The last time I’m mentioning the whole Jack Black as Green Lantern thing on my weblog, I swear to God…

§ July 25th, 2004 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on The last time I’m mentioning the whole Jack Black as Green Lantern thing on my weblog, I swear to God…

…at least until there’s some kind of real news about it.

Anyway, I had one final thing to say about that particular bit of theoretical casting:

Michael Keaton.

Man alive, did people hate the idea of Michael Keaton as Batman. “But that guy does wacky comedies,” everyone said. “He’s not heavily muscled!” etc. etc. But, in retrospect, the casting of Michael Keaton as Batman is probably one of the few good things about that movie. (It certainly wasn’t the screenplay or the direction.) It seems to me that the same people who were complaining the most about Keaton’s casting prior to the film’s release later lamented Keaton’s loss after the second film.

Okay, a Jack Black Green Lantern film is a slightly different situation, since it is supposedly a comedy…but basically, all we really know about this alleged film is that 1) Black is GL, and 2) it’s a comedy. Hey, it could be a really good comedy…we don’t know yet. It’s way too early to go into histrionics based solely on casting. We don’t know who’s writing, we don’t know who’s directing, we don’t know what sort of perspective on the whole GL thing they’re gonna be taking. You might all be pleasantly surprised, for all you know.

Yes, I know chances are it’ll be bad simply because most Hollywood movies are bad…but the presence of Jack Black doesn’t automatically mean it’s going to be stinky. Besides, to borrow an observation from another weblogger (I don’t remember which one…let me know, please!) — what do you want from a GL movie? A serious take on a guy who makes big green fists with his magic ring?

And that kinda sorta leads me into this: a couple days ago there was a brief exchange on pal Dorian‘s weblog thingie regarding the impact of films on comic sales…Dorian asserts that there is an impact, the commenter remarks that it’s not really the case at his shop.

Well, in my experience, there’s the first Tim Burton Batman film, and then there’s everything else. Bat-fever was at its height in the late-80s, centered around this film, coupled with the peak faddishness of comic books in general. So, business was way up, people couldn’t get enough of Bat-stuff (we had waiting lists for T-shirts, for pete’s sake), and everyone, comic fans and newcomers to the field alike, were excited about Batman. New Batman comics sold like crazy, back issues flew out the door, and there was an attendant increase in prices on those back issues. (Example…a couple years prior to the movie, I bought a Joker #1 out of a dime box at a convention. After the movie, Joker #1 became a $30 book in the price guides!)

The superhero movies that followed never even came close to this sort of crazed activity. However, that’s not to say the movies have had no impact on comic sales. Recently, the Hellboy film was very successful in getting people interested in the comic (despite difficulties in getting our trade paperback stock replenished in a timely manner), spurred along by the 25-cent Hellboy comic Dark Horse Comics produced just for the occasion.

Marvel could have learned from Dark Horse’s example, as I’ll never understand the decision to publish 25-cent versions of Hulk and Daredevil to tie in with those respective movies that don’t feature the title characters in any significant fashion. The Hulk comic in particular is absolutely shameful…the Hulk’s arm appears in a flashback panel. That’s it. That’s all the Hulk you get from that 25-cent comic. No kid is going to buy that and want to come back for more Hulk comics. Fortunately for us, we have a significant back issue supply of both titles that do feature Hulk and Daredevil in significant amounts, and thus we were able to give the public what it demanded and what Marvel itself wasn’t currently supplying.

Spider-Man is a whole different matter. Kids always want Spider-Man comics. Yes, there was a brief bump in sales after the first film (people were even snapping up the pretty-much universally-reviled Spider-Man: Chapter One series). I didn’t see much of a difference in sales in relation to the second film, though most everyone seemed pretty sick of Doctor Octopus appearances.

There was also a surge of interest in the Alan Moore properties The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and From Hell…in the former case, League had been selling well anyway, but the movie seemed to get a few people (regulars and new customers alike) to try it out. In the case of the latter film, the number of people who picked it up because of the film was matched by the the number of people who picked it up, looked at it, and decided not to buy it because it didn’t look anything like the movie (i.e. it was good).

For the non-superhero movies…there was a brief spurt of interest in American Splendor, and I managed to sell several back issues of the magazine, as well as the two available collections. Ghost World too had an increase in interest…unfortunately, we had a great deal of difficulty getting it in stock for pretty much the entire theatrical run of the film. However, we can get all we need now, and it remains a fairly steady seller.

Now you may have noticed that I haven’t mentioned X-Men. That’s because the X-Men movies haven’t really had much of an impact on the sales of the comics, since the comics themselves are pretty much resistant to acquiring new readers (the sole recent exception being Grant Morrison’s run). Rather, the X-Men films serve as an example of another phenomenon I’ve noticed in regards to movies’ impact on comic sales: people either dumping their collections or suddenly acquiring an interest in buying old “key” issues. Prior to, and for a brief period shortly after, the release of a major superhero movie, we’ll get a slew of people hauling in their cardboard boxes or supermarket bags filled with issues of the superhero in question, hoping that they’ve got a fortune on their hands. At the same time, there is a certain group of people that decide that now is the time to start investing in back issues of that superhero’s title, since they’re certain to skyrocket in value following the release of the film. (Hint: they don’t. They increase at the same slow and steady rate they always do…unless it’s Howard the Duck, then they plummet for a few years.) You’d think these two groups would be perfectly matched for us to make a lot of money buying and selling back issues…but the people selling comics never have any comics for sale that the people buying the comics want. This activity dries up almost immediately after the film has been out for about a week or so.

There are other examples, too…pal Dorian mentions that he can always tell when one of the Swamp Thing movies has been on TV, since kids come charging in looking for the comics. Just yesterday, Dorian theorized that Judge Dredd must have just been on, since he had kids looking for those. And then there’s Catwoman, which has slightly increased the number of people looking at Catwoman goodies, but not by a whole lot…then again, Catwoman is one of those characters that has always had a non-comics fan following…more as an icon than a character, in much the same way the general public is aware of the Silver Surfer as an image rather than a character in a story.

So, to wrap up this huge block of typing that almost none of you made it though, comic movies in general do give our comic sales a slight increase, mostly with kids, though adults will look into the non-superhero comics that have inspired films. Hellboy is probably the one big crossover book, in that kids and adults were suddenly very interested in the character (thanks to the publisher’s providing a 25-cent comic and a stand-up book display).

(JB as GL picture courtesy pal Corey)

Comments are closed.