Marvel’s latest movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, opened to the second largest weekend ever at the box office. The comics industry – from which so many of today’s top blockbusters are derived — earned about $540 million last year. That’s a 20 percent increase from five years ago. Current sales trends show those numbers continuing to rise. Richard Evans is the owner of Bedrock City Comics in Houston.
“We always talk about it, those of us who have been collecting comics for a long time – how cool it is to be involved in this stuff now,” Evans says. “Because the things we were marginalized 30 years ago when we were teenagers – now it’s embraced by everybody because now – the general public –are all geeks.”
Texas has some of the world’s most dedicated fans. This year, the state will host about a dozen comic book and sci-fi conventions. John Simons is the chairman of Comicpaloozza, in Houston.
“We’re starting to get looked at kind of differently – we actually have a movie premiering, a world premier,” Simons says. “That sort of thing is something that does not happen to your average convention.”
Comicpalooza started out with a dozen comic writers and artists signing books in the lobby of a movie theatre. Six years later, it’s drawing more than 100,000 visitors and hosting a dozen celebrity appearances. But as with any industry seeing explosive growth, competition is tough.
“There are more comic conventions in the country than ever before, and more that are bigger; now there are actually large multinational companies that own some of them,” Simons says. “They have essentially limitless money if they wish to spend it. So the amount of competition for someone like me – who have $450 when he started – is tremendous.”
If you’re at this year’s convention, remember the collector’s mantra: buy comics if you want, maybe get them signed. But think twice before you throw anything away – today’s Comicpalooza program could become tomorrow’s comic book gold.