Great Moments in Comics History: 1970 DC Comics Reader Survey


Clark Kent and Barry Allen — two of the hippest, hippest cats in the DCU.


  1. I am very interested in reading about these Black People you speak of.

  2. Bubble gum music!

    I feel like this has a mix of questions in here that they have no intention of studying.

  3. Portable color TV set! Where do I sign?

  4. I hope, before the current walking around story is over, Superman utters this new catchphrase, “Let’s rap!”

  5. Why do I feel like Denny O’Neil had something to do with this.

  6. Wow…..i would love to see the results of this survey and see how many people were either fairly interested or not interested in Black People….WTF?!

    Superman-Hey kids, so i was just wondering… do you feel about black people? Why? Oh no reason. Just wondering is all!

  7. What I wanna know is, where can we find the response data?

  8. There’s something vaguely sinister about DC Comics wanting to know what I had for breakfast.

  9. It’s fourty years later, but if you’re still interested DC, my answer for question 7 is A.


  10. Sports? They really didn’t know their audienceheyoooooooooo!

  11. It says “continued” on the bottom right- you have to post the rest of this! (btw, I’m still waiting for that book about athletic, romantic space travel).

  12. Hey Superman and Flash want to know if I’m interested in black people? I guess it’s the Just-Us League.

  13. Why would an enemy give me a comic book?

  14. I find the word “groovy” groovy.

    I second @HailScott ‘s request.

  15. I like hot cereal, listening to records, bubble gum music, and reading about Black people too! Does that mean I am from the 70’s?

  16. @Heroville  Maybe it’s full of spiders? Not like drawings of spiders. Spiders.

  17. How many comics do you buy a month?

    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10     more

  18. This survey prompted Kanye West yo comment “DC doesn’t care about black people… unless the readers tell them to.”

  19. Judging by DC’s superhero comics *today,* not many people checked off “Black People.”  I think there might more green and red recognizable characters than there are African-Americans.  Just sayin’.

  20. I say we all print this out and send it in. Hey, they’ve been asking for letters right. Plus it would weird them the hell out if they got like 20 or 30 of these in the mail over the course of next week. Let’s do this iFanbase!

  21. @RoiVampire  That is a AWESOME idea!

  22. I think we can all agree that DC missed the boat on the Black Space Fliers who fought pollution as well as national and city problems through a mix of sports, romance and astrology. 

  23. Haha, I want Geoff Johns to know I’ve very interested in black people and space flights.

  24. Updated with page two!

  25. Q5 Please I like to read about black people and astrolgy in the same book.

  26. @RoiVampire  done!! I need that portable tv!

  27. Black people scare me! No, please!

  28. How is this a private census if they need names and addresses to send out the prizes?



  29. Black People ranks between Pollution and Space Flight…on the ideas for future reading. I would be offended but it’s too stupid to be offended at….and I’m not black but mostly it’s too stupid.

  30. “Sir, the numbers are in! The kids have a lot of interest in Space, but little interest in Black people.  I think this means KKKnauts is a GO! Dig?” 

    Also, I like how they’re also fishing for good hero and comic names.

  31. This survey directly led to

    “Say, Jim!  Whooooo!!!  That’s a bad outfit!  Whooooo!!!”

    in Superman: The Movie.

  32. In all seriousness, this survey is a treasure.  Of course, most of the survey is geared toward marketing.  I can see DC characters being slapped on cereal boxes, or included with “Bubble Gum” 45’s.  The cynical side of me thinks that this survey was all for marketing and a slice of that pie chart.  Yet, I genuinely see something else going on here.   The real treat is to see what is going on in the minds of the survey creators.


    DC’ assumption seems to be that only kids are reading comics in 1970 (Questions #).  Maybe true, maybe not.  I’m glad page two was included, because DC does seem to be interested in if readers are boys or girls.  Again, this may be necessary for marketing, but maybe it shows a sincere interest to tailor stories to the interests of their audience.


     Question #5 is priceless.  Everyone has poked fun at the “stories about black people” question.  However, I see this as remarkable.  DC seems genuinely interested to see if their mostly white, mostly young audience wants to know more about people that aren’t generally a part of your life.  How many white suburban kids really had any interaction with their African American peers, or knew about any positive portrayals of African Americans.  This part of the questions points to a naiveté about race in the 1970’s, and how race could or should be examined in media.  I also think that they probably meant to use the term “civil rights or social injustice” instead of “black people.”  But, maybe they were considering their perceived audience (young, white kids).


