Federico Salvan of the Italian comics news site Manga Forever dropped me a line to alert me to a retailer survey on the state of Italian comics . It’s in Italian, of course, but they surveyed 31 local comics shops out of about 380
180 in Italy, so it’s a somewhat statistically significant survey. UPDATE: please note there are 380 not 180 comics shops in Italy.
I’ve asked Federico to give us a snapshot of the Italian side of things, but he passed along the survey questions about US comics sold in Italy, and the results are pretty similar to what we’ve been hearing from US retailers: events don’t work any more and indies and media based comics are bringing in more new readers. Also, about 60% of the shops report between 25-50% female customers, so diversity is well under way, although it’s my understanding that comics in Italy have always had a more widely distributed readership.
US comics are sold in Italian periodical (floppy) editions at both comics shops and on newsstands. Graphic novels are sold, as here, in comics shops, bookstores and online. As you can see from the chart reproduced above, retailers are generally pretty happy with the state of Italian comics (fumetteria.)
Here are the survey results re: American comics:
1) Are you satisfied with the quality of USA comics currently being published in Italy?
No – 29% (9)
Quite satisfied – 52% (16)
Extremely satisfied – 19% (6)
2) In the last 5 years, USA comics’ average quality…
Worsened – 45% (14)
Remained stable – 32% (10)
Improved – 23% (7)
3) Do Marvel and DC frequent reboots/relaunches bring in new readers?
Yes – 26% (8)
No – 42% (13)
On the contrary, they push away readers – 32% (10)
4) Did the new popularity of “indie” comics (Saga, The Walking Dead, Lumberjanes…) bring in new readers?
Yes – 71% (22)
No – 16% (5)
I can’t tell – 13% (4)
5) Did the popularity of cinecomics and comic based tv series bring in new readers?
Yes – 90% (28)
No – 10% (3)
I can’t tell – 0%
6) What do you consider your bigger competitor in comic book sales?
Physical bookshops – 16% (5)
Online shops (like Amazon) – 65% (20)
Newsstand – 3% (1)
Digital comics – 16% (5)
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.