Head of DC Comics: "We don't publish comics for kids. We publish comics for 45-year-olds"


A flawless one-step plan for abolishing the comic book industry.


And yet many American-comics-only fans bemoan that they can’t understand why manga got so incredibly popular.


Woohoo! I’m the target demographic! BOOYAH.


“We publish comics for 45-year olds.”

God dammit! Stop making comics for these youngsters!


For the record, this conversation dates back to the Paul Levitz era of DC Comics, around 2006 or so. The current heads of DC Comics, Jim Lee and Dan Didio, wouldn’t get their positions until 2010.


Wait… kids can read?

Me too.

Unfortunately, I haven’t bought a DC mag in 20 years.

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Oof - this really sums up the comics industry, doesn’t it? Of it being a niche collectors industry instead of mass entertainment.

Oh well, graphic novels and manga are doing just fine, and willing to branch out into new markets.


He’s got a point. Comics are are now sold in special stores that do ‘comics’ …ahhh graphic novels etc.

Which are mostly patronized by older adults that purposefully visit.

In the past comics where sold at supermarkets, drug stores, and gas stations. Where kids would access them and spend a dime or two for a comic book.

I remember wire racks of comics of DC/Marvel etc at the local gas station and drug store. Now tell me have you seen that today? Even in supermarkets except Archie comics at check out? (Which BTW is one of the best selling comic in the US because they have distribution plan).


So true. I distinctly remember discovering issue #1 of the mid 80’s G.I. Joe comic reboot with my friends at some local store in South Carolina as a kid, and losing our collective minds over it. No such thing as comics specialty stories in that town.

I can’t even think of the last time I saw comics racked in any kind of general purpose store – it is always a “specialty” item now sold in its own stores.

Perhaps digital distribution can change the game here and make comics more accessible to kids?

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This brings up an issue that I’ve been wondering about for a while - how big is the comic-reading audience? I see these comic book movies and think that the actual comic-reading portion of the audience has got to be a fairly tiny percent of it, as I’ve read that comic book reading is at a historic low point, which means the percent of the audience who actually know the complex lore have got to be a vanishingly small percent.


Meh, I am cool with adult comics. I am even okay with those being the focus. Sure, kid comics should be a genera, but “kid” comics occupy an eyeblink of time for most people. If you are consuming other media, especially books, it doesn’t take long to realize that kids stuff is, well, kids stuff. I know that as an avid book reader I more or less skipped the entire YA phase. I wanted more complex and interesting stories and was going to gouge out my eyes if I read one more awkward coming of age story.

Kids are plenty coddled and protected from all the imagined evils of the world. Coddled people grow up into dysfunctional and boring people or go through a true and rather traumatic “coming of age” when they hit the real world. Yeah, handing a kid a full on rape and torture porn comic is probably a bit much, but something with themes that a grown adult can appreciate? Awesome.

If you want to see a real stark difference, read golden age comics and compare them to golden age sci-fi books. The comics were meant from kids, and sci-fi was for adults. The comics suck and are borderline unreadable because they are shallow, cliche, and meant for kids. Some of that sci-fi on the other hand has survived half a century of wear and tear and is still relevant.

On a more practical side, adults have money. I never read comics when I was a kid. I considered them to be, well, kids stuff. I stuck to books and consumed hundreds of thousands of pages. It wasn’t until I was an adult and armed with wads of cash that I gave (adult) comics a second look and realized that some of it was good and interesting. I can offhandedly blow more cash in a day or two what I could have scrounged and begged and pleaded for as a kid in a year. Appeasing adult nerds who tend to have STEMish jobs is a pretty solid business plan.

The comic book movies are really more “comic booky”(like truthy). At least for the marvel movies, they exist in their own universe. It’s a mixture of the standard universe with additions from other universes, the biggest contributor being Marvel’s Ultimate universe. So, as long as it has all the names most people know from comics, and has enough references to your favored universe, you’ll generally have a clue to what’s going on.

I stopped reading comics mid high school or so, long before the ultimate universe came around, but am enthused to see these movies(not that they are great masterpieces) and am able to understand those parts of the storylines that come from the old standard universe. I kinda keep up with the general themes of what’s going on nowadays by way of the internets and reading an issue if someone has one laying around.

So, the draw is a lot bigger than you’d probably guess. Also, kids love super heroes whether they’ve ever read a comic before. I’m sure there are lots of kids that don’t know what a comic book is and think this is all new stuff made just for them.

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I came across this insightful post - http://observationdeck.io9.com/mark-millar-and-todd-mcfarlane-ladies-comics-arent-f-1095912572

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Just a couple years to go, before I’m finally old enough to read these things. Until then, back between the mattresses they go!

Actually, I’m joshing. I gave up on superhero comics in Reagan’s first term, only giving them a second glance during the Death of Superman months when I happened to be working graveyard shift at a convenience store, so I had plenty of time to read them for free.

I got briefly re-interested in comics during the last few months of Preacher’s run. I bought the whole series of that one and enjoyed the hell out of it. Nothing since has caught my interest.

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I’m not sure how to feel. I’m definitely their target demographic, but I’m not really crazy about the state of comics these days. (FWIW, I’m mostly DC before Marvel, and I don’t care for most of the “independents” that I’ve read.) But all I want is “super-hero comics”. I don’t need politics, major social issues, or storylines that arc through twenty different titles for six months. I don’t want reminders of just how screwed up and horrible life can be. I want HEROES and heroic stories!

I stopped reading comics about 60 years ago because they were too childish.

Except that it’s even more true under DiDio and Lee. The recent “New 52” reboot has been one long exercise in trying to regain the glory (and circulation figures) of comics’ past. DC had experimented with replacing some of their legacy characters with younger versions, even with non-white characters, and that has largely been reversed by Geoff Johns, who makes no bones about preferring the white men from the sixties. Lee’s main contribution, aside from art on Johns’ Justice League, has been to bring the characters from his now-defunct WildStorm company into DC continuity; they’d had some sale success in the nineties, but had fallen in popularity in recent years.

They point to increased sales figures, but what they don’t tell you is that they’re largely selling more books to fewer customers, and yes, those customers are the old-school fanboys who are getting what they want, even as newer readers ignore them and stick with manga and Adventure Time.

Hm. I think you might be underestimating kids a bit… Some of them (like you as a kid) are quite clever and into, as you say “more complex and interesting stories”. I know a fair amount of kids who hate to be talked down to in their culture. And some YA stuff does cater to that – Gaiman and Pratchett’s YA works are quite good, for example.

And not all grown ups are into “complex and interesting” stuff. After all, it’s primarily the adult demographic that consume things like reality TV and sit-coms.