Two Big Changes That Indicate Where the Comics Industry is Headed

Business Insider took a look at news of changes taking place in the medium, and what specialty retailers will have to do in order to adapt to the times:


Milton Griepp, the ICv2 CEO, told Business Insider that this change was due to two major shifts in the industry:

– The graphic-novel format is becoming more popular: Graphic novel print sales reached $635 million in 2018 and single-issue (or periodical) print sales were at $360 million. The gap between the two has been widening thanks largely to the book channel. Graphic-novel sales through the channel was at nearly $500 million last year, but at less than $200 million through comic shops.

– New types of content are becoming more popular: Children’s comics, which are almost exclusively sold in the graphic-novel format, have surpassed superhero comics this year as the most popular genre, according to ICv2. “Superheroes have dominated the comics business for as long as I’ve been in it, but there are some amazing things happening with kids content,” Griepp said at last week’s conference.

How children’s comics are marketed now is something to consider, along with the GN format that’s slowly taking over from where pamphlets leave off. Clearly, the publishers behind those realize the advantages.

And as for superheroes losing popularity to other genres, there’s one more thing I’d like to add that I hadn’t before: if we’re talking about the Big Two, it couldn’t and wouldn’t be just superheroes losing popularity and sales because of their collapsing artistic merit. Even the non-superhero, non-superpowered characters are too, as a result of all the disastrous creative managements. If Nick Fury, the star Agent of SHIELD hasn’t had a significant solo book of recent, but got a new one today, chances are it would tank just as deep as the superhero series because Nick’s as part and parcel of the MCU as Spider-Man and the Avengers are, and there’s every chance he’d be exploited for political propaganda as Captain America’s been, and still is under Ta-Nehisi Coates.


Simply put, if Nick suffered the same leftist abuse as his costumed counterparts have, any solo book where this took place would crash-land for all the same reasons as the super-powered adventurers are tanking. Even Adam Strange and Ka-Zar are heroes who could be considered non-superhero, and they too are no less vulnerable to the social justice machine than the latex costumed fighters. In fact, they might be even more so, because what if a far-left writer thought it the easiest place to peddle their propaganda because their 3rd tier status made them less noticeable than Superman and Spider-Man, and thus easier to push social justice tactics under the radar? That’s practically why attempts to sell a lot of 3rd tier stars have failed, because they’re not being sold on merit-based writing.

As for graphic novels, if they’re becoming the preferred format, then so long as DC/Marvel are still around, what would be good news is if they made the shift to GNs only, which would make it far more difficult to force all their heroes into company wide crossovers, and if meritocracy became the direction, they’d also write them more stand-alone. But alas, something tells me that’s a pipe dream for now, and the Big Two are going to remain stuck fast on failing formats and other approaches till the bitter end.


Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1