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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I agree, although I'm sure the comic shops would be angry at being cut out of the loop. Still, if the title isn't going to survive in comic shops, then they don't really have a point.

Eventually, comic shops are going to have to face the same problems regular books stores do. The comics publishers have been accommodating so far -- pricing online the same as print, simultaneous release -- but eventually comics publishers will have to adopt the same approach book publishers do, with cheaper online versions for everything, and earlier release.

Doesn't Amazon own Comixology now?

Digital-only until TPB has its advantages, to be sure. But one disadvantage is the monthly presence of the title on the shelves won't be there, which serves, in at least a small part, as marketing for the collection. A monthly presence keeps the book top of mind.

Amazon does own Comixology now... and in fact, a free Kindle comic I got as a benefit for an Amazon purchase is also now available for me to read in my Comixology app!

I don't know how the count of titles Marvel and DC are doing compares with how they were doing ten or twenty years ago, but they both put out a lot of titles, far more than they did before the 90s. Here are the counts from the galleries at DC Indexes for comics on sale in December every five years up to 1989. (My rule of thumb is they're likely to be complete for these companies up to that point.)

Dec. 1939 Marvel 2; DC 7 (DC/National 5; AA 2)

Dec. 1944 Marvel 10 (counting Miss America Magazine); DC 15 (DC/National 7; AA 8)

Dec. 1949 Marvel 16; DC 22

Dec. 1954 Marvel 32; DC 30

Dec. 1959 Marvel 8; DC 31

Dec. 1964 Marvel 15 (counting Monsters to Laugh With); DC 32

Dec. 1969 Marvel 24; DC 30

Dec. 1974 Marvel 51; DC 23 (counting Marvel's magazines)

Dec. 1979 Marvel 45; DC 30 (counting Marvel's magazines, DC's digests)

Dec. 1984 Marvel 43; DC 42 (counting Marvel's magazines and Marvel Age, DC's digest)

Dec. 1989 Marvel 57; DC 38 (counting Marvel's magazines and Marvel Age, both companies' original paperbacks)

Captain Comics said:

Doesn't Amazon own Comixology now?

Yes, it does. However, my friendly neighborhood comics shop dropped Comixology as its ordering system because it wasn't pleased with how Amazon administered Comixology. I don't know what changed about Comixology that led them to do this.

The store now uses an app called Comic Hub that was created by a startup in the Netherlands. 

Here's another piece, from Vulture.com, saying growth in comics sales is coming from comics that are aimed at kids -- isn't that a novel idea, comics aimed at kids? -- thanks to librarians who are purchasing them for their collections and creators who connect with youngsters, particularly girls: "Forget Brooding Superheroes — the Big Money Is in Kids’ Comics"

That's an informative article. Thanks for posting it.

The quoteabout the personal nature of kids' reading is interesting. I think it explains why there's a place for comics (and books) in a world with TV. Comics are visual like TV, but reading is more personal.

I picked up Raina Telgemeier's Drama a while back but haven't cracked it open. I don't understand why DC gave up so quickly on the Minx line of books. I've read a few -- Good as Lily, Token, The New York Four, Emiko Superstar -- and I found them to be interesting tales, either coming-of-age or slice-of-life.

ClarkKent_DC said:

I picked up Raina Telgemeier's Drama a while back but haven't cracked it open. I don't understand why DC gave up so quickly on the Minx line of books. I've read a few -- Good as Lily, Token, The New York Four, Emiko Superstar -- and I found them to be interesting tales, either coming-of-age or slice-of-life.

I finally read Drama, and it was pretty cool. It's about a middle-school theater geek deep in producing the last musical her class will have before they move on to high school. Our lead, Callie, can't sing, so she's the set designer, but she encourages others, makes new friends, and deals with various people in the group (including her) having crushes on various other people, boys and girls alike. It's good stuff. 

Another piece on industry woes, this time from io9, reporting on a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con: "DC Has an Epic Plan to Save Itself From the Comics Apocalypse It H...

