A few weeks ago, a group of Girl Scouts came into the store to learn about comic books, which I felt was great. One of my goals with the store is to get kids into reading. They came in to learn what all goes into making them, their history, and what types of comics are available. It went really well, I thought. They all were very polite, asked questions, and seemed interested.
They asked about the graded comics on the wall. The back issue bins. Which local artists we have in Iowa. I brought up Ant Lucia and Phil Hester. And, of course, I was out of the Green Arrow collection that Kevin Smith wrote and did the art on (I know he has done more than just Green Arrow — it was the story arc that first jumped into my mind).
I also gave them the Harley Quinn DC Super Hero Girls comic from this year’s Batman Day.
I asked them what they knew about comics. Since they visited the store so one of them could earn a comic artist badge, they already knew what comics were (unlike some of the trick-or-treaters I got this year). There were 10 of them in the group.
One of my questions was which comic-related movies came out this year. Wonder Woman, they all seemed to know. And they all were really thrilled by the movie. Spider-Man was next, which was a hit. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was brought up, even though the last one was released in 2016. I confessed I had not seen that one and asked if she liked it. She thought it was a very good movie. I knew there was one movie this year still not brought up, so I asked, “Any others?” One of them got out their phone and looked up the answer. She said Guardians of the Galaxy. Others in the group were surprised. Guardians of the Galaxy has a comic? It was based on a comic? I was surprised they didn’t know, since it was the second Guardians movie.
I also asked if any of them read comics on their phones. They all said no.
One of our regular customers came in who has a pull box, so I handed off talking to the group to my employee. The customer asked me if it was a Girl Scout group, and I said yes. Then he asked if he could buy a $50 gift certificate for the store. I was surprised, since in the years shopping with us, he had never bought a gift certificate. I also couldn’t recall him having any family members interested in comics. He told me it was for the girl scout group, and that he wanted it to be a surprise. I got him the gift certificate and he handed it to the adult in charge of the group as he was leaving. She let her group know what he had done, and the kids were thrilled. They each got $5 to spend.
Here is what they spent their five dollars on.
Wonder Woman was the clear-cut winner. Multiple Wonder Woman #37s from the New 52 were in the dollar bin, and they really took to that cover Wonder Woman fighting a giant bird. I did look through it and asked the adults if it was okay to sell it to the kids. A part of me wanted to switch it for a different issue, since I remember the Finch team’s writing and art run on the book as less than a good thing. David Finch did some really great art on Batman the Dark Knight — but Wonder Woman, not so much.
The newest issue of Wonder Woman was also bought.
Giant Days was a hit. Both copies of the same issue that were on the shelf were bought.
Star Wars #33 was picked up since it had Leia on the cover.
Harley Quinn. The kids wanted the regular Harley Quinn comics. Sadly, I had to put the Harley Quinn issues back, as the current Harley comics are aimed at an older audience. I was surprised how popular Harley Quinn was with them — there were some disappointed kids.
Starfire with Looney Tunes’s Pepé Le Pew on the cover had to go back also due the issue being aimed at an older audience, too.
Marvel’s lenticular covers. I thought they would catch the kids’ eyes, so I pointed them out to them — but no, the non-lenticular Guardians of the Galaxy issue was bought over the lenticular cover. I Am Groot was also bought. Rocket had interest when I told them he had his own comic, but once the kids saw the covers they lost interest.
Even with so many Spider-Man spinoffs and them enjoying the Spider-Man movie, for whatever reason they were not interested in Spider-Man comics.
As I’m sure will be pointed out, there were only 10 of them, so not exactly a wide research pool. But I thought I would share this anyway. Plus, it’s pretty neat that a really nice person came in and basically bought comics for kids he had never seen before and most likely will never see again.
Thanks to all that, I’m entertaining the idea of trying something new for next year’s Free Comic Book Day. Such as a $5 coupon for every person that comes in that day, and they have to come back another day and use it within a month. That could get very expensive very quickly, though.
One of the girls started talking about starting up a comic book club for their group, and I was thrilled to hear it.
I also made sure to let them all know that we’re holding a Black Friday sale and that might be a good way to get some great deals on comics. Now the question is: will they come back? Will any of them get into comic books? Regardless, it was a good experience.