Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


New Comic Readers: What Do They Read?

I came across an interesting article at Newsarama the other day, talking about non-traditional (read: non-superhero) comics and new comic readers. The thrust of the article was that non-superhero comics can bring readers into comic shops, but the trick is getting them to keep reading comics. The sentence that opens up the article says:

At the center of most readers' concerns is the feeling that, as the existing fan base ages, no new readers are being brought on board because the public seems to dismiss sequential storytelling as something only children and nostalgic men can enjoy.

Pessimistic much?

With the influx of comics-related movies in the past five years (and not just superhero movies, but ones like The Road to Perdition and V for Vendetta), there's obviously a recognition that the stories told in comics have mass appeal. There's more and more crossover between other forms of pop culture and comics: Steven King is creating a comics version of his Darktower books, Jodi Picoult (the well-known, well-regarded author of My Sister's Keeper) is going to be writing a limited run on Wonder Women, Joss Whedon is writing a comic series that picks up the story from Firefly (his short-lived but brilliant TV show).

I don't really understand the "sky is falling!" mentality that seems to come across in this article. Libraries have done so much to embrace comics, and I'm sure that's been a shot in the arm for the industry, and it's certainly one that the comics bigwigs are focusing on. Perhaps I'm just feeling more negative to such concerns, since my own opinion is different from the article's.

Still, there are reasons for comics retailers to be concerned. But retailers can find customers who will keep coming back, if the stores reach out to new audiences. My local store, Captain Blue Hen Comics has done some great work in this area. The owner has cultivated relationships with area librarians, presenting programs at many libraries for teens and children. Captain Blue Hen was also at the Delaware Book Festival, as well as attending traditional comic conventions.

Looking at this from a library perspective, do you have die-hard comics readers in your library? What have you done to serve these fans, beyond your graphic novel collection? Try calling your local comic store--you might be able to create a match made in heaven!


  • At 12:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Personally, I love comics, heroes and otherwise, but I just can't have the patience for waiting for a story every month (or however often some stories come out). I tend to favor compilations and graphic novels that stand alone. I still get the great stories without the "oh, continues next month." Which may also go to accessibility since many comics have such complex continuity they are not exactly accessible to the casual reader. Loved Road to Perdition btw. Anyhow, there are a lot of authors coming into comics and crossover, so it does make it an exciting format and time to pick them up. I just picked up an adaptation of Salvatore's Drow novels in graphic format, for instance. However, libraries can and should be doing more. I pretty much exhausted the meager selection my local branch has, and that includes using delivery from other branches. So, yea, great time to be reading them, but need more to get them out. Best, and keep on blogging.

  • At 2:24 PM, Blogger Ref*Grrl said…

    We've had a "teen problem" in the past at our library. We added non-circulating comics to our YA room. They were a hit. We contacted a local comic book store and were able to get everything at cost with donations thrown in. Comic book stores love libraries, they want to encourage interest in their product. We even got a huge discount on graphic novels from the store and a connection to a possible program speaker.


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