A lot has been reported from DC’s press breakfasts but I don’t think anyone directly called out this headline…and what a headline it is. More of DC’s revenue comes from graphic novels and the backlist than periodicals. I’m told this has been true for several years. Of course the powerhouse performance of all-time sellers like Watchmen, Dark Knight and now The Killing Joke fuel that, but so do the powerful Vertigo backlist, the Batman backlist led by Scott Snyder and, increasingly, books like the Earth One series.
Wonder Woman Earth One and Paul Dini’s Dark Night have been big hits so far in 2016. According to Dan DiDio, some of the DCYou titles are picking up in trade, including Prez, which was a surprise because “Generally books that don’t do well in single issues don’t do well in trades, and books that DO do well in single issues do well in trades,” but they’re seeing that pattern broken up more and more.
When the Comichron/ICv2 sales figures for 2015 were released, it actually shows graphic novels outselling periodicals $535 million to $405 million – a pretty huge gap. I haven’t done a breakdown to show where the growth has come from specifically but I”m guessing it’s just overall.
I’m not saying the beloved comics periodical is going away…the pamphlet is not dead, not by a long shot, but it seems to be fair to say that newer readers are happy to experience comics as graphic novels without the serialization factor. Whether this is something that CAN be or SHOULD be reversed is open to question, but for now, the Satisfying Chunk is winning out.
Top photo: Dan Didio and writer Christopher Priest at the DC press breakfast.
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.