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Orders for comic books have hit a twenty year high

18 September 2016

From The Verge:

Propelled by DC’s Rebirth series, distributor Diamond Comics has shipped 10.26 million copies to comic book stores in North America this past August, according to industry analyst John Jackson Miller.

According to Miller, the figures for August were largely driven by DC Comics, which sold nine out of the ten bestselling issues, with Harley Quinn #1 as the top seller.

. . . .

10.26 million units is a significant figure, because the last time stores ordered in that volume was December 1996. In the following years, the industry faced some significant troubles, with its total market share dropping to $255 million in sales in 2000. Since then, it has dramatically rebounded, with an estimated $940 million in sales last year.

Vulture points to the huge number of comic book adaptations in theaters as a likely reason for the dramatic growth in sales in recent years.

Link to the rest at The Verge and thanks to Jan for the tip.

Graphic Novels/Comics

34 Comments to “Orders for comic books have hit a twenty year high”

  1. And they’re so much more cultured these days … 😉

  2. Almost anything would be better than the New 52…

    • I just read the firs Justice League trade that launched with the new 52. It wasn’t too bad. I liked how they handled Wonder Woman. The government freaking out she was so powerful and all she wanted to do was fight all the time.

      • Then this will be one of the rare instances where our tastes do not agree, Jo.

        Both WW and Aquaman got turned into a bloodthirsty maniacs, Superman ditched Lois, Supes and Bats personalities were switched, GL’s personality was modeled after the Ryan Reynolds movie, and as a die-hard Titans fan, Cyborg should be with them, not the JLA.

        The only good thing out of the New 52 is Barry Allen is back.

        • But his costume got butchered. What used to be one of the sleekest and classiest looks got turned into one of the tackiest.
          Unlike the Crisis of 1985, where DC revitalized their entire line by seamlessly folding in the Charlton and Quality characters, the New52 Wildstorming was anything but seamless. It stripped away the recognizable personalities of most of the characters. They hit rock bottom with fight club Biker Dude Superman.
          It is amusing that in REBIRTH they admitted that the NEW 52 was literally hopeless, a universe stripped of hope.
          The strong sales are good news but the New52 started out strong too. They seem to have learned a lesson Marvel apparently hasn’t yet learned about how it is better to tell stories about their characters doing things than stories that do things to the characters.
          So far the stories are focusing on bringing back the characters’ personalities front and center and undoing as much of the chaos of the new52 where it seemed nobody had a life, much less a personality.
          The best arc so far is SUPERMAN who is truly shining in his new status quo of family man.
          Between that and the return of the classic Titans they stand a chance tp rebuild the readership they drove away with the Wildstorming.

        • Noooo they made her bloodthirsty? That didn’t come through in the handful of issues I read. It came through as loving to fight. I only read a few though.

          I thought the Green Lantern depiction was strange. They made him far more childish than a Lantern would be. It’s Hal Jordan too, right? Not Guy Gardner? I can see Guy being more of a kid. Not Jordan though.


          My Fav DC story over the last few years is probably Injustice.

          • Angie hasn’t popped in here for a while, but DO NOT get her started on the butchering of the Hal Jordan GL between the movie and the New 52. 😆

            *hisss* *makes cross with index fingers* Don’t even mention G.G.! Some idiot at WB will think that’s a good idea!

            Personally, I liked the Jon Stewart GL stories best.

            On the other hand, don’t get me started on what they did to WW between Straczynski’s run and 52. Just the hint of Gal Gadot’s version in BvS made me feel a little better.

        • Good call on Cyborg. I like him as a Teen. I’ll take Shazam as the ‘kid’ on the Justice League.

          I have a Teen Titans book I need to read. I’m hoping they have Miss Martian.

        • I’ve never been much of a DC reader, but as soon as I learned that they broke up Clark and Lois, the New 52 was dead to me. (This has more to do with comics leaders’ hatred of marriage and love of ‘playing the field’ than it does with me being a hardcore Clark/Lois shipper.)

          • Don’t want to get into it with Martin and Felix below 😆 , but I think Clark and Lois’s married relationship was the one thing Byrnes did right on his Superman run.

            The old stereotype of marrieds as boring doesn’t work anymore. I got some s**t from other writers about a couple of erotica stories I published, each involving a married couple. They are my two best sellers. The stereotype is another case of NY and LA not being in touch with the rest of the country.

            And Supes with WW? Nah. I like playing off opposites. Bruce and Diana always made more sense to me.

            • Byrne went out of his way to show *why* Supes and Diana wouldn’t work. Mostly it was farm boy v cosmopolitan goddess. They really had little in common beside their hero personas and right there was the biggest problem: for Byrne (and Wolfman) Superman was a disguise for Clark whereas Diana Prince is WW’s disguise.
              Bruce, of course, is no farm boy and in most versions Bruce is the disguise and Bats is the true personality so the dynamic works better.

