mass merchandise appeal

Success of 'Walking Dead' TV series adds value to comics, spawns collectibles

ssloan@herald-leader.comOctober 11, 2012 

  • ON TV

    'The Walking Dead'

    What: The debut of the third season of the series based on the comics written by Cynthiana native Robert Kirkman.

    When and where: 9 p.m. Oct. 14 on AMC. AMC is Channels 24, 610 and 955 on Time Warner Cable/Insight Communications in Lexington and Channel 254 on DirecTV. AMC is not carried on Dish Network due to a dispute between the two companies.

    Online: Amctv.com/shows/the-walking-dead. Webisodes, photos, video features, interviews, more.

    Marathon: AMC begins a marathon of The Walking Dead episodes at 10 a.m. Oct. 13, leading up to the third season's premiere. Peppered in will be sneak peeks of Season 3.

    'The Talking Dead': The discussion show hosted by Chris Hardwick returns at 11 p.m. Oct. 14. Submit questions at Amctv.com/shows/talking-dead.

The success of the television adaptation has sent demand soaring for all things related to The Walking Dead. The series began as a comic, and now has action figures, statues, plush dolls and even a zombie gelatin mold.

"We doubled the size of our store, and a lot of it is because of that," said Jonathan Juett, manager of Collectibles Etc. in Lexington. "Literally, you could put The Walking Dead on anything, and you can sell it right now."

Juett estimated the store off Richmond Road used to sell about 40 trade paperbacks of the comics a month before the show began. Now it easily sells 100.

The same can be said at Comic Interlude off Waller Avenue.

"Around the time it comes back on TV, interest shoots through the roof," said manager Jordan Jennings. "It's the single most expensive modern comic book you can find."

The comic's first issue can draw $1,100 to $2,000, he said. The first round of action figures has a couple — Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon — that typically sell for $50 to $60 each; their original price is $15.95 each.

The fact that series creator Robert Kirkman was long a resident of the Lexington area boosts demand.

Shortly after hosting Kirkman for a comic signing years ago, the co-owner of Lexington's A+ Comics, Games and Toys offered a rarely made bet on the first graphic novel, giving buyers a money-back guarantee.

"It has something for everybody," said Russ Battaglia, who made the offer after his son fell in love with the book on the day of Kirkman's signing. "It's got adventure for younger readers, content and emotional relationships for older readers, and the action aspect for everybody."

Scott Sloan: (859) 231-1447. Twitter: @HeraldLeaderBiz

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