The Demise of Comic Books Started in the 90's

Back in the 90's there were many small imprints. And the comic book industry was thriving. Then Marvel bought a distribution company. And well, they refused to distribute small imprints. This cut off a lot of awesome small companies. Then, acting like the dumber smaller cousin of Marvel, DC did the same thing. And, as these smaller imprints folded, it also put a lot of thriving writers and artists out of work.

The year before this happened, I was at Chicago ComicCon and business was booming! Not only was there a huge Marvel and DC presence there was a huge Image Comics presence. There was even a Youngblood full sized space ship you could walk into. (not that I was ever much of a Rob Liefeld fan...but still a full sized space ship! Cool!). Dark Horse, Malibu Comics, Comico, Valiant, Chaos Comics and Harris Comics all had a strong presence at the con. And let me tell you, the marketing genius of Harris and Chaos Comics of hiring models to appear as Vamperella and Lady Death respectively, was!

The year after the distribution buy out, I went to back to Chicago ComicCon and there were less than 1/3 of vendors and con-goers. It was pathetic! So, here we are, in a future time with what I heard someone say at the under-attended con, "Marvel and DC screwed up. They pissed off the best fans they had...other comic book artists. And I bet it bites the in the ass one day.".


Well, for a long time, that did not seem like it was going to happen. Marvel's ass went on to clearly be unbitten for decades. But metaphysically, you can't play hardball like that and not expect to have your ass bitten. So what happened was that mainstream comics decided to replace the Bat Signal with virtue signaling. And well, with internet marketing, we do not need Marvel and mainstream comics to enjoy comic books and good stories anymore.


It was fun while it lasted. They lured us in by wonderfully fleshing out our comic book heroes in vivid detail in film. Then, well, I stopped watching Iron Fist on Netflix when I realized I was watching Bechdel Test rubbish. A scene that had nothing to do with moving the story forward for the character, but instead was put in there just to show they could have a scene with women not talking about men, drove me away from all of Marvel Netflix shows. (Well, Daredevil is still good at least.). And the films, well, I have not seen a Marvel film in theaters since Captain America: Civil War. But that was for technical reasons as I hated the camera work.

So with the virtue signaling Hollywood infestation continuing, it's no surprise that buying and reading mainstream comics are an untenable situation. Without a strong indy comics presence, prior to the distribution purge of the 90's, the world would have never given us Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and The Tick. And if you're a comic book fan today, the only way to get good material is to seek out and support small imprints being marketed online.


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Tony Castelluci is a filmmaker, writer, and raconteur. Having once served as a Water Safety Survival Instructor as a member of the elite special operations USMC unit 2nd ANGLICO, Tony still seeks adventure on air, land, and sea. Please subscribe, resteem if you can afford it, and share this post if you appreciate the content.

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Hello @fakeinternetnews, thank you for sharing this creative work! We just stopped by to say that you've been upvoted by the @creativecrypto magazine. The Creative Crypto is all about art on the blockchain and learning from creatives like you. Looking forward to crossing paths again soon. Steem on!


Hey, thanks! Its great to once again be given an upvote from @creativecrypto magazine!

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Sup Dork! Enjoy the upvote!!!


When, I read "Sup Dork", I thought you were saying hello to me in a hip-hop fashion and calling me a dork. "Sup, dork?". Which is fine. Clearly, if I'm writing hundreds of words about comic books, I'm a bit of a dork.