Comic books have been a staple of Americana since their debut in the 1930s. The medium enjoyed spectacular success starting in the post-war 50's era, and national comic sales climbed well into the 1980s. In the mid 90s, however, major publishers like Marvel and DC re-invented many of their main characters story lines. Nihilism, realism, and darkness became popular motifs in superhero franchises, and sales declined.
The industry has since largely rectified its dark reinvention of these characters, but comic book sales in the 2000s remain at an all-time low. One possible explanation is that the public consciousness doesn't respond well to relentlessly negative stimuli, and the types of stories publishers were putting out were simply too depressing for consumers. Another popular theory is that the printed medium underwent a decline in relevance as video game consoles and digital media became popular with 90s youth. The idea gains credibility when one considers the spectacular success of Marvel and DC-branded superhero movies from the past ten years. The Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man trilogies are among the highest grossing films of all time, after all.
It may be that the comic book industry simply needs time to adapt to a new digital environment. While it seems that many of the larger publishers are maintaining relevance by licensing movie rights, technology has also given small, independent comic book artists and writers an unprecedented chance for exposure. The ubiquity of devices like the iPad have already had a measurable effect on digital comic sales, and with so many easy-to-install Wordpress themes available, it's easy for independent publishers to showcase their comics online. No doubt adaptivity is a hallmark of business success, but it will certainly be a dark day when the steady whir of machine shop presses ceases altogether.
We're glad to give readers a forum to express their points of view on issues important to this community. That forum is the “Letters to the Editor.” Letters to the editor may be submitted directly to The Times-Independent through this link and will be published in the print edition of the newspaper. All letters must be the original work of the letter writer – form letters will not be accepted. All letters must include the actual first and last name of the letter writer, the writer’s address, city and state and telephone number. Anonymous letters will not be accepted.
Letters may not exceed 400 words in length, must be regarding issues of general interest to the community, and may not include personal attacks, offensive language, ethnic or racial slurs, or attacks on personal or religious beliefs. Letters should focus on a single issue. Letters that proselytize or focus on theological debates will not be published. During political campaigns, The Times-Independent will not publish letters supporting or opposing any local candidate. Thank you letters are generally not accepted for publication unless the letter has a public purpose. Thank you letters dealing with private matters that compliment or complain about a business or individual will not be published. Nor will letters listing the names of individuals and/or businesses that supported a cause or event. Thank you letters about good Samaritan acts will be considered at the discretion of the newspaper.