Over the three years (!) of the Great Recession, it’s been noted many times that the Fantasy Economy has held up better than many other segments. Yes, comics sales are down overall, but they took a while to take a hit and rebounded strongly when something interesting happened (New 52).

But why? Maybe it’s because America’s stay-at-home male population is also growing, as Politico notes.

Almost one in five men between the ages of 25 to 34 are living with their parents, according to a Census Bureau report released Thursday. About 14 percent of men lived with their parents in 2005, a figure that crept up to 19 percent.

Women continue to have a slightly more independent lifestyle. The Census Bureau found only 10 percent from the same age bracket still reside with their parents, compared to 8 percent in 2005.

And that’s not all: 59 percent of men and 50 percent of women ages 18-24 still live at home.

We’re not saying that all comics are purchased by nerds who live in their moms’ basements. We’re just saying that a lot of people are living in their moms’ basements. Of course, they may not have the most discretionary income in the world, either. Either way, a lack of upward mobility can be a powerful influence towards escaping into a fantasy world.


  1. This implies that people who can’t afford basic housing would plop down cash for comic books when a laptop and a broadband connection allows them to illegally download all the comics they want.

  2. Well, there’s a big difference between the price of housing and the price of a few comic books. And not everyone with a laptop chooses to get their comics illegally. (That sounds judgmental, but I don’t really mean it that way…everyone makes their choices in a rough economy.)

  3. I was part of that stay-at-home population after I graduated both times (undergrad and grad). I couldn’t find a job outside retail and had *no* discretionary income. I don’t think I bought (or downloaded) a single comic during that time because I had bigger problems to solve with my free time. I know what people are going through and it *sucks*.

  4. I moved out when I was 24, in 1994. Part-time state college, plus two part-time jobs, allowed me to support a modest comics habit.

    From 1994-1997, my rent was minimal, and I budgeted $100 a week for comics and related merchandise.

    When I moved to NYC in 1997, my comics shopping pretty much stopped. I did buy books, and got back into comics on a regular basis about three years ago. I did buy numerous graphic novels from 1999 onward, working at Barnes & Noble.

    Now, I budget about $20 a week for comics. Perhaps one graphic novel (or related book) a month.

  5. When they say women are living independent that means they are not lliving with parents,but they are living with their boyfriends.

  6. I’ve always lived with my mom. I graduated from college in 2001 (Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration) but couldn’t find any jobs outside of retail and clerical work.

    I can’t afford to move out, but I spend a fair amount on anime and video games.

  7. Well, my 21-year-old son lives with us, although not in the basement. But he’s attending college and helping me with my web-comic so it’s not like he’s languishing.

    I find this “couldn’t find jobs outside of retail” refrain interesting. My wife works in retail. The chain she works for insists that their store managers all have bachelors’ degrees. And they have trouble finding BA degree-bearing people who can find their asses with both hands. It would be funny if it weren’t so sad.

    There’s some sort of disconnect going on here, methinks.