              • I give Byrne credit for deft handling two of the most common romance Hero tropes. The folks that produced Lois & Clark and the JLA animated series took the ideas and ran with them, letting each relationship develop organically, which attracted a variety of viewers that normally wouldn’t tune in to a “kiddie” show.

              • Not that I want Supes and WW together, but….

                WW spent her whole life on one island, with the same small bunch of women. You can’t get more small-town than a single polis.

                I’m pretty sure that religious and cultural differences would be the real problem. Also, who would do all the weaving for the household?

            • “The old stereotype of marrieds as boring doesn’t work anymore. I got some s**t from other writers about a couple of erotica stories I published, each involving a married couple. They are my two best sellers. The stereotype is another case of NY and LA not being in touch with the rest of the country.”

              I totally agree. I’m not even married, and I know that people don’t suddenly become boring when the get married. I *prefer* stories like you describe. The idea that sex is suddenly boring when people are married (or that people no longer have an interesting relationship once they’re married) is so short-sighted and shallow I can’t even.

  3. Martin L. Shoemaker

    Now if only the DC film people would take note and start making films about the classic characters that they own, not a bunch of dark parallel universe doppelgangers.

    • Actually, they are.
      The movies have been *slowly* moving in that direction from the beginning.
      SUICIDE SQUAD was actually classic SS from its 80’s/90’s heydey. The movie had pacing issues and the director misused INCUBUS (to the point he wasn’t even named) but the characters themselves were all on point.
      The DC movies are a narrative arc all their own and so far the bulk of the criticism is coming from outside the DC COMICS fandom. Unlike the New52 versions the movie versions come straight from the comics, not TV or previous movies.
      Pretty much everything on the movies comes from one comic story or another, chapter and verse.
      They are making some changes, though, and accelerating the global narrative.
      By all indications WW and JL will continue the evolution of that world that started out as dark and nasty as ours and slowly grows brighter *because* of the actions of the heroes.
      Just don’t expect dance-off finales in DC movies.

      • Martin L. Shoemaker

        Snyder’s Superman is no Superman at all. It’s a mockery of the character. If that’s the character in the New 52, then good riddance.

        • Did you ever read the Byrne run from the 80’s to the 90’s?
          He killed kryptonians.
          The earliest Superman stories were pretty harsh too.
          Throwing people off rooftops, crushing cars with crooks in them.
          The current version is (again) the Byrne era version that married the brown-haired Lois and never was a wimpy Clark Kent.
          He spent a decade wandering the world, helping people in secret. And he was totally afraid to go public until forced.
          The movie was a pretty good adaptation of those stories with a chunk of the more recent SUPERMAN:EARTH ONE graphic novel.
          Over the years plenty of stories have focused on his alienation from humanity.
          Snyder is well within the character’s history.
          He’s just mining the comics not remaking the Chris Reeve movies. Which didn’t work at all.
          Like it or not Man of Steel and BvS made WB a ton of money.
          So they may be tweaking the lighting but the narrative arc taking him from outsider to iconic hero stays. Just like the recent DARK KNIGHT trilogy, MAN OF STEEL is an extended story.
          Again, the comics fans, those who know the characters best have no problem.

          • Martin L. Shoemaker

            Yes, I read the Byrne run. Killing the Kryptonians was an end to a very long story arc. It was a mistake, in my opinion, but Byrne set it up so t made sense in context.

            But I never mentioned killing Zod. Snyder went off the rails so much sooner than that, by the time the killing happened, it didn’t matter. He had already jumped the shark.

            After saving the oil rig, why did Clark steal clothes? From that scene, it was clear that Snyder didn’t understand the character. Clark had no need for the clothes. If somehow we ignore that and say he needed them, he had no need to steal them. He could’ve bartered labor for them, chopping wood or cleaning the yard. Superman does not steal just because he can.

            And I respectfully suggest that you think twice before speaking for all comics fans or assuming I don’t know the character. I’ve been reading him for 50 years, all incarnations.

          • Wait, are we saying the Christopher Reeves movies didn’t work? Like they weren’t good or something?

            Or that comics fans weren’t the ones objecting to the emo city destroyer in Man of Steel? It was, like, ignorant trolls or something?

            Haha. I’m not sure we could have a more polar opposite view of the Reeves movies. And the part about comics fans having no problem with the movie? That’s just factually incorrect. Several Superman writers came out against the movie’s depiction of Superman and a huge portion of the fanbase didn’t care for it either.

