David Mazouz recreates the Wayne parents’ death scene with Royal collectibles staffers Diane and Rob.
David Mazouz at Royal Collectibles in Forest Hills.
Gotham came to Forest Hills for the holidays, as comic shop Royal Collectibles hosted an in-house autograph signing featuring fan-favorite David Mazouz, who plays the young Bruce Wayne on the FOX television series, a prequel that explores the origins of many of the well-known characters in the Batman/Gotham City pantheon.
Despite the rainy Sunday, hundreds flocked to the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Selfridge Street to take advantage of the free signing, part of an expanded initiative on the part of the popular comic shop to create more in-store events as a way to thank their regular customers and also to attract new ones.
A Brooklyn mom and her son arrived in Forest Hills two hours earlier to ensure they’d be the first on line. In fact, they were so excited, they showed up a day earlier by mistake. Tom Burkert came from as far away as Greenwich for the signing, and was especially interested in taking a look at Royal’s offerings for the first time.
Joe Grodensky of Maspeth visits Royal Collectibles on a regular basis, and is also a big fan of Gotham
. While he’s always been an aficionado of all things Batman, he’s an admirer of the complexity with which the FOX series tells the Batman back-story, giving Mazouz high marks for pulling it all off so successfully.
“For a young kid to be able to embrace that kind of role, someone who has to witness that traumatic an event, and to take on that persona, he does a great job with it,” he said.
The young Bruce Wayne’s parents are murdered in front of him, of course, the defining moment that leads him to pursue a life as a crime fighter.
Mazouz, just 13 years old but wise beyond his years, could not have been more gracious, chatting with each and every guest, personally inscribing whatever was asked of him, posing for photos, selfies, you name it.
Good sport that he is, after the signing, he even posed with Royal Collectibles staffers Diane and Bob for a re-creation of the death scene involving the young Bruce Wayne’s parents.
Asked if he was surprised by the show’s popularity, Mazouz said, “Everybody that I’ve ever talked to about the show, there’s always been a lot of hype, but I really was excited just to be doing my job, and doing it the best I [can].”
Mazouz has already earned kudos from both fans and the industry for the depth he brings to his portrayal of the horrifically orphaned young millionaire. He feels the show allows him to stay closer to the character as originally conceived.
“I think Bruce Wayne is very complex, he ages a lot of years in that moment,” he said. “It’s truly amazing his eventual journey to becoming the Caped Crusader we all know and love.”
Although he’d recently been a special guest at COMIC-CON, the renowned international fan fest, the Royal Collectibles signing was actually Mazouz’s first such solo endeavor. There will no doubt be many, many more in the young man’s future.
Co-owner Mike Giordano was pleased with the turnout for the event, and sees it as further evidence that after a brief but somewhat concerning lull, the comics business has bounced back in a big way. Giordano cites the popularity of Marvel Comics films like Spiderman
, Iron Man
, Captain America
, and Thor
for the revival, but also attributes the renewed interest to television shows like The Big Bang Theory
“It definitely got the culture into the mainstream,” he pointed out.
The explosion of interest has forced Royal Collectibles and others in the field to act quickly to meet the overwhelming demand. “We’re definitely carrying a lot more action figures, statues, etc.,” said Giordano. “Anything related to comic books.”
In fact, the demand has led Royal to expand their entire operation into two distinct stores. Just ahead of the holiday season, they’ll be opening an annex just a few storefronts down on Metropolitan, where they will showcase the company’s sports memorabilia and other collectibles.
“We’ve got so much merchandise here,” says co-owner Chuck Marrone. “We’re going to have a sports gallery [around the corner] displaying all of our sports collectibles, and we’ll have gaming and tournaments in the basement there, too. It’ll definitely look a lot nicer when we get to take advantage of having that extra space.”
That a new era is just around the corner for the time-honored neighborhood treasure is not a surprise to long-time Royal patrons like Grodensky.
“Everyone knows each other here, you’re not just another customer,” he said. “That’s why they’re here for so long.”
For more information on upcoming autograph signings and other events, or to view their catalogue of memorabilia and other collectibles, visit their website