The State of Comic Books
Having been a comic book reader for 15 years, I find myself thinking about the current state of the industry. We live in a time where comic books and all things “geek” are popular. The highest grossing movie of 2013 (so far) stars Iron Man, a previously B-List superhero who did not have the notoriety of Superman or Batman. Speaking of Batman, the character’s last two films both grossed a billion dollars worldwide.
Having said all this…why is it that a Batman movie can generate a billion dollars, but a Batman comic is lucky to sell 100,000 copies a month? And while Iron Man has the highest grossing movie of the year, a September issue of his comic book ranked 63 out of the top 100 comics sold, selling only 63,000 copies.
Why aren’t comics selling as well as they did in their heyday, when 100,000 issues of a comic sold would probably signify that the comic was on the brink of cancellation? In a world of Twilight, Harry Potter, and 50 Shades of Grey, reading is definitely not out of style. Truth be told, I think there are multiple reasons why Comic books are not doing as well as they should.
First, there is No Bang for your buck. When I started reading, comic books were 2 bucks and had 22 pages filled with strong content. Nowadays, you’re lucky to buy a 20 page comic book for 3 bucks, and the comic is light on material.
Second, Comic Books are mainly only sold in comic book stores. When comic books were at their height of popularity, they were sold in supermarkets and all kinds of stores, as easy to find as an issue of Rolling Stone.
Not only that, these comic books are seemingly catered to longtime older readers. While major publishers like DC and Marvel Comics have claimed to make attempts to draw in new readers, their attempts have often come off as short-term ways to make more money. Months after their dramatic comic re-launches and character changes, the status quo returns: Comic Books made for the older fan, not the people who just watched “The Avengers” movie.