Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Hey!! Kids Comics

One of the common complaints from older comic fans is that the direct sales comics market has deprived kids of the experience picking up comics from a spinner rack. This is usually accompanied by some back and forth about how there are no kids comics any more. However, Comic Book Resources writer Brian Hibbs posted a report on the 2015 Bookscan numbers that shows that kids comics (in the form of graphic novels) are actually outselling traditional superhero trades! Below, I've made a graph that tell the tale.

First up is this graph that shows the Top 10 Trades on the Bookscan list broken out into groups (assigned by me - Kid, DC, Walking Dead and Persepolis )


Yep, that blue area is the sales of All Ages books in the the Top 20. Below are the actual figures. I've highlighted the All-Ages material.

Sales Title
$4,935,546.00 DORK DIARIES 10
$4,146,845.00 DORK DIARIES 9
$3,985,855.00 THE WALKING DEAD: COMPENDIUM V3 TP
$3,628,975.00 THE WALKING DEAD COMPENDIUM V1 TP
$2,900,612.00 DRAMA
$2,732,964.00 THE WALKING DEAD: COMPENDIUM V2 TP
$2,638,094.00 SMILE
$2,411,436.00 SISTERS
$1,614,781.00 DORK DIARIES 1
$1,282,346.00 KRISTY'S GREAT IDEA: FULL-COLOR
$1,257,734.00  BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE HC
$1,233,792.00 CAN'T WE TALK ABOUT SOMETHING MORE PLEASANT
$1,175,771.00 HYPERBOLE AND A HALF
$1,165,833.00 CIVIL WAR TP
$1,163,843.00 PERSEPOLIS 1
$906,026.00 JEDI ACADEMY
$896,842.00 BIG NATE: SAY GOOD-BYE TO DORK
$869,005.00 BIG NATE'S GREATEST HITS
$815,071.00 DORK DIARIES 9 TALES FRO B&N EDITION
$802,175.00 EL DEAFO

What's also interesting is the gender makeup of the Top 20 Sales leaders. While we often read about how there is a lack of diversity in the big Two comic companies (and the industry at large I suspect), there is no denying that the All-Ages book market is playing by different rules. Check out this graph.


As a father of a daughter I can testify to the popularity of both the Dork Diary series by Rachel Renee Russell and the books Smile, Sisters and Drama by Raina Telgemeir. The Telgemeir books have a nice style we can all appreciate:


What's most interesting is that while this list is made of up book store numbers, my daughter and her friends get their books straight from their school at bi-monthly book fairs.

 How it works is that her teacher hands out a sheet with new and popular books on it.(see example below)


The kids take the sheet home, show their parents what books they want. The parents can then send a check back with the form for the books they've agreed on. A few weeks later the books show up at the school. Now, that's a direct market!

While I'm discussing the topic, I would like to alert readers to a new All-Ages book coming out this week written by friend of the Flashback Universe, David Gallaher: The Only Living Boy: Prisoner of the Patchwork Planet


This is a collection of the issues that I've been reading on Comixology, and I've really been enjoying it. To me, it feels like a cool mashup of Jack Kirby's Kamandi, Baum's Oz Books and Micronauts (mostly because of the incredible design work artist Steve Ellis brings to the table.)

So, if you're one of those people looking for something cool to share with your kids, I would definitely encourage you to check out the first book!

Have a great week!

- Jim

6 comments:

MattComix said...

Well I think part of the complaint is that really superheroes are rather perfect for being a young reader thing but they're forced out of being part of the success of graphic novels for young readers by a generation of fans and creators who insist on making them exist in some weird nether realm off to the side of horror movies and porn as a way to distance themselves from old perceptions about superheroes being campy or for kids *only*.

Yet some of the most successful young reader things are things that aren't painfully inappropriate for kids while still having plenty for an older reader to chew on. As I've often said those classic comics worked well for repeat reading because as you grew up you found more in them. You kind of go from just thinking Spider-Man is awesome and looks cool to being able to understand what his stories say about the human condition.

Jim Shelley said...

@MattComix - I think a lot of things contributed to the decline of young readers of superhero comics: moving to the direct market, price increases, competition from other media (video games and shows) and change in tone.

But let's not forget the reason comics felt the need to move into the direct market in the first place was because the market outside was already dwindling. Don Rosa once told me that the direct market saved comics at that time, but it has since become an unfortunate crutch that has led to the type of comics you mention.

But here's a question - since there is a new marketplace for kids reading entertainment via school driven book sales, why aren't there any superhero properties in the lineup? I suspect the people who pick the books don't necessarily see any merit in modern superhero material (which is unfortunate because it might help boys get more into reading.)

MattComix said...

I think both companies would need to be willing to design graphic novels for that market and be able to to do so without falling into the usual rut of making anything aimed at kids excessively watered-down or wacky but to honestly approach the heroes from a writing for young readers perspective. We're talking past chapter books but before teen novels.

I think well done young reader superhero graphic novels could hang in the market alongside stuff from Rick Riordan for example.

Arion said...

Hi, how are you doing? Just like I did last year I wanted to ask you a favor, I'm promoting my new comic, as you can see here:

http://artbyarion.blogspot.com/2016/03/buy-dawn-of-undead-now-and-win-marvel.html

It would mean a lot to me if you help me spread the link around, and even better yet, if you post something about this on your blog.

Thanks!

Maria Owens said...

All of these comics are very interesting for kids but we should not our kids let waste their time in watching cartoons and television and force them to study and writer much to make profession essay writers and successful businessman because education is important and better than comics.

asim jofa said...

Wow, here is are some new series of comics. We can enjoy it if we have some free time from Need An Essay Writing Service? or other jobs. I will visit here again to know about more interesting series of comics.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails