Passing it down

BOND: Mr Benjamin Foo and his son Ryan share a passion for comics.  PICTURE COURTESY OF BENJAMIN FOO

Comics are more than stories of superheroes to him - they also symbolise a bond between father and son.

General manager Benjamin Foo, 50, has been a regular customer at Comics World for more than 25 years - since he was a student.

Such is his dedication to comic books that even when he moved to Shanghai for work eight years ago, Mr Foo had friends send him the latest editions of his favourite comics.

"It is like my long distance love affair," he quips.

His love for comics has been inherited by his 18-year-old son Ryan.

"It was not forced on him. He just picked up comics I left lying around and naturally took to it. He also started drawing because of them," Mr Foo says.

The father and son have even made the pilgrimage to the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, thought to be the world's biggest comics related event. Mr Foo adds that going with his son was a long-held dream come true.

"It felt like I was passing on the hobby."

The pair share recommendations: While they both enjoy Batman and X-Men titles, Mr Foo says he likes left-field books such as Alan Moore's Watchmen; while Ryan goes for more mainstream titles.

In his youth, Mr Foo had thousands of comics, accumulated from weekly buys.

But the collection became too large and he went through the challenge of paring it down.

He now has only about 800 favourites.

Comics are just as important to Mr Foo now as they were when he was a child.

"Comics are still a form of escapism from the hum drum of life. They keep me sane," he says with a laugh.

He also retains an old-school reverence and love for the physical comic, shunning digital copies.

"Comics have to be held, kept and discussed. The need to physically hold something will never go away," he says.

Mr Foo admits that the numbers of comic-readers have shrunk, but also notes that there has been renewd interest over the last decade because of the many super-hero movies.

The bonding continues as the Foos go to these movies together.

"For me, I have been reading such comics for over 20 years and to see the material come alive from the page was something I never thought possible. These are exciting times indeed," he says.