Icon | Manager hopes this will attract new readers
Published Thursday February 24th, 2011
By DON MACPHERSON
Beware, citizens, Godzilla is coming to Fredericton, and he’s going to stomp on a downtown business.
Stephen MacGillivray Photo
Jason Arnold, manager of Strange Adventures comics and curiosities store on York Street, jokes around as he looks at an image of the front of the new Godzilla comic, which has Godzilla’s foot crushing his store.
Strange Adventures, a comic book and gaming store at 68 York St., will be featured on the cover of a new Godzilla comic, slated for release next month.
Manager Jason Arnold said IDW Publishing, the publisher of the Godzilla comic, informed comics retailers of a new promotional idea. Shops that ordered 500 copies of Godzilla #1 could get a special edition of the issue featuring the reptilian monster’s foot smashing the stores to pieces on the cover.
Strange Adventures owner Calum Johnston, who lives in Halifax and operates another Strange Adventures store there, decided it was a good opportunity for both shops, Arnold said, and he agreed.
He said the Fredericton store wouldn’t normally move 500 copies of any comic book, but the chance to be a small part of such a huge pop-culture icon was too good to pass up.
It also serves as a good marketing tool for the store, Arnold said.
“It’s definitely more promotion than anything else,” he said.
Godzilla is a character that appeals to wide audience, Arnold said.
It’s been around for so long, it has multi-generational appeal, he said, so he hopes the new comic and the local angle of the cover will bring new customers through the doors.
Both Strange Adventures and the comic book industry as a whole wants to expand comic readership, he said.
“Maybe this will be that gateway (to the medium),” Arnold said.
He wants people to know that comics are about a lot more than super heroes and Archie, Veronica and Betty.
Chris Ryall, editor-in-chief of IDW Publishing, said a staff member, a huge Godzilla fan, came up with the idea of giving their customers – comics retailers – a chance to be a part of the comic by having the monster smash their stores.
He said 75 stores took IDW up on the offer, each ordering 500 copies to get a version of the first issue with their storefronts being reduced to rubble by a monstrous foot.
While retailer-specific editions of comics have been released in the past, he said, it’s never been on this scale.
“There’s never been that kind of promotion before,” Ryall said.
The immediate benefit to IDW is a boost in circulation, he said, noting that Godzilla #1 will be the San Diego, Calif.-based publisher’s best-selling comic in its 12-year history.
The promotion has other benefits as well, Ryall said.
“It’s the outreach to the fan community,” he said.
A lot of regular comics readers want to support good comic shops, he said, and they’re seeking out variant covers from participating retailers such as Strange Adventures.
Ryall said he expects some participating retailers will swap some of the variant covers to offer more versions to fans and that there will be some die-hard devotees out there trying to collect as many of the covers as possible.
Arnold said he wouldn’t be surprised if a small number of completists and gonzo Godzilla fans contact his store looking to score a copy of the Fredericton version.
The new Godzilla comic will feature the classic version of the title monster, Ryall said.
As far as the folks at IDW are concerned, the 1998 American-made Godzilla movie starring Matthew Broderick never happened.
Ryall said Godzilla will be the threat in the comic, not the hero, and it will also feature other classic Japanese movie monsters such as Mothra, Rodan and Mechagodzilla.
Godzilla #1 is slated for release March 30, Ryall said.