A post from my Marvel blog of a different decade, this one talking about a month in which Marvel’s market share rose to be 50%.
A lot of noise has been made of the fact that, in the just-reported sales figures for September, Marvel had an unprecedented 50% of unit sales. That means that one out of every two comic books sold anywhere within the direct market for the month of September was a Marvel book. And there’s been the prerequisite back-slapping in some circles, the expected rationalizing from the anti-Marvel crowd in others, and all manner of reaction in-between.
From my point of view, it scares the heck out of me.
As a general rule of thumb, I believe that the comic book industry functions best and is most healthy when there are three viable companies all vying for the top spot—the “Big Three” that you hear about every once in a while. We really haven’t had that kind of a field for awhile now—time was, it was Marvel, DC and Image, then maybe Valiant, and much later CrossGen. But right this second, while there are still many companies publishing comics, we’re having a hard time finding a “Big Two”, let alone a “Big Three.” And that means that the pressure is even greater on us to bring readers into the stores every month, and in a very uncertain economic climate. That’s almost too big a responsibility for any one company to have.
Contrary to popular belief, we like competition, we live for competition. We want the industry to grow and to thrive. And sure, we want to be the leaders, but not by default. But there’s not much we can do about a situation like this one, other than continuing to do what we have been doing, and hoping that the other publishers key into the audience a little bit more.
And, of course, next month is next month.