Comics | An original page by John Byrne and Terry Austin from Uncanny X-Men #137, the 1980 issue that featured the death of Phoenix, sold at auction Wednesday for $65,725. As ICv2 notes, the sale continues the trend of 1980s comic art going for high prices; a page of Frank Miller art from Batman: The Dark Knight Returns #3 sold for $448,125 in May. [ICv2.com]
Digital | ICv2′s Milton Griepp makes the case for publishers to provide sales information on digital comics. “Why would this information be useful? There are a number of reasons. One is that it would help distributors (most importantly, Diamond Comic Distributors) and retailers selling physical comics and graphic novels identify which titles have the largest audiences in digital form. They could then make sure that they’re merchandising the top digital titles appropriately, so they can take advantage of demand for physical titles that results from digital exposure (we’ve been hearing that there’s a significant phenomenon of digital purchasers looking for collections of comics they’ve purchased online). Digital demand can also indicate potential demand for physical books from consumers that aren’t purchasing digitally; a good book, after all, is a good book, and if digital purchasers are finding a title that’s not as popular in physical form, it may indicate that there’s an untapped market of consumers of physical books as well.” [ICv2.com]
At the ComicsPRO meeting last February, DC co-publisher Jim Lee held up a sheet of paper and a piece of dental floss. The paper, he said, represented revenues from print comics, while the dental floss was revenues from digital comics.
Milton Greipp, publisher of the retail news site ICv2, did more or less the same thing with numbers at the ICv2 Comics, Media, and Digital Conference that kicked off this year’s Comic-Con. In his White Paper on the industry, Griepp estimated that the market for digital comics grew from about $1 million in sales in 2009 to $6 to $8 million in 2010, but the fact that he still had a $2 million error bar shows just how much uncertainty remains. One thing is for certain, though: Griepp expects the market will double this year. He credited the growth in sales of mobile devices such as the iPad and Android tablets (the Sony PSP, one of the early digital comics platforms, seems to be dead in the water; Griepp attributed this to the hacking of Sony).
Looked at in isolation, that number seems impressive, but Griepp also estimated total sales of print comics and graphic novels in 2010 at $635 million, which means that digital sales are about 1% of the print market, a tiny slice indeed.
These numbers are dynamic, however, and print and digital sales are changing in different ways. Digital may be burgeoning, but print is in a slump, with total sales down in 2010 from $680 million the year before. Things have picked up this year, but the picture remains grim for monthly comics: Sales of comics were down 8%, graphic novels were up 3%. Put those together, and the market as a whole is down 2%.
Comic-Con | ICv2 will host a Comics, Media, and Digital Conference on July 20, the afternoon before Comic-Con International kicks off in San Diego. The event will include panels on digital comics, comics in Hollywood and “Comics, Paper and Digital at Comic-Con 2013.” [press release]
Comic-Con | With just 14 until the big event, Acquanetta Ferguson offers 18 tips to surviving your first Comic-Con, while Liz Ohanesian talks with Doug Kline, author of The Unauthorized San Diego Comic-Con Survival Guide. [Examiner, LA Weekly]
Creators | Sean Witzke talks with King City creator Brandon Graham about world-building, collaborating with other writers or artists, porn and his approach to storytelling: “I’m really into the idea of conveying a story clearly enough for the reader to get all the basics while at the same time having enough information going on where you don’t necessarily get it all or even miss something on the first read through. I think it’s something that came from me reading a lot of European and Japanese comics growing up and just not always getting everything, culturally or just because of weird translations. I like that nice mystery. And there’s the idea that when a story doesn’t give you everything it forces the reader to think a little more. Turns them from being a passive reader to an active one. I think that would be my ideal destination, some kind of clear and simple with a background of complexity.” [supervillain]
The 2009 San Diego Comic-Con is less than a month away, with preview night kicking things off on Wednesday, July 22. If you are a publisher, creator, retailer or any other kind of exhibitor who would like to let folks know about any special plans you have for the show (panels, signing schedules, exclusives, debuts, etc.) drop me an email and I’ll run it here.
Programming | Leading up to the con, ICv2 will host a comics and media conference on Wednesday, July 22 at the San Diego Marriott. This ticketed event will include speakers such as Mike Mignola, Jeph Loeb, Dynamite’s Nick Barrucci, Top Cow’s Matt Hawkins and many more. Registration is now open.
Television | Warner Bros. sent out a press release on their schedule for Comic-Con, which includes panels for Smallville, Supernatural, Chuck and Big Bang Theory, as well as new shows like Human Target and V. They’ll be showing the pilot episodes of all their new shows.
With the New York Comic Con coming up Feb. 6-8, we’ll be collecting and posting information on the various things you can do and see while at the show. If you’re a publisher, creator, retailer or otherwise exhibiting at the show, feel free to drop me an email with your booth schedule, any comics you might be debuting, giveaways or any other fun stuff you have planned for the show.
• ICv2 has announced details on the Graphic Novel Conference they host the Thursday before the convention, which will include a keynote address from Art Spiegelman and panels on topics like comics on the web, social networks and literary adaptations. Note that this conference isn’t open to the general public, but “is open only to those who hold a Professional or Exhibitor Pass,” the site says.