    Another great part of questions #5 involves social consciousness.  It’s asking kids if they want to have more stories about issues that just don’t face them, but face society as a whole.  Okay, “f-i” are fluffy, but “a-e” deal with a magnitude of issues that plagued 1970’s America … and to an extent do so today.  What does this say about the youth of the 70’s and their interest in social movements?  Curiously, too, the social issues items are placed above individual interests.  Cool stuff.   


    What would fascinate me the most are the results.  Any chance DC has those locked in a filing cabinet somewhere.



    Thanks, again, for sharing.   

    ps.  This is my first post.  I hope I didn’t mess up the font size

  33. Boy howdy this is a time capsule isn’t it?

    That ‘Black People’ question might seriously be the most racist thing I ever saw.

    Couple more things:
       1) Have comics ever helped you in school? Seriously DC?
       2) Wanna bet Questions #22-23 were used to actually make new characters and comics?
       3) Finally, just how odd are those prizes past the TV set? 35 Biycycles or 69 Transitor Radios? Who on earth needs that much!?

  34. @TheNextChampion  1) Comics helped me in school with spelling and vocabulary. 3) Slow down and re-read the page: ONE OF 35 bicycles. ONE OF 69 transistor radios.

  35. @TheNextChampion  1) And reading comprehension.

  36. I like how “Comic Shop” was not an option at all….and comics sold more back then too. 

    @TheNextChampion –i gave a copy of Marvel Adventures Spiderman to my little nephew who is having problems with reading. His mother said its really helping him a lot. Any opportunity to make reading fun is good. 

  37. I wonder if the O’Neil/Adams GA/GL stuff was influenced by this at all? That section of the survey seems to nail exactly what that run was about, and this is right before they produced those comics.

  38. Is that supposed to be Jerry Lewis in the upper left of the second page? He had a DC comic right? Where is the essential of that!?

  39. @TimmyWood –Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope… they all had pretty long running series. Its kinda crazy to think about nowadays. 

  40. Hmmm, a new name for a comic? How about Black People read comics too.

  41. Notice question 14: What do you think of the ads in the comic mags?

    See how they split the two choices. a) I like to read them most of the time. b) I don’t read them.
    Who never reads the ads? No one thats who. Thanks to the wording most people will either pick a) or
    throw up their hands because option ‘c) I read them sometimes but I generally hate them’ is not available.

    So now you are DC and you have a poll in which 85% of you respondents answered they like to read the ads mostly do to the odd way of asking the question. Time to call up your advertisers and show them that result! Kids love to read the ads. More money please.

  42. @JimBilly4  heh, I noticed that one too. It’s essentially “Are the ads awesome, or do we need to make them bigger?”

  43. I like how in question#4, we can do 6-7 of the things listed on our PHONES!!(without leaving the house)
    Is that an ARCHIE character next to SGt. Rock?Reggie?

  44. @wallythegreenmonster did they even have “comic book shops” in 1970?  I think that they were uncommon at best.  When I bought my first comics in the 80s new X-Men issues were still hitting the grocery stores. 

  45. @jonnyflash  –i bought comics in the 90s from mom and pop drug store in my city. I remember seeing spinner racks everywhere that magazines where sold. I actually remember when the first comic shop opened in my town. Took out an ad in the paper and everything. 

  46. @Jesse1125 I think that’s a supporting character from Leave it to Binky – Sherwood, maybe, Binky’s Reggie.

    @TNC What Conor and Wally said, plus, Sixties DC Comics were full of fact-filled feature pages, such as Flash Facts. And Wonder Woman’s Romance Around the World – taught me everything about love, that did.

  47. @Mart – don’t forget the actual science and history backups in the back of some issues. I was shocked to see how educational comics used to be!

    @Jesse1125  —what @Mart  said. DC had their own Archie knockoffs for a while that where moderately successful. 

  48. Too true, Wally. And then there was Cap with his Hobby Hints!

  49. I learned german from Nightcrawler and russian from Colossus.

  50. @TheNextChampion it’s far too easy to look at the black people question with smug modern eyes, and shit on DC for even asking the question, but you weren’t trying to sell books in some states where some ignorant people still resented the very new ideas of affirmitive action.

    1970 was part of an era still dealing with the idea of civil rights being assured for all citizens.

  51. why does green arrow look like the kinda guy who hangs around outside schools offering candy to kids