With the proliferation of big-budget superhero movies, it’s easy to forget about the pulpy comic books on which the characters are based. But it seems many people have: sales of comics are way down. As fanboys have become fanmen, publishers are desperate to find new — and younger — readers.

So this month, DC Comics — the home of Superman, Batman, and dozens of others — is overhauling its entire lineup of superheroes. They’re called the “New 52.” All the old classic storylines have been thrown out the window. Clark Kent and Lois Lane? No longer married. And that’s just the tip of the Kryptonite.

“I think they’re just throwing a lot of stuff at the wall to see what sticks,” says Tom Adams, owner of Bergen Street Comics in Brooklyn.

He tells Kurt Andersen that while the reboot has boosted sales considerably, he still worries about the long term trends. “I think [DC] should be writing comics that are a little more geared toward the smart 12 year old,” Adams says, “as opposed to the smart 20-45 year old who’s reading [the same] comics that he’s been reading for years.”

Listen to audio here

This was a piece on Studio 360 on NPR


I have never been a big reader of comics but there is something I noticed that I wanted to see if anyone else has noticed. When I was a kid comic books were available in the grocery store and at convenience stores like 7-11. When I was a kid my parents never took me to a comic book store but I was at these other stores that had comics.

Now it seems like comics are only available at comic book stores. If you want to expose kids to comic books wouldn't one way to be to have comics in more locations so that kids actually see them?

I have been reading comics for nearly thirty years and I think availability is one of the big problems with the comic industry. There has been some attempts to fix it, I read that some comics are available at Wal-Mart and a few years ago I bought ledger-sized Marvel reprints that contained three/four issues at Target. Sometimes I spot comics in bookstore magazine section but it's mostly Archie and a couple of Marvel/DC.

I think DC, instead of trying to chase after this "18-34 male" demographic, would be wise to address distribution, increase the number of all-ages comics and produce comics which won't repulse women. All-ages comics could help hook new fans at an early age. As a female comics fan I've developed a pretty high tolerance for T&A but even I can be repulsed. I was excited to read that Starfire would have be a co-lead in one of the new 52 but when I saw her new costume I knew I would never buy the book. They lost a potential buyer for that one by pandering to the stereotype of their customers.

'They lost a potential buyer for that one'

For that one yes but if you liked it would you have bought every issue? That is what they need, not odd purchases but people consistantly buying comics. And sad as it might seem but they are merely pandering to that market that will buy them all the time.

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