The bigger picture

Drawing Intersections between Comics, Fan, and Industry Studies

Authored by: Alisa Perren , Laura E. Felschow

The Routledge Companion to Media Fandom

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138638921
eBook ISBN: 9781315637518
Adobe ISBN:


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For decades, American comic books have attracted one of the most dedicated, active fandoms (Duncan & Smith 2009; Smith 2011; Steirer 2011). And since the early 2000s, Hollywood has perceived comic book fans to be especially valuable consumers and promoters of their products. Although the roughly $1 billion in revenue generated each year in sales of single issues, graphic novels, and digital issues by the American comic book industry (Griepp 2015) is miniscule in comparison to the roughly $11 billion generated annually by Hollywood theatrical film releases (MPAA 2016) and $70 billion from US television advertising (Lynch 2016), the comic book industry has evolved to become a central source of intellectual property and franchise development for the media industries more generally. Increasingly, the media landscape has been dominated by superhero television series, films, and video games generated by the “Big Two” publishers, DC Comics (owned by Time Warner; 31.30% share of market as of November 2016) and Marvel Comics (owned by Disney, 39.46% share as of November 2016) (Diamond 2016). But comics are more than superhero properties. Indeed, with growing regularity, comic book adaptations are coming from independent, entrepreneurial publishers including Dark Horse (Hellboy 1993–; 2.85% share as of November 2016), BOOM! Studios (Two Guns 2007–, 1.66% share as of November 2016), and Image Comics (The Walking Dead 2003–, 9.06% share as of November 2016) (Diamond 2016).

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