DC Comics Posts

How Superheroes Have Stayed Popular After 80 Years

Whether you fancy yourself a fan of Marvel or DC, superheroes are as old as our grandparents and more popular than ever. Ever wonder how superheroes have stayed popular?

more superheroesIt’s surreal to think that the first Superman comic in 1938 would spark the comic-based empire we have today. Seven superhero movies are planned for release in 2016, and The Avengers remains the 4th top-grossing movie of all time. It’s not just movies either; comics books and graphic novels reached $870 million in sales in 2013, compared to $265 million in 2000. What is it about these stories and characters that have remained so timeless? Moreover, how has the industry maintained such rapid growth in spite of its age?

While there are numerous theories explaining how this is, below are the fundamental reasons why superheroes have stayed super after all these years.

flash mural1: We relate to the stories

No one gains super strength and stamina after a radioactive spider bite in real life, but that doesn’t mean superhero stories can’t resonate with the audience.

Putting the supernatural elements aside, many superhero stories follow a familiar formula: a person’s life is changed by destiny, and they use their newfound power to combat adversity. For characters such as Batman, this destiny can also be the result of trauma that inspires the hero to want to be better. In either case, stories of overcoming impossible odds have appealed to the masses for ages. It doesn’t matter if it’s a mountain of bad guys or a mountain of homework; we want the strength to defeat anything that crosses our paths.

According to Smithsonian Magazine, “superhero origin stories inspire us and provide models of coping with adversity, finding meaning in loss and trauma, discovering our strengths and using them for good purpose.” In other words, we can look up to superheroes as ideal versions of ourselves.

hulk figure2: Superheroes span all forms of media

Superheroes started out as comic book characters, but nowadays they are so much more. Films such as Adventures of Captain Marvel date back as early as 1941, and the industry has only ballooned from there. Video game fans have the critically acclaimed Batman: Arkham series, moviegoers have multiple films every year to look forward to, and collectors have over 40 years of action figures to chase. This is not even mentioning the likes of HeroClix, trading cards, and other superhero crossovers like the Avengers fighting titans from Attack on Titan. The span of the superhero multimedia empire is staggering, and it makes it easy to see how these characters can stay popular among so many fans.

By carrying these stories into so many different mediums, superheroes cast a wide net of appeal and mix fanbases in a way that would be otherwise impossible. A movie buff today could easily become a comic book reader tomorrow.

iron man figure3: The industry changes with the times

Adam West’s comic portrayal of Batman in the 1960s Batman series seems so inconceivable compared to Christopher Nolan’s gritty Dark Knight trilogy nearly 40 years later.

Yet in retrospect, both of these “Batmen” spoke to their audiences as best as they could. The 1960s Batman was inspired by other contemporary shows such as The Man from U.N.C.L.E, and it would become one of the most popular shows on TV in its time. Conversely, the Dark Knight trilogy appealed to an older generation who had grown up with Batman, and it wound up grossing more than a billion dollars worldwide. Superhero fans of one generation become the industry’s artists and creators for the next, and this new blood fosters ideas that grow their respective franchises while remaining faithful to the source material.

4: Superheroes are both new and nostalgic

Arguably more than any other franchise or character, superheroes can bring all generations together.

superman costumeAs fans of The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man grow older, they may find themselves leaving comic books behind to keep up with college studies or other adult responsibilities. However, once these same fans start families of their own, they are able to relive their fond childhood memories through their children. Kids can play with the action figures their parents collected so many years ago, and parents can enjoy building on their old collections with their sons and daughters. It’s a continuous loop that unites the young and old, regardless of age differences.

Superheroes are timeless characters that have become pop culture staples. As long as the industry continues to evolve these characters, we won’t soon forget those heroes who are faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings at a single bound.

