There are questions that to some might seem trivial but to others, they could make or break a friendship. Marvel or DC? Thor or Loki? The Avengers or the Justice League or Fantastic Four or X-Men or the Sinister Six or the Brotherhood of Mutants or The Society or well you get the idea.
On Sept. 25, these will be some of the many questions undoubtedly discussed across the country as National Comic Book Day is celebrated by devoted fans. Throughout the area comic book lovers will be able to visit their favorite stores to take full advantage of the day. Two such stores are Pyramid Comics in Sparta and Bob's Collectables in Hamburg.
Pyramid Comics has been serving the community for more than 17 years and although the shop carries a variety of comic books, according to owner Peter DeFelice, the most popular character he has is also one of the most well known.
"Batman," he explained. "We sell lots and lots of Batman."
Bob Adams of Bob's Collectables also cites Batman as his most popular comic book. His store also sells quite a mix of different characters.
"We sell DC and Marvel as well as the more popular ones from independent publishers," he said. "We also have a magazine called 'Previews' that our customers can look through or take and if one of them wants something that we don't carry from it, we order it for them."
Pyramid Comics offers an assortment of both big names and smaller options as well, according to DeFelice.
"Every month the two major ones, DC and Marvel, put out some type of variant cover so we get that," he said. "This month is actually all about the DC villains because they went back and did away with all the numbers and started again at number one not too long ago so now it is villains month and they are releasing 52 villains for the month with both 3D and standard covers. There is new technology on the 3D cover. It is ultra thin. They used to do them in '80s where they sort of just glued a big piece of plastic to the front but now it is lenticular technology so it looks 3D when you move the comic book."
And with the prominence of the comic book movies at the box office, popularity is higher now than it has been in some time.
"There was a major increase in sales because of the first boom," Adams said. "Then the movies got diluted. They started picking obscure characters and weaker villains that nobody knew like 'Constantine.' Now they have gone back and refined it and it is popular again."
DeFelice has seen an uptick in sales as well.
"When DC relaunched the new 52 they ended all of their numbering and restarted everything at number one," he said. "That was at the same time that 'Marvel's The Avengers' came out so it was a time when people that gave up on comic books came back and new younger people were exposed to it for the first time so they came out. There are a lot of movies that some people don't know are comic book movies. I'd say there are about 10 to 12 a year and of course the new show that we are looking forward to, 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'"
As for personal preferences? Adams sticks with a fan favorite villain from the DC 'verse, the Joker. Meanwhile DeFelice doesn't have a specific favorite.
"I tend to read the offbeat non-comics," he said. "Not your traditional superheroes."