Nineties Comic Books

Something ��comic’ has always meant a hilarious act, statement, situation, movie or article etc.

Comic books, on the other hand, mean a story or sequence of drawings or graphics related to a usually funny series of events which entertain the reader to the extent that he wouldn’t like to put it down until he finishes the entire sequence before him. Although originally introduced and meant to be a comedy series with a story for the children, comic books became equally popular with adults over a period of time. New trends overtook the industry with superlative story telling.

Soon, even comic book collection became a big hobby, something like the collection of used postage stamps (philately). It has a big following around the world today. Comic books or comics are collected for several reasons ranging from nostalgia, appreciation in value, profits and for the pride of having a complete collection. My friend who owns roofer Roswell collects them every chance he gets. Price guides are published at periodic intervals. Demand and availability as well as the copy’s condition determine its price. Overstreet Price Guide, first published in the 1970s is the longest running annual price guide. With the growth of the Internet, online databases now track the character appearances, creators and storylines of the comic books. Online auctioning sites like eBay and Heritage Auctions have substantially increased the visibility and sale of comic books.

For over five decades now, Marvel Comics, the publishers of comics such as X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four have been the leaders in the comic book publishing industry along with DC Comics who publish the Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman series of comics.

During the last five decades, comic lovers have organized various comic book conventions for the like-minded comic book lovers where they could also meet the creators of some of the comics. The annual Comic-Con International held in San Diego, United States is one such favorite event for comic book lovers.

Nineties saw different facets in the life of comic books. There was a boom in the comic book market till 1993. It saw the publication of highly popular titles such as Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Watchmen and epics like Secret Wars. The Death of Superman storyline did its bit in 1992. Once this niche market came into the limelight, widespread publicity was given to how high demand comics had sold for thousands of dollars and Action # 1 had broken the $1 million mark.

Attention of the mainstream publishers of comic books soon shifted to the collectors’ market. They used various techniques and gimmicks. With polybagged comics, the readers were in a dilemma whether to keep the copy in pristine condition for selling it at a profit in future or to read it or to buy two or more copies for doing both. Popular comics in the nineties included Marvels & Kingdom Come, Magnus Robot Fighter, Thunderbolts and Daredevil.

The boom led to a large scale proliferation of low-budget independent fly-by-night publishers. They attempted, though unsuccessfully to a large extent, to cash in on the trend. The unhealthy practices by some such publishers and the totally unacceptable level of content produced by them led to a crash in the mid or late nineties.

All said and done, nineties was truly a mixed decade and the nineties’ comic books indeed saw many ups and downs!

 

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