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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Marvel's president, Jim Galton, initially passed on the deal? Because DC's books weren't selling, so “those characters must not be any good”?

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A visit to Comichron.com tells me that DC's best selling book for July was DCeased #3; a non continuity elseworlds tale   At 132,072 copies, It was outsold only by Hickman's X-Men books in July.

DC's big blockbuster book, Event Leviathan # 2 was much further down the list and sold only 53,334 copies.  Go figure!

We've heard this before, but now it's the publisher of Image sounding the alarm. Per Newsarama: "IMAGE Publisher: 'There Are Way Too Many Books' for Comic Stores to Handle"

Re the scheme to have Marvel produce DC's line, I doubt it would have worked. Compare: DC's acquisition of the AAC line in 1945 (all its superhero features other than "Wonder Woman" had been dropped by the end of 1950); its buy-out of Quality in 1956 (of its features[1] only "Blackhawk" continued, and DC had run it into the ground by the end of 1968); and DC's acquisition of the Charlton Action Heroes in the 1980s(2) (Blue Beetle was cancelled in 1988,[3] The Question in 1990, Captain Atom in 1991). Also Marvel's acquisition of the Malibu Ultraverse in the 1990s; DC's two goes with the Archie heroes; Marvel's and Image's Heroes Reborn deal; DC's acquision of Wildstorm in 1999; and Marvel's and DC's lack of success with the Street & Smith characters in the 1970s.(4) Also Marvel's New Universe.

(1) DC also continued G. I. Combat, Heart Throbs, and Robin Hood Tales, but there the commercial value was the titles rather than the features. DC was already running Robin Hood stories in The Brave and the Bold.

(2) In 1984, I think. There was some use of them in Crisis on Infinite Earths - prominently, Blue Beetle - but they didn't start getting titles until 1986.

(3) To be fair, Blue Beetle remained a prominent part of the Justice League franchise.

(4) To be fair, "The Shadow" and "Doc Savage" have had longer runs subsequently.

ClarkKent_DC said:

We've heard this before, but now it's the publisher of Image sounding the alarm. Per Newsarama: "IMAGE Publisher: 'There Are Way Too Many Books' for Comic Stores to Handle"

Maybe many of the regular titles could go from monthly to bi-monthly, or just publish when they have a really good idea for a story. TV series used to put out 20 to 36 episodes a year. Newer series, particularly on cable of streaming, seem to lean toward 10 to 13 episodes. The more you do, the more likely that duds will creep in. I also think that limited comic series shouldn't sell any copies until all episodes are ready to go. Fill-in creators and years-long stories only lose readers.

Luke, Marvel also bought the Crossgen line as some point. They did a few mini-series, and that was it!

Luke Blanchard said:

Re the scheme to have Marvel produce DC's line, I doubt it would have worked. Compare: DC's acquisition of the AAC line in 1945 (all its superhero features other than "Wonder Woman" had been dropped by the end of 1950); its buy-out of Quality in 1956 (of its features[1] only "Blackhawk" continued, and DC had run it into the ground by the end of 1968); and DC's acquisition of the Charlton Action Heroes in the 1980s(2) (Blue Beetle was cancelled in 1988,[3] The Question in 1990, Captain Atom in 1991). Also Marvel's acquisition of the Malibu Ultraverse in the 1990s; DC's two goes with the Archie heroes; Marvel's and Image's Heroes Reborn deal; DC's acquision of Wildstorm in 1999; and Marvel's and DC's lack of success with the Street & Smith characters in the 1970s.(4) Also Marvel's New Universe.

(1) DC also continued G. I. Combat, Heart Throbs, and Robin Hood Tales, but there the commercial value was the titles rather than the features. DC was already running Robin Hood stories in The Brave and the Bold.

(2) In 1984, I think. There was some use of them in Crisis on Infinite Earths - prominently, Blue Beetle - but they didn't start getting titles until 1986.

(3) To be fair, Blue Beetle remained a prominent part of the Justice League franchise.

