Comic book shop owners expect increased sales following movie releases.
Another Marvel Comics superhero makes the leap from pulp pages to the silver screen today.
Matt Murdock is a mild-mannered lawyer by day, but he spends his spare time fighting crime as Daredevil, the man with no fear. He also happens to be the latest character in Marvel's movie lineup.
"Daredevil" is Marvel's third recent movie, following "X-Men" (2000) and "Spider-Man," (2002) both of which were box office hits. "Daredevil" certainly will not be the last Marvel film as "Hulk" and "X2" are scheduled to be released later this year.
"Marvel is more aggressive now," said Bryan Alcom, manager of Wizard's Asylum Comics and Games. Alcom said that Marvel is also planning another "Blade" sequel, a "Punisher" movie and perhaps a "Ghostrider" film.
"It's really exciting to see the film industry start adapting these things in a fashion that's not embarrassing," said Rob Vollmar, assistant manager of Atomik Pop.
In the past, DC Comics made movies about Superman and Batman, but they quit when "Batman and Robin" had lackluster box office results in 1997.
"Superhero properties in particular don't naturally adapt to film very well," Vollmar said. "Spider-Man took 12 years of stories and boiled it down to two hours."
Speeding Bullet Comics owner Matt Price said he thinks "Daredevil" will do well.
"Marvel is in a good position because there haven't been movies made to compete in the public mind," he said.
Price said that Marvel's characters are new to the screen, so the public will be more responsive to them as opposed to having a series like "Batman," where multiple actors have played the same character.
In the past, Marvel's movies have led to an increase in sales for comic shops, so owners are preparing in response to the movie.
Having seen the sales increases from "X-Men" and "Spider-Man," store owners are anticipating a high demand for Daredevil items.
Price said he is stocking up on Daredevil trade paperbacks and back issues. "When you have a movie come out, it moves the interests of readers," Price said.
Getting new readers is always a goal for comic book retailers, but the target group for comic books has changed since the 1970s.
"Comics aren't made for kids anymore," Vollmar said. "Stuff form the '70s is perfect for kids, but modern stuff is more for 16- to 25-year-olds."
Vollmar explained that the modern "Daredevil" is geared more toward adults and that the series is known for its darker edge. Comic artist Frank Miller got his start with the "Daredevil" series and gave it its dark flavor when he revitalized the series in the late '70s and early '80s.
The movie gets its story from one of Miller's books, Price said. It consists of Daredevil's background and a story that spanned 12 issues.
Alcom said that Miller's work led the way for Daredevil's current writer Brian Michael Bendis to take today's Daredevil on a more introverted path.
"I read Daredevil. It's one of my favorites," said Alcom. "It deals with his personal life. It's not all about just fighting superheroes in tights."
Today's Daredevil stories focus less on him being a superheros and more on his life as a blind lawyer. Vollmar calls Daredevil a connoisseur's comic.
"Miller's Daredevil is dark, but old stuff is still aimed at kids," said Price. "If your kids wanted to read some Daredevil, you can probably find some classic reprints."
As Marvel pushes its "man without fear" into the spotlight today, a whole new audience will be exposed to the blind hero. And for the people left wanting more, the comic book retailers will be ready to provide.
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