South Florida's Comics Industry Thrives Amid Movie Success

As the heroes from the Marvel and DC comics universe continue to grow in popularity, a new generation of comic book consumers has created a shift in the industry.

The high-flying and brawny heroes in Avengers: Endgame shattered the box office in April. The classic comic characters brought to life on the big screen are not only boosting sales for Hollywood execs, but South Florida comic book stores are also getting a piece of the pie.

Steve Korka owns Korka Comics.

"With the movies and the TV shows, and all the other things that are popular, there is a demand," explained Korka.

The store owner sees new faces coming through the door with the release of every new Marvel or DC film.

"People would come in and they want to read about that. So, it keeps interest in the medium," Korka said.

He's been in the business for six years and has already opened three stores across Broward and Miami-Dade counties.

"Our customer demographics is probably like late teens to mid-50s," Korka explained.

And, the popularity of blockbuster superheroes has shifted customer interest toward merchandise such as toys and clothing, driving fanatics to conventions across the country and here in South Florida.

The comic business is showing no signs of slowing down. Comic sales hit a new high in 2018 with $1.95 billion. The increase was due in part to gains in digital sales. More people get their comic via their smart phones or tablets. Last year, the industry racked in $100 million in digital downloads alone.

South Florida resident Sajad Shah is also cashing in on the popularity of comics. He makes money off his skills as a comic cover artist and even quit his day job.

"Depending on your popularity, depending on what kind of artist you are the demand you have like an actor for example, you demand a certain salary," Shah said.

Shah has several high-profile projects including doing some of the cover art for the Ninja Turtles and working alonside other well-known artists around the country.

"I'm getting a lot of projects coming my way. I'm actually working with some people to produce screen plays to maybe pitch to Netflix," Shah explained.

And he says drawing comics isn't just a childhood obsession.

"I think that's a misconception. I think people think that you can't make a living off art which is why I think parents kind of see art as a thing for kids," Shah said.

Shah says some comics can bring in millions of dollars, inspiring anyone to want to collect a rare find or invest in new and promising talent.

"Superman, last year I want to say when on eBay for $6 million," Shah said. "If you had an original art from that book, I couldn't even imagine how much that would be, that would be astronomical."

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