It’s a glorious time to be a comics reader – or is it?

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In Dark Horse Presents #4 (November 2014), publisher and editor Mike Richardson writes:

Comics in the 21st century

For those of us who love comics, this is an exciting time. Our homegrown industry (yes, comics is one of the few original American art forms) is enjoying newfound success. While the traditional comic book may have seen its sales dwindle over the last few decades, we now seem to be experiencing a reversal in that trend at the same time that graphic novels have become more popular than ever. What’s more, the industry has enjoyed a marked increase in the number of its distribution channels, with digital comics leading the way: sales as high as $90 million were reported in 2013. The New York Times has speculated that digital distribution may, in fact, be bringing customers into bookstores rather than siphoning them away. According to Publishers Weekly, sales of comic books and graphic novels generated $870 million last year, the biggest number since 1993. Finally, comics are being noticed as never before, not just in this country, but around the world. September was Comic Book Month in faraway Auckland, with libraries throughout New Zealand taking part. Expanded distribution and availability, a new literacy in the form, and a growing respect for comic books in general are all adding up to a great future for our beloved four-colour medium.

Sales are healthy, and that’s great. I just hope this means we aren’t headed for another crash.

Unlike the early 90s, there is a more quality, creativity and variety in books today. And, yes, Marvel and DC aren’t playing the exact same game when it comes to boosting single copy sales. But it’s arguable whether malaise among longtime readers of mainstream hero books is also on the rise fed by the tricks of those two publishers.

(I haven’t read Death of Wolverine, but I hear Logan is already coming back – even if Wolverine is not, technically, at least for now…)

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