Lately, Publisher’s Weekly has had some really interesting articles on comics. One of them, about the ICv2 Confab report for 2007 (ICv2 is a pop culture trade website, that’s been running a graphic novel conference for the past couple of years), gives an overview of the comics/graphic novel industry for 2007. Apparently, graphic novel sales rose 12% between 2006 and 2007, and have increased fivefold since 2001. When I chased down the article on the ICv2 website, I found that graphic novels were worth about $375 million in 2007, periodical comics came to $330 million, and manga about $210 million. Each segment indicated rising sales and production. That’s a total of $915 million – around 2.5% of total US book sales (which is about $37.09 billion, according to the Book Industry Study Group).
In other Publisher’s Weekly comics news, they’re making a comic based on The Twilight Zone. And they’ve got a survey of graphic artists to watch for 2008. The ICv2 website also carries monthly lists of top 300 comics and top 100 graphic novels, in case anyone’s interested.
I have to ask, though, is there a graphic novel/comic book industry in Australia? I know there’s artists and illustrators out there – Shaun Tan and Eddie Campbell spring instantly to mind – and the AWM database has one, possibly two, dedicated comic book publishers that I can think of. And perhaps this is another arena where American imports just meet the needs of the market. Perhaps what comics industry we have represents the same 2.5% slice of our book industry, which in around 2004 had a net worth of $3.4 billion. But am I seeing the full picture? Does anyone know what’s out there for the average Australian Warren Ellis or Alan Moore? (Other than a strategic move to the US…)