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‘It embraces new collectors:’ This mobile app is world’s 1st comic book database

MILWAUKEE -- The highly-anticipated "Black Panther" somehow managed to smash its already lofty expectations during its opening weekend as both a critical and commercial success, but two hours in a movie theater only scratches the character's surface.

Black Panther is the king of Wakanda, and the ruler of the box office as well. Marvel's first movie featuring a black lead raked in more than $200 million over the weekend, the fifth largest opening of all time, but the windfall started well in advance of the film's release.

"So this is the first appearance of the Black Panther," Zach Hauser, The Turning Page co-owner said.

At comic book shops like The Turning Page, Hollywood's fortune has favored the old. First appearances of major characters are now almost as valuable as the vibranium in Black Panther's suit.

"We see a bump as soon as it's announced. Whoever the character is or the movie title or anything," said Hauser.

"His first appearance in Fantastic Four #52, which sold on eBay a couple months ago for $51,000, in near mint condition. A comic book that is valuable is known as a key," said Nick Coglianese, Key Collector Comics creator said.

It's a free phone app can put a literal wealth of knowledge in your hands.

"Imagine being a new collector and then coming down into something like this, or being at a convention, you get completely overwhelmed, so it really embraces new collectors," said Coglianese.

A simple search by title or character can streamline decades of comic history into those key issues you may want or already have.

"They want to continue the adventure outside of the theater, so they go into the comic book shop," Coglianese said.

"If they get interested in the story, they like to see the backstory -- see the different villains in the comics and stuff like that that aren't necessarily in the movie," said Keith Pajot, Downtown Books owner.

And maybe you'll get a glimpse at what will be the next big thing to hit the big screen.