Millennials buy art
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10 hours ago, exitmusicblue said:

Honestly, I see this happen all the time at cons -- millennials stroll around the booths.  Comics, merchandise, cool but ho-hum.  Spot tables with OA albums.  Get that "whoaaaaa what is this" look in their eyes.  And a good number fall into the rabbit hole.

Pretty sure this is what happened with me, iirc.

Everybody else here besides Richard O. be like "I have never, ever seen this happen before and I can't even imagine ever seeing this happen with my own eyes." :insane:

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On 12/10/2019 at 3:05 AM, O. said:

So you're saying they're OA investors :idea:

 

I think that their ability to purchase collectibles like original art is way too casually dismissed. They're the biggest age cohort, and saying that they're all broke is just dismissive.. like any other age cohort there's all ranges of success... and just like any other age cohort they have their nerds. I think there's a big effect of seeing hipsters being hipsters and likening that to all millennials. 

we also say things like "i'm not seeing growth in comic readership numbers" but this discounts the fact that so many people are reading comics online for free that it's silly. I think if we could create an actual total readership trend, it would surprise people to see how much comics are being read. But a number of readership avenues just aren't trackable. 

Edited by The Cimmerians Purse
it's too, not to... doh!

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25 minutes ago, The Cimmerians Purse said:

I think that their ability to purchase collectibles like original art is way too casually dismissed. They're the biggest age cohort, and saying that they're all broke is just dismissive.. like any other age cohort there's all ranges of success... and just like any other age cohort they have their nerds. I think there's a big effect of seeing hipsters being hipsters and likening that to all millennials. 

we also say things like "i'm not seeing growth in comic readership numbers" but this discounts the fact that so many people are reading comics online for free that it's silly. I think if we could create an actual total readership trend, it would surprise people to see how much comics are being read. But a number of readership avenues just aren't trackable. 

There is simply no way that people who didn't grow up with this stuff and absorbed the material over decades of time have the time, energy or interest to do so at the same level today (in the aggregate).  Let's say you're a 50-year old Gen Xer.  You've had probably 40 years to read comics, and probably 20 of those years were when content was coming out at a slow and steady pace, so, you could read 20 comics a month plus back issues and keep up with your 5 favorite shows on network TV and 2 on cable and see pretty much every movie in the theater that you wanted to.

Now let's say you're 10 or 20 or 30 years old today.  You are living in an era where more content comes out in a year than entire decades did when the Boomers and Gen Xers were growing up.  You don't have enough time in your day/week/lifespan to keep up with the content that is coming out now/recently, as well as absorb/study/appreciate 50+ years of comics storylines and history.  It simply cannot be done.  And it's not just comics - all the movies that, say, Gen Xers take for granted that people have seen (e.g., the original Star Wars trilogy, Jaws, The Godfather, all the Spielberg and John Hughes movies of the '80s, etc.)...it is inevitable and unavoidable that fewer and fewer younger people will have seen these going forward, as there is mathematically not enough leisure time to absorb all the content that presently exists and is being created. If you're 50, you were able to watch all of these when they came out.  If you're 20, you will never have the time to go back and catch up on the decades of material that you missed, plus keep up with what's coming out now.  

So, it's absolutely NOT only about aggregate income/wealth statistics for the younger generations, it's the fact that they, with metaphysical certainty, will NEVER have (in the aggregate - of course, there may be a very small number of people who ignore the new and choose to fetishize the past) the same level/depth/breadth of intimacy with vintage comics and OA that the Boomers and Xers did.  So, sure, the comics readership numbers aren't all trackable, but, chances are, there aren't hundreds of thousands of young people secretly reading vintage comics online that we don't know about; they're too busy keeping up with the hundreds of TV shows and movies that we are being forced-fed like foie gras geese these days, not to mention videogames and all the other things they are interested in.  

