Personal Marketshare

I spent a couple of hours recently cataloguing my entire collection - by publisher. I thought this would be an interesting experiment to see where exactly my comic book dollars were going. I think that understanding which companies you're supporting and what share of your personal "market" they possess is interesting in and of itself from a business perspective. Here are the results in terms of total percentage of my collection, along with some casual observations. Note: Keep in mind, we're talking about hundreds of books, so for my own personal sanity, lines of books were grouped together with their parent company. For example, DC Comics would contain entries for their imprints of Vertigo, Wildstorm, etc.

DC Comics: 23%
Dark Horse: 15%
Oni Press: 15%
Image: 14%
Marvel: 13%
Fantagraphics: 5%
Drawn & Quarterly: 3%
Top Shelf: 2%
IDW: 2%
Pantheon Books: 2%
Archangel Studios: 2%
Slave Labor Graphics: .08%
Virgin Comics: .08%
Burlyman Entertainment: .08%
NBM/ComicsLit: .08%
AiT/PlanetLar: .08%

* I wasn't too terribly surprised that DC Comics came out on top. I really did grow up as a "DC kid" and really didn't find my Marvel legs until late high school or early college. The Vertigo & Wildstorm imprints didn't hurt either.

* Conversely, I was very suprised that Dark Horse, Oni, and Image all edged Marvel out of the #2 slot. I was thinking going into it that Marvel would be running a close second. While Image was sort of all over the map content wise (and that's no criticism, just the opposite in fact, bravo diversity!), the Hellboy & BPRD trades from Dark Horse added up, as did 10 hardcovers of Queen & Country from Oni Press.

* Also interesting is that the high volume of DC Comics titles are predominantly ongoing series, meaning loose "floppy" issues. I have surprisingly few collected editions from DC. As I scan my bookshelf, there are numerous Marvel hardcovers, Alias and Iron Man: Extremis being some recent examples.

* The so called "Big 2" (DC Comics & Marvel) comprise a mere 36%, while the next 3 "second tier" publishers (Dark Horse, Image, and Oni Press) comprise 44%, nearly half of my buying power.

* I was... proud, I guess is the word, that Fantagraphics had a strong showing of 5% of my entire collection. Tony Millionaire, Jordan Crane, Sammy Harkham - take a bow guys!

Obviously there's an endless number of ways one could dissect this. I could further analyze my buying habits and break it down by genre, separating percentages of superhero, spy, western, romance, etc. I could do format, black & white vs. color, hardcover, softcover, single issues, oversized, etc. I could look at writers, artists, etc. Perhaps in a future installment.

But remember, they're just numbers. I think it was Samuel Clemens who said "there are lies, damn lies... and statistics."


At 9:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

cool breakdown! you can't deny the numbers. I think I was mostly a Marvel guy myself in terms of American comics... I was a big Jim Lee and McFarlane fan. Do they even still pencil anymore? Back then, it seemed like the loyalties to the Marvel or DC camp were so strong. I don't know if it was just me or what. Then when McFarlane busted out to do Spawn and artists started going to up-and-comers like Image, it all broke loose. I guess I was more of an artist follower and didn't care so much about the labels... it'd be interesting to see how your collection breaks down by artist or writer.

Nowadays, I'm mostly into Japanese manga... Anyways, good stuff!


At 8:46 AM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...

Hey Grant, thanks for stopping by! How is your masterpiece Li Jun going? After going to Image, Jim Lee's studio, Wildstorm, got acquired by DC Comics and he became the Executive Editor, but he does still pencil from time to time. I'm looking forward to his new Wildcats run (his creation from the original Image books) which will be written by superstar Grant Morrison. McFarlane hasn't doing much since initiating Spawn (which is still going, their longest running title!) other than becoming head of his company and building an empire on toys. I'm very tempted to do the artist/writer breakdown, I'm sure I'll get to it one of these days. Thanks for reading! When are you coming to San Diego???


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