“Ant-man and the Wasp” flew into theaters this weekend, with a domestic debut of $76 million, making it the third hit this year for Marvel, whose “cinematic universe” has been toppling box office records for a full decade since its launch.
Despite the superhero film’s monster numbers, the money has not exactly translated to the comic book stores, with sales at shops declining year-to-year in 2017 and at least 40 shops shuttering in America.
However, Graham Crackers Comics, who have been in Naperville for 35 years, is thriving. In late 2016, they even opened a new shop in Normal, Illinois – their 11thlocation overall.
The super serum to their success: capitalizing on pop culture trends like “Pokémon” and “Magic: the Gathering” and offering a larger experience than just comics, even though it does always come back to the books.
“But, it’s always diversification,” said Mike Wall, store manager of the Naperville location. “For instance, we do Magic tournaments here, and sell comics; which is really neat because some of the Magic guys are staring at these comics the whole entire time, and some of them go ‘I’ll start reading these.”
Even though the comics market has shifted with the emergence of digital and trade paperback collections available on sites like Amazon – Wall doesn’t see these new avenues as a threat to brick and mortar stores.
“Bookstores selling comics, even Wal-Mart got some DC comics – that’s great, because that just means more people reading. And then maybe they’ll seek us out,” said Wall.
And if you’re itching for more after catching “Ant-man and the Wasp” in theaters – Graham Crackers have more than got you covered.
“There’s some dollar issues that have like first appearances of like Wasp, first appearance of Scott Lang, first appearance of Ant-Man,” said Wall. “So there’s some different things to come in, you can stop in and I can point you in all sorts of different directions and let you decide.”
Reports Naperville News 17’s Peter Medlin.
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