Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Great Scott, The Economy Is Fucked, Isn't It?

So, I'm watching cable news and the Lending Tree commercial with the Adam West voiceover comes on. The idea is that Lending Tree somehow makes the average person a financial super-hero.

So, after shaking my head, once again, at how cornball it is, I start thinking about how over-the-top this country's current love affair with comic book properties is. I mean...using it to advertise something as stiff-collared as financial products?

Then it dawned on me that the last time super-heroes and comic book properties were this popular came about during the Great Depression in the states.

More than being simply something new, they were popular because the population really needed to completely escape from the reality surrounding them. They needed to daydream of being super-human or otherworldly enough that such trivial things as room & board didn't even register on their list of things to be concerned by.

Technology has caught up to the ideas contained in super-hero fiction, so this renewed interest isn't translating into sales of comic books, just licensing of their product for other media.

In 1940, the price of a comic was 10 cents and a movie ticket 24 cents. Today, comic books cost $3-5 a pop. Movie tickets? Well, much like they did in the Great Depression, some chains are finding that they have to reduce prices on tickets to lure in customers and hope they buy items at the concession stand.

Locally, the stadium seating Cinemark has dropped their full price tickets to $6.50 and the outdated one has been locked in at $6 for years (with a matching drop quite possible in the future). Both Cinemark locations have $4 tickets for their matinée showings (start times before 6pm). The AMC theaters in the area (and, I believe, many non-metropolitan areas) have all of their Monday-Thursday tickets (except for Wednesday debuts and 11:59pm Thursday first showings) priced at $5, regardless of showtime.

Now, I'm not trying to renew that ages old "movies/videogames/etc offer more bang for the buck than comic books" argument. I'm just saying that other media can and do offer the same types of stories, making it possible that the public can quench their thirst for escapism without having to change their entertainment consumption habits.

But hey kids: depressions (or really drastic recessions) make the rest of the country appreciate some of the same characters you've loved for years.

1 comment:

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