In addition to wall crawling, superhuman reflexes, strength and of course “spider sense”, Spider-Man has another superpower: The ability to increase traffic in local comic book shops.
Since opening December 17, “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” the newest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, has grossed more than $ 620,000,000 at the domestic box office. That’s huge, of course, for cinemas that struggled during the home-streaming era, even before the pandemic made the outlook even grimmer.
In Huntsville, Alabama, a new Marvel blockbuster is also a boon to business like Supper Heroes, a superhero-themed restaurant. “We’re seeing quite a few people are going to see the Spider-Man movie,” said Mark Woodard, co-owner of Supper Heroes. “When (Marvel Studios) makes a good movie, a big blockbuster or a good series, the (superheroes) just get put back on everyone’s mind. And it’s starting to be part of the public zeitgeist or whatever. People say, ‘Oh, I remember how much I love that.’ “
MORE ABOUT CULTURE:
How an Alabama guitar maker passes his craft on to new builders
If you can’t afford a $ 777 suite, try the Huntsville Hotel’s $ 16 sandwich
Brittany Howard’s High School Marching Band Roots
Woodard estimates that a new Marvel movie will bring the restaurant about a 15 percent increase in sales. For some films, this takes a week or maybe two. However, on nuclear hits like the Avengers series or this latest Spider-Man, that bump can last a month or more.
“Anytime you can get extra income on top of your budget,” says Woodard, “that is money that can either flow back into the company, your employees, or keep the lights on when you have previously had problems. That’s why these things are extremely important to us. “
Supper Heroes is closely following the release dates of the upcoming films to ensure that the restaurant is well staffed on those dates. “It is important,” says Woodard, “that you can take appropriate care of your customers so that they don’t have bad experiences because you are busier than usual.”
In addition to the superhero tariff, new “Star Wars” releases are also increasing the traffic at Supper Heroes. In general, films based on DC Comics, Marvel’s comic book rival, aren’t as effective. However, 2017’s “Wonder Woman” was an exception, and Woodward believes the upcoming film “The Batman”, starring Robert Pattinson, will be “big”.
The Supper Heroes is located in a former mild-mannered home next to Domino’s Pizza on 1812 Winchester Road. The inside of the restaurant is like a temple / museum for crusaders. There’s a life-size Thor’s hammer hand-signed by Stan Lee in a case. The dining room is decorated with more than 100 framed comics and impressive collections of action figures. Skylights have been painted with symbols taken from the costumes of characters such as Mr. Fantastic, Flash, and The Punisher.
The Supper Heroes menu looks like a comic book, with elements like the “Brown Chicken, Brown Cow”, a bacon cheeseburger with a fried egg topping, which is described in action-packed tables and vividly illustrated by Joe Simmons. However, there are no Dr. Octopus Fish Sticks or Batman Wings on the menu. “I can’t use your trademarked characters to sell my items,” says Woodard. Even if the televisions in the dining room of the restaurant are showing superhero and science fiction films, the sound must be turned off to be legal.
Woodward has been collecting comics since the early 1970s and has a collection of more than 60,000, including personal favorites like “Daredevil” and “Hellboy”. He and Mike Staggs, two friends from Auburn University with decades of experience in the service industry, opened Supper Heroes in 2013. They currently employ around 10 people. The restaurant’s Facebook page has nearly 14,000 followers.
Often when a new Marvel movie comes out, Supper Heroes is part of a family day out for Greg Alburl, a Huntsville resident who works as a technical writer, Alburl’s wife, and their 10-year-old son. During the vacation, he ate alburls at the restaurant before seeing a matinee of “Spider-Man: No Way Home”. Previously, the family had Supper Heroes as part of their Marvel film mission for “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”, “Thor: The Dark World” and “Avengers: End Game”.
“It’s an integral part of our cinema experience,” says Alburl. “My son knows that if we go to Supper Heroes, today will be a very special day. That’s the atmosphere, right? And you might see someone dressed up as Batman. But if the food from Supper Heroes wasn’t good – and we always got really nice service – then we wouldn’t go, we would just go to a comic book restaurant before we see a comic book. ”One of the family’s favorites Alburl owns the Full Clip, a chilli and cheese fries starter.
Although Alburl has read The Uncanny X-Men and his son plays Marvel-related video games, his family’s Marvel fandom is largely derived from the movies. “For the most part, they’re just so well done,” says Alburl. “Even my wife is thrilled. All she wants is to see some superhero films and talk about what has happened in the last few films. “
Ed Walls’ business has nothing to do with comics. His business is comics. Walls opened The DeeP in Huntsville in 1995 and the store, which sells 800,000 comic books as well as toys and games, is located in a former electronic parts store at 2310 Memorial Pkwy. SW
The biggest impact a superhero blockbuster has on The DeeP is bringing back customers who have deviated from the store or comics in general. “They’re renewing their interest in the character,” says Walls, “and they want to come in and see what happens now. Especially with COVID in recent years, people did not want to get out or have switched to other things. (A new Marvel movie) makes them want to come back. “
In the midst of a new blockbuster, some parents come into the store and ask Walls or one of his 23 employees: “My child loves Spider-Man. Do you have kids’ comics? ”The DeeP carries comics for all ages, and attracting new comic fans and customers is critical to the business.
Even a Marvel hit can send fans back in time. In the run-up to “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, for example, an advertising image appeared showing the classic archenemy Green Goblin in the background. This inspired some The DeepP customers to look for older editions of the Spider-Man comics featuring the Green Goblin. In the case of the most recent Disney + streaming series, “Hawkeye,” female protagonist Kate Bishop led some fans familiar with the old Cliff Barton era of this archer hero to watch the latest Bishop-focused Hawkeye comics.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” from 2014 was something of a surprise hit. The comics are nowhere near as iconic as many of the other Marvel titles, so the Guardians films sparked awareness and interest in the source material. Walls’ all-time all-time favorite superhero is Spider-Man, but he believes the Deadpool films are the toughest movie adaptations yet. “You really stayed true to the character,” says Walls, “and (‘Deadpool’ star) Ryan Reynolds was a great fit.”
Superhero films have drastically changed the perception of comics and the people who read, collect, and obsess about them, Wall says. “You made comics cool. When I was growing up in the 80s, comic book readers were bullied. But now people can be open about it and say, ‘Yeah, I love the Marvel Universe. I love comics and superheroes. “That makes it mainstream and acceptable, and so people outside of purists can enjoy the hobby as well.”
With their colorful characters, A-list actors, mega-budgets, and eye-catching special effects, superhero films are usually built as rainmakers. But Walls believers can find real life lessons in these larger than life productions. “A lot of these characters make them heroes because they’ve always tried to do the right thing, and if they can’t find it, then they make it up to them. And try again. “