Comics Have Never Been More Popular Than Now
For nearly a century, comics have kept children of all ages entertained through artwork and storytelling. Over the years, collectors and fans alike have purchased new and used comic books, turning this form of entertainment into a hobby unto itself. While electronic media has made other forms of reading material such as books and newsprint less popular, it has not affected the manufacturers or the local comic book store in the same way.
As a matter of fact, it appears that comics are more popular than ever. From monthly releases with multiple covers to graphic novels, comic books are being sold by the thousands. Entire runs of popular series are even available in digital formats. Read on, true believers, for a more in-depth comic guide.
For most readers, the comic shop is the place to buy their favorite titles. In recent years, online shopping has grown, which allows collectors to locate the titles that their local shops may not have in stock. Another online option is to purchase comic books directly from the publishers from their website in either paper or digital forms.
Collections are based on personal tastes. Some collections are centered on a single character while others focus on a group of heroes, while other collectors build their stock around specific artists or publishing companies. No matter which style they use, comic books and graphic novels are often judged in value based on criteria such as condition as well as the time period they were published. Comic books are classified by "age" based on when they were released as follows:
- Golden age - 1938 to 1956
- Silver age - 1956 to 1970
- Bronze age - 1970 to 1985
- Modern age - 1985 to present
Comics vs Graphic Novels
While some may consider them both the same thing, for collectors and fans there is a difference between a standard comic book and a graphic novel. The major feature that stands out is in the binding. Comic books are printed using paper such as newsprint and the covers are often just a bit heavier stock than the pages inside. Graphic novels, on the other hand, use a heavy paper stock for inside pages and can include bindings with heavy cardstock or traditional book coverings.
The content is also formatted differently between the two. Traditional comic books are formatted with fewer pages. This allows a story to be told over several issues instead of all at once and is cheaper to manufacture. Graphic novels, on the other hand, tend to contain a full storyline by including more pages in the release. They are more expensive to produce than a single issue comic book. Due to the size and materials used, graphic novels will have a higher initial price point than comics.
Most Popular Comic Series
While most releases have some type of fan base, certain titles tend to be more popular with collectors and readers alike. Within the industry, DC Comics and Marvel Comics produce some of the most well-known series, including:
- Batman (DC)
- The Amazing Spider-man (Marvel)
- The Fantastic Four (Marvel)
- Green Lantern (DC)
- The Incredible Hulk (Marvel)
- Justice League (DC)
- Superman (DC)
- The Uncanny X-Men (Marvel)
The heroes within these titles are so popular that many of them have more than one comic book dedicated to their exploits. The more popular series also have annuals released within a line that tends to be a larger storyline with more pages. These heroes will also be seen in crossovers, where a character or group appears alongside others for one or more issues.
Heroes aren't the only popular characters among comic book fans. Many collectors have favorite villains that tend to boost the sale of titles that they appear in. DC titles with the Joker, Lex Luthor, and Sinestro often draw a fan's attention. Doctor Doom, Magneto, and the Red Skull are popular Marvel villains.
The main two publishers aren't the only ones releasing popular titles regularly. Dark Horse comics has established themselves in the industry by receiving licenses to produce comics from popular movies and television series. This includes titles released under the Aliens, Predator, and Star Wars banners. Finally, popular titles are also found based on the artists and writers who contributed to an issue. Names such as Frank Miller or Stan Lee always sell.