The comics industry was declining in the 1990’s. Marvel and DC were in serious trouble. It was thought that Marvel might collapse.
They themselves were to blame to some extent for this fiasco. In order to increase sales and pump-up profits; they started dishing out huge quantities of poor quality product which was unfairly priced.
The two main distributors of comics, namely Diamond and Capital City, created an unsustainable speculative sales system. This system was bound to crash. In the earlier days there were less than a thousand comics retailers worldwide. When Diamond and Capital City started following ‘expansionist policies’, they increased the number of retailers by at least ten times.
When the system crashed the number of retailers was reduced to around what it had been in the earlier days.
The good news is that the industry is experiencing a turnaround. Sales are increasing and a new generation of comics fans is finding its way into the comics culture. Now a days movies and comics go hand in hand. Both Marvel and DC have been bought by movie studios; Marvel by Disney and DC by Warner Bros.
Comics super-villains and superheroes are getting revamped and are being brought to the cinema screen in style. The recent release of movies like Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Apocalypse, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad, have broken box office records worldwide.
This new sales system of comic books is a lot more sustainable. It combines comics with very high quality movies. Comics’ characters also also getting their own TV series. In this age of social media, studios and publishers are finding relevant and targeted audience like never before.
Both Marvel and DC have literally millions of followers on Facebook alone. Fan pages and websites dedicated to comics and comic-book characters are also huge in number.
Another piece of good news is the digitization of comics. With only a few clicks, tech savvy fans can get instant access to any comic-book title they want. Mobile apps and dedicated comics fan communities online are helping grow the comic-book culture.
This new amalgamation of print media with social media and the internet, has resulted in a resurgence of comics. Development of new software for creating comics has also helped with improving the quality of comics published. If you compare any comics issue from the eighties with an issue from today, you will see a remarkable difference in print quality.
All in all, I believe that the industry is headed towards a better future. It is really moving from the Bust of the 90’s to Boom of the future!