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39 minutes ago, The Cimmerians Purse said:

I think that their ability to purchase collectibles like original art is way to casually dismissed. They're the biggest age cohort, and saying that they're all broke is just dismissive.. like any other age cohort there's all ranges of success... and just like any other age cohort they have their nerds. I think there's a big effect of seeing hipsters being hipsters and likening that to all millennials. 

The stats are the stats; millennial as a cohort are more broke@ss than other previous cohorts were at the same age. HOWEVER - STEM folk are going to be your geeks/fanboys and that's very important for two reasons:

  1. They will tend to have higher than average quality employment.
  2. They will tend to be those with less friends throughout life, more likely to have read comics, and will have less distractions (like,um, sex) than non-STEM/geeks.

Put those together and you have a solid group of young folks with time and money to buy into comics/art, above/beyond what the global millennial cohort stats would show.

I like to think of this as the perma Revenge of the Nerds situation that's always been there (every generation has it's 25% of NERDS!!!) where the cute guys peak senior year and the 4" thick glasses guys are just beginning their journey of Bill Gates like domination of all the things that matter (money, job security, upward mobility, money, money, money). Of course if they marry wrong that can turn quickly into: half, half, half, HALF :(

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7 minutes ago, delekkerste said:

you could read 20 comics a month plus back issues

Gene...I can read 20 new comics in an hour, it's all empty space and pin-ups.

I burned though an Ultimates trade somebody gave me (I'd NEVER buy such a thing), six issues, in twenty minutes.

Then I went on about my day :)

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13 minutes ago, vodou said:

Gene...I can read 20 new comics in an hour, it's all empty space and pin-ups.

I burned though an Ultimates trade somebody gave me (I'd NEVER buy such a thing), six issues, in twenty minutes.

Then I went on about my day :)

I was talking about back in the day. 

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1 hour ago, delekkerste said:

I was talking about back in the day. 

Back in the day, closer to 50-60 per month, if they were out there. The truth is that a lot of those stories got repetitious in their own ways, too. Then the scale of stories grew to regularly threaten the universe—and they got repetitious.


But I don’t think younger audiences care that much to try and absorb the content or learn all the details. They seem to prefer doing things, while tapping out text messages to each other or on Twitter. 

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17 minutes ago, delekkerste said:

There is simply no way that people who didn't grow up with this stuff and absorbed the material over decades of time have the time, energy or interest to do so at the same level today (in the aggregate).  Let's say you're a 50-year old Gen Xer.  You've had probably 40 years to read comics, and probably 20 of those years were when content was coming out at a slow and steady pace, so, you could read 20 comics a month plus back issues and keep up with your 5 favorite shows on network TV and 2 on cable and see pretty much every movie in the theater that you wanted to.

Now let's say you're 10 or 20 or 30 years old today.  You are living in an era where more content comes out in a year than entire decades did when the Boomers and Gen Xers were growing up.  You don't have enough time in your day/week/lifespan to keep up with the content that is coming out now/recently, as well as absorb/study/appreciate 50+ years of comics storylines and history.  It simply cannot be done.  And it's not just comics - all the movies that, say, Gen Xers take for granted that people have seen (e.g., the original Star Wars trilogy, Jaws, The Godfather, all the Spielberg and John Hughes movies of the '80s, etc.)...it is inevitable and unavoidable that fewer and fewer younger people will have seen these going forward, as there is mathematically not enough leisure time to absorb all the content that presently exists and is being created. If you're 50, you were able to watch all of these when they came out.  If you're 20, you will never have the time to go back and catch up on the decades of material that you missed, plus keep up with what's coming out now.  

So, it's absolutely NOT only about aggregate income/wealth statistics for the younger generations, it's the fact that they, with metaphysical certainty, will NEVER have (in the aggregate - of course, there may be a very small number of people who ignore the new and choose to fetishize the past) the same level/depth/breadth of intimacy with vintage comics and OA that the Boomers and Xers did.  So, sure, the comics readership numbers aren't all trackable, but, chances are, there aren't hundreds of thousands of young people secretly reading vintage comics online that we don't know about; they're too busy keeping up with the hundreds of TV shows and movies that we are being forced-fed like foie gras geese these days, not to mention videogames and all the other things they are interested in.  

