Business booming for NJ comic book stores thanks to superhero movies, TV shows
MONTCLAIR — The wild success of movies such as "Ironman" and "The Avengers" supported Jeff Beck's belief that setting up a comic book store on South Fullerton Avenue would be a smart move.
He was right. Business at East Side Mags has been great over the past two-plus years, and the blockbuster movies just keep on coming. And with each one, additional customers come through Beck's doors, wanting to know more about the heroes and villains they've been watching on screen.
Superhero films, along with hit series on television and streaming services like Netflix, have resulted in a boost in business for comic book stores throughout the Garden State.
The on-screen adaptations are sparking interest in new readers — young and old — and reigniting the animated flame in comic book lovers of the past.
And, according to Beck, comic book publishers are helping the cause by giving readers plenty of material to sort through.
"For example, Marvel's got a Dr. Strange movie coming out," Beck explained. "Dr. Strange has been popping up and guest appearing in maybe a half a dozen other comics, literally right now as we speak."
Adding to the fanfare is this past weekend's release of "X-Men: Apocalypse." Comic book guru Mike Zapcic at Jay and Silent Bob's Secret Stash in Red Bank expected to see an additional 150 customers on Saturday and Sunday simply because moviegoers would be curious after seeing the film.
"It drives people here," Zapcic said. "Not just the blockbuster movies, but you've got 'The Flash' on TV, 'Supergirl', 'Preacher' is on AMC, 'The Walking Dead.'"
Zapcic noted comic books give readers a deeper understanding of a franchise's characters, and it helps that books, unlike movies, aren't held back by budgetary constraints.
"Every page looks like a million-dollar shot from a big budget blockbuster," he said. "You can have 80 of those on every page in this book, and you don't have to worry about an $80 million budget on it."
Zapcic described comic books as "the ultimate in serials."
"They've always been like a movie a month," he said.
Contact reporter Dino Flammia at Dino.Flammia@townsquaremedia.com