Imagine yourself in a store lined with seemingly endless shelves of comics and tables piled high with games and collectables as customers grab up the new releases. Imagine a room full of girls and young women discussing the latest adventures of Ms. Marvel, buying comics, graphic novels and posters.

If you ever thought comic books were for geeks or guys only, think again. Today’s comic book readers include males and females of all ages and interests. From passionate collectors of Golden Age comics such as Superman to fans of Squirrel Girl, Northern Kentucky’s comic book stores are busier than ever serving a diverse customer base.

Girls read comic books, too? Yes, according to Steve Struharik, the owner of Arcadian Comics & Games in Newport, girls and women are reading more than ever. “I think of the people I see every week, and it’s roughly 60 percent men and 40 percent women. There’s a lot of couples that I only see one member of, but I know they’re both reading, and there’s a lot of families that come in Saturday where everyone is buying comics,” Struharik says. “More than any other time in 10 years I’ve seen more women and young girls coming in for themselves, and we’re excited to show them books and talk to them about what they may like.” 

“I think there are some women who come in for Buffy, but picked up Thor and Ms. Marvel along the way,” he says. 

Mark Craddock, a father of two daughters and owner of Comic Book World in Florence, concurs that there is a growing trend of female readers, “I think we’ve had plenty of great material over the last two decades to help female readers find something to love, but having the publishers notice that young women are spending money on reading and offering titles they can better identify with and hiring female artists and writers has been essential to the growth in readership.”

Librarian and long-time comic reader Alita Vogel agrees, saying, “I do read them and I am not the only one.I started reading comics in high school. X-Men, Silver Surfer. I moved on to Sandman in my 20s.”

Comics are also not just for kids, as generation reading continues to grow as well. Struharik reports seeing parents and grandparents regularly, noting current top sellers like The Walking Dead (one early artist was Kentucky’s Tony Moore), Star Wars, Batman, Ms. Marvel, Squirrel Girl, Paper Girls, and Rick & Morty.

Craddock concurs, “We have many second generation shoppers and quite a few third generation shoppers. It’s one of the benefits of being in the community for 34 years.”

Comics are also now being more progressive and inclusive. Titles of note include Thor (who is a woman now, aka Jane Foster) and Ms. Marvel (aka Kamala Khan, who is Muslim).

More to do:

The Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington is home to Cincy ComicCon. On Sept. 9-11, join thousands of other fans of comics and meet comic creators and artists, as well as shop and participate in events and workshops.