The 1970s were troubled years for the comic book industry. A sharp drop in the birthrate meant that fewer children were buying comics, and sales declined. While some publishers tried to promote new comic magazines aimed at an older audience, others drastically cut their production. Television also continued to compete for the same audience, offering animated cartoons (The Superfriends, 1973-1986) and even live-action shows (The Incredible Hulk, 1977-1982; Wonder Woman, 1976-1979) based on comic book characters.

With newsstand sales plummeting and many companies folding, the comic book medium was saved at the end of the decade by direct market distribution. This method consisted of a network of specialized comic stores that bought comic books on a nonreturnable basis—once the stores purchased the comic books from the publishers, the stores could not return unsold comics. Bolstered by guaranteed sales of their product, comic book publishers rebounded.

Marvel preserved its position as a leading comic book publisher with a successful line of X-Men comics in the 1970s. The X-Men were mutants who had special powers, such as being able to levitate objects or shoot a powerful beam from their eyes. The original X-Men appeared in 1963, but the comic did not gain a large following until the late 1970s. The series eventually spawned an entire line of spinoffs, such as X-Factor and X-Terminator. (Source : Encarta)

No comments: