Brian Hibbs has put up his great yearly analysis of the Bookscan numbers over at Comic Book Resources, and they reflect a change that's slowly dawning on many people in comics right now: books for women and children are where the money is. Nine of the top twenty books sold and tracked by Bookscan last year were by women, and twelve of the top twenty were books for kids.
Comic readers are often annoyed by the outdated assertion, “but comic books are for kids!” As those of us within this culture know, comics today are usually made for and marketed to adults, especially single issues and superhero comics. However, comics, as a medium, should and can serve a vast variety of demographics. Publishers simply need to be ready to create the books that readers will read.
Most comic readers can point to some great comics for kids, including Smile, Bone, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and Adventure Time -- but for many parents and young readers, there is a huge void in the comics that exist today. There are very few high-quality, positive, superhero comics for kids.
For the past week, a debate over a variant cover to IDW's Powerpuff Girls #6 has raged on the internet, seemingly dividing people into a "it's sexual and kids shouldn't see it" camp and "it's harmless and you're gross for thinking it's gross" camp.
The chief spokesman for the former camp, Dennis Barger, Jr. of WonderWorld Comics in Michigan, said the cover sexualized young girls and was just not appropriate for children, who are the future of the comics industry. He's got a point, but whether it's the Powerpuff Girls cover he should be going after is debatable.