In my seemingly endless (well, I haven’t found one yet so technically it definitely hasn’t ended) search for a Linda Carter as Wonder Woman sticker…I stumbled on yet another cartoon slash comic book slash superhero haven store in between 49th and 48th Street.
Full of 35+ y.o. blokes, buying loads of comics. There was a queue. It was dusty, dark, kind of like a porn shop but full of comic fans instead of pervs. They were buying at least 50 at a time and the bundle was put in brown paper bag so yeah, a lot like a porn shop!
I almost bought a Linda Carter as Wonder Woman limited edition statuette for $194.95 but came to my senses.
It reminded me as have just completed a research project on Marketing to the Olders and it came up in my search:
Comics for Adults
In 1989, the average age of a customer at Joe Field’s comic book store in Concord was 18. Today, it’s almost 30. Moreover, Field estimates that buyers under 18 account for less than 20 percent of his sales.
Field’s experience at his shop, Flying Colors Comics, is anything but unique. The comics business has learned to survive and grow by appealing to adults instead of kids. And that has opened the door to increasingly mature and edgy material, some of it within famously mainstream comics.
Some recent research by DC Comics may include insights on readership by age, but the company declined to discuss its findings.
Brian Hibbs, owner of the Comix Experience store in San Francisco, makes the argument that cultivating adult readers is “better for the maturity of the medium” artistically.
The adult audience is more demanding, although Field and Hibbs believe that some of their older regulars are buying for children as well as themselves.
Lee Hester, owner of the Lee’s Comics stores in Mountain View and San Mateo, says comics have become a specialty market instead of a mass medium and that the trend is “to go more adult.”
The danger of being unable to replace aging customers is real, Hester says.
(Comics woo adults (and kiss off kids); EDGIER MAINSTREAM MATERIAL BOOSTS PUBLISHERS’ REVENUE TODAY, BUT IT COULD RISK GENRE’S FUTURE, 28 February 2007, San Jose Mercury New)