Who said Comic Readers are getting Older?

Every once in a while we hear people saying that the average comic reader is getting older and in turn that is going to cause the downfall of the whole industry. I’m still trying to figure this out. I can see there are people that I grew up with over the years have grown older as is the want of life.

But I don’t think that the statement is correct saying that the industry is going to die out as soon as we pass on…

How many of us were given comics as kids by out parents? I know my father would pick up some for me when we were out and about. Also uncles would have their old collections that we could get into when visiting relatives.

So instead of having an aging readership I think it’s more like we have a generational readership.

I’m in my mid 30’s now. 35 to be exact and I also have a 5 year old son who is interested in comics. Now I know that he is only interested in them because I have them around the house and he sees me reading them but isn’t that where it starts?

Before he started reading he was watching the Justice League, Batman, Spiderman and a heap of other comic related animated and non animated shows on TV as well as the movies that I would let him watch. So he had his introduction to the hobby by my deciding that he should like the cartoons and since he would sit there with me he did get into them.

He’s also been known to run around in a Batman outfit if we go out even tho these days he is going as a Clone Trooper from Star Wars (I introduced him to that as well).

Kai and R2D2 by you.

So getting back on point, We have a generation of comic readers that came through from the late 70’s to early 80’s who had picked up their parents books and started getting their own who now have families of their own. And within these families we have parents introducing their kids into the hobby who I’m sure as the kids get older there will be a large portion of these kids who will keep up the hobby.

But I hear you saying “but the numbers are always dropping” which I can’t deny is happening but I can give you a reason to why I think it’s happening.

Look at the family culture today. With the family dynamic changing, Generation X isn’t having kids as early as what the Baby Boomers did and also with everyone having their own careers there isn’t the ‘wife at home while the father goes to work’ mentality any more we have smaller family units and not a dozen kids per family. This is where our readership comes from.

With less kids there are going to be less readers. And with Generation X having kids later in life we will see a lull before the next generation is old enough to find what they like.

You have fathers like me who want their kids to read comics but there is only a small percentage of what is out there that I would put in front of my son or daughter. No I won’t have them reading Batman, Detective Comics or Green Lantern. I wouldn’t let them look through the Avatar Press books I have.

P1000384 by you.

But that being said there is the start of a new wave of books coming out for kids of this age. There are the DC Kids and Marvel Kids lines but I do think the industry leader for comics for the 4-10 year old scene would be Boom! who have a lot of the Pixar titles and just have acquired Disney.

So we will see waves of people coming in and out of comics. The price does play a point in it but I think it’s only because we all have other bills to pay and with that comes sacrifices to our hobbies.

So where are the new readers?

They are still getting to an age where they can choose what they want to read. I get my son DC Superfriends as he asked me to get it for him after we first met Stewart McKenny and he spent a good 30 minutes at a Convention looking at his preview pages.

I would speculate that in another 5 to 10 years we will see an upsurge of readers as the kids of today are going to go and get the books that they want.

We have the well written stories as well as some of the best art I’ve ever seen since I started reading comics so everything is set up for the next generation to jump in with.

Let me know what you think in the comments!

3 Responses to “Who said Comic Readers are getting Older?”

  1. Apreche says:

    You’re making a false assumption that kids who are fans of superheros become comic readers.

    Go to any elementary school classroom in any year in the past few decades. You will always see plenty of Spider-Man, Superman, etc. Go look around any street on any Halloween in the past few decades. You will always see Superman, Batman, Star Wars, etc. Look at the numbers of people who go to superhero movies.

    Now, look at the comic sales figures.

    These fictional characters and universes have a very prominent role in our popular culture. People who grow up in this culture will probably remember and recognize them for as long as our culture continues to exist. That doesn’t mean they are going to read comic books.

    Go down a street and see how many people know Mickey Mouse. How many of them have ever actually seen any animations with Mickey Mouse in them? Everyone knows Scrooge McDuck, but outside of Scandinavia, relatively few people have read those comics.

    The percentage of people in the US who read is dropping significantly. Most people just don’t read, period. Even less of them read comics. They may be fans of characters that originated from comics, and they may even grow up enjoying reading comics with those characters. That doesn’t mean they are going to continue reading comics for the rest of their lives.

  2. Josh Finney says:

    Yeah, Shaper! Apreche is right! Kind aren’t reading comics anymore! I mean, they’r all too busy with their video games and their Yu-Gi-A-Go-Gos and their Penny Arcades and their Manga and their…oh…wait a minute…

  3. Lord Shaper says:

    Apreche,

    I understand what you mean. From my experience which is mainly coming from my son and his friends, I’ve found as he is learning to read he is wanting to get more comic and star wars based material and from a parents POV it’s helping him learn faster and keeping him interested.

    Now I understand that there are a lot of parents out there that don’t read any comics at all but I’ve seen the reaction of kids to wanting to read some since they have seen them at our house.

    We really don’t have the Halloween thing happening over here where we might see 1 or 2 kids walking around so I can’t comment on seeing that.

    I think the cost can affect it as well as I don’t know many parents that would spend $6 on a 22 page comic book (that’s the price here).

    But I do think that there are elements that can affect it that I stated.

    I wonder if the advent of Web Comics has changed things as well. I’m sure there’s web comic readers that would cross over if they were shown.