Whether you realized that Saturday was National Comic Book Day or you’ve never read a comic in your life, comic book stores are happy to help seasoned enthusiasts and newbies alike find it all, from superhero stories to crime thrillers.
“Everyday is National Comic Book Day at Bedrock Comics, ”said Jack Lefevra, owner of the Framingham Comic Bookstore. “We live and breathe comics. “
The comic book industry has some important dates. The first Saturday in May is Free Comics Day, and every Wednesday is busy because that’s when new comics hit shelves.
“I just wish someone had told me that,” said Jay Pillarella, owner of Rubber Chicken Comics in Bellingham. “It’s like every day is a national day. “
Pillarella said Free Comic Book Day started out small and is now the biggest event celebrated by the store. This year, the event has been postponed to August.
“Next year will actually be back to the first Saturday in May,” Pillarella said. “This should be when National Comic Book Day is, in my opinion.”
The golden age of comics
The comic book industry is very different from what it was just a few decades ago, Pillarella said. Rubber Chicken Comics has been around since 1990 and Pillarella took over his father’s store in 2000. “The Chicken,” as he calls it, sells both comics and collectibles like statues and vinyl records.
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“We’re living in the golden age of comics right now,” Pillarella said. “We’re so spoiled, with some of the best movies and TV shows coming out.”
In the early 2000s, when the first X-Men trilogy and the Tobey Maguire Spider-Man trilogy were released, every blockbuster movie would mean an “influx of crazy people,” Pillarella said. “Fast forward 21 years later, and it’s not as big because everyone expects it.”
Lefevra said it’s good for everyone – comic book stores, creators and shoppers – that it’s not just the great superhero stories that are now being turned into movies and TV shows, like Amazon’s “Umbrella Academy” and “Locke & Key” and “Invincible” and “The Boys.”
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“It’s good because some of these young artists or writers who start out on these independent books aren’t getting acclaimed by some of these writers on some of the bigger books, like Spider-Man,” Lefevra said. “It’s more accessible to children today. When I was a kid you were pretty nerdy reading comics.
Lefevra admitted that after decades of reading superhero comics, he turns more to indie type stories for entertainment, like “Oblivion Song,” created and written by Robert Kirkman. Kirkman also co-created the comic book that inspired the popular AMC series “The Walking Dead”.
“It’s a bit off the beaten path of superheroes, but it’s a nice book,” Lefevra said. “When you’ve been doing this for 40 years, it’s hard to find something that will really capture my attention. “
“We’re in a different world right now with what’s going on, but if you can still hold onto some kind of normalcy, that’s what people are looking for here,” Pillarella said. “It’s escape entertainment, and I serve the best around.”
Pillarella said that one of the great things about comics is that they can be short.
“If you just want to check it out, you have this 24 page comic that can be done in minutes, and then it’s like ‘Wait, I want another one,'” Pillarella said. “It’s very easy to get addicted to comics, especially if you’re a general reader. They are the size of a bite.
Recently, Spider-Man made headlines with the record sale of a 1962 comic book featuring the iconic character’s debut. Amazing Fantasy # 15 sold for $ 3.6 million; the previous record came from a sale earlier this year of a Superman comic book for $ 3.25 million.
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“That is not the purpose of this industry,” Lefevra said of the sale and trade of comics, saying he didn’t like speculation about them as if they were a commodity on the stock exchange. “It’s about having a good time, getting away from it all and just imagining yourself to be the superhero – or maybe even the villain of the story.”
Pillarella and Lefevra agreed that the best part of running a store is the customers, new and old.
“When you come here we just want you to feel like this is your comic book store,” Lefevra said. “I want it to be enjoyable and fun for everyone.”
Lefevra said he hopes to store more comics out of stock – since the comics are used and not new versions, you can buy a stack for the same price as a new comic.
“A lot of people are intimidated by comic book stores just because you walk in and it’s really overwhelming,” Pillarella said, adding that is why the stores are a great destination for everyone. “We’ll show you everything you need to know… there are literally countless products here that we can show you what you want to enjoy. “