Delcourt, one of the largest and most respected French comics publishers, is up for sale. Or so says this piece from Actualitté, the Publishers Weekly of France. In the Google translate version of the story,

Bringing together the Delcourt, Soleil and Tonkam houses, the group led by Guy Delcourt has given the Rothschild bank the mandate for a sale, ActuaLitté learns. The structure, which had already been granted (wrongly) a capital merger with Hachette Livre in 2017, has not yet made any comments.

Guy Delcourt’s company for sale? Asian actors in internet comics have indeed been approached, ActuaLitté is assured. In fact, the 66-year-old founder is not in the situation of his competitor Jacques Glénat, whose eldest daughter Marion Glénat-Corveler took the helm of the company in 2019.

Delcourt is best understood in US terms as something like Dark Horse – an independent publishing house founded by a single entrepreneur who built it into the third largest publisher of of graphic novels (bande desinée) in France. In this case, the founder is Guy Delcourt, who got his start publishing fanzines, in a tale familiar to US comics as well. Pre-pandemic, it enjoyed annual sales of €100 million.

Delcourt has some 9,500 titles, including bestsellers Les Légendaires, Lanfeust de Troy, Les Blagues de Toto, Zelda, Les P’tits Diables, Les Carnets de Cerise, and more. It’s also a prolific licensor of US comics for the Francophone market, including The Walking Dead (as huge a hit in France as in the US) and Hellboy.

They also branched out into manga as it became wildly popular in Europe, acquiring Tonkam in 2005 and Soleil in 2011. Many Delcourt titles have been published in English, including a digital deal with Comixology back in 2015.  Most recently, they partnered with DSTLRY to publish their books in France..

While this won’t have much effect on the US comics market, this is a huge move for the French comics scene – as preliminary as it seems to be based on the ActuaLitté report. Guy Delcourt is a hugely respected figure in the French publishing industry, but as the reference to Glenat suggests, finding a successor to run the company in the family isn’t always possible. (Glénat is the #2 French comics publisher, after Mediatoon, and was similarly founded by a rugged individualist, Jacques Glénat.)




  1. From what I can find out, the publisher is named Média-Participations (more of a holding company than a publisher, though), and Mediatoon is their branch for licensing and distribution.

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