So an interesting thing happened yesterday.
My uncle had a booth set up at a local festival, a real small-town sort of thing, selling memberships to the gym he just opened. As you might expect, there wasn’t a lot of people looking to sign up for a gym while eating gyros and listening to a local band, so he called me up and asked if I wanted to use some of his booth space to sell some stuff. I grabbed a bunch of my comics that I was done reading and decided to try my luck. I figured if I sold them at fifty cents per floppy and three bucks for a trade then I might convince a few nostalgic people to take a chance on some capes or something.
Turns out there is some kind of hunger for comics in my local area and I had no idea. Like, a real passionate hunger. These kids knew the characters, knew the storylines, knew what they were buying. At first it was just a few really young kids, their parents wanting to buy them their first comic; I sold one little boy his first comic, a Spider-Man and Namor team-up book, and that felt real good.
One young boy around seven or eight dug around my stack for a good ten minutes before he pulled out Kurt Busiek’s Avengers #1 and declared “I like this one!”. I gave it to him for free for having good taste.
But then they started coming two and three at a time, buying a bunch of them. One woman from out-of-town, slightly older than I am maybe, bought a huge stack of She-Hulk trades, apparently then passing them on to her friend so that they could be mailed back to her at wherever she hails from.
One girl enthusiastically bought the only issue of Batman that I had, very disappointed that there wasn’t more.
It was around this time that three teen girls, freshmen at the local high school I’d guess, came by and very excitedly insisted they would be back after their shift at a nearby booth was up. I didn’t give it much thought.
A young girl with a Superman S-emblem shirt came by and browsed for a bit, so I decided to give her a Supergirl comic for free. Her younger sister then innocently asked “can I have this one?” and lifted up a Birds of Prey issue (she had earlier correctly identified everyone on the cover), and I couldn’t say no. They skipped away grinning, their parents apologizing. Felt dang good. Later, a girl no older than three or four came by with her mother, and bought a Supergirl issue that I had. Apparently the girl’s uncle had long insisted that they get her into comic books.
Then something truly unexpected happened. The three girls from before? They actually came back. With their friends. Apparently they were band kids. I was swarmed by band kids. They bought so many that I nearly lost count of their total. Brian Michael Bendis’s Avengers was especially popular among them; they bought every issue I had.
Those three girls would come back two or three times before the day was done.
I couldn’t help but wonder how these kids were getting their fix before. I mentioned the local comic shop that I frequent a few times (the only one within a 50~ mile radius) but even if they had heard of it before, none of them knew how to get there and they’d never even been.
The point of all this, I guess, is that kids really do love comics. Girls love comics. Remove the barrier to entry and they’re all too eager to get into comics.