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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member AppleJ's Avatar
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    Default Who is buying X-Men comics? / Who is the target audience?

    So in X-Men Monday today, JDW states:

    "But when you look at a single character like Superman, I think itís kind of a bummer that Superman has aged so much that heís now a married guy with a son. And I know that some people want Spider-Man to be that and Iím glad heís not because it changes the character from being someone you can relate to into someone who is like your dad. Now Superman is a weird character actually to do this with because not everybody relates to him in the first place. Heís kind of aspirational to begin with.

    So letís say Spider-Man. Heís an everyman ó you can relate to him and his problems. A Spider-Man who is married, growing up with a kid ó of course, I can relate to that because Iím a married grown-up with a kid. But I donít know that thatís fair to the world and to culture, to say I want Spider-Man to grow up with me. I think keeping Spider-Man for new generations to continue to read about is important and good and Marvel has done it in a way that tries to have it both ways to say weíre going to keep everything in this nebulous Marvel time so readers can come in and the characters are still young and vital in many ways. But also, weíre not going to reboot the universe so that people who do want to keep reading from 10 years ago, from 20 years ago, from 30 years ago ó all those stories that you read happened, you just have to like squint your eyes a little bit sometimes."

    I guess my thought is that X-Men readers aren't necessarily made up primarily of teen - young 20s white males anymore? So why are stories being marketed as if they are? Why is teen - 20s white male Spiderman the "every man" we are meant to relate to, basically forever? Because I sure don't, even when I was that age. New Spiderman audiences have options like Miles Morales, Ben Reilly, Ghost Spider, Silk, etc.

    Personally I much prefer that the traditional superheroes be allowed to age up and give us the stories that come with more maturity while new characters are brought on to take the mantle with those fresh youthful perspectives.

    I would think new generations of younger audiences would want a fresher take on those character concepts anyway? Want new, more modern designs and more diversity?

    At some point won't they say "That's my Dad's Spiderman." anyway?

    Also, as readers age, do they want to continue reading comics if they keep retreading these same themes and ideas without moving the characters forward? Do we not care about keeping those readers?

    What is worth more, keeping an older audience or catering to a new one? And shouldn't they want to be doing both?

    And why are we treating people over 30 like boring and ancient creatures who can't possibly do anything interesting or physically challenging anyway when it's just not true?

    And what about the younger characters that cannot get panel time or major pushes forward if OG characters don't move forward themselves?

    Thoughts? I know ya'll are chalk full of them!

  2. #2
    Astonishing Member Kingdom X's Avatar
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    Just put this in the controversial opinions thread haha. I think itís such a terrible take. If I care about a character Iím not going to stop caring about them because they have a child. Also I didnít even get to thinking about how this approach is pretty anti-diversity, because I was so stuck on how it was so damaging to the classic characters too. I donít think anyone is saying we should permanently retire classic characters, but are we really gonna die if Cyclops is *gasp* 35 years old.

  3. #3
    Hellion Simp Rift's Avatar
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    Anyone above 30 is ancient and decrepit, and every day I fear the inevitable fate that awaits me. But I agree with you overall. Making a character stagnate doesn't do them any favors, limits the potential of other characters, and can hurt the story. If the writing is good, then the ev- Oh wait, never mind. You can't always count on good writing in comics.

    I will say that my kids prefer Peter over Miles and Gwen, even though they're used to him being old and dad-like. Just because the character isn't young like the target audience, doesn't mean he'll be abandoned by the target audience.
    Last edited by Rift; 10-25-2021 at 07:53 AM.

