The Importance of the Graphic Medium

How many times have you heard that comic books are for kids?

Cover to Watchmen #1

Honestly, the first comics I read were at about the age of 8, when books really weren’t something I cared about. Years later, an avid book reader, I still find solace in the medium and it’s “grown-up” form, graphic novels.

Research that was first done a decade ago found the average reader to be in the ballpark of 29-years-old. This has led to a lot of interest in the properties and a large market for the publishers to cater to. By September of this year comics had made more than $250 million dollars and this isn’t counting the graphic novels or other licensed products.

The graphic novel has become a respected form of media, even critically acclaimed outside of comic-centric circles behind such properties as Watchmen, Bone, Maus and Sandman.

Watchmen is even more significant as it was the first graphic novel to cross over and be recognized as one of Time Magazine’s top 100 english language novels. At this point there are now ten recognized on that list.

Popular culture has also been inundated with comic related properties, especially in the last couple of decades. Many of the highest grossing movies in American history were based off of comics and graphic novels, a number of those having been made since 2000.

The biggest of the bunch was 2009s The Dark Knight. The movie starred such Hollywood heavyweights as Christian Bale, Heath Ledger and Morgan Freeman and grossed over $500 million at the box office. Still think of comics as child’s play?

It doesn’t hurt that Disney and Time Warner own the two major comic and graphic novel publishers, Marvel and DC, respectively. A safe bet is to believe that this is only going to further the integration of graphic storytelling into other mediums.

It has taken time but through acclaimed works and pop-culture assimilation this literary form has finally gained respect and is making an impact in lives of more than just “nerds” and “geeks”.