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 definitely think so. There's so much going on that there's no longer just one game to change. 

Oh, and here's one more game-changing comic, but from 20 years ago: Birds of Prey. There's no comic that has done a better job of showing that female superheroes can sell than BoP. It started small, with a series of miniseries and one-shots, but it kept piling success on success until it got an ongoing, and built on that success past the original creative team. It succeeded past expectations, and I think there's probably a line that can be drawn not just to women-led team books (like that Avengers title from a couple of years ago), but also to solo female titles like Ms. Marvel, Batwoman, Batgirl, Captain Marvel, and many more (some successes, some less so). Birds of Prey built and nurtured a female fanbase consistently, year after year, in a way few other titles can claim -- even Wonder Woman, who was in a bra and biker shorts when the Birds debuted.  

Sometimes the game takes a long time to change, but change it does, and we might not even notice it happening. 

My friendly neighborhood comics shop has announced that, save for the Legacy one-shot, it won't carry the Legacy lenticular covers "due to Marvel's prohibitive and predatory ordering requirements." It refers customers to this article on the Comics Beat stating that 70 retailers are following suit: "Don’t Make Mine Lenticular: MyComicShop.com Announces They Will Not Order Legacy Variants."

Admittedly, 70 retailers isn't a lot out of the total number of retailers, but it does reflect noticeable dissatisfaction with Marvel's policies. 

Maybe this will start a groundswell. Creating bogus "valuable collectible covers" reminds me uncomfortably of the boom before Marvel's bankruptcy. It's also unfair to retailers, especially those without deep pockets.

ClarkKent_DC said:

My friendly neighborhood comics shop has announced that, save for the Legacy one-shot, it won't carry the Legacy lenticular covers "due to Marvel's prohibitive and predatory ordering requirements." It refers customers to this article on the Comics Beat stating that 70 retailers are following suit: "Don’t Make Mine Lenticular: MyComicShop.com Announces They Will Not Order Legacy Variants."

Admittedly, 70 retailers isn't a lot out of the total number of retailers, but it does reflect noticeable dissatisfaction with Marvel's policies. 

Bleeding Cool is reporting as various shops opt out. The program does seem to have abusive conditions.

Here's a piece about a comics shop in Philadelphia that's calling it quits after five years: "South Philly Comics Is Hosting Its Own Funeral, But It’s Not a Death Knell for Other City Shops."

The writer talks to owners at several stores, and they all seem to say business has plateaued and is slipping for a variety of reasons. Notably, one says digital sales hasn't hurt all that much.

An interesting article. It sounds like the stores that are doing better are the ones that use a lot of imagination in their offerings.

I think that the online sales of new comics haven't been hurt because they are not cheaper than the paper versions.

My friendly neighborhood comics shop, Fantom Comics of Washington, DC, has taken the approach that just selling comics isn't enough -- it needs to be a neighborhood destination. 

The store had a young, dynamic manager, Esther Kim -- she went from being a cashier to manager to part-owner in three years -- who aggressively promoted the store.* It regularly hosts book clubs on comics and hosts discussion groups. One group was "Femmes in the Fridge" for women, and has regular ladies' nights and tries hard to build its female clientele. As many as a quarter of Fantom's customers are women.

It's big on local comics artists and led a Small Press Expo in DC. It hosts a monthly discussion of Black Panther after each new issue comes out. One month, someone in the crowd started live-tweeting the discussion, and contacted writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, who joined in! The manager invited him to come to the store in person for a future discussion, and he has, twice!

The store also hosts book signings. For each installment of Rep. John Lewis' autobiography March, Lewis and his aide and co-writer Andrew Aydin have been to the store. And back in January, when the president-elect criticized Lewis on Twitter, the store donated copies of the three-book March set to the public library for each copy sold that week. 

The store hosts monthly trivia nights, and gets a temporary liquor license to do so, so it can offer beer and spirits. It has tried comedy night and fan fiction reading nights. The owner is looking into getting a permanent liquor license. It was a safe haven and rest stop for people who came to protest after Inauguration Day.

The store also has a pretty decent kids section, and it's the only comics shop I've even been to where I see parents wander in off the street with their youngsters ... and since it's up a flight of stairs over a Subway restaurant, that's saying something.

The thing is, there are things you as a business owner can't control -- like the lack of parking, which was cited in that article on South Philly Comics. What you can control is making people want to come to your store. And that's been the Fantom Comics approach, cited here: "Don't Sell Comics, Sell a Community".

*I say "had" because Image Comics hired Esther away to be a marketing and sales rep back in January. But her successor is carrying on her approach. The store recently held a Black Panther fashion show.

 

 

Vulture takes a look back at the beginnings and legacy of Vertigo, which began in January 1993, 25 years ago: "How Vertigo Changed Comics Forever"

That's a very good short history; I Tweeted the link myself.

ClarkKent_DC said:

Vulture takes a look back at the beginnings and legacy of Vertigo, which began in January 1993, 25 years ago: "How Vertigo Changed Comics Forever"

Over here ("Marvel Comics Had a Bad Year, But There are Still a Lot of Good Books to Read"), Captain Comics flagged this piece from The Hollywood Reporter"2017: The Year Almost Everything Went Wrong for Marvel Comics"

Here's a piece from The New York Times"Comic Book Publishers, Faced With Flagging Sales, Look to Streaming"

The goal is to reach more of the potential readers who are in far-flung places where right now, they can only get their comics by Pony Express. 

The link above seems to be broken. This one should work:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/22/business/media/comic-book-publis...

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