SF Debris: Rise and Fall of the Comic Empire Part 6

The bubble bursts, and the industry collapses, and Marvel’s attempts to ride to the rescue unwittingly makes things even worse.

About SF Debris


  1. ThatGuyInTheHeadband

    Man, it’s surprising just what kind of corporate decisions could end up nearly destroying an entire industry. Way too many people lost their livelihoods because of this. There is a full blown monopoly on comic book distribution that the federal government can’t even do anything about in fear of finishing off the industry because of this. The industry still hasn’t fully recovered. These days, comics are lucky to sell 20,000 copies when they once routinely sold millions. All because of a bunch of get rich schemes.

    Also, I find it funny that we could of gotten a Black Widow series 15 years before we realized we wanted one.

    • What decisions can destroy whole industry? Any! Most crashes happen because speculators rise bubble in hope of making money on something that didn’t have chance to make any on the first place. When crash happen it mostly reset supply to original point and what stay is mostly healthy companies. It could kill few popular franchises and stop high risk ambitious products from production for some time, but it end some demand always would be exist.

  2. ThatAnimeChick

    Wow. This whole thing seems to be a clusterfuck that refused to die. And because of this domino disaster, the entire industry almost collapsed under its own weight. Thanks a fucking heap, speculators/distributors…

    • It still wasn’t worst crash in comic-book history, so we shouldn’t exaggerate. Even infamous post Word War comic-book crash (caused by fact that war created bubble of propaganda superhero comic, what totally collapsed when people back from war and try forget about it) in fact help in end consolidate most Golden Era franchises in DC, when they get proper treatment instead what they have under previous random ownership. In fact 90’ties speculator bubble also hit mostly speculators, what opened door for better companies like Disney.

      • Okay, fair enough, I see your point. But I still don’t care for people who collect comic books just to sell them. And the crash may or may not be why comic book shops are so damn pricey… or uncommon. The closest comic book shop to where I live is a few miles away, which I can’t always get to. Maybe I’m complaining too much, though.

  3. Very good.
    That could be a documentary.
    I still point that people are underestimating the importance of newstand sales.
    A lot of countries sell more comics than USA nowdays and they barely have comic book shops.

  4. Just wanted to say that I love the series. I created an account just to comment here, and I wanted to thank you for the wonderful birthday present. Cheers, mate.

  5. I grew up driving past 2 comic book shops that were in strip malls side by side; Whatever they were doing, they were doing it right because both are still open a quarter of a century later.

    I only recently started shopping in one because I went looking for the new ‘Jem’ comic. Great atmosphere; Offered to automatically order monthly comic for me; Well-organized, but a teensy bit crowded, stock ( I chalk that up to their profit margin being very small, and so more stock= better sales=being able to pay the rent): If both are like that, I can see how they’d appeal to dedicated fans and casual people dropping in.

    Also, they’re located on a side road, off of a main drag, with big comic book signs over their doors; The thousands of people who drive by everyday (see above) can’t possibly miss it: That’s bloody good exposure; “Okay, new in town; Where am I gonna find a com… nevermind”; “I hear comic shops are run, and patronized, by skeevy perverts; Ooh, look at this place, in an open busy area, with a sports shop next door”; “Mommy! It’s Spider-man! Mommy, can we stop? Please, please, pleeeaaase!!!”.

    I’m just really glad that, in an industry that saw so many businesses shuttered, 2 shops have survived for a literal generation and nearly next door, to boot.

  6. I found myself trying to remember how many comic shops Lincoln had in the early 90s.

  7. Dromedary Meat Cactus

    Unless I missed it, you haven’t talked much about Malibu Comics, which distributed Image at first until Image left. Malibu then created an “Ultraverse” to compete with Valiant and Image, then Marvel bought Malibu Comics, but quickly stopped publishing all the Malibu Comics, making the acquisition seemingly pointless (although I think I read something about Marvel wanting Malibu’s digital comic coloring team to obtain their expertise at producing the flashy digitally airbrushed look that was hip in those days).

  8. I remember when the two comic shops in my tiny little LA suburb (La Crescenta) both closed within the same month. That was a side, dark time for 12-year-old me.

  9. We’ve got have…Money!!!

Leave a Reply