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In a Declining Comics Market, DC Beats Marvel (hollywoodreporter.com) 159

An anonymous reader quotes the Hollywood Reporter: Looking at the most-ordered comic books in the North American comic market, DC Entertainment had a particularly strong year, with seven of the top 10 issues of the year being published by the home of Superman, Batman and the Justice League... just three years ago, not one DC title made it to the list, with nine titles coming from Marvel alone. (By comparison, Marvel takes just three places this year, with one of those due to its inclusion in a subscription mystery box service)... Perhaps surprisingly, the big winner of 2017 looking at the top 10 list is DC's crossover between its DC Universe and Watchmen properties. The first issue of the Doomsday Clock series charted third â" and could end up higher on the final list for the year, depending on re-order numbers in December â" but all four issues of the prologue storyline "The Button," from summer issues of Batman and The Flash, also made it into the top 10.

it's worth noting that, across the board, order numbers for comics in the North American market fell 10 percent compared with last year. The market is shrinking, unless something turns it around soon... One last thing to note about the year's top 10, and also the comic market as it currently exists in general: It's probably time to stop pretending that mass media projects significantly impact comic book orders. In a year with Justice League, Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Logan, Thor: Ragnarok and Spider-Man: Homecoming in theaters, there isn't a Justice League, Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy, Wolverine, Thor or Spider-Man title in the top 10. Indeed, Marvel has just canceled the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series.

Mavel had the most-ordered comic book of the year -- Marvel Legacy No. 1 -- though the article notes that all of its numbers are inevitably skewed by "ordering incentives put in place by publishers that require that a certain number of copies are ordered by stores in order to achieve a specific discount."
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In a Declining Comics Market, DC Beats Marvel

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  • SJW Marvel (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Kunedog ( 1033226 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @01:55PM (#55835265)
    Maybe it helps that DC headliners haven't (yet) been replaced with disastrous forced diversity versions?
    • What diversity versions are you talking about? The two examples one could most argue are "forced diversity versions" (never mind that not having almost all characters be white might actually be a reasonable thing given actual real life demographics) are Miles Morales as an alternate universe Spider-Man https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spider-Man_(Miles_Morales) [wikipedia.org] and Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ms._Marvel_(Kamala_Khan)#Sales [wikipedia.org]. The Morales version of Spider-Man has had its own series i
      • Re:SJW Marvel (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 30, 2017 @02:31PM (#55835445)

        Female Thor.
        Black, female Iron Man.

        They've also made established characters gay now, like Iceman.

        • I kind of enjoyed NAZI Captain America. Can't imagine how that would turn people off the character.

      • by elrous0 ( 869638 )

        How about America [marvel.com]? A comic that Marvel promoted the hell out of, written by an openly virulent man-hating anti-white racist? This was a comic from Marvel, mind you (not some indie company), which featured a superhero who attacked white people and men in every issue--a comic from Marvel that portrayed white men as the ultimate villains in society.

        Hey, remember when comic books used to have a broad market, including both kids and adults? Well, would anyone in their RIGHT FUCKING MIND want their kid reading Am

    • If you look at old superman comics, especially the ones devoted to Lois Lane. You would see lots of covers depiciting Superman physically abusing Lois in order to "educate her". You can say that these are "patriarchial" just as much as today's comics are SJW. However, I think that this is just part of a general trend. When art is done purely for big money, it will eventually try to satisfy big money by acting as a propoganda vessel.

      • by Kohath ( 38547 )

        ...it will eventually try to satisfy big money by acting as a propoganda vessel.

        "Big money" doesn't control the readers. Propaganda doesn't sell unless you're telling the readers what they want to hear.

        • by DeVilla ( 4563 )

          You know, I don't get the impression that's true. Certainly, some folks only want to see things that reinforces their existing beliefs, but some of the most interesting works are those that introduce something different. But they have to do so in a compelling way with characters that behave in believable ways (given the nature of their fictional environment, such as a world where super powers exist).