  4. #4
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    Both older and newer generations loved the married Spider-man comics, funny thing is we've had an adult Batman for decades and Spider-man is special in that he started as a teen and we still have decades of adult Spidey stories to tell MINIMUM.
    People love Spider-man for who he is as a character IMO, his struggles aren't what make him so good.It's his reactions to said struggles.
    People say Miles is catering to newer generations, which isn't even needed since Peter can and has catered to both but it doesn't mater since the 2 can co-exist.Let Miles do what he can.
    Also they aged Miles from 13 to 18 in 10 years which is waaaay to fast.Hopefully he stays their for a long time because in these 10 years he has extremely poor character development/growth and what little he got was taken away by his jump to 616.I can understand if Marvel feels Miles in comics can't hold up to Peter because if you compare their first 10 years Peter does everything way better(Rogue's gallery, supporting cast, character development, stories, etc.) but given time and good writers I'm sure he can hold his own.(BTW this about comic Miles, ITSV and ps5 were far better than the comic versions and I would love it if they made him more like those versions).
    Younger characters should age though, just not as slow as New mutants but not as fast as Miles.

    I'll say this, most younger reader I've met IRL love and relate to married more than Miles(yes I lent them my Pre-OMD comics instead of BND comics), most of them are also POC's btw if that gives more context.Not to say they didn't like Miles(they specially loved ITSV, both Miles and Peter B. as well) but it's the writing quality.Miles hasn't gotten any great writers IMO, w/ good ones he can shine.

    So old characters and young ones should age IMO, Old ones should NOT be retired in case of Spider-man since we have barely touched his adult phase.Someone like Bats whose been an adult forever should retire for a while.Goes w/out saying but none of them should be permanently retired.
    Last edited by Spiderfan001; 10-25-2021 at 07:36 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kingdom X View Post
    Just put this in the controversial opinions thread haha. I think it’s such a terrible take. If I care about a character I’m not going to stop caring about them because they have a child. Also I didn’t even get to thinking about how this approach is pretty anti-diversity, because I was so stuck on how it was so damaging to the classic characters too. I don’t think anyone is saying we should permanently retire classic characters, but are we really gonna die if Cyclops is *gasp* 35 years old.
    The fact this hurts new characters as well wasn't an angle I thought about till now, nice catch.
    Also we've seen people adore Married Spider-man and Mc2 Spider-man, so it's not even an hypothetical that people will like him being aged up.

  6. #6
    Incredible Member autbey's Avatar
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    The same people who bought them in the 90s. I work in education, kids don't buy comics.

  7. #7
    Astonishing Member Frobisher's Avatar
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    All I'll say is that X-Men now has at least six generations of students, depending on how you count, and all of them are about 21-23 years old.

  8. #8
    Ultimate Member Ambaryerno's Avatar
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    As with most things he says, I think JDW is full of it AND himself.

    Characters don't stop being relatable because they grow, age, or change. That's part of what MAKES them relatable.

    The worst part about all of this is that it's all tied into the rote adherence to nostalgia for Claremont which has been driving the books over the last decade, and ironically ignores the fact that part of what made his original run so iconic was that HE GREW AND CHANGED THE CHARACTERS rather than keep them mired in nostalgia for the original book in the 60s.
    Still hoping for that Helix Reunion...

    The New X-Men: Can't let you grow up because you make everyone look old. But we can sure as @#$% mindlessly kill you off for shock value!

    Pull List: N/A

  9. #9
    Ultimate Member Ambaryerno's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiderfan001 View Post
    The fact this hurts new characters as well wasn't an angle I thought about till now, nice catch.
    Also we've seen people adore Married Spider-man and Mc2 Spider-man, so it's not even an hypothetical that people will like him being aged up.
    They've ruined the New X-Men. They were the last generation that had a truly unique identity of their own, and Marvel has systemically destroyed it so they can fit into a generic and nebulous group of "students."

    I don't want to read the New X-Men falling into line. I miss Surge telling the Professor to his face that he can't teach them anything else because they already know how to die. The entire NXM generation SHOULD be telling Krakoa they can go @#$% themselves becaue of their experiences, not drinking the Kool-Aid.
    Still hoping for that Helix Reunion...

