Libraries and lamentations.

§ January 6th, 2008 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on Libraries and lamentations.

So I’m putting together yet another collection of comic books (not trades or manga…comic books specifically were requested) for one of our local libraries, as I do on a fairly regular basis. The head children’s librarian, looking for comics appropriate for the under-10 age range, sent along a list of requests based on titles I’ve sold to the library in the past, their relative demand/circulation at their branch, and patron requests.

The most requested title? Pokemon. Apparently the Pokemon comics we’ve sent before went over like gangbusters with the kids, and they’re dying for more. Alas, my Pokemon selection is finally slimming down a bit, as there’s been a resurgence of interest in this franchise of late, not just in comics but, apparently, in the trading card game as well, judging by how they’re doing at the game store next door.

Near the top of the list are Looney Tunes, Transformers, and the DC animated superhero stuff (including Legion of Super-Heroes).

At the very bottom of the list were the Classics Illustrated Junior reprints that have been coming out lately. Guess they’re a little too old-fashioned for the modern jet-set kids.

Next to the last on the list (and, in fact, when I spoke to the librarian on the phone, she specifically requested “don’t send any of these…nobody likes them”): Archie Comics.

Now, when I worked at a public library, in my long-ago pre-comics retail days, we had a subscription to a handful of Archie comic series. (I still have the fan club button and multi-ink pen Archie sent us as part of the sub.) We’d get them in, and (comic collector mint hounds, avert your eyes!) we’d use clear packing tape to reinforce the spines and covers in order to keep them intact after being lovingly handled by the little darlings. And, while they weren’t the most popular items in the library, they’d still get checked out or read at the tables in the children’s section.

It’s possible that even the less popular comics we’re selling to the libraries are still getting read, even if the circulations stats show that they’re not going home with anyone. But given that the librarian singled out the Archie comics by name as being of little or no interest to her patrons…well, that strikes me as just a little sad.

But given Archie Comics’ attempt to drop Josie and the Pussycats creator / Sabrina the Teenage Witch cocreator Dan DeCarlo into the memory hole…well, perhaps we can consider those kids’ disinterest a little karmic payback.

Of course, TV has a lot to do with it…it’s been a while since the hellishly-annoying Archie cartoons of my youth were on the air, and I’ve no idea of kids’ current awareness of the recent Josie or Sabrina live-action efforts. But Archie, Betty, Veronica, Reggie, Jughead…even with having that sweet spot for the digests up by the supermarket cash registers isn’t helping their Q ratings with kids. I’m still selling Archie comics to kids at the shop, so the line isn’t entirely dead, but, he said in the most obvious conclusion ever, they’re not what they once were. (But then, what comic is?)


Have a blank.

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