Comic books have become a more prevalent member of pop culture in thanks to the successful adaptations presented by Hollywood. New eyes on the comics’ infamous characters can sometimes bring forth new eyes to the book in which the characters originated. Orlando, Florida provides any comic book enthusiast with a chance to find whatever book he or she desires. From it’s multitude of comic books shops, to the downtown library—Orlando is a comic book fan’s shopping center.
Shaun Schapira, a resident retailer at A Comic Shop in the Orlando area, explains how cool and important it is to be so close to so many different comic book retailers.
Todd Fisher and Anna Young, co-owners of Gods & Monsters, welcome customers new and old into the newly condensed store. In a short period of time, Fisher manages to allow customers to have an immersive experience shopping for memorabilia in the genres of pop culture, comic books, and toys. Young specializes in the orders and visualizing elements of the store coinciding with new comic book events and merchandize on the way. Due to relationships born within the retail industry, Fisher and Young sell original art work from known artists to artists yet-to-be-discovered. G&M takes all of the highlights of “Orlando’s Comic Strip” and rolls them together to present a comic book shop like no other.
The sales of merchandize to new customers drives Gods & Monsters. The store’s set up separates products just enough to where every inch of the store feels like you’re stepping into a different aspect of genre retail. Some comic shops simply jam everything they offer on shelves and hope customers find what they’re looking for. That’s not the case at Gods & Monsters. The store provides customers with titles both new and old. All publishers’ products neatly line the walls and displays cases so the customers know what publisher’s or designer’s “section” they’re perusing.
Gods & Monsters opens daily at 11AM and closes at 7PM Sunday thru Thursday and 9PM on Fridays and Saturdays. The shop’s bar, “Vault 5421,” opens in the coming months. Check out www.facebook.com/godmonsters for more information on the shop and its merchandize.
During the C2E2 expo in Chicago, Marvel Comics announced their next attempt at rebranding their comic books. Marvel Legacyis essentially going to be their answer to the successful Rebirth campaign produced by their competitors out west, DC Comics. Over the years, both companies made multiple attempts to “reset” their respective continuities. Some failed, while some were somewhat successful.
Rebranding is a giant risk. Not only is it a risk to the comic book companies, but it’s an even greater risk for retailers. Al Rodriguez is the owner of Epic Comics in Orlando, Florida. He’s experienced the highs and lows that comes with the companies’ bi-annual rebranding or revamping of their respective characters and continuities. Rodriguez says that Marvel “is focusing on more quality and less quality” in the way the creators tell their stories. He further states, “[Legacy] should be a way for Marvel to refresh their characters, get their icons back [to the status quo, and] getting back to basics. You can still tell good stories with iconic heroes.”
Back in the 1980’s, DC made the first bold attempt at rebranding following the Crisis on Infinite Earthscrossover event. The origins of DC’s major players like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were all altered to match a more modern era of comic book storytelling. While Batman and Wonder Woman comics improved, the Superman comics’ stories fell off. It’s taken almost 30 years for some of DC’s once-renowned heroes and villains to receive their proper resurgence. Readers currently argue that, as whole, DC Comics in 2016 are better than they’ve ever been thanks to the Rebirth storyline.
The same goes for Marvel. They too tried something different in the 1980’s by introducing an entire new line of comics outside of the then-current continuity. It wasn’t a rebranding, but one could surmise that if lightning had struck with the New Universe, then the other books would follow the same rebranding. Fortunately, Marvel cancelled the NU line of books. At the turn of the millennium, Marvel found the right time to intro a new line in the Marvel Ultimate Universe. These books featured well-known characters, but gave them all a modern feel—like what DC did “post-Crisis.”
The last time Marvel tried to majorly revamp their continuity came during 2005’s House of Mseries. The main consequence—in the story—came when Scarlet Witch magically took away the powers of 98% of Marvel’s Mutant population. At the time, X-Men books were top-sellers. Since that event, like (most of) the Superman comics of the 90’s through 2015, the “X-titles” haven’t recovered.
While there’s a big risk in rebranding, the cyclical way comic books recover is inevitable. Fans are going to continue to read comic books. Readers can always find another corner of the vast comic book community to roam if the stories they subscribe to are frustrating or too convoluted for whatever reason. Rodriguez is hopeful. “Comic books are [now] the [potential] source for what will become a movie or a TV show… [comics] should be the inspiration for everything.” Hopefully, Marvel Legacy will do just that.
In the latest installment of MLP, Matty travels to A Comic Shop in Orlando, Florida to talk to the store’s owner, Aaron Haaland. Usually, MattyLoves provides visitors with content that revolves around the topics of comic books and pro-wrestling. The blogs are mainly dedicated to comics, while episodes of MLP ebb and flow with whatever Matty’s currently wrapped up within.
Over the past year, Matty’s fascination with the sales of comics has increased. In the last ten years, Marvel and DC have presented comic book readers with an overwhelming number of reinventions. Some were successful, while others failed miserably.
How does this affect the retailer? Haaland is internationally known. He has a weekly video blog featured on a pop culture news site, Bleeding Cool. If anyone in Matty’s neck of the woods had a finger on the pulse of the comic book business, it’s Aaron Haaland.
From the success of DC Rebirth, to the confusion of Secret Wars, Matty asks Haaland about the state of the comic book business for a retailer in 2017. The main question Matty wants answered is how retailers adapt to the relaunches in order to sell comic books to new reader. Also, what do you tell a longtime reader when a series with the same creative team relaunches with a new “#1” as opposed to simply continuing the ongoing series? It’s awesome that Haaland took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Matty and answer his questions. Enjoy this interview with the host of A Comic Show and owner of Matty’s favorite comic shop.