Impact Star Wars has had on local comic book stores

Jordan Ferris
By Jordan Ferris October 20, 2017 13:59

Impact Star Wars has had on local comic book stores


Rouges Gallery Comics owner Shawn Cousineau with Star Wars merchandise Oct. 13. Photo by Jordan Ferris

By Jordan Ferris

Since the revitalization of the Star Wars movie saga in 2015, local comic book store owners have seen a trend increase in Star Wars related business.

With Star Wars comics being released more consistently since Marvel acquired the rights, local comic store owners say it is good to see how their businesses have been affected. Reports from Screenrant and CNBC showed Disney saw a 4.4 per cent increase in licensed merchandise sales in 2016. Both Rouge One: a Star Wars Story and Star Wars: The Force Awakens played a big part in helping grow those numbers.

Scott St. Amour, owner of Paper Heroes Comic Book Lounge & Collectibles, said his business does not come from merchandise, such as toys, because it is hard to compete based on pricing. St. Amour said he tries to keep his product more exclusive to things that cannot be found at big retailers.

“There wasn’t a big Marvel comic out at the time to support the movies [Star Wars] or anything, so it was much smaller than it is now,” said St. Amour.

Disney who owns Marvel began production of new comic books in 2015 and St. Amour said he has seen a difference in his Star Wars business since the revitalization.

Shawn Cousineau, owner of Rogues Gallery Comics said the same idea regarding toys.

“Sure, there was new merchandise for a new movie and all that but it was more so about the comics,” said Cousineau.

Cousineau said he saw a different form of excitment.

“Yeah my nerds were excited about about the new films, but they were equally excited about these four or five new Star Wars titles that were coming out,” said Cousineau.

Since 2015, Marvel and Disney have released over 15 different comic book series with two to 37 individual comic books each. Long time Star Wars fan Ashly Thomson said she understood why this has excited many fans.

“It’s another world. You get to bring yourself somewhere else — you can go anywhere [and] do anything,” said Thomson. “The new franchises are great. They definitely got me in [Rogues Gallery Comics].”

Thomson, 33, said she had been a fan of Star Wars since she was eight years old but did not start collecting comics until a few years ago.

St. Amour said he believes many people are interested in the comics.

“Everyone wants to know the background of the characters and who is doing what,” said St. Amour. “There is always something new to keep interest up.”

Of the more than 15 Star Wars comic series, 12 feature a storyline based on one specific character — such as the Captain Phasma series.

Cousineau said this focus has brought new Star Wars fans through the door. He said he has also noticed an increase in customers who have begun reading Star Wars, many of them over 35 years old — some who were kids when Star Wars was first released in 1977.

St. Amour has seen a similar crowd demographic, but with a slight twist.

“People in their forties bringing in their kids, nieces and nephews to kind of keep the tradition going,” said St. Amour.

St. Amour has tried to change his look from that of a regular comic store in an attempt to connect with the youth a little more. He has added lounge chairs and section for children friendly comics.

“I am glad people are excited and I hope it continues,” said St. Amour.

Jordan Ferris
By Jordan Ferris October 20, 2017 13:59

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