ICv2 Reports that 2022 Comic Stores Sales Went Bust

 

New comicbook releases, graphic novels, and back issues make up the three primary components of what is known as “comic sales,” which ICv2.com tends to cover in their coverage of the business side of geek culture. While the covid-19 pandemic saw some spikes in the sales of mainstream and indie comics, over the past year, sales of new comic books have severely declined, while back issues became the safest bet for shops that managed to stay in business.

 

ICv2 admits that sales numbers are still difficult to track in the comics business, so rather that assemble the numbers the publishers provide, they went straight to the source and got hard sales data from several comic retailers comparing Q4 numbers for 2022 to the same period in 2021. Here are the three primary examples they shared:

 

 

Phil Boyle, Coliseum of Comics, 12 stores in Florida
New comics, overall down 3.2%.  Within that…
• DC Comics down 10.4%.
• Marvel Comics down 3%.
• Image Comics down 27.1%.*
• BOOM! Studios down 28%.
• Dark Horse Comics down 25.6%.
• Indie comics down 36.7%.
• Manga up 28%.

Other categories:
• Back issues up 7%.
• Funko up 29.4%.

 

So only manga, Funko pops, and back issues are doing well here.

 

John Robinson, Graham Crackers, 13 stores mostly in metro Chicago
• Overall chainwide sales down 4%.
• Backlist graphic novel sales down 10%.
• New indie comics (everything except Marvel and DC) down 5%.
• Back issues down 1%.

 

Everything is down here.

Jen King, Space Cadets Collection; Oak Ridge North, Texas
• Overall store sales down 3.5%.
• Graphic novels down 8%.
• All comics, new and back issues combined, down 48%.
• All items NOT comics or graphic novels, up 6%.

 

Everything is down EXCEPT items that aren’t a comic or a graphic novel.

 

ICv2 compares this to a boom/bust cycle, pointing out that Image Comics sales are down 27% at Coliseum, but the store also saw a 4% increase in January – May 2022, which was preceded by a 38% increase in 2021. They argue that the industry hasn’t necessarily lost the gains it saw in 2021 and 2022. Interesting that their only manga numbers are positive.

 

They also admit that “nothing lasts forever.”

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Jamison Ashley

Comic geek, movie nerd, father, and husband - but not necessarily in that order. Former captain of this ship o' fools secretly training everyone's computers and snarkphone spell-checkers to misspell 'supposebly.'

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