Comic books are becoming one of the most acceptable forms of entertainment for people all over the globe. Public interest has increased thanks to the hit comic book movies that Hollywood film production companies shell out money for to see these titans of entertainment to come to life. While big money generates into the box office, interest generates from new fans who may not be familiar with the source material for hit films like Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, and Wonder Woman. This curious mass of fandom may look no further than a local comic shop, Barnes & Noble, or the public library.

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Oral Frier rings up a customer at A Comic Shop in Winter Park, FL. (PHOTO/Matt de Simone)

A hotbed for comic book retail lies with the city limits of sunny Orlando, Florida. In many of the stores, a customer can ask questions regarding the heroes on the screen and a friendly retailer will promptly direct said-customer to the area of the shop focusing on their favorite characters. Comic books are a captivating escape. It’s only within the walls of a comic book shop where a customer may look for a book, find it, and then become informed of other stories that may interest the new reader. Most other book stores aren’t staffed with people who necessarily want to tell you about “all the books.”

Oral Frier has worked at A Comic Shop in the Winter Park, Florida area for several years. He sees the trends that come with new movies increasing the sales of comic books. “Comic books have always been semi-present in the zeitgeist [of pop] culture,” Frier explains, “We consume [the comic book genre]. Everyone knows Wonder Woman, but so many people have never picked up a Wonder Woman book.” Now that films like Wonder Woman gained success with the film audience, more people are now flocking towards the source material—similarly to Harry Potter novels or Jurassic Park. It’s Frier’s job to point the new readers in the right direction.

Frier believes there is a comic book out there for any curious reader. “Everyone likes a different type of story, but in [the comic book] medium you have different types. If you like a movie [based on a comic], you will like a comic book.” It’s up to the retailers to break down the similarities for the comic book films to the source material. A retailer also must make the discrepancies clear. Elements of the films people enjoy may not be a part of the source material’s mythos. If that’s the case, the new readers need to understand that while the films are based in and around the comics, they’re not necessarily telling the comic’s story page for page. This is one of the more frustrating aspects of jumping into the comic book genre, which tends to have people blow off the books and stick to the films. “For people to [get frustrated] and say that comic books are ‘stupid,’[they] don’t know what comic book can be. If [customers] allow me to point them in the right direction, I think I’ll find something [they’ll] like.”

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