 

 

That point is well taken, and I do believe that a lot of collected artists / genres / titles etc will fall out of favor. But, we also shouldn't discount the idea that true greatness may be collected for a very long time. Because as OA enthusiasts, Gene,  we're not even part of the "aggregate" that you mention above in the first place. We are the few, the proud, the nerdy. And so in this hobby we'd have to be able to say does this nerd exist? and if he, or she, exists do others exist along side them. 

I've met the nerd. He's my former colleague's 13 year old son from Brazil, and his art hero is Jack Kirby.  And if he exists, chances are that more do as well. And this hobby doesnt need many, only a couple thousand. 

My outlook to clarify, is that I do believe that Millennials will collect OA. Will they chose to collect all of the vintage art areas that are expensive and popular now, no probably not. Will the true greats, and fathers of modern comic books always have a following? yes, i thin they will. Will the values of historically important artists dip before moving onto a longer term trend? yeah probably. But who among us actually read Krazy Kat when it was being published?

Anyway my original point was that I dont think the hobby of collecting comic art will die with we Gen X'ers. But I think the final outcome will be more nuanced than how it's usually discussed on these boards. 

I feel like i have to give my legal statement like at the end of a Seeking Alpha article... I don't own any great Kirby Marvel art, nor am I every going to, unless you're correct and the bottom falls out of the values. I buy what I love because I love it. But i'm also a professional forecaster by trade so I can't help but think about the future ;) 

 

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1 hour ago, delekkerste said:

I was talking about back in the day. 

No. You're talking about "now" not being the same as "back in the day".

I'm arguing it's closer than you're showing because the time required to read a stack of books has been massively downstepped.

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1 hour ago, vodou said:

The stats are the stats; millennial as a cohort are more broke@ss than other previous cohorts were at the same age. HOWEVER - STEM folk are going to be your geeks/fanboys and that's very important for two reasons:

  1. They will tend to have higher than average quality employment.
  2. They will tend to be those with less friends throughout life, more likely to have read comics, and will have less distractions (like,um, sex) than non-STEM/geeks.

Put those together and you have a solid group of young folks with time and money to buy into comics/art, above/beyond what the global millennial cohort stats would show.

I like to think of this as the perma Revenge of the Nerds situation that's always been there (every generation has it's 25% of NERDS!!!) where the cute guys peak senior year and the 4" thick glasses guys are just beginning their journey of Bill Gates like domination of all the things that matter (money, job security, upward mobility, money, money, money). Of course if they marry wrong that can turn quickly into: half, half, half, HALF :(

NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERDS!:headbang:

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1 minute ago, vodou said:

No. You're talking about "now" not being the same as "back in the day".

I'm arguing it's closer than you're showing because the time required to read a stack of books has been massively downstepped.

You're missing the bigger point, that younger people who read modern books in a fraction of the time it takes to read vintage books aren't going to grow up to love the vintage material like the Boomers and Xers.  Reading 25 Hickman X-Men books isn't going to make people want to buy Paul Smith X-Men art they got from spending the same time reading 5 issues from that run over and over back in 1983.  For that to happen, it would require them to spend the same amount of time reading the same books that we did back in the day, which obviously isn't going to happen because of the exponential content explosion that has increase the stock by multiples and the flow by an exponential quantity vs. the '70s and '80s.  People can't even keep up with new content; it is preposterous to think they are, in the aggregate, going to spend more than a tiny fraction of the time on (most) old content that those growing up with it did.  

Thus endeth the lesson. 

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37 minutes ago, The Cimmerians Purse said:

I've met the nerd. He's my former colleague's 13 year old son from Brazil, and his art hero is Jack Kirby.  And if he exists, chances are that more do as well. And this hobby doesnt need many, only a couple thousand. 

