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The Future of the Comic Book in a Digital World

The Future of the Comic Book in a Digital World Nerve


White explains that “comics seem to be doing very well in dollars sales historically, largely because of the current $2.99-$3.99 price point, but are selling far fewer copies per month than in the past. Millions of people see each superhero film, but most DC and Marvel monthly comic books sell in the low tens of thousands, and one that sells over 100,000 is considered a huge success.”

What makes comic books so hard to keep afloat is the fact that they are more like single pieces in a much larger, incredibly intricate puzzle. Our culture thrives on single-serving experiences, things that are neatly wrapped up in, say, a two-hour movie. Well-written comic books don’t work like that. “The books have storylines that take years to pay off in total,” says Andrew Gelb, an avid comic book reader. “It’s a lot more like watching a TV show, and waiting each week (month in the case of comics) for the next bit of story.”

“There are some characters, like Spider-Man and Green Lantern who I’ve just grown attached to and want to follow the adventures of,” says Gelb. “In other cases, there are writers and artists whose work has so blown me away in the past, that I’ll read almost anything they put out.” But for some, comic books will no longer take licking fingers to turn pages, making sure not to crease the edge when sliding them back into the protective plastic sleeve. Trading comic books between friends will become as antiquated as trading baseball cards, save for the ridiculously rare and valuable.

“The future of comics is trending toward delivering short-term jolts of shock rather than long-term story and character development,” says White, who feels that our culture is more interested in the continuation of the familiar rather than in the new and the now. “Fans have already grown cynical about relaunches and resurrections, just biding their time until the familiar versions of their favorite characters return. I really doubt we’ll see a new character grow today to be as deep and complex as Batman or Spider-Man are.” This means that it will be incredibly difficult for a new breed of comic book characters to break out into the canon.

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Well, that's rather sad. Disney buying Marvel seems to have firmly pushed it in a movie direction.

I wonder what the numbers for the graphic novel The Walking Dead are.

I'm guessing they're wildly successful by these standards.

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