If you’re a comic book geek like me then you probably have tons of paper made comics stored away in a collection box somewhere. Comic books have been a crazed hobby for decades now. The first comic book was Famous Funnies it was released in the United States in 1933 and was a reprinting of earlier newspaper humor comic strips.
by Lexi Sheets
The earliest superhero comic that had any sort of reference to being the first superhero was Mandrake the Magician; Mandrake's superpower was his ability to “make people believe anything, simply by gesturing hypnotically” Mandrake debuted in 1934, four years prior to Superman. But Superman was probably the first popular superhero.
Superman first debuted in Action Comics issue #1 in June 1938, but from that grew an entire world of comic superheroes. Superheroes of all kinds were quickly making their way to store shelves. Hulk, Spiderman, wonder woman, Captain America so on and so forth.
Soon after the Comic boom hit, collecting comic books became a hobby for boys everywhere. Through the 40’s, 50’s, 60’s even into the 70’s comic books were considered something that only boys did. It wasn’t until the mid to late 70’s the girls started to pick up comic books, mostly to try and figure out what the boys found so interesting about books made up of pictures.
Well by the early 80’s girls had figured out what was so interesting, as the ratio of girls reading comics had jumped from 1% of the market being female to about 15% of the market are female readers. Today that number is much higher with market research now showing at 46.67% of the market being female readers.
This was the first major change the comic world underwent, going from being a predominantly male-dominated market to being almost a 50/50 market. But now in the second decade of the 2000 era, the comic industry is looking at another major change.
It’s no surprise that comics are on the World Wide Web. Rather, it’s buying your comics online or reading online comics with websites that allow you to read comics online for free. That is if you don’t mind scrolling through them one page at a time while having to scroll down to each page.
Still, this is a nice change since living cost is on a constant rise, and many people just don’t have $3 to spend on a comic book. So, this new age allows those of us that fall into that group of people who can’t afford to buy a comic book. This access allows us to still keep up with our favorite stories and heroes.
But with these type of sites out there as nice as they are, can’t help but think “Is this going to cause the comic industry to collapse?” when you give something away for free your taking money from the creator’s pocket. Money needed to get more supplies, to keep producing more products.
Music artists dealt with this issue back in the early 2000's when Napster was giving away their music for free, which then change to a monthly membership fee. The reason for the fee was probably so the creator of Napster could pay off his lawsuit.
The point I’m trying to make is that if the artist didn’t stand and fight as they did, we might be without music today as music companies would have started to close down, due to lack of funds to produce the product.
I feel like this may be something that the comic world could be facing, allowing their product to be viewed for free. With no incoming funds to keep the supplies in stock that’s need to produce new issues. I do agree though that displaying your work on the internet is smart. It cuts down on cost, allowing you to sell the product at a reduced price thus moving more copies.
This is most definitely the future of the comics industry, and I look forward to seeing the kind of work we will receive through this method of distribution.