Grown-ups buying superhero merch

Grown-ups buying superhero merch

Stores are catering to adults who love superhero comics, movies and anime

You gifted her a doll for her birthday!” exclaimed my mother.

“It’s not a doll it’s an action figure”, I replied.

“It’s inappropriate to gift that to a 31-year-old woman,” she remarked.

I wasn’t sure if I wanted to explain how cool ‘Harley Quinn’ is or how big that character’s following is but I was certain I wouldn’t be able to justify the DC and Marvel Universe to my beloved mother. Her disbelief made me wonder when toys made their way into Indian adulthood.

 If you walk into The Entertainment Store on Church Street, specialising in official movie and comic merchandise, you see how a majority of shoppers are adults. Adults who shop for themselves and other adults, and not necessarily for children. They have designed such stores to cater to grown-ups. So how did such format stores come into being in India?

 Satish Khemchandani, partner of The Entertainment Store, says it has grown rapidly since its launch six years ago.

What started as a single store now has outlets across five cities; it also has an online presence. He says people appreciate a store that addresses the needs of comic, movie and pop culture fans.

Awareness about superhero movies, TV shows and anime has helped grow the market, he says.

It boils down to how, if good content is offered, the demand for merchandise stays high. Even today, Harry Potter merchandise is a bestseller. With Avengers Endgame and Game of Thrones in the release pipeline, their merchandise is much sought-after, too.

 Superhero comics have been existent for close to a century, but it is only in the last 10 years that superhero movies (thanks to Marvel Studios) glorified comic characters and made them symbols of aspiration.

Though the early comic fanatics were aware of them, it’s these movies that provided mass reach. Tons of characters with super powers awed the audiences (especially adults). Superheroes became the talk of the town. Movie promotions were done by actors who portrayed their characters on screen, which helped further in building the brand and appeal to adults.

 With rising popularity, Comic Con entered India in Delhi, 2011. Bengaluru hosted it first in 2012. Comic Con is an annual convention for comic lovers, started in San Diego, USA, in the 1970s. This helped in propagating comics and superheroes effortlessly. Products such as action figures, t-shirts, mugs, and bags started selling like hot cakes. Age simply did not play spoilsport here.

 The fandom did not just stick to superhero movies but also extended to other fictional characters. Aparajita, who works in Bengaluru, is a huge fan of the character ‘Minions’ from the movie ‘Despicable Me’. She has collected 30 pieces of merchandise: figurines, mugs, bags, and keychains. She says the character’s cuteness and comic nature appeal to her.

 I know for sure that this superhero fan craze is only getting bigger, given how the movies are faring at the box office. I also know for sure there are plenty (like me) who either secretly or proudly own these beautiful ‘toys’. It is time we flaunted them: it’s absolutely fine, you will not judged as long as the person questioning you is not your mother.