Local business celebrates 10 years of ‘The Walking Dead’ during midnight gathering

It was just past midnight Tuesday, and most of the Triangle City business district in West Columbia was closed for the night. But light shined from a place some might not expect. Scratch ‘n’ Spin, an entertainment store specializing in music and comics, was open because this was not just any Wednesday morning, not for zombies and the humans who love them.

Eric Woodard, owner of Scratch 'n' Spin, assists customers at the midnight Walking Dead release party (photo by Allen Wallace)

Eric Woodard, owner of Scratch ‘n’ Spin, assists customers at “The Walking Dead” midnight release party. (photo by Allen Wallace)

Wednesday was Comic Book Day, the day each week when new books are released. This particular Wednesday was the release date for the 10th anniversary issue of Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead,” the best-selling comic that gave rise to the television series that begins its fourth season Sunday.

That anniversary is what brought nearly two dozen dedicated fans out into the wee small hours. Eric Woodard, owner of Scratch ‘n’ Spin, opened the store at midnight, the earliest time he legally could sell the anniversary issue. He welcomed fans with a trivia contest, posters made exclusively for the event by “The Walking Dead” publisher Image Comics and fellowship with other fans who were there to talk comics and zombies.

Woodard has hosted similar events at Scratch ‘n’ Spin when other eagerly awaited comics have been released. He said he was inspired by good memories of midnight sales for new music when he worked at Manifest Discs and Tapes in Columbia before opening his own store. He noticed that such events were not offered locally to comic fans and set out to change that.

“It’s the kind of thing you see happening in bigger cities and we wanted to bring it here,” he said. “It’s a way to make us different.”

The recent zombie craze that Kirkman helped inspire goes far beyond the comic. The author was struggling to make it in the comic book and graphic novel industry in 2003, but his creations of the popular superhero series “Invincible” and then “The Walking Dead changed that quickly. “The Walking Dead”  is regularly at or near the top of comics sales charts, and the television show’s ratings have risen steadily. While Scratch ‘n’ Spin focused on the comic during its midnight event, Carolina Productions is hosting a screening of the television show’s fourth-season premiere for University of South Carolina students Sunday night at the Russell House.

Whether television or comics, Woodard said the point of events like the one Wednesday in the wee hours is to offer people something new.

“We want to serve the community. There’s a social part of reading comics,” he said.

Categories: Business