As he posted in the comments yesterday, Russ Maheras has run some numbers showing that despite millions of comics selling in the ’50s/’60s and 1000’s selling now, the industry as a whole is way more profitable now — say $600 million as opposed to $236 million. John Jackson Miller hosts the figures and breaks it down:
“According to your figures, in 1959, comics were selling about 26 million copies per month, or about 312 million copies per year. For the sake of argument, let’s use 10 cents a copy as the mean retail cover price (yes, there were some 15- and 25-centers on the stands back then, but we’re just trying to get a quick-and-dirty snapshot). That comes to a grand total of about $31 million in 1959 annual sales for the industry. Trade sales, film and television income, and other licensing income was negligible for almost all comics companies in 1959, and profits from video games did not exist.
“So that $31 million, plugged into the Department of Labor’s inflation calculator, is equivalent to about $236 million in today’s dollars.
Ancillary rights for comics add a lot of bucks to the till.
So as you see, despite the shrinking audience for most forms of entertainment, there is still a lot of money floating around.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.