Movies & TV / Columns

Should We Be Worried About the Comic Book Sales Slump?

May 10, 2017 | Posted by Steve Gustafson

I’m Steve Gustafson and thanks for stopping by. Don’t forget to check out 411mania’s Comic Book Review Roundtable, every Thursday! Read up on the best reviews and let us know what you’re reading as well. Click to read the latest Comic Book Review Roundtable! Infamous Iron Man #7, Teen Titans #7, and more!

Now, on with the show!

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Last week we asked, “Are the Fantastic Four Returning to Marvel?”! Here’s what some of you had to say:

cedricfields: “No, im not excited but I would welcome them if that meant the simplicity, whimsy and sci fi fun returned to comics in place of the political nonsense thats polluting the books now”

Al Lobama: “Technically, it would be the return of the Fantastic Two. Thing and the Human Torch never went away, and in my opinion that was a big mistake. When you keep the two most popular members of the team hanging around the Marvel Universe, the loss of Reed and Sue Richards has gone all but unnoticed. As soon as Secret Wars was over, it was right back to business as usual and the absence of the FF has hardly even been mentioned by the other heroes. Hell, even Ben and Johnny have moved on with their lives while nary shedding a tear. If they don’t care about their family being gone, why should we as readers care about the Richards’ coming back?

Of course the other thing hurting a return is that the Richards’ have only been gone for a year at this point. In Marvel Time, that’s…what, two weeks? I think Reed’s death in nineties lasted longer than that! So we can’t miss Thing and Torch because they never went away, and we can’t miss Reed and Sue because they didn’t stay away.

Also, I’d like to include this quote from John Byrne about the fallacy of referring to the Fantastic Four as a dysfunctional family. – “It’s got to be 25 years or more since I first head some grand high mucky-muck at Marvel refer to the FF as a “dysfunctional family.” Start right there, if you want to find what’s gone wrong (with the series). The FF are not “dysfunctional,” but they have been put in the hands of many people who ARE. Who themselves came from broken homes. And who somehow fail to realize that Reed and Sue having a spat every few issues is no more to be read as a chronological representation of their lives than is Doctor Doom attacking every three months.””

disqus_cGBSHJQv4v: “As I understand it, along with Valeria & Franklin & the Future Foundation, Alex Power of Power Pack was with them. When the Fantastic Four comes back, I would also very much like to see Alex reunite with his siblings in Power Pack (loved that issue of Civil War II:Choosing Sides with Julie, Jack & Katie & Julie believing that they will see Alex again) or at least have regular appearances & mini-series such as they did 10 years ago.”

RazMission: “Again, this is where the comic and movie departments intertwine and thus decisions are made not because of demand or whats best for the characters and its fans but the money, not made, but money that might be made.”

To read ALL the comments, and there were some great ones, CLICK HERE! As always, thanks for the input!

This week we ask…

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Should We Be Worried About the Comic Book Sales Slump?

Marvel Comics’s Secret Empire #0 and DC Comics’s Batman #21 and The Flash #21 all were part of big comic book events but April 2017’s Direct Market comic book sales still fell over 13% versus last year, adding to the news that the industry is in the midst of its first sales decline in five years.

The exact number is 13.18%. Both publishing categories were down significantly, with comic books dipping 11.28% in dollar sales and graphic novels dipping 17.18%.

Year-to-date, sales are now down 2.53% in comic book dollar sales and 12.41% in graphic novel dollars sales for an overall decline of 5.74%. The industry is asking big questions about how the rest of the year will play out and if they can reverse this sales dip, especially the one in graphic novel sales, which are down 12.41% for the year.

With the numbers looking the way they do, Marvel Comics is rumored to have close to 30 titles that they are about to cancel. Looking at sales numbers, the golden total is anything selling less than 20 thousand is on the chopping block.

Titles with an asterisk are already cancelled as of July:

Captain America: Sam Wilson – #21 – 18,650

Gwenpool – #14 – 17,972

Captain Marvel – #4 – 17,893

US Avengers – #5 – 17,880

Ultimates 2 – #6 -17,350

Dr. Strange & Sorcerers Supreme – #7 – 16,887

Man-Thing – #3 – 16,199 [Mini]

Hawkeye – #5 – 16,031

Totally Awesome Hulk – #18 – 16,009

Spider-Man 2099 – #22 – 15,273

*Elektra – #3 – 15,113*

Silver Surfer – #10 – 15,041

*World Of Wakanda – #6 – 14,547*

*Nova – #5 – 14,525*

*Silk – #19 – 13,524*

*Thunderbolts – #12 – 13,780*

*Kingpin – #3 – 13,765*

*Rocket Raccoon #5 – 13,373*

*Power Man & Iron Fist #15 – 13,055*

Bullseye – #3 – 12,912 [Mini]

*Star-Lord – #6 – 12,278*

Squirrel Girl – #19 – 11,074

Occupy Avengers – #6 – 10,296

Unstoppable Wasp – #4 – 9,780

Great Lakes Avengers – #7 – 8,370

Moon Girl and Devil Dino – #18 – 7,966

*Patsy Walker AKA Hellcat – #17 – 6,943*

*Mosaic – #7 – 5,876*

What’s the deal? Poor quality? Lack of marketing support? Too many titles in the marketplace? With superhero movies ruling Hollywood, you’d think the comic book industry should be riding high on the buzz, yet here we are.

A 13% dip isn’t something to laugh off. That’s a serious drop and if I’m the Big Two, I’m paying attention and asking myself what’s going on. Are the big events finally taking their toll? Are people ready to go back to a more simpler storytelling, focusing on entertaining single issue stories and great art?

What do you think? Should Marvel and DC be concerned?

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That’s all the time I have. Check out our Comic Book Reviews tomorrow and see you next week!