          The focus has to be the story & the characters and how to convey that to the audience. I haven't seen

    • No way (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Kohath ( 38547 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @02:54PM (#55835561)

      -Who doesn't enjoy preachy fiction stories?
      -Why wouldn't a story written to fill diversity quotas be as compelling as a story written to entertain?
      -Don't comic book readers want to worship the latest designated victim class members?
      -Why doesn't the regular comic book audience appreciate the new characters adaptations that are meant to appeal to a new, completely different audience who have never been much into comic books?

      It sure is a mystery what's going on.

      • Part of the problem might be that there are about a million titles these days, and product fatigue is probably an issue. How many books do I have to read to keep up with whatever wolverine and spider-man are doing each month? Back in the 80's it would have been about 3. In addition, there a huge number of independent titles and publishers getting in on the game, so there is more competition for readers than ever.

        On top of that, re-writing all the classic heroes to be more ethnically and gender diverse is
        • You can replace a character with a different version and have it work. DC did so repeatedly with Green Lantern and despite the fact that they ended up with multiple Green Lanterns at the same time it seems to work well. The various iterations of Blue Beetle are another example (although BB is a lower-tier character than GL, of course). You do need to be very careful about doing this with A-listers but it can work if done right and in good measure.

          The main problem is that Marvel hasn't been careful at all;
    • by Z80a ( 971949 )

      I don't think it was the diversity itself, but the whining.
      This "cult" is basically unable to make actually cool characters because the politics IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER and must be hammered and forced down the throat, at a point there's this female thor comic that does very whiny references to the freaking gamergate.

      Meanwhile, everyone, including the intended "minority audience" just move away to japanese mangas and anime, as they deliver the cool stuff.

    • as such things go. And you'll find plenty of SJW [google.com] stuff in DC. I suspect it's more to do with the movie universe making it's way into the comics and turning off the more hardcore, which are generally the only ones that buy more than an issue or two or maybe a graphic novel when a new movie comes out.

      By the way, I know this is an intensely unpopular opinion but am I the only one that finds it odd that social justice is a bad word? Yeah, yeah, the crazy feminist who runs your local community college's woma
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Ol Olsoc ( 1175323 )

        as such things go. And you'll find plenty of SJW [google.com] stuff in DC. I suspect it's more to do with the movie universe making it's way into the comics and turning off the more hardcore, which are generally the only ones that buy more than an issue or two or maybe a graphic novel when a new movie comes out.

        There was a movie meme trend in recent years of the cute, tiny woman who gains super powers somehow, and goes off on a spree of killing men.

        By the way, I know this is an intensely unpopular opinion but am I the only one that finds it odd that social justice is a bad word?

        Actual social justice should ab a lofty goal. But the warriors are not necessarily about justice. Often it is revenge, or just another form of hate.

        Yeah, yeah, the crazy feminist who runs your local community college's woman's studies program is pretty annoying, amiright? But then you've got Harvey Weinstein.

        Ah, just the right place to start. Instead of properly attac

        • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

          Yeah, yeah, the crazy feminist who runs your local community college's woman's studies program is pretty annoying, amiright? But then you've got Harvey Weinstein.

          Ah, just the right place to start. Instead of properly attacking the problem of creepy fucks like Weinstein, the crazy feminists you speak of go the #metoo route. Which is making more problems than it fixes. A world where due process is thrown out with the pursuit of justice isn't going to be quite like most women want.

          To be perfectly honest, it seems more like those "male feminist allies" are the problem, [youtu.be] and since they can't compete any other way they're using the ally path as a means of reproduction. It's not dissimilar to the anti-gamergaters, who turn out to be committing sexual assault, rape, and calling in bomb threats. Projection all the fucking way down. [twitter.com] In a year or two, it won't surprise me if this becomes similar to the "anti-gay firebrand" who ends up being caught engaging in the exact stuff that they were

          • To be perfectly honest, it seems more like those "male feminist allies" are the problem, [youtu.be] and since they can't compete any other way they're using the ally path as a means of reproduction.

            Now there is a coincidence. I just watched Sargon's video last night. Its a tough slog to get through, but I think he made it that way as an object lesson. Name after name after name - crime after crime after crime. There sure seems to be a correlation between abusing women and the white knights that presumably are male feminists.

