Image Comics CFO Erik Larsen recently claimed that DC Comics and Marvel Comics bosses might shut down new comics production altogether.
Larsen made the comments after expressing his views on piracy.
He wrote on Twitter, “On the piracy debate–there is no debate. It’s criminal behavior. People are struggling to make a living and you’re taking what they’re creating without giving them compensation. There is no justification.”
In response, Author N. Thomas Hanson wrote, “Where do you draw the line for bloated cross-title, blatant cash-grab stories that Marvel consistently pulls with their main titles, though? Look at X of Swords from last year. Is it fair to expect a kid who was reading X-Men to buy 22 extra comics ($100+) over 3 months?”
This would then trigger a back and forth between Larsen and Hanson.
Larsen would respond, “There is nothing about that which entitles you to own it. If it’s too expensive–don’t buy it.”
Hanson responded in kind, “It’s less of a problem of entitlement as it is a problem of a corporate assumption that all consumers are able to withstand that rate of content. Imagine a landlord giving notice that the next 2 months you have to pay them 7 times as much as usual to keep your apartment.”
Then Larsen would reveal that the bosses at DC Comics and Marvel Comics are threatening to stop producing new material because they are “floundering and failing.”
He explained, “These companies are floundering and failing. The threat from upstairs is that they’ll go to all reprints and stop producing new material. They’re doing everything they can to stay alive. If you can’t afford it–do without.”
Hanson responded, “Of course. I do agree with everything you’re saying. Stealing from artists and creators is wrong in all scenarios. It was really just a specific instance that came to mind when a company’s decision made me scratch my head because it almost inherently begets pirating.”
While Marvel Comics and DC Comics sales numbers are now much harder to come by given DC Comics no longer distributes with Diamond and Marvel Comics has also left the distributor, Adult Graphic Novel Sales released monthly by NPD BookScan show North American comics getting absolutely trounced by Japanese manga.
The latest data from May revealed that not a single North American comic was in the top 20 on NPD BookScan’s Top 20 Adult Graphic Novels chart.
Every single listing was a Japanese manga with Attack on Titan Vol. 33 from Kodansha Comics taking the top spot. Other titles in the Top 20 included My Hero Academia, Demon Slayer: Kimetsu No Yaiba, Tokyo Ghoul, Spy X Family, Toilet-Bound Hanako-Kun, Komi Can’t Communicate, Hunter X Hunter, and Jujutsu Kaisen.
Not only are Japanese manga dominating the Adult Graphic Novels chart, but reprints make up a hefty percentage of the Top 20 Superheroes’ Graphic Novels chart.
In fact the top spot on the list belonged to DC Comics’ 2019 Edition of Alan Moore’s Watchmen.
Other reprints on the list included Batman: The Long Halloween, Batman: The Killing Joke Deluxe Edition HC, Batman: Year One, The EC Archives: Tales From The Crypt Vol. 1, The Sandman Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes 30th Anniversary Edition, and Watchmen: The Deluxe Edition.
That means 35% of the Top 20 list are dominated by older books.
What do you make of Larsen’s comments about the comic industry and the implication that Marvel and DC Comics are “floundering and failing” and might even end up canning new comic production altogether?