Those Darn Millennials

Millennials love comics!

Those Darn Millenials

Millennials love comics!Everyone’s been writing about the Millennials lately. It seems like I barely go a day (ok, a week) without encountering an article, blog post, or radio story dissecting their habits and tendencies, hashing out how different they are from the Baby Boomers or Generation X. They like tattoos and making really big holes in their ears! They feel comfortable in groups and they’ve never been unsupervised! They approve of gay marriage, disapprove of cars and everything they do is digital! I’m sure you know the drill.

Personally, I’ve always been dubious about broadly characterizing millions of people who’s main commonality is that they were born during a particular 20 year time span. True, the cohort of Baby Boomers born between the late 40s and mid 50s shared many unique experiences and perspectives. But I always thought the late-90s hype about “Generation X” was mainly manufactured by marketers. The fact is, every 10 or 15 years the media discovers a new “generation” and proceeds to describe them in almost exactly the same terms as they described the last one. Most of these “differences” are due to age, not era. Older people always belittle younger people, especially when they’re afraid those younger people will take their jobs.

But here’s something I do know about Millennials–they like comics.  Millennials are comfortable with comics as an adult medium; they’ve grown up in a world where Art Spiegelman’s Maus is required reading in many schools and comic books provide the basis for as many hit movies as novels or TV shows. Millions of girls in their teens and early 20s are obsessed with anime and manga, millions more kids of both genders read books that contain strong comic elements, like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Captain Underpants series. The language of comics, the equal weight given to verbal and visual elements, is also the language of the internet, the Millennial’s native habitat. If you want to reach this cohort, and everybody does, comics and cartoons are two of the most effective methods. That may be yet another gross generalization, but I firmly believe it’s true.

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