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Rants and Raves: Comic Book Movies

Superhero Films Don’t Bring New Customers to Comics Shops

Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman star in

Credit: Marvel Entertainment

Above: Chris Hemsworth and Natalie Portman star in "Thor" from Marvel Entertainment.


Michel D. Hamersky talks about comics and comic book movies.


Marvel Comics' "Thor" (opening May 6 throughout San Diego) is the latest superhero to arrive on the big screen. But the buzz about the film may do little to create new fans for the original comic books. I talk with some local comic book dealers about how these Hollywood blockbusters affect their business.

San Diego comic book dealers may eagerly await each Hollywood superhero movie but that's not because these blockbusters bring new customers to their stores. Neither Marvel nor DC Comics use feature films like the upcoming "Thor" or "Green Lantern" to drive people back to the original publications. Michael D. Hamersky is an on line comics dealer and blogger for Comic Book Collectors says a film like "Thor" only has a modest influence on sales.

"Several months before hand it does impact comic sales," Hamersky says, "because those that are in the know are looking for key issues or issues that they are missing in their own collections that they want to purchase before the prices go up. However, the comic sales right after the film comes out usually don't go that much higher in terms of sales."

Regarding the upcoming comic book movies, Hamersky says he took an informal 'survey' at the last Comic Book Savvy meeting in the Mission Valley and found that the "savvy" comic book fans are looking forward to "Captain America" the most while they suspect "Thor" is the film mainstream America might be most interested in seeing.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Robert Scott, owner of Comickaze: Comics, Books, and More.

But comic book dealers wish that Marvel and DC would use these movies to drive people back to the source material and into comic book stores where they could see some of the groundbreaking work being done in comics. Robert Scott, owner of Comickaze: Comics, Books and More, says Marvel and DC are passing up an opportunity to use their film franchises to create a new generation of comics readers.


Robert Scott talks about comics and comic book movies.


"Unfortunately," says Scott, "as much as we'd like to see it when it comes to superhero comics people already seem to have a fixed idea of what superhero characters are and whether or not they already appreciate them and if they did they would already be buying the comics so they don't really see a need to come in and see what's new."

Comickaze is coming up on its twentieth year in Clairemont Mesa. Scott says there are Hollywood adaptations of comics and graphic novels that do drive sales.

Photo caption:

Photo credit: Beth Accomando

Comickaze's Robert Scott says the films for "Kick-Ass" and "Scott Pilgrim" did bring new fans into the store to boost sales.

"We saw a lot bigger response to things like 'Scott Pilgrim' and 'Kick-Ass' and 'Watchmen' and 'Sin City' and '300' because it didn't fall neatly into people's perceptions of what comic books are. Like I think 'Scott Pilgrim' was definitely our best selling graphic novel series last year."

But superheroes dominate theaters this summer with "Green Lantern," "Captain America," and "X-Men First Class" still to come. And maybe make a side trip to your comic book store to see the comics that inspired these films and the new directions some of the characters are being taken to.

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