Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?

by Mike W

072221C-300x157 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?DC is lagging behind to the point where comics may not be around in their upcoming future. While one comic publisher is falling, indie comics publishers are rising to success in similar ways as Marvel Comics. Do we really think that Independent publishers could overtake DC Comics? Let’s analyze and compare.

The comic world goes through phases over time. During the early years, big brand publishers such as DC Comics & Marvel Comics dominated the market with their world-renowned characters. As time has gone by, times have changed. Technology has become more advanced and individual creativity is valued amongst the fans.

Currently, DC Comics & Marvel Comics are still the true staples in the comic market, though independent publishers have made great lengths in the last twenty years in making a name for themselves. One interesting thing to note is that the popularity of Marvel Comics is due to their successful Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It has propelled them past their competitors, while DC Comics is lagging behind.

Indie comics publishers have gained so much popularity over the years. It’s gotten to the point where speculators routinely pick up new #1 issues with the hope of selling them for a big profit in the future. While DC Comics still has that potential too, the issue is the publisher has not produced more modern characters where collectors and speculators feel the need to hold on to those books.

Something is Killing the Children

Something-is-Killing-the-Children-1-standard-194x300 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?SomethingKillingChildren_009_Cover_Main-195x300 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?Two independent titles that are notable are Something is Killing the Children (SITC) #1 by Boom! Studios and Ice Cream Man #1 by Image Comics. Both indie titles have enjoyed enormous growth due to fan popularity and the speculation of being optioned to a television show or movie.

The current value of a 9.8 graded copy for Something is Killing the Children #1 is handsomely at $1,250. To provide a better perspective, the first sale of this grade was 01/09/2020 and it sold for a measly $45.50. The fans love the book and this particular issue has been consistently selling at about $1,000 since April 2021. Prior to April, it was steady with the average price around $500 for the first quarter of 2021. If this comic is confirmed for a television show or movie, the book could double in price easily! To conclude, the #1 issue is very popular, but as time has passed, every released issue for this series has fans and collectors rushing to their comic shop not wanting to miss the hype.

Ice Cream Man

Ice-Cream-Man-1-variant-198x300 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?Ice Cream Man #1Ice-Cream-Man-1-standard-cover-198x300 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC? has also endured the same financial success as SITC, but it was already optioned as a television show. The comic was optioned on a streaming platform called Quibi in 2020. Though, the streaming platform did not put the show into action as Quibi was shut down a short while later.

There is still hope that the tv show will come to action but from another streaming platform. The grade we will focus on is 9.8. It is currently sitting around $375, though that Fair Market Value (FMV) is too low as the comic is selling around $500. The last sale on 04/29/201 was for $590.  The combination of fan popularity and being optioned has propelled the value of this book to big financial gains. If the series does get picked up by another streaming giant, the expectancy of this issue to rise is almost guaranteed.

Low Expectations for the DCEU

While DC Comics is still a big mainstay in classic characters such as Batman, Superman, Flash, and Wonder Woman as the values of these titles continue to rise for collectors. The issue in their decline over the years is character development. There is no excitement or buzz of recent titles or characters that collectors or fans feel is the next big thing. Their DC Extended Universe (DCEU), similar to the MCU, is a complete failure with terrible casting and directors for their movies. Fans have pretty much lost interest and have low expectations for anything down the pipeline.

Naomi McDuffie

Naomi-1-convention-edition-1-195x300 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?We know the success of their rival, Marvel Comics, is for the opposite reasons stated above and their inability to develop characters and introduce more characters to their universe. DC Comics has failed as this multiple times. For example, Naomi McDuffie was hyped as the next big character for DC Comics. Naomi first appeared in Naomi #1. This would be the key issue to collect.

The character was introduced in early 2019 and sales reach as high as $587 for a 9.8 graded copy. Reasons such as failing to push the character and lack of creativity have pushed this character to mediocrity. In 2020, this grade dropped as low as under $100 as fans fell out of hope and interest. The current value of this comic is sitting a $200.  That is due to the recent spike of the character after being optioned to a live-action tv show. It is set to premiere on the CW network in the near future. For now, there is not much hope for this character, but time will tell if she can regain that hype.

