Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Comics don't sell well

Normally, this isn't a site for my opinions about Superman or comics, but recently I've been thinking about the decline of the comics busines. It's a poor shadow of its once mighty self. There was a time when pretty much everybody of a certain age read comics. Sure, there wasn't much in terms of entertainment competition: little tv, no video games, etc. But that's not the whole story.

Recently, I've been flipping through The Golden Age of Superman: The Greatest Covers of Action Comics from the '30s to the '50s. It's pretty interesting to see just how exciting those old covers were. The covers that don't feature Superman are outstanding. Here's one:

But the ones that do feature him...those are some stories I want to read. Behold:

In case those words aren't coming through in the image. Superman is demanding more hamburgers. Why? Why must he eat so much to survive? Will the Earth have enough food? I want to know.

Compare that to one of the more recent covers. Let's look at Superman: Secret Origin.

Yep, that's some people standing there. If you're Grant Wood, maybe you can pull that off. Gary Frank, however.... Then there's this one, for Issue 3:

Now, you may have missed it, but there's actually something exciting going on in this image. Lois Lane is chewing on a pen.


Not only does this issue feature the star power of Pat Boone, but Superman must stop a song from becoming a hit. Why? How? I must know.

That's what a cover should do--compel you to open the book. Demand your attention and make you want to know more. Do those Secret Origin covers accomplish that? Not even close. I wish this were an isolated thing, but it's not. My favorite comic when I was a kid was Thor. Every issue of the recent Thor series has a cover of Thor swinging his hammer. That's about it. Why would I ever want to buy those?


  1. ...and yet you DID want to read them, indicating that there's more to it than just some action.

    That said, it'd be awfully nice to see Superman doing some crazy stuff on the cover again.

  2. Nah, I only read them because of this project. Otherwise i wouldn't've even noticed them on the shelves.

    good to know you're still out there, shawn.

  3. Happy to be still reading -- keep working so I can read more!