By MadMikeyD Comments
I always believed that kids loved comics. Mine do, but so do I, so they have the exposure. I didn't realize that a lot of kids don't even know there is such a thing. Now I'm convinced that kids DO love comics, they just need access to them.
My daughter has appointments with pediatric therapists twice a week. Normally I sit in the waiting room alone, since her appointments are early. With the waiting room reading material consisting entirely of parenting and hunting magazines, I had been bringing my own comics to read.
A week or so before Christmas I picked up a stack of 7 or 8 copies of the sixth Marvel Military Special at the PX and decided to leave them there for the kids to look at. Now there are 3 well-worn copies left in the waiting room. I thought that was pretty good proof, until this morning.
I had several extra copies of some FCBD books, other giveaways and some of the $1 Superpowers #0. My kids and I already all had them and I really didn't need additional copies, so I made sure the stories didn't have anything inappropriate in them and dropped them there this morning.
A little while later a mother came in with her two sons, probably ages 4 and 2. They sat down for mom to fill out paperwork and the 4 year old exclaimed "Wow! Super hero books!" He eagerly dug through the stack trying to decide which one he would 'read' first (he chose The Flash). His little brother asked for a Batman book, and I felt a little guilty that none of the books I left there had Batman in them (he did look at a Marvel Military Special with Spider-Man in it).
As the 4 year old got to the end of The Flash he noticed the staples. "Mom, is this a magazine?" he said. "That's a comic book," she informed him. "A what?" he asked. That's when I realized that there are new readers out there, but the current distribution (and much kid-unfriendly content) is preventing comics from reaching them.
If kids could find affordable, all ages material at the places their parents shop anyway (like I used to) I believe more kids would read them. I don't mean buried in the back of the magazine rack at Wal-Mart, I mean bring back the spinner racks with the "HEY KIDS! COMICS!" sign and put them where the kids can see them. Of course, those $2.99-$3.99 prices would also have to drop because most parents aren't going to want to pay that much for something their kids will probably rip up. The Archie $2.25 price is a little better, but Archie doesn't publish super heroes, and most little boys prefer super heroes to teenage comedy.
I realize this is a pipe-dream and never going to happen. Everyone believes web-comics are the way to attract new readers. I still believe the best way to get new readers is the same way most of us became new readers - in the grocery store check out begging for the latest issue of our favorite super hero.