The 10 Most Expensive Comic Books Are Worth A Bit More Than Their Cover Price

If you’re looking for a way to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, then perhaps you could afford one vintage comic book at an auction. Yes, the most expensive comic books start there and can climb well north of $1,000,000! Spoilers: expect to see a lot of superhero debuts on this list.

flash comics 110: Flash Comics #1

Flash Comics, at a glance, is sort of confusing. Though it does introduce and prominently feature its respective superhero, the Flash, it’s also an anthology series that includes the stories of heroes such as the Whip and Black Canary. That said, if you saw an original copy of this comic at your local comic book shop, it’d probably be gone in the blink of an eye. After all, Flash Comics #1 has an estimated value of $289,000.

captain america 19: Captain America #1

To say Captain America made a bold appearance by punching out the Nazi regime on the cover of his first comic is an understatement. If you’re inclined to disagree, consider the year it was published: 1941.

If you have a copy of this historically relevant comic, you could find yourself $343,000 richer.

detective comics 18: Detective Comics #1

Detective Comics, while perhaps not as influential as a certain other comics anthology, is still one of the granddaddies of modern comic books. As a result, its inaugural issue is particularly sought after by collectors. While Detective Comics #1 has “only” sold for as much as $45,000, its end price was held back by its condition: a relatively low grade of 6.5. Were the comic to be sold in a more perfect state, it could be worth around $405,000. (Don’t worry Detective Comics, we’re not done with you just yet.)

all-amercian comics 167: All American Comics # 16

All American Comics #16 introduced the world to The Green Lantern, who, you know, is kind of a big deal nowadays. While other issues of All American Comics can be fairly valuable, none come close to this one. With a grade of 8.0, All American Comics # 16 managed to sell for $200,000. At a higher grade, the price would be hovering closer to $430,000!

x-men 16: X-Men #1

What’s there to even say about this one? It’s X-Men, for crying out loud! Of course a comic that spawned a whole league of memorable characters would be valuable! If you’re interested in having your own copy of X-Men #1, you’d find yourself out of $492,937.

batman 15: Batman #1

No more joking around, ’cause we’re getting to some big name heroes here. While Batman did not technically debut in this first issue of his own comic series, he has become so prevalent in pop culture that any historic Batman comic could make you as wealthy as Bruce Wayne. If you were to sell Batman #1 at its highest recorded price, you’d be robbin’ your buyer out of $567,625.

superman 14: Superman #1

Rarer than a buried treasure box, more valuable than a brand new car, it’s Superman #1! We’re not going to pretend there isn’t a certain other Superman comic more notable than this – particularly because we’ve already alluded to it on the list – but let’s give credit where credit’s due for the Man of Steel’s first official series. If you offered Superman #1 at an auction, you may find $747,000 fly into your pockets.

amazing fantasy 153: Amazing Fantasy #1

Depending on how you look at it, the first issue of Amazing Fantasy is also technically its 15th, as it’s actually a rebranding of an existing anthology titled Amazing Adult Fantasy. But hey, who cares about semantics, that’s Spider-Man on the cover! Yes, Amazing Fantasy #1 / #15 was Peter Parker’s comic book debut, and it has auctioned for as much as $1,1000,000!

detective comics 272: Detective Comics #27

Here’s the issue of Detective Comics you need to know about! This comic is the world’s first look at Batman, who would become increasingly prominent in Detective Comics until he wound up starring in his own franchise. It’s a comic that would spawn a legacy that’s still going strong over 7 decades later, but of course, you didn’t need us to tell you that. Detective Comics #27 routinely sells for over $1,000,000, with its record high value being $1,380,000!

action comics 11: Action Comics #1

Okay, we weren’t exactly coy about our number 1 pick, but why should we be? Action Comics #1 is the indisputable holy grail of collectible comic books by a long shot; even the super expensive comics on this list can’t compete. Not only did the first issue of Action Comics introduce Superman, but it also laid the foundation for the superhero genre and the entire comic book industry. This is a topic we’ve discussed before, but it’s impossible to understand the value of Action Comics #1 without acknowledging how much it single-handedly did for pop culture. If you’ve as much as read a comic book or enjoyed a movie featuring a protagonist with superpowers, then you owe some thanks to Action Comics. This king of comics has been sold for a record-breaking $3,207,852!