            Projection all the fucking way down. In a year or two, it won't surprise me if this becomes similar to the "anti-gay firebrand" who ends up being caught engaging in the exact stuff that they were railing against.

            Projection isn't that hard to find. Any zealot is of interest. Then if you get into a discussion with them, you're treated to an accusation that somehow some way, you support rape

            • by Mashiki ( 184564 )

              That's a good reply and I agree with a lot of it. But really it's going to be a far deeper shitpile that we go through before any sense of normalcy and reason comes back into this. That is providing society doens't come crashing down around our ears first.

  • Focus (Score:5, Interesting)

    by gurps_npc ( 621217 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @01:56PM (#55835273) Homepage

    Marvel focuses on movies and does a good job there, leaving their second string people to work on the comics.

    • Yeah that is my nightmare scenario right there: comics market declining and these companies deciding to focus on cranking out more godawful superhero crap for the silver screen.
      • It's not all total crap. Wonder Woman was one of the more entertaining movies that I watched in the past year. But yeah, the rest were forgettable.

        • Seriously? It had some good explosions, but I tried finding a single point in the movie where the characters actions actually made sense given their backgrounds and motivations, and couldn't find a single one. Maybe if you've read the comics, there's enough extra backstory for it to make sense, but it was basically run, jump, do nonsensical thing, explosion, all the way through.
          • Except for the big fight scene at the end, the action was not really as you describe. Far more bullet dodging and hand-to-hand combat until the very end. But even so, that sort of action is expected at a bare minimum in a Superhero movie. I thought the story seemed OK - I mean, obviously you have to accept the alternate history and the supernatural stuff. The magic truth-telling lasso is certainly an interesting way to dodge the whole trust issue that would have naturally cropped up. You can pick stuff apar

      • Why is it a nightmare scenario? It would allow new actors to tke center stage. Hell, I would be very happy if marvel and dc just disappeared of the face of the earth.

  • by JoshuaZ ( 1134087 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @01:57PM (#55835281) Homepage
    Marvel has done really well with their movies, but they've screwed themselves over in multiple ways with their comics. The biggest is that continuing their disagreement with Fox, where Fox still has the rights to X-Men movie franchises, and Marvel isn't happy about that, they kept Wolverine dead for 3 years, which in comic time is almost an eternity http://www.iswolverinestilldead.com/ [iswolverinestilldead.com]. This seems to have been essentially because he was one of the most popular of the X-Men characters. So they were willing to shoot themselves in the foot in order to be able to say "screw you" to Fox even as it only hurt Marvel's bottom line. The last few years, Marvel has had a lot of little petty things like this that haven't helped the brand.
    • by steveha ( 103154 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @05:10PM (#55836135) Homepage

      What you say could be true, but I think the SJW campaign is probably the biggest reason. It's not just Wolverine.

      X-23 is wearing Wolverine's old costume and going by the name "Wolverine" now. Tony Stark is gone, and a teenaged black girl is Iron Man now. (Her name is "IronHeart" but the comic book is still named Iron Man.). Thor is gone and a woman picked up the hammer (she was worthy). Spider-Man isn't gone but there is a second, Hispanic Spider-Man, plus comics where Gen Stacy became Spider-Gwen. They killed Captain America and had Falcon (a black guy) become the new Captain America. There's even a new Hulk, an Asian guy.

      In short, SJW Marvel seems to have had a policy of getting rid of the white male versions of their most popular characters, so they could swap in more diverse versions.

      There are two huge problems. One is little kids seeing the movies and wanting to buy comics featuring the same characters; none are for sale. They have been walling off their own comics, preventing new customers from becoming fans! The other is that they forgot that their core mission is to tell good stories and entertain their customers... none of this diversity stuff was in service to the story, in fact the stories have been very poor.

      There is a guy on YouTube whose channel name is "Diversity and Comics" and he has covered all this. He says that SJW Marvel has been hiring people based on who they are, not their experience making comics. The character of America Chavez is a lesbian female, and Marvel hired a lesbian female to write the comics. But she had no comics experience, and she has done a terrible job of writing comics that fans want to read.

