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Who Still Reads Comic Books and Are They Relevant

For a long time now, pop culture has been inundated by one flash in the plan trend after another and all the while, the public eats it all up. Recently I was discussing some recent movies and was amazed to hear a 20-something year old, aka millennial, mention that comic books were no longer a “thing.” I explained that a lot of today’s movies and TV shows are adaptations of comic books. She smirked and said “yeah, but how many people who saw the movie read the comics?”

That made me think and question the validity of the dimension I was currently living in, or at least thought I was living in. It struck me that there a large number of Avengers, Iron Man and Guardian of the Galaxy (the movies) fans that have no idea if the adaptations have properly depicted the worlds and characters from their source material. And that made me wonder, “Does it really matter?”

I suppose if they had read the comics, they would fall into one of two categories: those who did not like the movie because it “left out part of the story” or wasn’t accurate enough and those who enjoyed the movie either ignoring the discrepancies or accepting them as part of the movie/TV adaptation process. I myself have never read a Guardians of the Galaxy comic, yet I love the movie and cannot wait for part 2. Do I enjoy this franchise because I have no basis for comparison or would I have enjoyed them regardless?

My millennial conversation partner further stated that if only the “comic nerds” went to see comic book movies, they would not make any where near as much money. I had to concede that she was correct on that point. Further evidence was only moments away when said millennial’s friend arrive and upon hearing the topic of our conversation proudly proclaimed that she had seen a comic book based on Avengers which meant she was right and it was a good movie. “Comic based on the movie…” I was stunned. I could not respond for a few seconds until I blurted out “You do realize that the comics were first?!” I waited for a gleam of realization to come across her face but it never came. Distracted by something more interesting that comic book movies, I am not sure she even heard what I said.

So do comic books matter? Are they a relevant medium in today’s world? I say they are. Comics create new worlds filled with characters and locations that allow our imaginations to roam wild. The imagery of comic book allows us to see the world and characters as they are intended by their creators and if a movie gets it “wrong” or “right”, does it really matter? Isn’t it a good thing that comic books and the movies and TV shows they inspire have successfully taken over pop culture and made “being a nerd” the coolest thing you can be?

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