Comic Book Store Owner Confirms Marvel and DC Comics ‘Downturn’

Phil Boyle of Coliseum Comics reveals the state of the industry and sales for his ten comic book shops.

Comic Book Store Owner Confirms Marvel and DC Comics 'Downturn'

Mark Millar’s interview with three comic book retailers is now out where one comic book owner confirms a downturn in American comics, with Marvel and DC Comics.

Marvel and DC Comics make up the “Big Two” that are responsible for a majority of the American comics published. They are also responsible for the foot traffic, getting fans into comic shops. So what typically happens, is a fan will come in to buy Batman, Spider-Man, or X-Men, and then they will pick up another title, which could be Marvel, DC, or an indie book.

Recently saw a chart from ICV2 get posted to Twitter that shows North American comic book sales across time from 2013 to 2022 which makes it seem as if comic book sales are booming. However, the chart doesn’t reveal that what is really going on is Graphic Novels and Manga are responsible for the boost in sales. Both Marvel and DC Comics sales are down.

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Phil Boyle of Coliseum Comics: Graphic Novels and Manga are big sellers

One of the comic book retailers Mark Millar spoke is Phil Boyle of Coliseum Comics in Florida who owns ten comic book shops in addition to a distribution warehouse. Boyle says in addition to Manga being included in the comic sales numbers, graphic novels such as Dog Man are also included.

“It depends on what they are putting in on that. They are including Dog Man which has starting print runs of 5 million,” said Boyle responding to the ICV2 chart. “They’re including every Manga out there. When you look at Marvel and DC periodicals [shakes head] they’re not making up a significant portion of anything right now.”

Boyle also says his stores sell a lot of Manga.

“We sell a lot of it. We sell an awful lot of it, actually,” he said. “We sell Dog Man, we sell everything from Sonic, and those types of books. Sailor Moon. We sell a lot of the Manga. We sell Chainsaw Man and Demon Slayer and Attack on Titan and everything else. We order those, we literally buy them by the hundreds when the next issue comes out.”

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“More than concerned”

Phil Boyle also wrote an article for ICV2 titled “Comic stores 2023: ‘It’s nearly 2024 and I’m more than concerned.'” Speaking with Millar he went over his sales for DC and Marvel revealing big drops.

“Our DC sales from 2022 to 2023 dropped 14%. Marvel dropped 8%. That may not sound terrible but if we take out the ratio variance, which means the actual comics people are reading, DC is down 17% across my chain. Marvel is down 24%. BOOM! is down 73%,” he said.

Boyle continued, “So we’ve had an awful lot of downturns. We’ve had a lot of people who are just tired of the fact there doesn’t seem to be a lot of editorial oversight. There are a lot of retailers that have worked for near damn near minimum wage for an awful lot of years because of the passion of what they loved and unfortunately, that is being gutted. And as I put out before, where else can you get 2000 people across America and more across the rest of the world who are willing to work for minimum wage, fifty and sixty hours a week to promote your product and pay you to do it?”

He added, “If you had to actually hire that kind of marketing team it would cost you millions but these publishers, they treat us like a cash cow.”

Watch more in the video below. A retailer also explains how relaunches hurt the business, and a former editor at DC and Marvel Comics also exposed pros who want to see the comic book market destroyed, and Mark Millar responded to the “cancel pigs” following that video of comic book store owner Glenn O’Leary going viral.

Watch the video:

Millar Time EP21 - Comic Book Retailer Roundtable

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