The comic book industry is changing, not dying.
The comic book industry had its strongest sales year ever in 2018, with total sales topping a previous record set in 2016. That’s according to a joint analysis by ICv2’s Milton Griepp and Comichron’s John Jackson Miller.
Grieep and Miller estimate that total comic book and graphic novel sales in 2018 amounted to $1.095 billion. A little under half of those sales came from traditional comic book shops, while the remainder were through book channels (bookstores, online retailers, Scholastic book fairs, etc.), digital downloads and crowdfunding services like Kickstarter. This is the first time crowdfunding data has been included in Grieep and Miller’s annual report.
Here’s how 2018’s numbers compare to previous years:
Their report notes that while sales were up even in traditional comic shops relative to 2017, much of the growth last year came from the emerging book channel market.
“A historic shift is playing out as the market grew, primarily in the book channel, in 2018,” Griepp said. “While comics stores are still the largest channel, they represented less than half the market for comics and graphic novels in 2018 for the first time in at least three decades.”
These robust numbers are a positive sign for an industry that has often struggled to capitalize on the mainstream success of superhero movies. Still, with a number of comic shops closing in 2018, these numbers are also a reminder that the industry as a whole is undergoing a major and at times unpredictable evolution.
For more on 2018’s comic book sales, find out which comics and graphic novels topped the sales charts last year.
Jesse is a mild-mannered writer for IGN. Allow him to lend a machete to your intellectual thicket by following @jschedeen on Twitter, or Kicksplode on MyIGN.