Comic book industry thriving amid pandemic


ELMIRA HEIGHTS, N.Y. (WETM) — As anticipated movie premiers get pulled or postponed, and COVID-19 restrictions remain in place, many movie theatres have been forced to shut down.

Regal Cinemas announced last week they were suspending all movies indefinitely. On October 12, AMC Theatres announced their cash will be depleted by the end of this year or early 2021.

The entertainment industry took one of the biggest financial hits because of the pandemic. However, one part of the industry has thrived, comic books.

“Back in March and April, people were like, comics…dead-done forever,” said Jared Aiosa, owner of Heroes Comics in Elmira Heights. He continued, “People are just going to read things digitally. Comic shops are going to go out of business. Thank god it just wasn’t the case. People are coming in every single day we’re open and supporting us and absolutely craving and enjoying the entertainment.”

Aiosa has been selling comic books at Heroes Comic Shop for 17 years. He said he feels happy and fortunate that his business was not hit as hard by the pandemic as others.

While the movie industry is hurting, anyone can enjoy many favorite big screen heroes and characters who got their starts through comic books.

“Just like movie theaters hit a new movie every Friday, we get new comics every Wednesday,” Aiosa said. “These things start as ideas and artwork and comics first, and then Hollywood says ‘okay, I’ll but that property.’ You go from ‘The Umbrella Academy,’ which is on Netflix, and ‘The Boys,’ not for everyone, but it’s in the second season on Amazon. There’s all these things that came out as a comic first.”

Many were forced to work from home and depend on technology but Aiosa said many comic artists were already working home before the pandemic began.

“Technology for years has allowed people to work remote,” Aiosa said. “People aren’t going into an office to sit there and draw or to sit there and write or to meet with an editor. For years, comics were made remotely from an artist in a home office or a write at a coffee shop.”

The first few months of the pandemic caused Aiosa to worry about his business, but printing began operation again shortly after. As many people locally wait for theaters to reopen, they’re now turning to reading comics for entertainment.

“I thought during the shutdown we would probably lose about 30 to 35% of customers,” Aiosa said. “Quite honestly, our situation is unique. We kept about 90 to 95% of customers, and we’re very grateful.”

Aiosa says he thinks literacy is very important and necessary for our health. He hopes more people will continue to turn to comics for their entertainment.

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