I've changed the title of this thread from "Comic Book Sales Trends in 2016" because I keep coming back to it.

My friendly neighborhood comics shop, Fantom Comics of Washington, DC, breaks down what sold at the store in 2016. This information, of course, applies only to the one store, but it's still interesting reading: "2016 In Review – A Comic Book Shop Talks Comic Book Sales Trends"

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It's almost like industry froze in 1954 or something, and never recovered ...

Do we have a lot of "Marvel Zombies" here on the board? I don't know if I ever would have considered buying all of their titles even if I would have had the money as a kid. As it was, during the 70s and 80s I had to scrimp and save and/or rely on my parents generosity just to get a few titles per month. And I was following some DC titles as well,  so I learned early on to narrow it down to the books I really loved. Still, there were plenty of titles from both publishers that I probably wouldn't have invested any time in even if I got them for free.

I was one when I was a kid, at least until New Teen Titans came out, but that was a long time ago and the marvel of the 1970's into the early 1980's was a far different place.  It could be satirical like Howard the Duck, yet not that heavy handed, I liked the family dynamic in the FF (even though I had no idea what it was, it was a just a good set of stories) and I enjoyed the characters that didn't seem to make it on their own, like Ms. Marvel and Ghost Rider.  It was to me very friendly, very inviting and very affordable on my salary from the supermarket where I worked at the time.  Now I feel like I have to win megabucks just to keep up with the events.

I expanded my weekly purchases to buy Marvel's entire line around 1967, and began doing the same for DC around 1970. For the three years I was buying all of Marvel's superhero books, I was also buying a smattering of DCs -- Superman, Action, Justice League, Green Lantern, maybe a few others. Does that count as a "Marvel Zombie"?

Anyway, Marvel and DC do internal surveys periodically, which they do not share. I don't know if publishers will ever trust each other enough to team up on a market survey. I'd think that retailers might combine to do something comprehensive, though, perhaps in concert with Diamond.

Richard Willis said:

From 1962-63 to 1978 I was buying all of the Marvel books except the Millieverse, while also buying all of the Schwartz DC books and a few of the non-Schwartz.

I was able to do this only because the comics were 12 to 15 cents apiece until late 1971, at which point I had been a working adult for five years. By the time I went cold turkey in late 1978 they were all the way up to 35 cents.

IIRC, the Marvel Zombie term also meant someone who wouldn't touch a DC comic.

Heck, I bought more than Marvel and DC! I've got mostly complete runs of most of the off-brand stuff -- Tower, Charlton, Mighty Crusaders stuff, some regular Archies. I guess my Zombie status is revoked permanently!

It's an interesting point that I realized just now.  The comics I missed while collecting from 1974 to about 1984 are in the dollar bins at the comic book shows, so from .25 cents to 1.00 I've sort of lost money for not buying them then or (buying and loosing them as I seem to have done with a lot of the Savage She-Hulk) and having to pick them up now, but the comics that I'm not buying today at 2.99 to 4.99 that will be in those same dollar bins (or even 1.50 dollar bins as inflation increases) in a year or two or three will be less, so I'll be saving money buying them then and not now.

Detective 445 said:

Do we have a lot of "Marvel Zombies" here on the board? I don't know if I ever would have considered buying all of their titles even if I would have had the money as a kid. As it was, during the 70s and 80s I had to scrimp and save and/or rely on my parents generosity just to get a few titles per month. And I was following some DC titles as well,  so I learned early on to narrow it down to the books I really loved. Still, there were plenty of titles from both publishers that I probably wouldn't have invested any time in even if I got them for free.

I couldn't call myself a Marvel zombie. My indoctrination to comics was through a three-foot-high stack of mostly coverless Silver Age DC comics that all were published 10-15 years before I saw them. When I started buying comics myself, it was largely through buying 10-cent bin comics at my friendly neighborhood corner store; it was years before I actually bought new comics (although the first new comic I ever bought was an issue of Avengers). I knew Marvel was different than DC, but I didn't believe either was better than the other.

The Atlantic weighs in: "The Real Reasons for Marvel Comics’ Woes"

The article blames many things cited above: flooding the market with too many titles; going to the well too many times with #1 issues; crossover fatigue.

But it also notes that other companies have had steady sellers with books that have long-running creative teams, which I have to say did appeal to me when reading Y, the Last Man and 100 Bullets. And it blames Marvel for doing a bad job of promoting its books, saying the legacy titles -- like Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, etc. -- don't need it, but smaller titles like Ms. Marvel do. But it's the artists and writers of those smaller titles who work the hardest to promote them, not the company. 

Peter Parker is rich.

Iron Man is no longer Tony Stark

Thor is no longer Thor.

Captain America is either a Nazi or a Black man, depending on which one you're referring to.

Dr. Doom is pretending to be a superhero.

There's no Fantastic Four.

The Hulk is no no longer Bruce Banner

I think a large part of Marvel's sales slump can be attributed to a number of things, including the recent massive upheaval in their characters--not the creative teams, the characters. I wouldn't be surprised if pushing the Inhumans over the X-Men lost some readers as well. I think older fans want their familiar characters back,and newer fans want some level of familiarity,.

A video I was just watching made the point that the Dark Phoenix saga couldn't happen now, at least not the way it played out originally. It's unlikely that Claremont/Byrne could stay on the title long enough to bring the story to fruition, and even if they could it would likely be derailed by Marvel's latest event.

Randy Jackson said:

Peter Parker is rich.

Iron Man is no longer Tony Stark

Thor is no longer Thor.

Captain America is either a Nazi or a Black man, depending on which one you're referring to.

Dr. Doom is pretending to be a superhero.

There's no Fantastic Four.

The Hulk is no no longer Bruce Banner

I think a large part of Marvel's sales slump can be attributed to a number of things, including the recent massive upheaval in their characters--not the creative teams, the characters. I wouldn't be surprised if pushing the Inhumans over the X-Men lost some readers as well. I think older fans want their familiar characters back,and newer fans want some level of familiarity,.

That's part of what keeps me away from the X-Men titles; the lineup has shuffled dozens of times among a couple dozen titles, not to mention X-Men members in the Avengers(!), and there's just too much heavy lifting to do to make sense of it. 



Randy Jackson said:

A video I was just watching made the point that the Dark Phoenix saga couldn't happen now, at least not the way it played out originally. It's unlikely that Claremont/Byrne could stay on the title long enough to bring the story to fruition, and even if they could it would likely be derailed by Marvel's latest event.

Right -- Marvel wouldn't think of it as an event in and of itself. And Marvel wouldn't see fit to leave the title out of the latest event. That's part of the reason I'm only reading Daredevil and Ms. Marvel and Hulk (Not She-Hulk); they mostly aren't affected by the big crossovers. Okay, Ms. Marvel was linked to Civil War II, but I just rode it out. 



Silver Surfer is the same way. There was a crossover it was affected by (Secret Wars, I think), but it wasn't really involved in the plot specifics of it, so it was fine. And when it seemingly ends in August, that'll be my last real-time Marvel title for a while. 

(Currently enjoying Dr. Strange and Infamous Iron Man and Civil War 2 on Marvel Unlimited...where I can follow the crossover threads or not, as I please, and at no extra cost.)

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