My outlook to clarify, is that I do believe that Millennials will collect OA. Will they chose to collect all of the vintage art areas that are expensive and popular now, no probably not. Will the true greats, and fathers of modern comic books always have a following? yes, i thin they will. Will the values of historically important artists dip before moving onto a longer term trend? yeah probably. But who among us actually read Krazy Kat when it was being published?

Anyway my original point was that I dont think the hobby of collecting comic art will die with we Gen X'ers. But I think the final outcome will be more nuanced than how it's usually discussed on these boards. 

I feel like i have to give my legal statement like at the end of a Seeking Alpha article... I don't own any great Kirby Marvel art, nor am I every going to, unless you're correct and the bottom falls out of the values. I buy what I love because I love it. But i'm also a professional forecaster by trade so I can't help but think about the future ;) 

1.  I'll bet you a fiver that this 13-year son of your colleague won't be into Jack Kirby 10 years from now.  I mean, I could be wrong, as I don't know anything about this kid, but, playing the odds, I probably won't be. :sorry:  

2.  Nobody collecting now was around to read Krazy Kat contemporaneously (nor Action #1, etc.), but, there's a whole oral and written tradition that has been a part of this hobby in previous generations.  Older collectors and comic shop owners would stock back issues and talk comics and people would publish fanzines and shows/conventions would be packed with old-timers stocking even older merchandise.  My feeling is that a lot of that has disappeared over the past 10-20 years as traditional back issue comic shops have been replaced by new issues/toys/videogames/RPGs/etc., conventions have become less about comics and more about media and merchandising, digital has encroached upon physical (both for content and distribution) and as new technologies and content have overwhelmed the old ways. 

The old ways provided a pathway for older material to remain relevant to newer generations; I have a feeling that a lot of the received knowledge and wisdom of the ages will be lost going forward.  Even in our hobby, I find that the people who know the most are the 50-somethings; even the biggest late 40-something BSDs I find don't necessarily have the depth of knowledge that the people who have been around for longer accumulated.  And, between the traditional communication channels ("the old ways") being disrupted and the younger collectors being largely into different things, I feel like a lot more of that knowledge is going to be lost going forward.  I hope that Krazy Kat will be forever appreciated, but, the way things are going, I wouldn't take that strip's historical relevance today to necessarily be a permanent condition.  :( 

No way does our hobby die out after the Xers, but, I do feel like, big big picture, we're going to hit a secular inflection point when the Xers age out. 

Edited by delekkerste

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I do think that the overall numbers needed to sustain this hobby is fairly small.  So yes, generationally, the percentage of people entering this hobby might decline (perhaps precipitously).  But just like today, it only takes a relatively small number of collectors to drive demand and prices.

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Time is not a fungible commodity- I work with a team of software developers- the only comics they own are the ones I gave them - they pinned them to their cube walls like decorations. I’m not sure they read even one. Their time is spent streaming stuff on YouTube, and posting memes to Slack and playing games on their phones or consoles. If it’s not on a screen - they aren’t interacting with it. They are looking at 5 things at once all day. One guy has 150 tabs open in his browser - so many he needed a plug in to organize his browser tabs. If they unplug at all, they are playing board games, especially strategy games. I’ve never seen them hold any piece of printed material for more than 2 minutes. They will never collect old comics or art. What’s the appeal for them? It’s too slow, too static.

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29 minutes ago, delekkerste said:

Thus endeth the lesson. 

I never disagreed that everything you've bought will only lose value ;)

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21 minutes ago, stinkininkin said:

I do think that the overall numbers needed to sustain this hobby is fairly small.  So yes, generationally, the percentage of people entering this hobby might decline (perhaps precipitously).  But just like today, it only takes a relatively small number of collectors to drive demand and prices.

