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On St. Marks, Comics on the Big Screen - The Local East Village Blog - NYTimes.com


On St. Marks, Comics on the Big Screen


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St. Mark's ComicsMeghan Keneally St. Mark’s Comics, 11 St. Marks Place.

This summer, the posters lining the walls of movie theaters could just as easily have been found in a teenager’s bedroom as comic books are hitting the big screen. “Thor” came out in May, “Green Lantern” in June, “The Green Hornet” in July, “Captain America: The First Avenger” debuted last weekend and new teaser trailers for the prequel to Spider Man and the return of “The Dark Knight” franchise were recently released.

Gossip Web sites and fashion magazines splash pictures of Hollywood stars greeting enthusiastic fans at Comic Con, the comic book trade show which finished Sunday in San Diego.

The public attention and adoration that equals big bucks for movie studios — “Captain America” brought in $65.8 million in its first weekend — does not necessarily translate into traditional book sales.

“Good movies help, and bad movies hurt,” said Mitch Cutler of St. Mark’s Comics, one of the oldest comic book retailers in Manhattan.

A one-time regular at Comic Con, Mr. Cutler said that he stopped going several years ago simply because it wasn’t necessary for his business at the time, though he says that he may attend in the future.

Comic Con started in 1970, though only turned into a red carpet event in the last few years.

“The culture has evolved as the people who have the money now are the ones who grew up with these characters and the material,” Mr. Cutler said, citing famed producer Steven Spielberg’s involvement in “The Transformers” franchise. “The wise ones are tapped into the fact that you have a huge audience at Comic Con that will pay big money to see your TV show or movie so it’s a waste if you miss the chance to advertise at those people.”

St. Mark's ComicsMeghan Keneally The selection at St. Mark’s.

While the jump of super heroes from books to the silver screen helps Hollywood, the same effects are not felt in stores like St. Mark’s Comics.

“Having done retail in New York for 30 years, the thing that has affected us the most this summer, and throughout the year, is the weather,” Mr. Cutler said. “This July has been very difficult especially considering that last summer was so mild. It’s not like we’re in somewhere else in America where people just drive to the mall and stay there all day; when it’s hot out, people don’t go outside and don’t come by the shop.”

Mr. Cutler seemed reluctantly hopeful about the string of comic-based movies coming out this summer, but was quick to lavish praise on the “good ones” like “Captain America,” which he saw Monday night.

“What makes a good comic book movie is being faithful to the source material but streamlining it enough to make it accessible to those who haven’t read it before,” he said. “You’ve got to have all of those Easter eggs of details scattered about for the real fan to notice.”

St. Mark's ComicsMeghan Keneally Longtime comic action heroes, including Thor, Captain America, The Green Hornet, Green Lantern, Spiderman and Superman are all stars of movies, too.