Comics and comic book culture are experiencing great popularity nowadays. And in 2022, they’re only set to become bigger and even more in demand among avid fans and new readers. Gone are the days when you have to keep your comic books to yourself if you don’t want to be called a nerd.
There have also been a wide variety of major events such as X-Men’s Hellfire Gala and Batman’s Fear State, which is ongoing. Major relaunches are also popular. According to Comichron, which checks comic book sales across the direct market, comic book sales were at their highest in summer 2021 in the last 25 years.
Truly, comic book culture has come a long way since it first launched. That’s also not exclusive to comic books in the US — we’re also talking about webtoon, manga, vertical comics, and manhua — all of which share the same characteristics as traditional comic books. Products in vertical markets (apps like My Scrolls are quite the trend) have also become a lucrative industry.
History of Comic Books
Comics were first launched in the late part of the 19th century, and they became widely popular in the US after newspaper cartoons grew to be a major industry.
Then, the so-called “Golden Era of Comic Books” came about with the release of Superman in 1938. Superman’s success spawned various spin-offs and gave birth to a whole new genre of comic books. Other genres also emerged during Golden Age, such as those aligned with horror and crime stories. Science fiction and Western-themed comics also gained popularity.
What Made Them Popular in Recent Times
Most people thank the movie Iron Man, a 2008 movie, for catapulting comic books back into the limelight. This movie kicked off a multi-billion dollar franchise that has seen dozens of movies in an interconnected universe called the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Other studios and film companies have since followed suit, including DC, which is home to Superman, Batman, and the Justice League.
Other than movies, TV shows like Arrowverse and Netflix’s Daredevil have also dominated the viewing market. In the process, these shows and movies have generated renewed interest in their source materials — the comics.
These days, you can’t watch a comic book movie without hearing others pointing out comic book references, easter eggs, and connections to other comic book characters. Meanwhile, anime fans have also experienced renewed interest in manga. Shingeki no Kyojin (Attack on Titan) and Demon Slayer are good examples; their source materials have been read as much as their anime adaptations have been watched.
Overall, the comic book industry has benefited from the massive successes (and sometimes, failures) of large mainstream franchises, pulling new audiences to their world and encouraging avid fans to welcome others.
Why You Should try Comics
Not everyone has hopped into the comics and graphic novel train, but if you’re thinking about it, here are good reasons you should give it a go:
- You’ll learn to love reading. The intense visuals and focus on plot and characters make comics more engaging than other literary media.
- You’ll think differently. According to studies, comic books require readers to find and create meaning using multiple modalities. That’s another way of saying you’ll be smarter.
- Comics are more than just heroes. Tons of storylines exist in comics, and these include the Walking Dead series and the Scott Pilgrim series.
- They’re cool now. Again, big thanks to the huge blockbuster successes of recent comic book movies. If you know the Avengers and Dr. Strange, you know how hip they are right now.
You’ll meet new people. Comic books are accessible worldwide, and their success is a global phenomenon, paving the way for large and exciting events such as the San Diego Comic-Con and the DC FanDome.