Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I might be biased; in fact I am sure I am. But, I think more people should read comics. And not just read them at home, either. Read them IN PUBLIC!

Back when us 30 something’s were kids they used to sell comics out of racks in convenience stores, grocery stores, etc. Moms picked them up for their kids because it was easy to find them—they were a common item. These people are now comic’s biggest consumers.

Today moms don’t find comic books in the grocery store. Marvel comics does have racks in Seven-Eleven stores now, but many comic book store owners were strongly against this because they feel it takes money out of their pockets. This might be true, but maybe not. Many moms don’t know where their local comic book store is. Others wouldn’t be caught dead in one or let their young children go in. So, now these children are just missing out on comics that they might get if they were readily available. In fact, they might not even know what a comic book is (I didn’t until middle school when the Nancy Regan anti-drug comics were given out). Local book stores do carry some collected issues in graphic novel format, as do libraries, but the selection is limited. Plus, I think a mom has a harder time buying a $20 book than a $3 comic for her child.

So, how do we get today’s children into comics, so that there is a future for the medium? Read them in public! In a library, on a bus or airplane, while waiting in line somewhere. Let people see comics out in public! If you read a good one, rather than taking it to Half Price Books, give it to your neighbor kid (provided of course it’s appropriate material for his/her age). Let people know about Free Comic Book Day – the events are nation wide and annual. Donate comics to youth groups, children’s hospitals, libraries, and literacy organizations. Bring your extras to the doctor, dentist and bank and leave them in the reception area so someone else can take a look. Don’t be embarrassed that you like and spend some of your hard-earned money on comics. If you are, then why should anyone else think it’s cool to read them?

Here’s the hard reality – many of the older teen – 30’s age readers will stop reading comics in the future; maybe permanently, hopefully only temporarily. Things come up in the lives of comic’s biggest consumers, broadly called “real life.” They might have school bills, a new house, a new wife, a new baby, or just no time, so they stop buying comics. Some will continue to buy, thankfully. And if that someone is you, and you want to buy them into the future for yourself, then think about the future. The future of comics is in question, with more and more kids watching TV and playing video games than reading, especially comics. What happens to the thing you enjoy when there become too few consumers to support the industry? Marvel and DC are working to keep it going with their many movies based on comic book properties, and that does help. But until reading comics becomes “cool” and “convenient” the future is in question. So, all of you cool people need to read your comics—IN PUBLIC.

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