The comics industry in 2020 amid pandemics, video games and cinecomics

The comics industry in 2020 amid pandemics, video games and cinecomics
How was 2020 for the comics industry?

Answering this question point blank would mean disaster. In fact, the pandemic has hit the comics supply chain hard, which has experienced several shocks including the abandonment by DC of the historic distributor, ex-monopolist, Diamond Comics Distributors, opting, in the middle of the first wave of the pandemic, to adopt a model of different business with other distribution partners and without blocking physical and digital releases.

But not the numbers of 2020 surprisingly reveal that the comics industry, given for the umpteenth time for dead, has found new and unlikely resources to get up again

The comics industry - pandemic extinction postponed

After the lockdown in March and April, the pandemic seemed to have dealt a fatal blow to American comic shops but the undoubted difficulties encountered in those months were followed by an incredible rebirth.

In fact, many shopkeepers confirm that since May the influx of customers has been regular and progressively growing. Although not having been able to reach the levels of previous years, however, the volume of business was conspicuous: comics were bought, many comics.


One of the most interesting aspects, and which is not will fail to generate controversy and reflections, it has been indicated by many retailers in the absence of trade fairs and conventions that have "distracted" readers less and have saved them important sums that they found themselves spending, after many years, exclusively or almost in comic shops.

Another aspect that should not be underestimated is that linked to the free time available. The lockdown forced many people to refurbish their collections and, as soon as the stores reopened, they ran not only to buy the new releases but also backlogs and volumes.

In this sense, the numbers pitted by the well-known analyst John Jackson Miller (Comichron) are very interesting who, taking as a source the data provided by Diamond Comics Distributors, identified a leap in the material distributed from 5.9 million in March to 7 about between September and October.

This means that American comics have been literally flooded with merchandise. Miller's comparison is bold but evocative: comic books and monthly books for the comics industry are the equivalent of subscriptions to streaming platforms.

In other words, it is a "safe and stable" income that month after month allows the industry itself to have a solid base both as users and commercially. The analyst talks about "tapped streaming service" but will it be true? and above all this comparison does not clash with the haemorrhage of new readers and the uncontrollable price increase of the books?

Read also: Batman - the essential comics

The comics industry - are video games and cinecomics finally having an effect? ​​

This 2020 also seems to have stirred the comics industry in relation to its heterogeneous multimedia ramifications. In fact, in recent years one of the harshest criticisms from all the insiders, but also from a part of readers, has been that linked to the failure by cinecomics, TV series and video games to bring new readers to the comic store.

But apparently this is no longer the case.

According to many retailers, finally all the other media in which Marvel or DC characters appear are finally bringing customers to the comic store even if they are looking for specific books or volumes. Many have cited the launch of Miles Morales for Playstation 5 which led to a surge in searches for his first appearance in Ultimate Fallout # 4.

Many retailers point out how, finally after years, each new announcement and the arrival of new characters on the big or small screen corresponds to new customers seeking information about those characters while old readers plunge us into the backlogs they are benefiting from of a significant revaluation. Books that a month earlier were priced at $ 0.25 suddenly went to $ 5!

Read also: Superman - the essential comics

But what is really the state of art of industry?

After years, many retailers have a hard core of customers happy to be able to read good stories. In fact, quality remains the essential factor for good sales. We cite the case of Immortal Hulk who, month after month, has proven to be one of the best Marvel series of the last 20 years, fueling a virtuous circle of sales, orders, reprints and backlog research.

Publishing houses also, always according to retailers, they are learning again to create hype for their stories without resorting to loopholes like variant covers and sensationalist screams. For example, we cite the debut of Punchline in Batman # 89 which generated curiosity and lively interest by raising the sale of all subsequent Batmanian books.

Read also: Wonder Woman - the comics essentials

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