Toy and comic show to benefit Shriners

Matthew Lane • Mar 23, 2019 at 6:30 PM

KINGSPORT — Bobby Castle has long appreciated and admired the work Shriners International does for children across the country, helping treat and heal their burns, spinal cord injuries and orthopedic conditions.

Now, he wants to help the Shriners.

Castle plans to hold his first-ever toy and comic book show at the Jericho Shriners temple off Interstate 81 later this month. The event will be on March 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is only $1 per person and children under 12 are admitted free.

So far, he has 22 dealers lined up offering more than 50 tables of toys and comic books, including Hot Wheels, sports cards, movie and television memorabilia, Magic and Pokemon cards. Most dealers are local ones, but a few are coming from places farther away like Wise, Dandridge and Morristown.

And in case you show up hungry, the Shriners will be hosting a barbecue lunch with slaw, dessert and a drink all at an affordable price. Apparently the local Shriners are well-known for their smoked barbecue, and folks are likely to show up just for the meal, Castle said.

All of the proceeds from the event — entrance and table fees — will be going to the Shriners, Castle said.

“This is the first show I’ve ever done, and if it goes well, I’d like to do another one for them in the fall,” he said.

The 63-year-old retired restaurant manager hails from Boones Creek and has been a comic book collector since a young age. It’s basically how Castle learned to read, starting out with Archie and Sad Sack, then graduating to Batman and his favorite character, Spider-man.

As he got older, Castle had a goal of opening a comic book shop. But life didn’t go that way. He does, however, have a booth at the Tri-Cities Flea Market in Bluff City and over the years has managed to collect 4,000 to 5,000 comic books, including two full runs of Amazing Spider-man, which he plans to leave to his 13- and 17-year-old grandsons.

“When I was in my 30s, I worked with the local chapter of the Lion’s Club and we did fundraising through the Bristol Motor Speedway. I was so proud of doing that and I’ve missed it,” Castle said.

“I’ve always wanted to do work in the community and help out, and I just saw (the Shriners show) as an opportunity to do that.”