There have been reports of the comic book industry struggling. DC comics is cutting back on books and crazy rumors of Disney shutting down Marvel comics altogether is disturbing to see and hear about, especially considering that we have been in a golden age of comic book movies for the past decade. Still, considering the average age of the comic book reader now is in his thirties and forties it begs the question of how the industry can sustain itself in the next few decades.
The general thinking of the companies is that the movies will lead the casual viewer to the comic book racks. I’ve not seen that to be the case for any movie having that effect beyond maybe Black Panther. So what can save the industry? The big two have been using retailers like Wal-Mart to sell compilation titles with content directed towards kids but where they are positioned at the checkouts I wonder if anyone beyond older readers even notices them. The numbers don’t seem to reflect great sales but the effort had to be put in. So again, how to appeal to the younger generations enough to get them to read comics?
It’s not like kids don’t respond to the characters but it seems they want to be more directly interactively with the properties through gaming or visually on TV. Perhaps tying comics into streaming services like The DC universe app will be successful in pulling kids into reading the books. Should these companies partner with schools to encourage reading and awareness of these characters? Should they giveaway comics or digital codes at the movies? Should they give codes for comics with the video games? Do the brick and mortar stores do more outreach with schools and early childcare centers?
Maybe I’m overreacting to the slow death of my beloved hobby but I would hate to see a time where the printed books go away or even worse the vanishing of the medium as a whole. I hope to engage with as many fellow fans and industry folks as possible to see what can be done to renew the industry. Here is to the future….