(4) To be fair, "The Shadow" and "Doc Savage" have had longer runs subsequently.

Another good example! I wouldn't have thought of that. My recollection is Disney bought Crossgen's properties when it went bankrupt before it bought Marvel, and that's why they happened.

Another case is DC's licensing and eventual acquisition of Shazam! and other Fawcett properties.

I suppose companies most concentrate on their most lucrative properties, so the less lucrative ones fall by the wayside. Also, the imported characters don't always fit into the existing universe. Even though New Gods originated at DC and Eternals at Marvel, that's been a problem with those properties. Also, the new company may also not know how to reach the potential audience of a property, and might not find the right style for it.

Successful updatings of properties include the remaking of "Batman" at the end of the 1960s - the foundation of the character's modern popularity, I think - and the revival of X-Men in the mid-70s. The Acclaim line was built around the defunct Gold Key properties, and for a time very successful.



Travis Herrick (Modular Mod) said:

Luke, Marvel also bought the Crossgen line as some point. They did a few mini-series, and that was it!

Luke Blanchard said:

Re the scheme to have Marvel produce DC's line, I doubt it would have worked. Compare: DC's acquisition of the AAC line in 1945 (all its superhero features other than "Wonder Woman" had been dropped by the end of 1950); its buy-out of Quality in 1956 (of its features[1] only "Blackhawk" continued, and DC had run it into the ground by the end of 1968); and DC's acquisition of the Charlton Action Heroes in the 1980s(2) (Blue Beetle was cancelled in 1988,[3] The Question in 1990, Captain Atom in 1991). Also Marvel's acquisition of the Malibu Ultraverse in the 1990s; DC's two goes with the Archie heroes; Marvel's and Image's Heroes Reborn deal; DC's acquision of Wildstorm in 1999; and Marvel's and DC's lack of success with the Street & Smith characters in the 1970s.(4) Also Marvel's New Universe.

(1) DC also continued G. I. Combat, Heart Throbs, and Robin Hood Tales, but there the commercial value was the titles rather than the features. DC was already running Robin Hood stories in The Brave and the Bold.

(2) In 1984, I think. There was some use of them in Crisis on Infinite Earths - prominently, Blue Beetle - but they didn't start getting titles until 1986.

(3) To be fair, Blue Beetle remained a prominent part of the Justice League franchise.

(4) To be fair, "The Shadow" and "Doc Savage" have had longer runs subsequently.

...Alliw me, please, to recall an earlier Mailbu world/property: THE PROTECTORS, which took a lot of Golden Age characters and redid them - mixing between straightforward revivals and " We changed the name slightly " revivals, and mostly? drew from one company...Standard? (This is very much from memory/OTTOMH, obviously, but also made use of Tarps Mill's Golden Age newspaper strip character, Miss Fury - Decades ago I rather liked the various Protectors titles, but briefly, Malibu pushed them aside when the Ultraverse came along.

  Marvel acquired them but I was told of Joe Quesada saying something snarky about never using them again or something.

I recall at least one other company issuing a Miss Fury this century, I had a couple paper issues and perhaps there were some online-only ones.

! I don't know about the other characters.

My feeling about Marvel publishing DC's line is that it could have worked if executed properly.  They would probably have needed to keep the appearance that this was a separate company/line/universe with it's own identity.  And keeping creator crossover to a minimum would probably be important to maintaining that identity.

Marvel did have great success with their Star Wars series which Shooter credits with keeping Marvel from going out of business at the time.

Detective 445 said:

My feeling about Marvel publishing DC's line is that it could have worked if executed properly.  They would probably have needed to keep the appearance that this was a separate company/line/universe with it's own identity.  And keeping creator crossover to a minimum would probably be important to maintaining that identity.

Yes, but could we really expect that Marvel -- or any other buyer of DC's properties -- would do either or both of those things? I don't. 

The closest examples I can think of are back when DC bought the Archie heroes and ran them in a separate line, which flopped quickly. DC had better results with the Milestone line, but all those titles also eventually petered out. 

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