With a box office total of (whips out calculator)…holy crap that’s a lot of zeroes, you’d think that the comic book source material from where Disney hauls out an annual payday would be worth quite a few bucks. And you’d be right! While it’s hard to find a definitive number, there’s no denying that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has had a positive effect on the comic books industry as a whole, with Marvel reorganising their premiere characters and teams to complement the silver screen status quo.
Is it enough though? For a company that was facing bankruptcy in the 1990s, is Marvel still a hot commodity that is financially secure currently? That was the question that ran wilder than Hulkamania over the weekend, when Marvel Editor-in-Chief C.B. Cebulski and Chief Creative Officer Joe Queseda hosted a panel at South By Southwest called “Marvel: From Comics To Screens”, which saw Bleeding Cool suggest that Quesada and Cebulski were there to “make the case” that comic books were still important, even if sales were down.
“If less people are buying comics and the direct market is on the verge of collapse, then why should a megacorp like Disney continue to bother publishing them at all, especially when they can make far more money mining the intellectual properties for other mediums? Well, perhaps that’s why Quesada and Cebulski plan to make the case that none of those things would be possible without the comics,” Bleeding Cool’s Jude Terror wrote.
Therefore, comics must continue to be published even if they add little value to the budget on their own simply because they provide the genetic material to make actual profits elsewhere.
To be fair, that’s an opinion right there, on a news post. It’s a take and maybe it’s hot, but it’s an opinion nonetheless and the post pretty much makes that clear. That didn’t stop other sites from taking the post and going nuts with it, offering clickbait and switch articles that led to many a website claiming that the age of Marvel in comic books was over and that Mickey Mouse was preparing to shut down the iconic New York offices that continue to pump out dozens of comic books every week.
Social media went nuts, and eventually Joe Quesada stepped into Twitter to set the record straight:
And there you go, case closed. Comic book sales are hard to pin a direct number to, as everyone has something to say about the market. Some people will tell you that sales are doing well, others will tell you that sales are in the toilet because the Mighty Thor was a woman for a few years and a lot of relevant data seems to be left out. It’s tricky data to crunch through, especially with digital comic book releases doing better than physical lately, but people are still buying the finest art form around.
With numbers that still reflect healthy consumption of printed or digital media, one thing is for certain: Marvel, and by extension many other publishers, are still here to stay for many more years to come.
Last Updated: March 4, 2019