Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Comic Book Sales and Emotionally Retarded Adults

A lot of people are talking about the death of the printed comic book today. Many blame the price. I haven't bought a new comic book in many, many years so I wasn't sure how much one costs. Apparently it is between $3.99 and $4.99.
So. How does that measure up to a ten cent comic book published in 1960? As near as I can figure (from Internet sources) ten cents had a modern value of $1.25. So back then a new comic cost that much--a buck-twenty-five. Yeah, that's a lot less than four or five bucks.
But is it just the price of the comic itself that is killing sales? Back in 1960 there were comic books that sold near, or over, one million copies per month. Walt Disney Comics and Stories, Superman, Batman, etc. Also, there were more comic book publishers selling lots of titles back then.
Therefore, it must be more than just the price that is killing the comic book industry. And as I noted many years ago that reason is that kids don't read. I mean, they just don't. Face it. 99.99% of kids would rather watch TV or play a video game than take the effort to read a comic book. Sure, many parents are going to balk at paying $4 for a goddamned comic book about superheroes. But it's not just that. If a kid wanted a comic book, hundreds of thousands of parents would buy them some.
It is no trouble to conclude that something else is going on and that thing is that kids don't want any damned comic books. The reasons for that are many, but when you get right down to it, I just have to repeat--kids don't read.
The number of readers in general is growing slimmer every year. It's not just kids. But we see in these new generations of children what will be heading down the pike in years to come. No kids reading comics equals no adults reading anything beyond food labels and directional signs in a couple of decades. Switching to electronic comics isn't going to help, either. Because people who download electronic literature tend not to read that stuff. Yeah, they pay for the downloads, but then they rarely read them. At some point people are going to stop downloading ebooks because the only reason they bothered to take that step is because of some advertising and perhaps some peer pressure from the couple of people they know who do read.
The printed comic, like the printed book, is going to vanish soon. There won't be any comic book stores just as we see book stores fading like rotten fruit on the vine.
Are comic books too expensive? Maybe. But if no one but a few thousand emotionally retarded adults (which pretty much describes the current audience of superhero mainstream comics) read them, the format is already doomed.
Unless kids start reading again, and unless the comic book market place branches out and produces material other than superhero stuff and nihilistic violence aimed at those same emotionally retarded adults, then very soon there will be no comic books to read. Wave goodbye to what may in fact be the only actual USA-inspired art form: the periodical printed comic book.
Where's my vomit emoji?

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