That is true, but, let's look at the hard facts:  the conditions to create a large, die-hard collecting class probably will never be as ripe as they were over the past few decades.  In fact, conditions were so fertile that it's a wonder that our hobby isn't bigger than it is right now.  I mean, you had EVERYTHING going for it - little competition for nostalgic mindshare, unimaginably benign financial conditions with once-in-lifetime turbo-thrusted financial tailwinds, new technologies and services suddenly making everything readily available, communications/transportation/technological innovations opening the content and the market up to the entire globe, the source material being mined into global blockbuster media franchises, etc.  If, under those conditions, our hobby only got as big as it is now, I really don't see why it would get substantially bigger, or even be able to sustain itself for the next, say, 30 years, given that competition for mindshare has increased exponentially, financial conditions probably can't get much better (and are very likely to secularly mean revert at some point), the probability of an eventual waning of interest in the genre likely at some point, etc. 

And, remember, while it may only take a relatively small number of collectors to drive demand and prices, prices are multiples (in some cases exponentially) higher now, so, you can't just compare numbers of collectors, you have to compare $$$ to $$$.  Just replacing the same number of collectors without replacing all the corresponding financial resources (including holdings that have appreciated and are now multiples or exponentially higher) needed to clear the market (and I'm talking about ALL the art) means that, by definition, the market will have to ultimately clear at lower prices - that's Econ 101.   

Again, we're talking generational big picture here.  Doesn't mean that prices can't keep going up in the meantime. But, most here will live long enough to see both sides of the long-term cycle playing out. 

Edited by delekkerste

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34 minutes ago, delekkerste said:

1.  I'll bet you a fiver that this 13-year son of your colleague won't be into Jack Kirby 10 years from now.  I mean, I could be wrong, as I don't know anything about this kid, but, playing the odds, I probably won't be. :sorry:  

2.  Nobody collecting now was around to read Krazy Kat contemporaneously (nor Action #1, etc.), but, there's a whole oral and written tradition that has been a part of this hobby in previous generations.  Older collectors and comic shop owners would stock back issues and talk comics and people would publish fanzines and shows/conventions would be packed with old-timers stocking even older merchandise.  My feeling is that a lot of that has disappeared over the past 10-20 years as traditional back issue comic shops have been replaced by new issues/toys/videogames/RPGs/etc., conventions have become less about comics and more about media and merchandising, digital has encroached upon physical (both for content and distribution) and as new technologies and content have overwhelmed the old ways. 

The old ways provided a pathway for older material to remain relevant to newer generations; I have a feeling that a lot of the received knowledge and wisdom of the ages will be lost going forward.  Even in our hobby, I find that the people who know the most are the 50-somethings; even the biggest late 40-something BSDs I find don't necessarily have the depth of knowledge that the people who have been around for longer accumulated.  And, between the traditional communication channels ("the old ways") being disrupted and the younger collectors being largely into different things, I feel like a lot more of that knowledge is going to be lost going forward.  I hope that Krazy Kat will be forever appreciated, but, the way things are going, I wouldn't take that strip's historical relevance today to necessarily be a permanent condition.  :( 

No way does our hobby die out after the Xers, but, I do feel like, big big picture, we're going to hit a secular inflection point when the Xers age out. 

1)  I hope he is too. As a child of the classics... i like seeing other kids of the classics.

2) that's a very interesting and valid point. The death of the comic shop could have farther reaching effects into this hobby. I personally learned about comic art, and tons about comic history by talking to my local comic shop owner back in the day. I was lucky enough to have a local comic shop owner who was an Eisner Award nominee in the comics journalism category, and was / i think still is a member of the CFA APA. He and I would have 2 hour long conversations about comics every week. He showed me my first pieces of OA. I wont say he formed my appreciation. But he helped make me aware of comics that maybe I would have become aware of and maybe i wouldn't. And that influenced me for sure. He also liked me though because my first time in his shop i brought the Darkhorse Creepy Archives #1 up to the register, and he was like "young man, are you old enough to buy this comic book?"

