The Comic Book Industry Needs to Choose Between Twitter Clout and Sales

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Superman is sad because nobody wants to buy his comic books anymore. (Image: DC Comics)

It’s a tale of two comic book industries. Manga sales and comic book crowdfunding numbers are at an all-time high.

Yet the comic book direct market tells a markedly different story.

The pandemic has hastened the demise of the American comic book shop. The Big Two, Marvel Comics and DC Comics are scrambling to find alternative distribution after Diamond Comic Distributors left publishers, retailers and fans high and dry with an unexpected shutdown.

In 2020 DC Comics gutted editorial via several rounds of layoffs, and unceremiously cancelled many series. With the impending merger of WarnerMedia and Discovery, it’s very likely that even more layoffs will hit the aging comic book publisher.

Things are so bad at DC, that there are rumors of a third-party coming in to take over comic book production, while Warner retains the movie and TV rights.

Twitter is not the real world.

The North American comic book industry is at a crossroads, and it needs to decide between chasing sales… or chasing the approval of an increasingly anti-capitalist Twitter.

And if you ask comic book Twitter how the comic book industry is, they’ll likely say it’s “all fine here,” despite mountains of evidence to the contrary.

“Comic Book Twitter” is mostly made up of comic book freelancers, journalists and fans or hangers-on of said pros and journalists.

Some offer daily (or hourly) hot takes on comics and what the industry should be in their eyes, but the truth is you’ll probably find very few “average consumers” on Twitter.

According to industry superstar Mark Millar, the vast majority of the comic book buying audience isn’t on Twitter.

Millar, who is one of the most successful comic book creators in the modern industry, received pushback from a comic book journalist.

Chris Arrant from Newsarama thought Millar’s claim was “weird” and asked where he got it from. Millar replied it was from someone “from marketing at one of the Big Two.”

For several years now, the comic book industry has seemingly been chasing Twitter clout and using Twitter popularity and trending political talking points as a roadmap for new projects going forward.

And it hasn’t been working out very well for them.

Twitter is notoriously popular among journalists, and it would seem that a feedback loop has been created where journalists, pros who are vocal Twitter users and the accounts that support them have created a system where they dictate the content comic publishers are producing.

And again, direct market content is flatlining in sales.

Keanu Reeves’ BRZRKR made millions for Boom! Studios. They ignored Twitter and comics journalists and were rewarded. You can be, too! (Image: Boom! Studios)

People still want comics. They just don’t want YOUR comics.

But it doesn’t take a mathematician to look at the sales of manga and the massive uptick in crowdfunding to see that consumers are going elsewhere for comics.

Manga accounted for all of the Top 20 adult graphic novel sales in April and May of 2021. Recent comics crowdfunding campaigns have netted hundreds of thousands of dollars and even MILLIONS in the case of Boom! Studios BRZRKR and Todd McFarlane’s Spawn Kickstarter campaigns.

This success comes despite attempts by Twitter — and the media that spends entirely too much time on Twitter — trying to shame Boom! Studios out of using Kickstarter to crowdfund BRZRKR, with the argument being that publishers shouldn’t use crowdfunding because it was only for small press creators who didn’t have any other options.

The same tactic was used against Archie Comics in 2015, but they caved to the Twitter outrage mob.

Boom! Studios wisely ignored Comic Book Twitter and went on to sell over 600,000 copies of BRZRKR.

Journalists are slowly coming around to accept Kickstarter as a viable sales channel for comics, but they’re weirdly ignoring IndieGoGo likely due to political bias (IndieGoGo has seen an uptick in conservative comics crowdfunders due to a… situation.)

Are Comics Publishers Starting to LEARN that Twitter and Journos Often Aren’t Concerned About Their Bottom Lines?

There are rumblings that comics publishers are starting to wise up, and are actively trying to ferret out creators and journalists who are, in fact, anti-consumer.

This is, of course, pure scuttlebutt. But looking at some anecdotal evidence, it may be that comics publishers are trying to once again focus on publishing marketable comics, and are leaving Twitter and comics journo opinions in the dust.

But it’s being reported that DC Comics is no longer sending review copies to some outlets, and press credentials are also being investigated.

Whatever the case may be, it seems that the comic book industry will need to start ignoring Twitter and some media outlets if they want to survive.

It’s not your customer base. It never was.

Manga and crowdfunding are eating your lunch, comics. Either you fix the problem or you starve. Your choice.

The customers are there. You just need to choose them over Twitter clout.


DRezzed is an independent, opinionated fan-powered news blog that covers Pop Culture from a consumer's point of view. We talk about Gaming, Comics, Anime, TV, Movies, Animation and more. Opinions expressed by our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of DRezzed, its editors, affiliates, sponsors or advertisers. DRezzed is an unofficial news source and has no connection to any company that we may cover.


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