The Comic Book Industry Death Rattle.

The “Cancel Pigs” of the comic book industry have gotten what they seemingly wanted — a smaller industry, more controllable industry just for them. But it’s come at the cost of, well, basically the viability of the direct market. Shops are closing almost weekly. Publishers are hanging on by their fingertips. Creators are begging for cash on social media. But hey, ScreenRant says things have never been better…

Additional Context:
Over the past few years, the comic book industry has faced significant challenges, with a notable impact on comic book shops and sales of Marvel and DC comics. Many comic book retailers have expressed concerns about declining sales and the difficulties of staying in business. For example, Rod Lamberti, the owner of Rodman Comics in Ankeny, Iowa, admitted that sales of new comics at his store were slowing down. He cited low sales for recent issues of popular titles like Iron Man, Hulk, and Green Lantern, indicating a broader trend of decreasing interest in new releases from Marvel and DC​​.

The struggles faced by comic book shops are not only due to declining sales of new issues but also due to operational challenges. For instance, Geoffrey’s Comics, one of Los Angeles’ oldest comic shops, cited several reasons for its closure, including the impact of COVID-19, increased competition from online retailers and other outlets, and changes in the distribution of Marvel and DC comics. These changes made the process of ordering and selling comics more complicated for retailers​​.

Moreover, a comic retailer warned that the industry might be on the brink of collapse unless major changes are enacted. This warning points to systemic issues within the industry, such as over-reliance on variant covers, convoluted events, incessant reboots, and changes in character identities that have not resonated with long-term fans. The retailer highlighted the need for more affordable comics, fewer covers, better editing, and storytelling that resonates with the iconic nature of the characters​​.

Despite these challenges, it’s important to note that the overall comic book industry (mostly Japanese manga) has shown resilience in terms of revenue. In 2020, sales of comic books and graphic novels reached an all-time high of $1.28 billion, continuing a trend of rising sales over the past decades. The global comic book industry is expected to grow further, reaching nearly $4.69 billion by 2026​​.

This complex situation reflects the evolving landscape of the comic book industry, where traditional retail is struggling while overall sales figures suggest growth, primarily driven by graphic novels and a diversity of distribution channels beyond the direct market.

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