The Hottest Comics List Speaks

luke-198x300 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?In terms of modern age books, DC Comics is also under-performing. In GoCollect’s “Most Popular Modern Age Comic List”, the publisher has 9 books in the top 100 at the time of this writing. Whereas, the independent publishers, (including comic names such as Spawn, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Star Wars) have 13 books on the list. Marvel Comics rounds out the rest of the books in this list.

I only tallied the first 100 books on this list from GoCollect. The Indie scene is flooded with many #1 issues. Apparently, some are commanding more interest than even staple books that include the names of  Batman, The Joker, and The Suicide Squad.  This is another example of the rise of indie books and fall in grace in DC Comics.

Conclusion

DepartmentOfTruth_tp1_solicit_web-195x300 Will Indie Comics Become More Profitable than DC?Time will tell if DC Comics can recover and rise to the age of popularity that fans are accustomed to. The rumors of the printing of comics coming to an end are highly speculated. Though, digital comics could become the norm for the publisher. The possibility of choosing the right directors and screenplay for their movies and the focus on better character development could get them on the right track.

Indie comics publishers will continue to rise with popularity, especially with #1 issues. The ability to have complete creativity on their books and the possibility to be optioned to various streaming platforms is a huge advantage for them. The future is bright for indie comics publishers as we are moving to a comic age where possibilities are endless.

The GoCollect Modeler allows you to estimate the value of books without much sales data. Upgrade to Premium and take advantage of each and every tool!

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14 comments

Nick July 26, 2021 - 1:19 pm

Good. Let’s keep those DC back issue prices low, so collectors can collect them. Keep the speculating over in the new indie market.

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Mike W July 27, 2021 - 10:48 am

lol,well, not a bad way to think. Buying low is always a good strategy. Any advice on any other “buy low” DC characters to take advantage of?

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jhgodfrey July 26, 2021 - 2:17 pm

“As time has gone by, times have changed.”

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Mike W July 27, 2021 - 10:48 am

Can you be more specific?

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Tom July 26, 2021 - 4:15 pm

Naomi suffers from “failing to push the character”? Have you read Justice League over the last couple of months? The book — DC’s flagship super group — has spent time doing nothing but Naomi adventures since Bendis took over the book.

Thanks for trying.

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Mike W July 27, 2021 - 10:50 am

I have not read the series lately. Though, I know she is getting some exposure in that title and Young Justice.
Do we think the second series that could come out for Naomi could revived her stock? What about the pending show on CW?

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Tom August 31, 2021 - 3:41 pm

If I had to guess, I would think that the TV show would have more impact…but I do not have a read on the relationship between the CW audience and the comic market.

Also, Brian Michael Bendis has indicated that he is now going full steam at Dark Horse. Does that mean Naomi S2 won’t come to pass? Again, not sure.

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Bob Roberts July 27, 2021 - 6:30 pm

Have no idea were you are getting your “wrong” info ….but DC is currently crushing Marvel as far as sales…and have pretty much have had a higher market share , every month , since October…the Publishers pretty much do not care about back issue sales….unless they are trying to see what to possibly collect for TPBs … Marvel will sooner drop physical comic books then DC , they are having issues on the inside , right now

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Sarah Lee July 28, 2021 - 8:54 am

You might need to check your sources on that one – Marvel market share 34.7% and DC 27.9% for Q1 of 2021.

https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/48161/comic-store-publisher-market-shares-q1-2021

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Bob Roberts July 28, 2021 - 12:25 pm

uh, no , this is a guess at best , since DC is no longer part of Diamond , they have NOT released their sales numbers .
To quote “based on sales of comics and graphic novels tracked at point-of-sale by the ComicHub system at stores selling American comics around the world, and provided to ICv2.”