In short, panelists Jim Lee and Dan DiDio told the audience that most new readers these days come to comics from seeing superhero movies, and want to see self-contained stories about those characters, not something with 50 years of continuity woven across multiple universes and reboots. As the article notes:

If you’re reading this, then there’s a very good chance that you’re something of a comic book fan who has kept up with events like Secret Empire and Rebirth from issue to issue—but the narrative and logistical complexity of those kinds of portfolio-wide crossovers often alienate casual readers who might just want to pick up a comic with a character they recognize and be able to enjoy reading a story without having to consult Wikipedia every few panels in order to make sense of what’s going on.

DC's solution? Some kind of prestige-format book that offers "evergreen flagship stories," whatever that means. I don't knock that notion, but I also don't understand how that's different than the "Earth One" series of titles.



ClarkKent_DC said:

Another piece on industry woes, this time from io9, reporting on a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con: "DC Has an Epic Plan to Save Itself From the Comics Apocalypse It H...

In short, panelists Jim Lee and Dan DiDio told the audience that most new readers these days come to comics from seeing superhero movies, and want to see self-contained stories about those characters, not something with 50 years of continuity woven across multiple universes and reboots. As the article notes:

If you’re reading this, then there’s a very good chance that you’re something of a comic book fan who has kept up with events like Secret Empire and Rebirth from issue to issue—but the narrative and logistical complexity of those kinds of portfolio-wide crossovers often alienate casual readers who might just want to pick up a comic with a character they recognize and be able to enjoy reading a story without having to consult Wikipedia every few panels in order to make sense of what’s going on.

DC's solution? Some kind of prestige-format book that offers "evergreen flagship stories," whatever that means. I don't knock that notion, but I also don't understand how that's different than the "Earth One" series of titles.


It's hard to see how Jim Lee and Dan DiDio are the guys who are suddenly going to figure out the problem and fix it. They've both been around for a long time. If they really know how to fix these type of problems then why are they just now getting around to it?

Maybe they refused to believe the problem was real?  I'm not sure anyone at marvel or dc really believes that the comic book industry is in any real trouble.  Marvel especially, if they thought comics were in trouble why would they charge five dollars per issue?

Detective 445 said:



ClarkKent_DC said:

Another piece on industry woes, this time from io9, reporting on a panel at the San Diego Comic-Con: "DC Has an Epic Plan to Save Itself From the Comics Apocalypse It H...

In short, panelists Jim Lee and Dan DiDio told the audience that most new readers these days come to comics from seeing superhero movies, and want to see self-contained stories about those characters, not something with 50 years of continuity woven across multiple universes and reboots. As the article notes:

If you’re reading this, then there’s a very good chance that you’re something of a comic book fan who has kept up with events like Secret Empire and Rebirth from issue to issue—but the narrative and logistical complexity of those kinds of portfolio-wide crossovers often alienate casual readers who might just want to pick up a comic with a character they recognize and be able to enjoy reading a story without having to consult Wikipedia every few panels in order to make sense of what’s going on.

DC's solution? Some kind of prestige-format book that offers "evergreen flagship stories," whatever that means. I don't knock that notion, but I also don't understand how that's different than the "Earth One" series of titles.


It's hard to see how Jim Lee and Dan DiDio are the guys who are suddenly going to figure out the problem and fix it. They've both been around for a long time. If they really know how to fix these type of problems then why are they just now getting around to it?

Said Lee:

“DC approached me and said, how would you like to take some of the stuff that you are working on with Sean [Murphy] and do it a new, prestige format? Instead of doing it monthly, why not do it in this format that would allow for it to be a bigger stage, both for Sean artistically, and to package the story in a new way and then allow every subsequent story that I was going to do with Paul Pope, with Afua [Richardson], with Lee Bermejo, be done in this format that really foregrounds the art – different paper size, different cut, the whole thing.

I read this as "go directly to trades and hardcovers, do not pass go." (And by the way, stop publishing monthly titles.)

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