    The New X-Men: Can't let you grow up because you make everyone look old. But we can sure as @#$% mindlessly kill you off for shock value!

    Pull List: N/A

  10. #10

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    I guess comic shop owners and workers can give the best indication of who is buying comics. I don't usually see teens and children hanging around the books, they tend to hover around the toys and card games. But I don't frequent comic shops anymore so I dunno.
    Boop! Krakoa forever!

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by autbey View Post
    The same people who bought them in the 90s. I work in education, kids don't buy comics.
    This, they don't buy them.Not just kids but so much of comics Twitter(both the "conservative" side and the "progressive" side, the latter being larger since some "conservatives" used to buy them and now don't because they don't agree w/ a lot of what is published) don't read them or pirate them.

    Big 2 have done a terrible job to keep comics relevant for new generation, it's the ones who used to but them that still do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambaryerno View Post
    They've ruined the New X-Men. They were the last generation that had a truly unique identity of their own, and Marvel has systemically destroyed it so they can fit into a generic and nebulous group of "students."

    I don't want to read the New X-Men falling into line. I miss Surge telling the Professor to his face that he can't teach them anything else because they already know how to die. The entire NXM generation SHOULD be telling Krakoa they can go @#$% themselves becaue of their experiences, not drinking the Kool-Aid.
    I agree, they should grow into their own individual identity.But they will forever be stuck won't they.......

    Quote Originally Posted by Jbenito View Post
    I guess comic shop owners and workers can give the best indication of who is buying comics. I don't usually see teens and children hanging around the books, they tend to hover around the toys and card games. But I don't frequent comic shops anymore so I dunno.
    I do, it was a lot more before but it's just 1 to 2 shops now and I do talk to the owners.Mostly adults, specially for weekly releases.The occasional kid will be there and maybe pick up a random comic though.
    Last edited by Spiderfan001; 10-25-2021 at 08:01 AM.

  12. #12
    Astonishing Member Kingdom X's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiderfan001 View Post
    This, they don't buy them.Not just kids but so much of comics Twitter(both the "conservative" side and the "progressive" side, the latter being larger since some "conservatives" used to buy them and now don't because they don't agree w/ a lot of what is published) don't read them or pirate them.
    This. I had to laugh when everybody was going crazy because, "Clark Kent loves Lois Lane and can't kiss dudes!" when the story was about his son, which you would know if you were even moderately aware of what was going on in comics for the past couple years.

  13. #13
    Moderator Nyssane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spiderfan001 View Post
    This, they don't buy them.Not just kids but so much of comics Twitter(both the "conservative" side and the "progressive" side, the latter being larger since some "conservatives" used to buy them and now don't because they don't agree w/ a lot of what is published) don't read them or pirate them.

    Big 2 have done a terrible job to keep comics relevant for new generation, it's the ones who used to but them that still do.
    I mean, Marvel and DC have definitely tried to keep them relevant, but at some point you just realize you're fighting a losing battle. It's the same reason why action figures are now only bought buy people in their 30's. Kids these days have Fortnite and Minecraft and other technology-based platforms that are significantly outpacing any of the older stuff.

  14. #14
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    It's funny for him to say that, considering the success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and how it handled Tony Stark, shows him go from self absorbed business tycoon, to well meaning if still absorbed super hero, to married man and mentor, to family father and finaly his heroic sacrifice, resulting in a lasting legacy which young newer heros have to look up to while they start their own journeys.

    And while it's unknown how well the MCU will handle the original heros becomming legacies and new heros taking their place and beginning or finishing their own stories, it never the less seems to resonate quite well with a global buying viewership in the millions who have themself grown quite a bit and whos lasting enthusiam for these movies are still convincing other, younger viewers to join in on an allready ongoing franchise.

    All helped by the fact that the MCU can be enjoyed as a single string of stories all tying into a shared progressing narrative, that is allowed to age and change with it's characters.