To quote again “The data on which these market share percentages are based is from sales tracked at point-of-sale by the ComicHub system at stores selling American graphic novels around the world. During the period for which these reports were generated, there were over 100 stores using the ComicHub system”

To quote again “As this is a small, non-random sample of over 3,000 stores selling American comics worldwide, these rankings may not be typical for all stores…:

You can can not sample 3% of the stores , and receive anything more then a guess.

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Kenloi July 27, 2021 - 6:49 pm

DC is older than Marvel and they have a richer foundation of characters. The JSA will one day be correctly used. DC executives just do not seem to show any backbone to push out impressive movies. I will see the Snyder 4 hour cut soon and hope it is a lot better than the other cut .The movies are too generic and predictable and safe. They have experimented with Joker but seem to miscast all their key characters on screen. Gal gadot is great, Cavill is good and Afflecks grisled Batman was/is superb. Superboy and the legion, the 1970s comic version is awesome with great characters and stories. The kisch costumes, dialogue and plots just work. Yet if movietised would probably be destroyed with limp everything. DC needs to believe in their awesome history. As a fan i still do. All the movies do not connect because they are throwing everything at the fan to see if it sticks. Metal was different with its darker tone and was sceptical of the latest Deceased storylines but people are enjoying it and perhaps they are generally building on it. Naomi has a big future as a hold book. All DC books have massive hold potential with the biggest heroes of all time they just dont know how to move up to the next level. Copying marvel wont work. Independent movies with no connection wont work forever. They need to establish their core values that made their biggest heroes. Fans say many of the.animated series are awesome. The 1940s Fleischer Superman cartoon was recently shown and is truly amazing animation wise, the 1960s Batman and robin tv series and cartoons were predictable but fun and must watches. The knightmare flashbacks in Superman Batman were better than the movie even though i thought it was ok. Using the Injustice comic series for a movie trilogy would be beyond DC execs taking too many risks. An excellent take on their heroes and villains. Snyders movie Watchmen in a DC superhero movie would rock and changing the ending to the alien connection as per the comic series would be inspired with a re-release much like Justice League directors cut.. DC needs to find the link between their movieverse movies much like marvel has done but not by copying.They can only do this through writing. Correctly cast actors, using unknowns if needed and creating believable worldscapes with impressive fight scenes without heavy cgi. The fight scenes in Batman Superman with Bats fighting villains were brutal but impressive, using clever camera shots and impressive lighting. Skip the over intrusive incidental music as marvel overdoes it as well. Stop manic editing all the time and use character building without love scenes.Stop pandering just to kids and remember a large majority are adults who do want something cool and original with thought gone into the whole project. A marvel DC movie would break the internet and if each company helped each other develop stories and movies it would be a win win for us the fans instead of just the constant money grab. It would tell us they do listen and do apreciate us as the reader and watcher. Nuff said…………

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Bob Roberts July 28, 2021 - 1:10 am

You have no idea about the current new comic book market. DC is dominating new Comic Book sales. Marvel is having a lot more issues in selling new comic books. DC has won the month 7 times out of the last 9, maybe do some research

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Bob Roberts July 28, 2021 - 12:47 pm

https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/48803/june-2021-npd-bookscan-top-20-author-manga-superhero-graphic-novels this will help give a better idea of who is doing better , as far as sales.

To quote “NPD BookScan collects weekly point-of-sale data on print books from over 16,000 locations including e-tailers, chains, mass merchandisers, independent bookstores, and more. NPD BookScan covers approximately 85% of the U.S. trade print book market. The ranks on this chart are based on piece sales.”

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Bob Roberts July 29, 2021 - 1:10 pm

https://icv2.com/articles/markets/view/48803/june-2021-npd-bookscan-top-20-author-manga-superhero-graphic-novels A little more accurate about actual sales. DC dominates actual selling of comic books. Marvel is not even in the ballgame in any way. To quote “NPD BookScan collects weekly point-of-sale data on print books from over 16,000 locations including e-tailers, chains, mass merchandisers, independent bookstores, and more. NPD BookScan covers approximately 85% of the U.S. trade print book market. The ranks on this chart are based on piece sales”

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