A lot of folks from my office at work are going on a business trip this week. I've done business trips before, but this will be the first time with my current employer. Most all of us will be on the same plane, and most all of us have the same model of laptop, so I figured I ought to ensure that mine doesn't get mixed up with anyone else's. I thought a Spider-Man sticker or something would be kind of amusing because most of what I do is web work. (It amuses me at any rate.) So I swang by the local Target yesterday to see if they had anything. The only one I could find larger than an inch or so was part of one of those wall-decorating kits from RoomMates.
First off, I have to say that I'm impressed. The art is surprisingly (to me) consistent in quality and the figures are all pretty close to being in scale with each other. The clear edges mean that you don't get an extra white border around the figures, and the printed areas are fairly opaque, so you can still see them clearly over visual textures and relatively dark surfaces. They also have sets for Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as well as movie versions of Captain America and Thor.
They also have larger single figures available for twenty-ish dollars. (The price varies a bit depending on the figure.) These are presented in several parts that have to be assembled on the wall, but the result is a 4-5 foot tall character. Most of the same characters are available that way.
And for thirty-issue dollars, you can get a 3' x 2' classic comic book cover. Looks like they have just over a dozen currently. Fantastic Four #1, Detective Comics #27, Hulk #181... covers that you've likely seen a few thousand times before.
Now, Fathead seems to do something similar using many of the same images. The figures are larger -- more in the six foot range -- and appear to be single sheet of vinyl. Probably a bit sturdier and they don't need to be assembled. They also have the bonus of some classic style images by the likes of Jack Kirby, John Buscema and John Romita Sr. But, they also cost about $90-$100 each, so it's going to make a bigger dent in your budget.
What I'm curious about, though, is why haven't more comic book shops utilized these in their own stores. I'm aware of one that put up a commercially available Marvel border, but that's it. I should think a five foot Superman would be a bit of a draw if you could position it so it was visible from the front window. You could create a display that looked like this...
I just think it would look a LOT better than so many of the other options I've seen... thumbtacked posters that are curled and/or ripping, hand-painted murals by the owner who can kind of draw a bit, original art that's badly framed. I get that running a comic shop isn't exactly like printing money and things can get pretty tight sometimes but, in running a business, especially one that's so dependent on people being in a specific physical location, it seems that you need to spend a little extra to make the place look nice.