March 25, 2023
Wes Hagan stands in front of his rows of comic books at the Comic Book Warehouse. 3310 King St. E. Kitchener. Sept. 22, 2018. Photo by Sarah Gilder, Spoke News

By Sarah Gilder, Spoke News

Old-fashioned as they are, comic book figures have been making a comeback in today’s media. With Thor, Captain America, Batman and Superman covering the screens more often today, questions arise about the comic books said characters came from.

“Since [the films] came out, it affected not necessarily prices going up like everyone thinks. But what it does is —books, like Avengers books, say, in our-dollar or three-dollar bins for reading — it empties boxes. So if an Avengers movie comes out…we would notice, oh, we’ve sold this many out of a box, right?” said Wes Hagen, owner of the Comic Book Warehouse in Kitchener, Ont. “So I know everybody buys for investment. [People think] the movie is going to come out, everything will go up in value. What it does it just helps with sales and more interest.

“Like Black Panther, we didn’t sell too much. A little here and there. But as soon as the Black Panther movie came out, everyone [asked] do you have Black Panther? And then it sort of stays that way as well after the movie. So there’s that interest and it sort of just sort of teeters off a little but it stays popular.”

With the movies having so much influence over young children and even adults, interest is rising — and not only in the mainstream comic books with the figures that many people have already heard of or have come to enjoy. It also helps inspire people to start writing some comics of their own.

A rack displays comic books at Studiocomix Press. 385 Frederick St, Unit 2, Kitchener. Sept. 22, 2018. Photo by Sarah Gilder, Spoke News

Alfonso Espinos, director of Studiocomix Press, described how these movie releases affected his business, which exists more for independent writers and creators, though the store has plenty of both worlds to offer.

“I would say it [created more] awareness … that there’s more superheroes around. Now, people will watch a movie, people will look at the new Spider-man movies. Spider-man Homecoming, I mean, that super handsome….you know the name right? And that is key. Disney actually put a lot of money towards making sure that the new generation of kids….gets that information so that they can sell more copies,” said Espinos regarding the Marvel industry, “It’s a really great connection….Now since you learn more about that, that will help you to also open you, if you want of course, to know more about the new comic book creators…. Are there any local comic book creators that are doing local comic book stalls? And that is where we kind of come into the picture. It has helped a lot.”  

But independent creators aren’t the only ones that are being helped by this craze. More books about side characters and characters that had minor roles in the movies were starting to gain attention and curiosity from fans.

This also leads to more people looking into comic book stores. Wanting to know more about the character and being spurred on by watching the movies, they would venture into a store, sometimes for the first time, to get more information on their favourite heroes.

Jacob Brenner stands in front of the merchandise at Lookin’ For Heroes. 83 Ontario St. S. Kitchener. Sept. 22, 2018. Photo by Sarah Gilder, Spoke News

“We’ve seen a big push on, when people go to see the movies, especially if they haven’t been into a comic book store before,” said Jacob Brenner, an employee at Lookin’ For Heroes in Kitchener. “You’ll see a lot of times where they go see a movie and they’ll be interested in a character.

“Avengers was a very big push for this, where we saw people come in and Hawkeye and characters that weren’t really given a major spotlight in the Avengers movie, people were interested in. So they would come in and ask. Where else are you going to get the stories for those characters than in a comic book shop?”


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