Comic book shops reap benefits of movie popularity

- Glancing at the all-time worldwide box office numbers, it's easy to see that comic book movies are here to stay.

Four of the top-10 movies are based on comic books. The three "Avengers" movies along with "Black Panther" have brought in nearly $6.5 billion.

"They try to make those things come to life," Emerald City Comics marketing director Darryl Blaker said.

The booming box office numbers have a direct impact on retailers like Emerald City Comics.

"It brings in people that probably wouldn't have been seeking out comics or going to a comic book store five years ago," he said.

Blaker says customers are coming in to learn more about their new favorite character or just to take home a product with that character on it.

Emerald City Comics owner Neil Johnson is happy to help. He's been collecting all his life and is an encyclopedia of all things comic books, citing what decade has the rarest books, how to tell what era the books are made, and even what books should first-time collectors invest in.

"If a kid had just seen "Spider-Man," we would show him reprints of the very early "Spider-Man" comics and say, 'This is where the stories came from,'" Johnson said.

The Clearwater business' success rises and falls with the success of the economy. The business is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary later this year.

With the bevy of comic book releases each year, they hope to stay busy by taking advantage of the new interest. They hold Saturday events celebrating those films, Blu-Ray/DVD releases, and new TV shows.

Like the new faces the films bring in, they're enjoying the movie boom as fans as well.

"We always laugh among the employees that if we don't see the movie that weekend, it's going to be ruined for us that week," Johnson said.

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