            • Oh, no, the first two Chris Reeve movies were fine…for the times. Despite the cringeworthy Luthor arcs. Otis. Miss Tessmarker. Saving cats from trees.
              (We’ll pretend the other movies didn’t happen, right? Especially Quest for Peace.)
              They were adapting the only Superman that existed at the time.
              But that was 40 years ago.
              The modern Superman is a very different character and the mold was set by Byrne and Wolfman. After a generation of that guy, trying to go back to the Reeve version (with minor twists) with Brandon Routh fell flat. It didn’t fit these times.
              As for the current movies most of the complaints I see are about things they got right by the current character’s standards. Some complaints ignore details clearly spelled out in the movies, especially with regards to BvS.
              But in Man of Steel the whole complaint about the battle is hollow since in the comics entire cities get levelled regularly. The better stories deal with it, others just shove the consequences off screen, like the Marvel movies, which is not what Snyder did. He showed exactly what these beings would be like in the real world. If anything, he underplayed the speed of battle and the number of casualties.

              I always thought the Supes movie should’ve been titled MAN OF STEEL, WORLD OF CARDBOARD.
              (With apologies to Larry Niven. 🙂 )

              • Just a quick interjection because the scene in Superman III where in Clark fights Superman is my favorite few minutes of Superman ever conceived, and one of my prized possessions is a card that contains a piece of the cape used in the movie.

                I mean, yes, highlight in an otherwise low movie. But so great!

                I kind of wish rather than Dark Knight Batman they’d gone for Superman: Peace on Earth.

                He showed exactly what these beings would be like in the real world. If anything, he underplayed the speed of battle and the number of casualties.

                Can’t argue here, but wanted to mention Chronicle as an example of real-world super battle (and powers) done really well.

        • Man of Steel is an interesting depiction of Superman from someone who has very little appreciation for the character, no concept of what made the character special to fans over the decades.

          If you realize early you are watching an elseworld Superman movie it can be fun. You have to ignore major plot, character, and logic holes, but as a comics fan I can deal with that.

          And since the issue of nerd cred has come up, I’ll mention that I wrote a BvS script and sent it to WB. I didn’t hear anything, of course. 🙂

          The gist of the screenplay was Batman big brothering Superman for being such a crappy superhero.

          “You may be super, but you’re no hero. Heroes don’t destroy cities.”

          Batman basically helps Superman become the Superman we all know and love. The icon of hope and light in a dark world. The All-Star Superman.

          Then the Penguin kills Robin, at the behest of Lex Luther, and Superman has to save Batman from going off the rails.

          Oh the bromance! 🙂

          • You weren’t far from Snyder’s view.
            People seem to forget BvS bats is essentially Dark Knight Batman. 20 years at it with little if anything to show for it. And he was doing it alone. No JL. No Outsiders. No Titans.
            And yes, treating it as an Elseworlds is sensible. That is the strength of the DC multiverse. You see the characters against different backgrounds, different eras. What if Kal-el’s rocket landed in 20’s Germany? Stalin’s Russia? 1990’s America?
            It’s not 1938 out there. Not 1977.
            Very different societies produce different people.
            Long time comics readers are used to this and accept it.
            The characters remain relevant by evolving with the times.
            There are lots of people to whom THE FLASH will always be Wally West, Green Lantern Kyle “crabface” Rayner, and Barbara Gordon is Oracle. Decades worth of good stories make it so.
            And in another decade many will think the one true Green Lantern is Jessica Cruz. 🙂

  4. For people who move their lips when they read…

  5. Wow! I am way impressed at the depth of knowledge here, which emboldens me to ask a technical question:

    Given an iPad, is there an argument for digital viewing of Marvel/DC/etc. comics these days, or is that still pretty hopeless? I ask from a position of interest in graphic design rather than story — the layouts, gutters, etc.

    If so, what apps should I be looking for? Anything that works for both Android and Apple?

    — Now returning you to your regularly scheduled comments —

    • Martin L. Shoemaker

      Comixology CAN be impressive, but only if the comic company uses it to full effect. It has a “popout” mode where you see the page, but then individual panels or sometimes parts of panels pop out larger as you swipe through. Instead of swiping by page, you swipe by panel or detail.

      When done well, the effect is powerful. I’ve probably read Watchmen a couple of dozen times; but when I read it digitally for the first time, it was a new experience. Tiny little details I had missed were popped out so that I saw them for the first time. No spoilers for a 30-year-old series, but the antagonist was even more ahead of things than I had realized.

      But that takes time and attention, thinking of how best to present the panels in a flow that’s half way between a comic and a movie. Most publishers do nothing more than pop out the panels in order — which is still nice, but not nearly as effective.

      • Ya made me look… Just picked up the 1st vol. of Saga, via Amazon, into my Comixology iPad app. Took me a while to deal with the no in-app “BUY” button (that’s a hour I’ll never get back), but I’m happy now.

        Another day, another damn technology learning curve.

      • Speaking of Watchmen, have you checked out REBIRTH?

        • Martin L. Shoemaker

          Most of the #1s. I liked them, but I’m afraid they’ll reboot my comic habit. Now that I’m a writer, I fear the time sink.

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