Wayne’s Worlds: Are Adult Coloring Books Still a Thing?

Now, more than ever, comics companies will do literally anything to sell you their product. Variant covers, blank covers, crossovers … you name it!

Well, a recent addition to these methods is called the “adult coloring book.” Apparently, you buy the comic, bring out your crayons and markers, then go to work as your own colorist!

Yes, really!


How this caught my attention was through a press release from Marvel announcing that James Patterson’s comics (converted from his novels) would be turned into Color Your Own James Patterson during 2016.

“Marvel and James Patterson are pleased to announce the most recent expansion to Marvel’s line of Adult Coloring Books with Color Your Own James Patterson!” says the release. “One of comics’ mightiest team-ups, Marvel Comics and James Patterson, have produced action, excitement, and adventure with Max Ride, and now all they need is YOU!”

Why would they do this?

“Over the past couple of years, Adult Coloring Books have soared in popularity across various genres,” said David Gabriel, Marvel’s SVP Sales and Marketing, in the aforementioned release.  “Fans of James Patterson’s Max Ride can add their own style to this brand new comic series with this latest addition to Marvel’s line of Adult Coloring Books. This truly is a way for fans of Marvel and Max Ride to be a part of the creative process and bring their personal artistic style to this high-flying adventure.”

The release ends this way: “So dig out those crayons, markers and colored pencils and prepare to let your creativity take flight. But don’t forget your imagination – you’re going to need it! Channel your creative energies, unwind after a hard day’s work, or just relive your childhood memories!”

Looks like this is something that has caught on with several folks. When I did an online search for “adult coloring books,” I found several that deal with a variety of subjects. Also, there’s a Coloring For Adults For Dummies book available, so you know it’s a thing! And there are apparently adult coloring sessions at local book stores, too!

Marvel has already released one of these, an Age of Ultron Coloring Book costing $7.99, with Little Marvel by Skottie Young Coloring Book and a Civil War Coloring Book coming early next year.


Honestly, I’m happy for anything that will attract or groom new comics readers these days. But coloring books?

One of the problems this series will face is the notion that adults have outgrown coloring books. After all, comic books themselves have been considered “for kids” for decades! Now they’re expecting us to color them as well!

I really don’t know many people who will cozy up to this idea. Hey, I don’t know many fans who will buy comics that are black-and-white, much less in a line format like coloring books are!

I get that these books will be inexpensive to print. After all, the only color ink you’re printing is black. I’m not sure if they are going to use newsprint paper stock, but that’s often the paper of coloring books.

Also, maybe Marvel will find budding colorists out here who have done a superb job on their coloring books. Could be worth a shot!

The bad news for collectors is that the second you put crayon to paper, you’re book is worthless as far as the industry is concerned. After all, no one wants to buy a used coloring book.

Still, you could buy your copy to save and get one for your child to color while you read and keep your comics. Just be sure your boy or girl realizes that coloring is just for their books, not the ones you own!

I’m sure parents could place their kid’s art on the refrigerator or send it in to Marvel in hopes they’d highlight it. I mean, I loved it when my letter was printed in a Marvel comic’s letter column!


Of all the various comics formats, this one seems to me to be the least collectible. Or keepable once you’ve colored it.

What I would recommend is that Marvel hold a contest for various age groups to submit their pages and highlight the best of them. If any of the winners turn into comics pros some day, their original book could be worth something! Imagine having early artwork from John Romita, for instance!

I get that it’s important to make books as readable as possible, that we should shy some readers away from spending their monthly incomes on comics collecting. If you have to choose between paying the power bill and buying comics, and you choose the latter, an intervention might be necessary! I grew up cutting up the covers of comics I read so I could play with those “figures” and make up my own stories! Now I wish I had bagged and boarded them all – I’d be rich! Well, not really – I had WAY too much fun with those cut-outs!

I did some research, and I found that the Age of Ultron coloring book apparently sold 2, 421 units and came in 29th on the graphic novel list in October. That’s not bad out of over 3,000 books listed that month! But is it enough to warrant more? Are they still a thing in 2021?

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