Nowadays, when you say you like comics and superheroes, fewer people roll their eyes than they used to. But even today despite their widespread appeal, some – especially adults – look down on people who still like comics and perhaps even perceive them as childish.
But even if we ignore the objective quality of the artwork, the storylines, and the movies, there is another reason why we shouldn’t treat superheroes differently or look down on those who like them. Or more accurately, those who are obsessed with superheroes should not be looked down upon any more than those who are obsessed with other things – tech for example. Are those who queue outside the Apple store any less obsessed?
Superheroes, and the companies which create them, are marketing geniuses, and have created some of the most iconic brands in the world. We believe that if you showed the Superman or Batman logo to one million people, more of them would recognise those than they would the Apple logo or the Supreme logo, both of which are brands that command an obsessive fandom to just the same extent as anyone who goes to a comic convention.
Marvel and DC create highly recognisable characters who have remained consistent over changing times. Superman is the longest running consistent storyline of all time, having been around since 1938, and is still popular and relevant. And for the unpopular superheroes, say, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marvel Comics manages to cross sell incredibly effectively.
In the run up to the release of the film, Guardians of the Galaxy ended up in every single comic book story being printed. This supported an unknown brand and drove interest in the film which ended up being a huge commercial success.
Comic book publishers target the right people and use the right kind of marketing tactics to ensure that their superheroes are instantly recognisable, and consistent over the decades, whilst utilising them to create incredibly successful films and books.