At 6:40 p.m. on Saturday, while all you loyal readers were only beginning your evening – wandering down to your favourite opium den, choosing which earmuffs were eloquent enough for a club called The Taint, or whatever it is you folks do – the Huffington Post uploaded a story by Scott Mendelson. Which either says a lot about the Huffington Post’s commitment to bringing you quality journalism, Mendelson’s similar dedication, or his lack of a social life (or all of the above).
In his piece, which, by all accounts is a well-researched, if preachy, one, he says that DC shouldn’t worry about its adult readers and focus on the youth of today. To quote Mr. Mendelson,
We older readers, gripped by our nostalgia for the “Modern Age” and our misunderstanding of its two defining works (Watchmen and The Dark Knight Returns, both of which were satires that were taken as literal gospel) have demanded stories that both return to the status quo that we remember (Poof! Jim Gordon is Commissioner again!) while delivering ever-more violent and sexual (translation — misogynist) stories that all-but exclude the very audience that it should seek to be attracting.
Fair enough. But should DC be seeking to attract a younger audience?
It seems like DC is having no problems selling comics lately, and many of their titles are geared towards an older audience. In fact, DC titles accounted for all of the ten highest selling comics in January, leading IGN to run an article with a title you probably didn’t expect to see in your lifetime: “Aquaman Outsells Every Marvel Comic in January.”
In fact, for a comic publisher with such an astounding legacy (70-plus years), it makes perfect sense to cater to the older generation. The fans that have grown up with DC comics wedged firmly in their biology textbooks probably appreciate that the home of Superman is giving them their ups.
Also, adults (not just the “sexually immature adults” that Mendelson flippantly refers to), especially the younger ones, have a ton of disposable income to blow on ironic t-shirts, shitty beer and comics books. So why not milk them for it?
Plus, with all the fervor they stirred up with the announcement of the Before Watchmen prequels, DC is going to be swimming in sales for the next good long while. And when the prequels are released, the interwebs will be alight with the fires of flamers debating the merits of bringing The Silk Spectre back.
And, whether hated or loved by all, DC will still be sitting at the top of the game, with hordes of adults begging them to take their money.
So what’s Marvel going to do? You probably already know, but Longbox of Awesome will dive deeper in on Wednesday.