David Bird wrote:They have the proper means to reach them, and Walmart does sell comics, but they sell them in book form, not magazine. I didn't make up that 30 million plus number and that's only one series (albeit it top one). Forget about magazine spinners. The fact that kids aren't entering the medium the same way we did, doesn't mean they aren't interested in comics. They are interested in superheroes too. Maybe the reason the two interests aren't coming together is that Marvel and DC are still thinking magazine racks too.
Nobody's really tlking about spinners except to say that these were what helped make comics so accessible in the span of decades you're discussing. It wasn't the content back then; it was the fact that any kid could just about go anywhere and pick up comics on the cheap. We acknowledge that those days are done. What we're saying is that the lack of that same accessibility, combined with greater competition for the entertainment dollar is keeping kids and comics apart.
I mean...shit...you wanna talk about content...I was reading these bleak-ass Sgt. Rock comics when I was a kid. I remember that issue, "Angles with Black Wings", talking about the Tuskegee Airmen, and that was some heavy shit. Death, racism, Nazis, all in one tidy package, illustrated with torturous perfection by Joe Kubert.
I read Savage Sword of Conan when I was a kid, and that was when Wolverine wasn't killing half the amount of guys Conan did in a single issue. Where Sonja and Belit and Valeria were running around half-nekkid and Conan was wnching the hell out of lascivious tavern bitches.
Dark Phoenix Saga, with all these Hellfire chicks in corsets and g-strings; the X-Men fighting this titanic but doomed battle against the Imperial Guard only to have Jean killed anyway...that was some heavy shit for a kid.
Shit, I even read goddamn Vampirella when I was a kid. I read heavy Metal and Epic Illustrated, and I could pick up both of those very much adult-themed books right off the news stand. All those books could be picked up at a news stand or a bookstore. It's not the dark or sexual or violent content of modern comics that is the obstacle today.
Comics were king back in those days. Any kid could pick up any comic (including Heavy Metal and Epic Illustrated). The companies could reasonably expect to dominate a kid's (parents') entertainment dollar.
But the accessibility is a thing of the past and the domination of the entertainment dollar is a thing of the past.
They've got to try new models to make their product more competitive in an age where kids have other options for spending their parents' money. It's not the content. Sure, Starfire might be more inanely sexualized today. But I can remember issues back in the day where she was drawn with the only thing hiding her giblets being her crazy hair. I can remember issues of the Defenders where Cloud never once put on a scrap of damn clothing. We're talking stories about demons incinerating people and then laughing about it. We're talking Hercules and his good-natured wenching...but it was still clear he was fucking these sexy space bitches. I recall one issue where Herc was macking on a space chick who wore a spray-on bikini. And then, he got vaporized by Galactus, who was tired of dealing with his shit, I guess. We're talking the Death of Captain Marvel, where the enemy is goddamn cancer.
This is all some pretty major content for a kid to be reading, and this was all during the time period you refer to. I will grant that we've had several instances of rape in modern years, either overtly or implied, like in Identity Crisis, and that probably wouldn't have flown back in the day in mainstream comics. But at the same time, Marvel was putting out Epic Illustrated, as I mentioned above, and just to look at the covers, you couldn't tell that Marada the She-Wolf was gonna have a back story in which she was raped. Or that Abraxas and the Spaceman was gonna feature a naked green space-babe having full-on sex with the main character. Kids could easily pick up that book right alongside Iron Man.
It's not the content. The content has always run the gamut between family-safe, infantile, puerile, mature and outright gratuitous. The problem is accessibility and greater competition, and the company's inability to adapt quickly and efficiently enough.