Do people still buy newspapers at newsstands? It's a question that has been asked more and more in recent years, especially when it comes to comics. Despite the surge in superhero movies and live-action adaptations, comic book sales have not seen a corresponding increase. In fact, the opposite has occurred - the comic book industry has been in decline. So why is this happening? One possible explanation is that just because people watch the movie doesn't mean they're going to buy comics.
To find Western titles that don't feature overly muscular characters, you'll need to visit one of the increasingly scarce comic book stores. Another suggestion is to turn the single-issue comic into an anthological number of several hundred pages and containing several stories supported by popular characters. The comic book industry has been heavily reliant on Diamond, a company founded in 1982 which distributed almost all comics from publishers large and small to retail stores across the country. This became known as the “direct market system”.
To help boost sales, Free Comic Book Day was created - an event which has now become a holiday celebrated by comic book stores around the world. However, with the closure of its main distributor, DC Comics, the second largest comic book publisher in North America, responded by parting ways with Diamond after a quarter of a century of business together. This had a huge impact on comic book stores who no longer had foot traffic and therefore did not earn money and were therefore forced to close. Today, 90% of all comics are still sold in independent retail stores, and kiosks and digital services such as Amazon Kindle represent only one digit.
If you're looking for something more direct than giant top-of-the-line stocks, an investment platform called Otis Funds has a fund that invests in collectibles such as art, video games, trading cards, sneakers and, you guessed it, comics. Despite all the superhero movies out there, the comic book companies themselves aren't even worth a billion. Schatz could be right about his suggestion to turn single-issue comics into anthologies - this format has dominated comic book sales in recent years. However, investing in comics as a financial strategy requires knowledge, skill, experience and a lot of luck. Over the years, Diamond bought smaller and rival distributors to achieve a virtual monopoly on comic book distribution since the mid-90s. Superhero movies are certainly thriving, but those 10- and 11-figure movie franchises are based on comics that used to cost a penny.
Nearly twenty years later, Free Comic Book Day is still going on - an event which helped to save the comic book industry.