The Effects of COVID-19 on the US Comic


With the temporary closure of the comics shops – the main comics sales channel in the United States – the American market has undergone a significant decrease in books and volumes published by publishing houses, which the Comichron market analysis site has now quantified in detail, comparing the number of releases in the comics shops between April and July of this year and the same period of 2019.

Comics in comic book format have in fact decreased by 63% compared to last year, while those in graphic novel format by 18%. In general, the outputs fell almost to zero in April, the closing period of the specialized stores. In particular, during the month, only 3 releases were reported by DC Comics – both distributed on the 28th of the month -, while all the other publishing houses (including Marvel Comics) remained zero.

In May, with the reopening of Diamond Comic and most of the comic books, there were 91 new releases (31 by DC, 5 by Marvel and 10 by Image Comics), while in June 248 (64 by DC, 13 by Marvel and 36 of Image). In any case, the quantities for 2019 have not yet been reached: in July, 327 comics in comic book format were published in the comics store, 34% less than in the same month last year. The publishing houses have in fact postponed, canceled and published only digitally some titles, in order to reduce the pressure on the specialized shops that should have purchased these products without being able to benefit from the right of return.

On the contrary, the quantity of graphic novels released has increased by 18% in June and by 68% in July, compared to the same two months of 2019. The reason is that many publishers continued to distribute graphic novels in bookstores also in April and May, to then supply the comics books with those titles in the following two months, together with the regularly scheduled releases.