Personal Market Share

It’s been years since I’ve done one of these “personal market share” posts, which amount to little more than snapshots in time of what titles I’m currently regularly supporting, but I like looking at the statistics periodically just to get a general sense of trends. Keep in mind the metrics below do not include any of the material I’m fully comp’d on, which would skew things all outta’ whack. So far this calendar year, I’ve consumed a total of 169 total singles. However, 94 of those (56%) were fully comp’d. If you were to include comps, the metrics would further skew toward mini-comics and small press since 57 of the 94 comps (61%) I received were that type of indie material and wouldn’t be considered “mainstream” titles.

So, for purposes of this post we’re just dealing with the remaining 75 of the 169, which equates to about 22 total titles currently being purchased regularly in the traditional “pull list” fashion. These were all relatively mainstream titles, which, even factoring in my healthy discount thanks to my retail sponsor, I did make a conscious decision to actively support in some way financially. And that’s what this post is supposed to be about, analyzing what I’m currently voting for with my wallet at the distribution and retailer level. With all of that convoluted preamble out of the way, let’s dive in and take a glance at where my money is going.

Breaking things down by publisher, it seems I’ve become a de facto Image Comics spokesperson, with exactly half of my buying power supporting the “new” Image Comics. I attribute this to their phenomenal “Experience Creativity” creator-owned campaign. They attacked this in all sorts of ways, including reeling in big names on buzz books (Saga, East of West, Jupiter’s Legacy), featuring books by creators I’m loyal to (Mara), blurring the line between indie and mainstream (Prophet), and elevated talent with unique projects that stood out for me in ways Marvel and DC could never compete with because of the very nature of their IP portfolios (Danger Club, Luther Strode).

Dark Horse makes a strong showing in second place with 18% of my total dollars. Off the top of my head, I think a large part of this is due to writer Brian Wood (The Massive, Conan, Star Wars) with a little Matt Kindt thrown in (Mind MGMT) for good measure. Boom! Studios and Valiant Comics tie for third with 2-3 books each. That’s surprising because they sort of came out of nowhere. Boom! is a company I never really found a foothold with, but they have two solid series for me right now. Valiant made a big splash and thanks to Joshua Dysart, I’m pretty engaged in what’s going on in the universe. Oni Press, IDW, and Marvel are in a three way tie for fourth place, with essentially just one book each.

There are no DC books I’m supporting regularly. That’s 0% (!). Batwoman would have been on the list, but I stopped after JH Williams III was off of art duties. There’s just one book I’m getting from Marvel, which is Ultimate Comics: X-Men, and that’s only because Brian Wood is writing it. Sure, I expect to also be picking up his adjectiveless X-Men book too, but that hasn’t come out yet and it’s not fair to track things that I expect to purchase (X-Men, Lazarus, etc.).

50% Image
18% Dark Horse
9% Boom!
9% Valiant
5% Oni Press
5% IDW
5% Marvel

Speaking of Brian Wood, I thought it’d be fun to look at how many books I’m buying just out of loyalty to this one creator. As you can see below, he represents 23% of my total buying power. I think that’s a pretty strong commentary about the power of personal brand building and creator loyalty. There’s no other creator I can cite who would come close to that and enter double digits.

23% Brian Wood
77% Everyone Else
The other logical category I tried to sort titles into was genre. This isn’t a precise science obviously. Is something like Wasteland or The Massive principally a sci-fi or adventure book? Is Sex a crime book or a superhero book? What’s Todd The Ugliest Kid on Earth best classified as? Not wanting to get too hung up on semantics, I just took a rough pass at this to get a general sense. Roughly 33% of the books I support ostensibly involve superheroes. Granted, you could sub-categorize and say that most of the ones I buy as personal preference involve deconstruction of the paradigm (Danger Club, Deathmatch, Jupiter’s Legacy, etc.), but they are superhero-ish nonetheless. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. ;-) The next easily identifiable category was surprisingly sci-fi, with about 29% of the pull. Star Wars leads the charge here, with things like Prophet and East of West backing it up. Things get a little fuzzy toward the bottom of the list, but I grouped 26% into the loose adventure category (Mind MGMT), with 12% sort of making up the rest, including horror, crime (Ten Grand), and a couple other misc. genres lumped in.

33% Superhero
29% Sci-Fi
26% Adventure
12% Horror/Crime/Other

I’m not sure how much further you can read into these genre numbers, aside from the obvious. Superheroes as a genre still comprise the majority of the creative output of the larger North American comic book publishers. We already knew that, but it looks like I’m starting to gravitate toward other genres according to the diversity of the numbers. I would have expected that superhero number to be closer to 50% just a few years ago, particularly when I was not boycotting Marvel and DC Universe titles as a general matter of principle. I guess I didn’t expect Sci-Fi to be so high? I don’t know. It’s not like a actively see out sci-fi titles. I generally follow creators I like and books that just click with me regardless of genre.


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