    Meanwhile several of the DC media products are enjoying modest to great success using their super hero characters more as pre-established figures with modifable continuity or status quo to serve the stories, rather than the stories being enslaved to a singular all dominating continuity. Which in turn allows a strong stand alone nature of different products.

    On the other hand
    The modern super hero comics of the big two as products meant to generated income are currently specifically designed as overpriced collectors items, sold mostly through specialized stores, to an aging audience with disposable income, filled to the brim with years of continuity and stories building on another, which makes accessing them a nightmare for new readers (in part also because it's constantly used to reinforce new stories, while also getting changed, rechanged and ignored) and requires gate keeping to proerply access from a culture of said aging readers, who are also increasingly disatisfied with the stasis of characters and the stories or developments they liked getting erased or rewritten.

    Simple put these comics are a total mess of a product.

    These aren't inexpensive easy to access entertainment products anymore which kids and teenagers will pick up on their way to school, or by modern standard read on their smartphones via a cheap well designed app.

    They are a hobby product, mostly bought by a small yet dedicated readership who are also increasingly aging, because kids and teenagers simply can't access them well anymore.

    Basicly what White says sounds like he has no real clue about who is almost entirely buying the product which creation he supervises and instead dreams of a constantly replacing "young and hip" readership to attract, which is however mostly repulsed by the hobby product nature of these comics combined with an inaccessible and convulted continuity.

    What the movie and TV examples above meanwhile show is that a strong comic product would either require to have defined beginning and end points for characters to introduce new "modern" replacements to go through their own arcs in the shadow of the previous generation of heros, or require for continuity to be lifted as hard red line from past and present and characters used as movable figures in various internal continuities.

    Either there are countless alternate stories of Spidermans not requiring previous reading to enjoy and access, or there is one long chain of Spiderman stories with a clear beginning and end, that readers will be able to relate to at various stages in their lifes.

    But the comics are currently doing neither and the rock bottom sales, in spite of massive success in other media, is seemingly reinforcing the fact that their product is suffering from an uncertain audience because of an uncertain leadership.

    Comics designed to appeal to an aged readership with an expensive hobby interest, written by writers and coordinated by editors who want to attract a young audience with far more limited income and patience.

    If he and other editors at Marvel don't understand why their product is selling so comparable horribly to the "good old days" and current rival products, including cartoons, movies and video games and the audience they are attracting to their franchises, it's not a good look.

    The current comics are not the "core" of the franchise anymore, the comics of the past are, the ones that were first read by a now old readership, often fathers and mothers of children or even grandchildren and the success of the franchise is build on non-comic products that use the comics as rough outline for their own streamlined versions.

  15. #15
    Grizzled Veteran Jackraow21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rift View Post
    I will say that my kids prefer Peter over Miles and Gwen, even though they're used to him being old and dad-like. Just because the character isn't young like the target audience, doesn't mean he'll be abandoned by the target audience.
    Bingo. I think it’s okay to let the icons age a bit and bring in new characters behind them. In some cases, even letting them take or share the mantle (e.g., the two Spider-men, the two Wolverines, the two Hawkeyes). And the let the market decide which versions they like better… sometimes they’ll surprise you, with the kids liking the grizzled old version over the younger one. I know I did. Wolverine was my guy back in the day, and when I first got into comics in the early 90s his healing factor was on the fritz and he was really feeling his age. Why I connected with that when I was 12 or 13 years old I’ll never know. Ha. But I did.

    Back in the day Chris Claremont was going to have some of the O5 X-men actually permanently retire, paving the way for the New Mutants to kind of take over as the X-men. To some extent that will never happen, as Marvel isn’t going to sideline popular IP forever. But I think a middle ground approach which sees some of your major characters getting older — with all that entails — while bringing up new, younger characters to try and ensure you’re still connecting with the youth of today is the best of both worlds honestly.

    Just my $.02, as an aging reader.
    Last edited by Jackraow21; 10-25-2021 at 08:24 AM.

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