“The problem with comic book stores is (they’re) self-limiting,” comics writer Gerry Conway told me during our June 22 interview.
“You already have to be a (comic book) reader to go into a comic book store because you have to want to get a comic book.”
The comment was in response to me asking what could the industry do to attract a broader audience, including younger readers. Alas, Conway, whose writing resume looks like a who’s who of the comic book and television world, has hit the mark on the head.
Think about the last time you went to the drug or grocery store. Did you see any turnstiles with comics for sale? No, I didn’t think so.
When I was a youngster, I could count on going to the magazine section of Safeway and see if there were any new comics I could talk my mom into buying. Going to The Comic Book Store – a whopping half-hour from where we lived – was a Big Deal and a Special Treat. (With my financial situation, it still is, but that’s beside the point. …)
About the only place now where you can shop and get comic books, now on a behemoth of a plastic turnstile which hold what I suspect are less issues, are at Waldenbooks or a big-box bookstore like Borders.
So as Conway said, the only place to purchase any titles beyond the “big sellers” like Batman, the X-Men, Spider-Man, the various Archie titles, Superman, the Avengers, etc. is at a comic book store.
And speaking from experience, it’s tough going in there with one’s young children because the titles are geared toward supposed “mature readers” and even if they’re not, the covers feature scantily clad women with huge breasts and impossibly curvy, fit bodies. Not the images of women I want MY 6-year-old daughter seeing.