DAdelaide: Take a trip to the Batcave this weekend

If you didn’t get enough comic action last weekend at Comicon or want to get some new interior decorating ideas for the spare bedroom, now’s a good time to head into the Adelaide CBD – because there’s a Batcave.

Yes, a Batcave. Take the kids and check it out!

I know I unfairly blame my kids’ child care centre, but it’s become a convenient scapegoat for all the unexplained happenings around the house.

Kids have a cold? Child care. Kids dragging sand everywhere? Child care. Kids suddenly have an obsession with picking their noses? Child care.

But every now and then, you get a win. “Look dad, that’s Spiderman!” Why yes, yes it is. “I like Batman!” Oh really? So. Do. I. High five, child care.

While I don’t have any real comic book merchandise around the house, somehow Batman, Spiderman (and Darth Vader) regularly come up in conversations at home now. While the kids are probably a little young to start debating the merits of Marvel vs DC, I’m pretty sure I have a legitimate excuse to get back into the world of comic book heroes because, you know, my three-year-old’s asking questions and I really should be fully informed on the issues first – shouldn’t I? In fact, it’s my responsibility as a good parent… right?

So when I heard there was a Batman art exhibition at Espionage Gallery, I knew I had to check it out.

20140410-175814.jpgTucked away down a side-lane off Rundle Mall, Espionage Gallery is quickly becoming a favourite of mine (I mentioned the Around the World in 80 Toys in my previous DAdelaide post) and this month, in celebration of Batman’s 75th anniversary, gallery Manager Josh has transformed the space into his very own Batcave.

But unlike the traditionally tech-filled lair of the masked vigilante, the Espionage Bat-gallery features brilliant works from local and interstate artists based on the characters that have shaped Batman’s story.

Art gazing at Espionage GalleryFor the younger ones (although maybe not too young), it’s a great talking point about how comics and characters have been drawn and artistically portrayed across the years and there’s plenty of variation here. You not only get different takes on the famous caped crusader but also other popular heroes and villains such as The Joker, Catwoman, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn and Nightwing.

If you’re planning on taking the kids, just be aware that there may be a couple of scarier pics (there’s not really an easy way of softening Two Face). Also, the gallery is accessed via a flight of narrow stairs or via the compact service elevator (with manual doors!) but either choice adds to the adventure and sense of discovery, just be prepared.

Espionage Gallery is truly a hidden gem in Adelaide. Whenever I visit, I take a chance to have a chat to Josh. He clearly loves what he does and strongly believes in giving back to the community. In order to keep the gallery running he uses his own finely honed skills as a stencil artist to run workshops for students (often those in disadvantaged situations) to pass on his knowledge. Not only is he passionate about the gallery, he’s great at what he does and it’s easy to tell even if, like me, you’re not an art aficionado. The proof is in the faces of people as they walk through the door. It’s that awkward glance around the corner that turns into delight and the word “wow” that unconsciously escapes their mouths.

In Adelaide we talk about our city becoming more vibrant and reigniting the joy of discovery by activating forgotten spaces to turn them into places and Espionage Gallery is a shining example of this.

The Gotham exhibition at Espionage Gallery concludes on April 19, so don’t miss out and swing past. The Gallery is open Wednesday-Friday 12-6pm, Saturday from 12-5pm and Sunday from 12-3pm.

Try your hand at illustration

If you have a young budding artist in the family, there’s also an illustration workshop as part of the exhibition this Sunday (13th April) being run by Michael Dutkiewicz who has worked for DC comics on Batman and Catwoman.

Registration is just $30 and there are only 30 spaces available, so make sure you get in contact ASAP. If you are interested and would like to confirm your spot, please email Hello@Espionage-gallery.com with the subject title “Illustration workshop”

Get your Adelaide comic book fix

While you’re in the Adelaide CBD getting your Batman fix, here are a few extra shops worth visiting that will cover you for all things comics and collectibles:

  • Pulp Fiction Comics
    One of the slickest looking comic book stores out there, Pulp Fiction Comics is conveniently located near the western entrance of Rundle Mall. They’ve made a name for themselves as one of the most generous comic book shops in Australia by giving away more comics than any other store for the annual Free Comic Book Day (May 3rd). Last year, they gave away around 6,000 comics! They also have their own wall of fan-art contributed by their customers and always have a classy looking front window display.
  • Adelaide Comics Centre
    A huge range of comics, collectibles and clothing, The Adelaide Comics Centre is also one worth visiting at the eastern end of Rundle Mall. For the onesie lovers, they have an upcoming parade and of course they’ll be giving away comics on Free Comic Book Day as well.
  • Mad Zombie Collectables
    Once on the top floor of Adelaide Arcade (yeah, there’s another floor), Mad Zombie Collectibles are now on Twin Street with plenty of collectibles including a number of comics, toys and half a wall of Dr. Who merchandise.

Do you have another favourite superhero stop off in the city? Leave a shout out in the comments below.

PS The child care centre my kids go to is  really good and the staff there are fantastic – but kids will be kids 🙂

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