SEFFNER — Gary Clark thinks it's a good time to be in the comic industry.
Hollywood has brought a plethora of Marvel franchises alive on the big screen with popular movies starring Spider-Man, the X-Men, Thor and the Fantastic Four.
And organizers of the annual Tampa Bay Comic Con, which returns Aug. 1, are hoping that at least 1,531 of the more than 30,000 expected attendees come dressed as a comic book character, setting a new Guinness World Record.
Clark, a Dover resident and father of seven, has owned Clark's Comics for about a year but recently moved his store from Brandon to Seffner.
The May 31 grand opening featured an autograph signing from Chuck Dixon, creator of Batman villain Bane and comic writer for characters including Superman, Green Lantern, Iron Man and the Punisher.
Clark wants to continue to host events so his store can be a place where kids (and grownup kids) can come, hang out and enjoy comics together. So he created a program through which children can come and share or trade comics for free.
The next special engagement is an old-school video game tournament with cash prizes scheduled for today (June 13) and Saturday. Super Nintendo fans can test their skills in Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter II Turbo, while Nintendo 64 experts can compete in Super Smash Bros.
While shoppers can plunk down $450 for a copy of The Amazing Spider-Man No. 2 or $350 for the comic in which the Swamp Thing first appeared, 1971's The House of Secrets, the average comic price is $3 to $5, compared with 15 cents 40 years ago. The store also sells action figures, autographs and video games.
"It's a different mind-set with comic books," Clark said. "People will drive from Lakeland or Tampa if you've got fair prices."
Clark, who also owns Hop 4 Fun, which provides inflatable bounce houses for parties, said his most prized possessions are The Amazing Spider-Man No. 1 and The Incredible Hulk No. 181, in which Wolverine was introduced. Both are worth thousands of dollars, although he is not selling either.
You can visit Clark's Comics at 11909 E Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Unit C, in Seffner. Or call (813) 986-2020 to find out if the store has your favorite comic or to register for the video game tournament.
Pegasus Paints expands to Gibsonton
Nearly one year after Pegasus Paints opened its first store in Brandon with a promise for at least three more, the paint store has expanded with a second location in Gibsonton. The new location opened in May at 7130 Big Bend Road, just west of East Bay High School.
Pegasus carries Porter Paints, Benjamin Moore and Ralph Lauren and says it will beat any price. Check the company's Facebook page for a newly created deal of the week, through which customers can find sales on all sorts of painting accessories. Visit facebook.com/PegasusPaints.
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