I know that demographics will change the hobby, but i think there will always be appreciation for the true greatness in comic history. It may / probably will take a discrete drop at some point, but I think cream always finds a way to float. But I do believe there will always be people who are history buffs, and will go out of their way to understand the history of the thing they love. Partly because I do.  Also I think Comic Book Podcasts are taking up some of the slack for the decline of our local shops in helping to keep some level of historic understanding prevalent in the zeitgeist of comic book lore. This is why people should be more get togethers where collectors, old and new, can meet and talk about art and comics. 

Thanks for getting baited into this conversation. I'm glad we got to have some more back and forth after the first time I asked you the question when Felix had that live chat on his site a few weeks back B|

 

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First thing's first... facts. 

1) More folks are participants in the OA market than ever before* (*let's say, this past decade vs. previous decades).

2) Recognition of superheroes and kin is at all all-time high, both in the US and globally, largely thanks to the films and shows.  Arguably not a big difference for the longtime top tier, e.g. Supes, Spidey, Batman, etc.  But for sure with respect to the Iron Mans, Dr. Stranges, Harleys, Antmans, Aquamans, Legions, etc.

I don't think points 1 and 2 are really debatable.  As many have noted, we're in a golden age *right now* both in the OA industry and the comics *entertainment* industry (but not the subset that's the comic book industry).

 

Now heading into the mists of Opinion Land:

Mindshare is a thing.  Historically, comics (hell, even plain ordinary books) never had as much competition as they do now.  That said, I do believe that a greater % of kids this decade could name 8-10 superheroes than, say, in the 80s... when Marvel/DC were still so niche comparatively.

So it comes down to recognition vs. collecting activity.  We're set for the next couple generations re: recognition.  Collecting is by no means clearcut, but there will continue to be cultural phenomena that bring out collectors old *and* new who want to own something, anything related to what they find cool + sometimes adore.

*****I hereby present exhibit BABY YODA.*****  Yep, shameless.  There are no OA pages related to Baby Yoda yet as far as I know.  The collecting frenzy rages on in more typical categories: https://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2019/11/the-mandalorian-star-wars-baby-yoda.  The masses are literally snapping up plushies of Old Yoda that look Baby.  I dare say the # of folks globally who've sought Baby Yoda toys in the past week outnumber the total population of OA collectors extant today.

 

Edited by exitmusicblue

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Now, What If... Baby Yoda had begun in the pages of comics?  No doubt some of the media -- traditional as well as social -- would then cast light on his funnybook origins.  Surely some new would-be collectors would seek out the likely overpriced comic to further satisfy their Baby Yoda cravings; I believe the OA owner(s) would be supremely satisfied, as well.  At that point, OA would be just another collectible... one of the rarest, but a collectible.

(For those who watch The Mandalorian... you know those Concept Art pieces they show at the credits after each ep.?  You can bet they'd sell for $$$$$ now and for as long as Star Wars exists).

And collectibles aren't going anywhere.  To the extent we mostly belong in a physical world vs. a virtual Mirrorworld (see Wired article), physical collectibles will be a thing, too.  Baby Yoda Phenomenon in this cynical, digital age is evidence enough.  It may well pass, but it won't be the last.

Obviously Baby Yoda is a once-in-a-half-decade magnitude phenomenon and *not* tied to comics (yet).  But I do believe OA is ensconced as a collectibles category for existing cultural phenomena and hopefully new examples to come -- Disney's importance in this is outsized, for better or worse.  Not a spectacular or in any way special collectibles category, rather one of many, yet even the layperson can figure out that it exists without too much mental acrobatics (most superheroes began in comics -> someone must have drawn comics -> the OA must exist).

A much more esoteric, pricier category with much lower supply compared to mainstream toys, plushies, clothes, accessories... sure.  But there will be enough collectors old and new to sustain OA, an Everything is One of a Kind Collectibles Market, for the forseeable *and then some* future.

 

Edited by exitmusicblue

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