Thursday, July 2, 2009

Kids comics

I don't see it. I must say. I don't see kids reading comics.

But you know, I keep reading postings from other comic retailers that seem to imply that they are selling comics to kids.

So, yesterday, I went over the the Marvel and DC sections in my store and pulled a copy of every issue of every comic that had an "All-Ages" designation, and took them over to the children's book section.

I think I came up with a grand total of about 15 comics. Out of the hundreds of current titles I carry.

I have to say, even I was shocked.

It's obvious that Marvel and DC have given up on the kids. Or have the kids given up on comics? (There were quite a few comics with the PG-13 designation, which is O.K. for older kids, but I didn't pull those...)

I didn't even bother with the independents section of the store, because other than 'kids' designated graphic novels, there aren't any. And these 'kids' books are quite obviously created to be sold in regular bookstores.

I wonder how that's going?

None of this was supposed to happen. But because of huge problems in the distribution realm, the collapse of the newstand/drugstore/grocery store link, the comic bubble pop of the mid-90's that wiped out every distributer but one and wiped out all but about 3000 comic outlets (from a high of 12,000), the comics slowly wandered out of the public consciousness.

I know. I know.


Big deal.

I counted this time. I counted exactly how many extra Batman, (second highest grossing film of all time), Hulk, Wolverine and Iron Man monthly comics I sold in the months proceeding, during and following the release of the big movies.

None. Zero. Nada.

Not one extra comic. If I was selling 20 Batman comics before the movie came out, I was selling 20 Batman comics after the movie came out. (Maybe 18). How many of you left the theater and went looking for the comic?

That's what I thought. None of you.


Duncan McGeary said...

If I sound bitter, I'm not. I'm perfectly happy to sell good comics to people who like them.

I'm just irritated with the damn ILLUSION that comics are for kids.

I shouldn't have to spend half my time dealing with an ILLUSION.

RDC said...

What does that mean for your next generation of customers? or the lack thereof.

Comic book publishers are kind of making themselves into the buggy whip manufacturers of this Century.

Duncan McGeary said...

In one word.



Every time I get a gaggle of 18 year olds who only respond to video game or movie related material, I ask myself that.

Comics don't have to be for kids.

What we hope for, and which there is some evidence of, is that we'll get them as 25 year olds instead. There's some interesting stuff being done in words and pictures. As an artform, it's thriving.

So we can hope that the artform itself will create customers. There is some evidence that is happening. Cool stuff for cool young adults.

But, you're right, there isn't a lot of outreach.

Then again, I'm sympathetic. I don't think I've very turned a non-comic reader into a comic reader despite years of trying.

There are so many changes ahead, this is just one of them....

I just keep playing out the string...

blackdog said...

Dunc, do kids read ANYTHING anymore? Aside from Harry Potter books, I mean?

Duncan McGeary said...

My sense is that reading is way, way down.

Not only that, but the parents are delusional about it.