      It seems clear that the corporate overlords are out of patience with SJW Marvel. The editor-in-chief was recently replaced, and all signs are that the new guy is going to axe the SJW campaign and try to give the fans what they want. The SJW usual suspects are melting down over this. A half-dozen comics with extremely poor sales were cancelled and the blog coverage was all about the impact this will have on diversity.

      If the new editor-in-chief can turn things around, 2018 could be a much better year for Marvel. Most of their problems were self-inflicted.

    • Marvel is focused on cutting out the middle man - those that sell comics. They want to make digital sales direct to a customer tablet. This way they can offer attractive prices and leverage one comic to advertise another. For this they have attractive mobile applications that works quite well. While developing this comic distribution system it is inevitable that the physical comic sales will decline. It is not a sign that the comics are bad but a sign that they are moving to a different distribution channe

      • by Rande ( 255599 )

        Tried it. Western comics suck on a tablet with all the required scrolling.
        Manga is just about tolerable as most pages are readable without scrolling or zooming.

    • The biggest is that continuing their disagreement with Fox, where Fox still has the rights to X-Men movie franchises

      Don't even get me started about the Fantastic Four and the Sony contract. At least X-men fans got a ton of great movies! The Fantastic Four is the runt-that-can't of comic book movies...every incarnation, an utter failure... and every one should have been thrown in the nearest tar pit.

  • Indeed, Marvel has just canceled the Guardians of the Galaxy comic book series.

    Well, to be fair, the new movie kinda sucked balls. It's as if the director said "let's refilm the first movie, but simplify the plot, add more explosions, and make all the acting reminiscent of a middle school play".

    I wouldn't have expected it to drum up comic book sales.

    • I was amazed at how surreal that movie was. The basic plot outline was OK. The sound and visual effects excellent. The acting wasn't bad. But the whole thing felt like no one was taking anything terribly seriously, all the way out to the credits. It was like they were a comedy troop or something, or like the actors themselves didn't even enter the suspension of disbelief. All that was missing were overt breakages of the 4th wall. Very strange way to spend hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • The corporatization of comics along with the yearly "big event" (bigger than the year before) in which heros, die, are reborn, lose powers (and maybe limbs), gain powers (and maybe limbs), are transported to alternative realms and the Earth, humanity or the universe is fundamentally changed in some way. These big events seem to be set up simply for having a movie that people can look forwards to down the line. Over the past 15 years or so, there's been a real loss of character driven stories and arcs whic

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Judge Dredd is probably the most famous, long-running comic book hero who has an independent publisher.

  • As stated on the first link, IDW is doing a better job at getting artist driven comics out. The appalling thing of artist driven comics is that they can start a new story from scratch, sometimes being fresh. DC and Marvel comics are hard to get involved in them when they need to cater for both long standing fans and drive new fans into it. It is a difficult mix. As a comparison, just imagine trying to get into "Lost" at the fourth season, and not knowing there are going to be even six seasons. There are jus
  • Of course this is just a data point, but it goes with the general trend.

    Kids are getting exposed to comic characters but not that interested in the comics themselves.

    My kids were exposed to comic books at a young age. They're 11 and 14 now and love the trade paperbacks (but are not at all interested in getting individual issues).

    Their friends, for the most part, just like the movies and TV shows and aren't at all interested in the back stories from the comics.

    My personal take on DC beating Marvel this year

  • Why buy the individual issues when they're just going to come out with a trade paperback?

  • I remember back when I was a kid, that I got into comics because of Star Wars, and bought a lot of Star Wars comics.

    Even more recently after watching Firefly, first the TV series then the movie, I was really happy to find the related comics.

    That's why to me it's such a surprise the very popular movies are not driving comic book sales, at all, to the point where (as mentioned and a surprise to me) they are cancelling Guardians of the Galaxy comics!

    Now i have to admit, it's not like I sought out Marvel comics

  • Thank god (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArchieBunker ( 132337 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @02:50PM (#55835531) Homepage

    So tired of a new comic book movie every fucking month.

    • So long as they keep making money, the studios will keep making them. If enough people feel as you do, the studios will move on to something else.

