When I was a kid I used to read comics from cover to cover. I still do now, but the difference is back then almost all comics had a letters section in the back. This was where the readers would sound off about the previous issue, or two or three issues ago, depending on the book. Anyway, I remember that a lot of the readers were military men. They would talk about the quality of the art and the impact of the story arc and how the color was off on this panel on that page, but it was overall a good issue. That made an impression on me for two reasons. My Pop and two of my uncles were in the armed forces, so it meant that people like them were reading comics – in fact, my Pop actually was at the time. Secondly, it meant that grown men were reading comics. This practically blew my mind. There were letters from other people who may or may not have been adults, but I knew that if they posted a military address, they were grown-ups. This told me that I might never be too old for comics!
Fast forward about 15 years and I’m in university. Comics have changed a lot since I was a kid. They’re more expensive, written for an older crowd, and there’s more that Marvel and DC to choose from now. The relationships between characters had become as angsty as anything I’d experienced on campus and it was becoming “hip” to collect comics. I never even blinked at the fact that when I walked into my local comic ship there were no kids, just college students and older. It just seemed like the way things ought to be, more or less.
Fast forward another 25 years and the story is almost the same. Comics are even more expensive, written for an even older (more mature) crowd, and there’s more than Marvel and DC out there, just not as vast a selection as before. I walk into my local comic shop with my wife and we grab our pull box and whatever may interest us on the new shelf. I look around and there are comics written specifically for kids, but kids don’t read like they used to anymore. As popular as the MCU is, people are not interested in checking the source material – well, the younger ones aren’t. But the Geek class of 1989 (or thereabouts) is there, with money in hand, ready to do their part to keep their local comic shop open a little longer. So, I will probably be a comic reader at 50, at 60, at 70 and so on from there. I may not be reading Daredevil, but The Green Hornet and Flash Gordon still pop up from time to time with a new adventure to share.