Comics: Cheap entertainment?

Aaron Albert attempts to break down the cost per minute of such forms of entertainment as movies and comics, and comics come out a bit spendy.

I think there are many reasons. Comic books are a very unique medium that you can’t really get anywhere else. There is an interactivity in comics, where you play out the characters voices and some of the action in your mind…at least I do. The collectible nature of comics also comes into play. I have comics that are worth quite a lot more than I paid for them, but I also have comics that aren’t worth the paper they are printed on. It can go both ways. What isn’t calculated above is the other time we spend, and hopefully enjoy, on comics. Reading blogs, watching superhero movies, talking with friends about who could beat whom, all of that comes from the fifteen minutes where we suspend belief and delve into the an imaginative world.

It should be noted that Albert DOESN’T break down graphic novels, or manga tankubon ($10 for 180 pages) which would be interesting. I know it took me A WEEK to read, for example, ALICE IN SUNDERLAND and STUCK RUBBER BABY and GEMMA BOVARY, and so on. It takes a few sessions to get through WATCHMEN or your average SANDMAN volume, as well, perhaps more of the reason they have remained so popular. Bang for the buck, or as we like to call it…the satisfying chunk.


  1. This is why knitting is so cost-effective, even if (like me) you enjoy luxury fibers. It takes hours and hours to make something, so that your activity takes pennies per hour, plus you get to wear something unique.

  2. Charles Knight says:

    “If we suppose that it takes 15 minutes to read a standard comic book what kind of deal are we getting?”

    I can’t think of many big two comics that take more than 3 or 4 minutes.

  3. Tom Spurgeon says:

    This is why I always promote stalking. If you’re sitting outside your new boyfriend’s apartment building in your car, there’s nothing stopping you from extending that two-hour session of panicked, insecure entertainment to a ten-hour session of panicked, insecure entertainment.

  4. It seems that North American culture is swimming against the current when it comes to comics. There are many who will defend the comic book as a viable source of entertainment. The problem is not quality or quantity. It is respect. Many in the other industries see comics as a kids’ source of entertainment unlike Europe and Japan. This sense of logic has many in the comic book industry in defense mode all the time. Hollywood has proven comics are a vast pool of movie ideas and hopefully they will reap more the benefits if Marvel and DC have final say on their products in the big screen. It’s too bad comics will always be the Rodney Dangerfield of entertainment. As far as the first appearance of The Yellow Kid, comic books are more than 110 years old. Technically they are the second oldest form of entertainment next to books and growing ever so strong with new industries annexing to them. At the end of the day it’s all apples and oranges. I personally feel that the creators and publishers just want a little more respect from the media and they should get it. This industry has contributed so much to pop culture and will for another 100 years. Comics are deep rooted in anything we do each day. From cereal boxes in the morning to Family Guy at night, comic books are in our blood.

  5. Must…not…take….bait…


  6. michael says:

    people who try to make the comparison of time to read a comic to it’s ‘entertainment value’ don’t get comics, the purpose of storytelling and art.

  7. Charles Knight says:

    “people who try to make the comparison of time to read a comic to it’s ‘entertainment value’ don’t get comics, the purpose of storytelling and art. ”

    No but they understand how rational consumers act in the marketplace.

  8. There are many other forms of good cheap entertainment too. Why not try some circus skills!


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