      I feel the same way about vampire/supernatural hunter shows on TV. The number of these shows is incredible in this post-Buffy age, but the quality, at least of the ones I've seen, is pretty appalling. And yet the genre has a huge number of viewers, so as long as people are willing to tune in in the numbers they do, these shows will continue to propagate.

  • by sandbagger ( 654585 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @03:21PM (#55835697)

    Pandering to a non existent market by destroying your core characters by replacing them with well intentioned morally improving replacements is not the solution.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Marvel was hijacked by a group of SJW types that nearly destroyed Marvel a few years ago. Marvel already had a lot of diversity before this but the SJW writers decided that they wanted to purge all of the white male heterosexuals from their customer base. I'm not exaggerating or being dishonest about that statement. They literally were openly attacking 95% of their customers and started catering exclusively to trans, gays and oppressed "minorities." Naturally, calling a bunch of left leaning nerds a bunch o

  • You heard me, go read fucking Snagglepuss. This is why DC is kicking Marvel in the dick on sales.

  • by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Saturday December 30, 2017 @05:11PM (#55836141)

    Young females don't apparently buy comic books in large numbers.

    And apparently minorities don't buy comic books in large numbers.

    It is reasonable to say, "Well all the stars are white male so why would women and minorities buy the comics?" but shifting the focus drove away existing customers and hasn't resulted in enough extra sales to women and minorities.

    That being said- the reasons I stopped buying comic books had to do with price and dystopic topics. When I was a kid they were a cheap product that cost the same as a Hershey almond bar or a bottle of coke at the convenience store.

    Today, they are double to triple the price. Really, two comic books which I could read in 20 minutes cost as much as a book which will take hours to read. Comic books production values are too high for the child audience so children never pick up the habit.

    Second- I was an iron man fan-- until the 5th or 7th time he fell off the wagon. I don't read comic book stories to feel unending misery for literally *years*. I want to be happy, inspired, surprised for my money.

    On a minor note, I do not like it when they rebrand an existing I.P. When they take Thor and make it someone else, I have no interest in the story. Make a new hero- don't step on my childhood I.P.

    I have the same issue with The Last Jedi. Make a *new* movie with new characters if you want to make a dystopic piece of crap in a "no win" universe. Don't ruin my childhood I.P. or I will stop giving you my money.

    (and on that note: TLJ box office is down by over 50% per day compared to TFA- no one wants to see it twice- and fewer want to see it even once because its such a nasty, toxic piece of work. For bonus points- merchansiding orders are down 47% too. That's going to get Disney's attention- I hope they fired Kennedy and put someone who l actually likes the films and characters like the executive producer over the MCU).

  • by Qbertino ( 265505 ) <moiraNO@SPAMmodparlor.com> on Saturday December 30, 2017 @05:43PM (#55836273)

    ... market USians still think "superhero comics" == "comics".

    Meanwhile European, Franco-Belgian and Japanese comics still make up 95% of the total of all comics and are still doing perfectly fine.

    There, FTFY.

    In other news:

    "Are marvel and DC fans finally discovering how shitty, bland, boring, overpriced and repetitive their favorite comics are?"

    "DC comic readers head explodes from overload after catching glimpse of Franco-Belgian hardcover by Vance & van Hamme"

    "Marvel enthusiast dies of heart attack and endorphine overdose after repeatedly masturbating to French Milo Manara album."

    "US Superhero fan sells all belongings, moves to southern Europe after enchanting read of Coseys "A trip to Italy" comic"

    "Euro comic shipment arrives at US borders. Marvel & DC stock plummets."

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Yeah, those fucking lazy pervs, man-haters and potential suicide bombers in the Social Justice/Gender Pronoun/Feminism/ReligionOfPeace movements are really good at bringing social pressure and demanding change. They're good at proposing shitty ideas for deranging your current product lineups. And they'll beat on you long enough that, eventually, it might ALMOST sounds like a not-totally-bad idea!

    And hey! You might break open a new market!

    You know what they're all NOT good at?

    BUYING COMIC BOOKS!

    Sure, once

  • by slashmydots ( 2189826 ) on Sunday December 31, 2017 @01:47PM (#55839489)
    Here's the TD;DR version of Marvel in the last few years. They let SJWs take over to look progressive and all the customers left.

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