserve its value.
I like to create a friendly and relaxed atmosphere and love to talk to our regulars as well as new customers about everything, not just comics! I want the shop to be a meeting place where like-minded people can absorb themselves in incredible adventures and escape from their lives for a bit.
Do you offer any other services?
If you are looking to start collecting or want to add to your collection, we offer a standing order service where we will put titles aside when they arrive for collection, or we can mail them out if you prefer. If you become a Chaos City Member (£10 a year), you will receive 10% off your purchases.
How much do comics cost?
In our shop they range in price from around £1.99 to around £50. No.1 edition comics can go for millions so if you manage to get your hands on one, read it, look after it and you may be able to buy a villa with a pool when you sell it!
What are your plans for 2022?
I am really looking forward to Free Comic Book Day on 7th May. We have over 600 pieces to give away free, and we normally have around 300-400 people queuing around the close. It’s a fantastic way to thank existing customers and introduce new customers to the wonders of comics.
Another amazing event this year will be St Albans Comic-Con at Westminster Lodge on 17th July. We are one of the sponsors and I know it will be a magnificent event, it always is!
To find out more about Chaos City Comics visit the shop at 20 Heritage Close, St Albans, AL3 4EB or call 01727 838719.