All April long, we'll be highlighting the wonderful world of comics, from interviews with creators and a look at the way the industry works to deep dives with our favorite characters, storylines and controversies. Stay tuned for more throughout the month, and let us know what you think in the comments or on Twitter @blastr!
Five years ago, I began working at Pegasus Books in Bend, Oregon. Opened in 1980 by Dark Horse founder Mike Richardson and now owned by fantasy/horror author Duncan McGeary, it's one of the Pacific Northwest's oldest and most well-stocked comic shops. When I first started, our average customer was 20 to 35 years old and male. Half a decade later, my customer base is easily 50 percent women, and the age range reads like suggestions for a jigsaw puzzle: 8 to 80. Comic sales are as high as they've been since the mega-boom of the '90s, with the vast majority of customers being actual readers and not just buying for perceived collectibility. Comics have had more ups and downs than can be covered here, and they've had a lot of growing up to do to get where they are today.
Not that there haven't always been examples of fantastic content being produced, but several problems have plagued the industry as a whole. Only paying attention to one demographic was the main issue, but thanks to a significant increase in the amount of material being released and a more straightforward shopping experience, superhero comics have become a gateway drug to an array of intoxicating genres, written, penciled, inked, colored and lettered by talented, visionary men and women at the absolute height of their craft.
As we wrap up Comic Book Month on Blastr, here are the 11 greatest strengths of the modern comics scene that explain why if you aren’t reading, there’s never been a better time to start!