When it comes to comic books popularity, it’s safe to say that it’s finally climbing the ranks again, catching the attention not only of comic book o.g. fans but everyone else. So much so that it’s now considered “mainstream.”
Of course, the latter is still debatable and many may disagree. However, it’s no longer a secret that comic books have a far larger following today than ever.
Comic Books Popularity: Looking Back
Historians note that comic strips or pages found an audience during the 1800s. People during that time used this platform to express their political views through satire and comic relief. Especially in places in Europe where governments were trying to suppress the Freedom Of Expression or were corrupt to the core.
You can imagine that since that, it’s evolved into something that’s centered solely on political views into a source of entertainment. An escape into a world of whimsy and fantasy. What about the first comic book, in the strictest sense of being the from-cover-to-cover booklet you and I are familiar with? It’s said that the first one ever published in the U.S. is The Famous Funnies. It was released in the 1930s.
On the other hand, the first superhero comic that’s recognized and accepted in the world of superhero comics is Superman. Before DC (Detective Comics) was what it is currently, it started out as National Allied Comics. They introduced Clark Kent as Superman in 1938. Then, they released another beloved character’s story, Batman, the year after.
Before we go astray (as we usually do whenever we start talking about comic books!)… Here, now, is the “why” of comic books seeing so much popularity today.
The Rise Back To Fame: How It Happened
You may or may not already know that although comic books had such an explosively successful start. The 1950s were what’s considered as its “Dark Ages”. Some government bodies thought that the content was much too violent or scary. With such prohibitions put in place, the production and circulation of comic books were lessened by the mile.
However, come the 1960s, people started getting into comic books again. Along with this, creators came up with new heroes (Aquaman, Blade, Martian Manhunter, etc.). To add, the reintroduction of the original characters.
Still, they weren’t able to reach the level of success during their Golden Age in the 1930s and 40s. Thus, the question remains. How did they become more popular than ever?
The answer? Enter, the cinematic universe. That’s right. The first-ever feature-length film based on a comic book superhero is Superman. It started then. But, in truth, this comic book popularity explosion was revived when Marvel released the first installment of the Iron Man trilogy.
Other comic book competitors might disagree. However, numbers don’t lie. Not only did this movie crash box office numbers with millions (and today, billions) of dollars earned. But it’s also majorly responsible for getting you, the audience, hooked on comic books once again! That’s some crazy, amazing shizzle!
Pretty neat, right? We’re a hundred percent sure that you hopped on the bandwagon, too! Because we sure did! Marvel didn’t merely revive the interest of then-comic book fans. They created a whole new set of audiences who now have a deep love and appreciation for the said medium, and that includes you and me.