Walking Dead to overtake Superman?

By: Zachary Landau | Duquesne Duke

DC Comic’s sales drop as Image threatens their place

Last week, insiders leaked that DC Comics, publishers of legendary comic book heroes such as Superman and Batman, is down $2 million in expected revenue this fiscal year.

This rumor, as originally reported by the website Bleeding Cool, comes in the middle of a turbulent year for the second-biggest comic book publisher. Not only have there been unexpected costs from its move from New York to Los Angeles, but there has been a lack of enthusiasm from fans for the reimagining of some of its classic characters and its lackluster Convergence event.

DC has also been experiencing losses in its retail market share, dropping from 25.06 percent in June to 23.94 percent in July.

This news does come as a surprise to some as DC has seen success and solid sales in its experimental series of “Batgirl” and “Harley Quinn.”

According to Bleeding Cool, DC Comics reportedly has been telling its writers to return to form and stop “Batgirling,” referring to the experimenting with its classic characters, in response to these losses.

Speculators are not shying away from DC in droves just yet, however, and DC’s return to standardized story-telling may have just as much to do with its financial difficulties as its huge blockbuster film, “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” launching next year. DC feels confident in continuing its long-term movie series to rival the “Marvel Cinematic Universe”

Both companies have high-expectations for their franchises, as their plans for a series of movies with loose continuity is projected to run into the year 2020. AMC, the network that airs the hugely popular “The Walking Dead” TV show, has similar hopes for its star show, claiming that it will continue until at least 2022.

Whether or not these plans will prove successful is a sticking point for some, as Sony and Fox had similar plans for its Spiderman, and X-men and Fantastic Four franchises, all of which failed to impress audiences. Sony even has gone so far as to cancel “Spiderman 3” and share its movie rights with Marvel in an attempt to revive the brand.

These losses are making some speculate that DC’s reign as Marvel’s sole competitor may soon be over as Image Comics, makers of “The Walking Dead,” are slowly gaining a larger portion of the market, up to 9.48 percent in July. The last time Image Comics became a significant force in the industry was after its inception in 1992.

Image Comics has experienced the extremes of success and failure for over two decades. At first experiencing great sales during the 1990s, Image quickly fell into obscurity when the speculator bubble surrounding the industry burst later in the decade. Image struggled to maintain any presence in the comic book industry until 2008, when Eric Stephenson became its publisher. Since then, many talents have left DC and Marvel for Image, attracted by its content-creator-friendly contracts and increasing sales. Image Comics is now the third largest comic book publisher in the industry and looks to continue expanding.

Whether Image Comics may finally usurp one of the top two comic book publishers remains to be seen.

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