An entertaining hobby? Or a million dollar business?

CHARLOTTE, NC (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Thousands of superhero fans traveled across the country to Queen City.

Last weekend marked the 40e anniversary of Heroes Con, a comic book convention founded by the owner of a local comic book store.

Before iPhones and tablets, entertainment came in the form of flimsy books covered in superheroes.

“I loved Spider-Man when I was a little boy, and I remember reading, ‘With great power comes great responsibility,’ and when I read that, it sent shivers down my spine” , said Vincent Zurzolo.

At 15, he turned his love for comics into a business, selling first by word of mouth, then on demand.

“I used to sit on Broadway between John and Maiden and all the Wallstreet guys would come out and I would sell them comic books,” Zurzolo said.

What first sold for pennies, then dollars, now sells for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The first superhero book ever made, and this comic is expected to sell for $300,000 to $400,000 at auction,” Zurzolo said.

Books are rated on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest.

In 2010, his company Comic Connect made history by selling an upcoming book for $1 million. The company went on to break that record five more times.

“And that’s really exciting for me because when I started I was just selling dollar comics and working my way up to that level was really cool to be a part of that,” said said Zurzolo.

Last weekend, he displayed his prize possessions at Charlotte’s Heroes Convention.

“I get emotional,” Randy Salazar said.

The comics are Salazar’s life five days a week. He works in a future bookstore in Denver. He flew to Queen City on Thursday morning to mingle with others who share his passion.

“When most people stop reading comics, they go into high school, girls, sports, socializing, it never stopped for me,” Salazar said.

“It’s almost like it’s Christmas morning and you open a box and you don’t know what the present is. That’s what comics are to me,” Zurzolo said.

Daniel K. Denny