Alysha Pennypacker and Caleb Stillman had some time to kill. About three hours to be exact.
While they waited for the 12:20 a.m. Friday showing of "Marvel's The Avengers," at Frank Theatres in York Township, Stillman read a comic book the movie is based on.
It was the first time he's read the comic, which was given out free by Planet X Comics.
"Even if you hadn't read them, you know who (the characters) are," the York Township resident said. "They're iconic."
"The Avengers" cast includes Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Mark Ruffalo as the Incredible Hulk.
DBOX: Stillman and Pennypacker, of Dallastown, were the only people to show up early for the showing.
Kevin Scott, general manager of Queensgate Stadium 13, said most moviegoers opted to order tickets and reserve seats ahead of time.
Moviegoers can view the film in 3D and sit in the theater's new DBOX seats, which debuted at the "Hunger Games," for an extra charge. The seats have been sold out for a number of showings, Scott said.
The seats are synchronized with the on-screen action and and are designed to let audience members feel as if they are part of the action.
Sold out theaters for "The Avengers" are projected across the nation, and Scott predicted it could be one of the top grossing films of the year.
Final figures from distributor Disney on Monday put the overseas haul for "The Avengers" at $185.1 million since it began opening in 39 markets last week. That's nearly $7 million more than the studio had estimated Sunday.
Readership: With the success of the film abroad, local comic book stores are hopeful it also means increased sales.
"We've had a lot of people interested in Avengers stuff ever since they movie was announced," said Stephen Ellis, "counter monkey," aka sales associate, at Comix Connection in the West Manchester Mall.
Once people see the movie, Ellis said, he anticipates more will seek out the comic books.
The success of other movies based on comic book heroes, such as the "Spider-Man" and the "X-Men" films, has spurred on readership.
Scott Kohler, manager of The Comic Store - West in Springettsbury Township, said he's seen an increase in female readers.
However, one demographic that was closely associated with comic books hasn't gotten into the books. Young readers remain elusive, and Kohler said it might be because of romantic elements included in some of the comics.
"Your average 8 year old doesn't care about Spider-Man's love life," he said.
There are comic books geared toward younger readers, Kohler said.
Golden age: It wasn't just movies that got people reading comic books and graphic novels again.
The relaunch of DC Comics last year also generated renewed interest in comics, said Brain Waltersdorff, owner of The Comic Store - West.
The comic book giant, which produced heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash, ended all series in its universe and launched its new line. With renewed interested in comic books and movies based on them, Ellis said it's a good time to be a comic book fan. "We're living in a new golden age for comic books now," he said. "The second golden age." Free Comic Book Day: Saturday is Free Comic Book Day, and participating comic book shops across the globe will give out free comics.
A number of area stores are participating and will also offer sales on merchandise.
* Comix Connection in the West Manchester Mall will let customers pick out three comic books from a section of free comics. For each can of food customers bring in, they will be allowed to select an additional free comic. The food will go to a local charity.
* The Comic Store - West at 2111 Industrial Highway in Springettsbury Township is giving away three comics to each customer. Additional comics can be had for a donation of 50 cents each. Funds collected will go to the Martin Memorial Library Fund to purchase comic books for the library. A "Marvel Movie Marathon" is also planned.
* Planet X Comics at 2085 Springwood Road in York Township will offer discount comic books. The Capital City Jedi Knights will give lightsaber demonstration and heroes, like Indiana Jones and Batman, will make an appearance.
For more information about Free Comic Book Day, or to find additional participating stores, go to freecomicbookday.com.
- Reach Greg Gross at 505-5434, email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/greggrss.