In recent years, you've probably either seen at least a few of the AAA summer blockbuster superhero films, or know someone who has. Indeed, even very casual fans of the genre or those not generally interested by superheroes have found something to like about many of the most popular superheroes, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy team.
All of these franchises began as comic book runs that eventually became so popular and profitable that they made a natural segue into the film and TV markets.
But you might not realize just how big the business of heroes and comics has become today, and how far it stretches across industries.
For instance, given the nature and content of a typical hero comic, it seems fairly obvious that many of them would make a switch to films, as the genre lends itself to entertaining stories and action.
But what might be less obvious is how profitable this trend is in other markets as well. There are even cool new Justice League slots popping up for those players who want superhero fun with their gaming.
Comic heroes have been big business in other forms of entertainment for a long time as well. The Transformers franchise, which has won big at the box office for years, started out as just a line of toys by Hasbro for young kids. That morphed into various TV series and of course the films, all of which created new toys in turn that circle right back to Hasbro.
You've probably heard of the rides at certain theme parks, tailored around the comic book hero aesthetic. Park owners realized early that even such things as their rides, while they might not translate quite as well as a movie or a video game, would still be interesting enough to attract fans.
What's Happening in the Market?
But just why have certain elements of "nerd culture" such as comic heroes, become more popular these days? Well, there are a few reasons, and one of the big ones are the genre tends to translate well to a huge variety of industries with relatively minimal effort, as one analyst explains.
A key part of that market is adapting and shifting the perceptions of comics as they relate to the other industries that might want to start using the success of comics and incorporate that into their own.
How could comic book heroes possibly relate to fashion, for example? While you're unlikely to see any heroes brought to life walking down a lit runway this season, you will find a huge number of costumed patrons at comic-centric events such as Comic-Con. While not everyone there will be dressed to the nines, these events encourage participants to dress in any variety of character they choose and in whatever style they choose. Everything comics, from superheroes to other protagonists, is fair game and really gives those comic hero enthusiasts with an eye for fashion a time to shine. There are often even cash prizes for best costumes, and you can bet that various clothing businesses have seen how stocking such costume items is a smart move.
Adjacent to the fashion world, there's even been a renewed interest in older comic book art!
Another key area in the success of comic heroes in business is reshaping both core and new target demographics. Most of the more popular comic heroes today got their start as relatively simplistic, fun and light-hearted adventures for young kids. Nothing was ever too serious, no consequences ever that dire.
Over time, though, the industry realized that it could grow expand its readership by updating some of the characters and modifying core themes. Some characters had their origin stories changed up, others perhaps went through challenging or traumatic events and came out the other side changed, and more somber. This sort of marketing had the effect of attracting a somewhat older audience who were suddenly interested in exploring these characters for the first time and seeing how the mature themes could possibly work in conjunction with the fantastical nature of the comic book superhero. The result is a much wider demographic that captures nearly every age range. To be sure, some comics even today are still specifically for kids and guess what? They're popular in their own right.
The huge variety of comic book heroes as well as the ability to adapt them to fit into a variety of markets in ways that are still entertaining and fun, is a huge part of what makes comics such a huge success overall. People from all walks of life and age groups can find something of interest to explore in the world of comic book heroes.