The Medium Of Superheroes

Andrew Sullivan —  May 4 2012 @ 9:33am

A superhero supercut:

The Avengers, which opens today, has already brought in huge amounts of money overseas. Meanwhile, Brent Cox checks in on the price of print comics and points out that comic books were once the main way to get a superhero-fix: 

[I]n 1945, roughly half of all Americans read comic books, including 95% of all boys, and (and!) 91% of all girls, between the ages of six and eleven. “In 1947,” Van Lente added, “one out of every three periodicals sold in the United States was a comic book. That’s 180 million comics in one year.” To experience market penetration like that, you’d pretty much have to be the Internet.

And if you glance at these lists of circulation figures for the time, you see that by 1946 you have four different comic book titles that were selling more than a million copies per month. (Whereas now, there are only three titles clearing (barely) two hundred thousand copies monthly.) So in comparing the 40s with now, we’re comparing a time when comic books were hands-down no-joke the undisputed dominant paradigm of entertainment for American children to now, a time when the characters and storylines of comics constitute a very American mythology while the vehicles that brought them there, the comic books themselves, sit off to the side.