Talk Talk Talk Talk Talk Myself to Death: Comics Rising

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Comics Rising

The comics biz (or parts of it, at least) seem to immune from the downturn in the economy. Sales figures (which in the case of comics means unreturnable sales from the publishers to the comic book stores--sell-through to the end consumer is pretty much guesswork) have been inconclusive as far as I've seen, but one place we can definitely see the numbers is in convention attendance. You'd figure (or at least, I would) that although some people might pay to come in and look around, that sales of merchandise would overall be down. It's not--in fact, recent shows have gone great guns. The New York Comic-con from just a bit over a month ago claimed that their numbers were up by 10,000 over last year, from 67,000 to 77,000. Vendors reported brisk sales.

You could wonder if that was some sort of East Coast fluke, but a couple of weeks later, San Francisco's WonderCon did knock-out business, with strong attendance and successful sales for venders. It doesn't just seem to be a lag until the economy catches up with the industry, either. On Friday, WonderCon's sister show, the massive San Diego Comic-Con International, sold out its 4-day full membership for 2009. That doesn't seem too surprising on its face, until you take into consideration the fact that the con is still more than four months away. Somebody at Comic-Con must be very, very happy. Of course, I'm not at all prepared to suggest what these numbers might imply for the rest of the industry. My assumption is that sales will tend to drop, and some stores might have to fold, but this kind of attendance at comics shows has to be circumstantial evidence that comics will weather the downturn just fine.


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