Comics Publisher Market Shares by Year
Publishers' annual shares of comic books and graphic novels bought by comics shops in North America, 1991-2018
Diamond Comic Distributors, the sales agent for most North American comics publishers serving the comics shop "direct market," reports annual market shares for its sales of comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines. Above are the reported shares for several consistently large publishers over the last several years.
Before 1993, the figures are from Capital City Distribution, because Diamond did not report annual shares back then; 1991 was Capital City's first year for reporting them. Previously, Marvel's share in the 1980s was thought to have topped 70%.
Marvel share dropped precipitously in the early 1990s due to the departure of many of its top creators to start Image Comics. There were no annual shares possible during the Distributor Wars of 1995-96, when it was no longer possible to obtain all comics from a single distributor. That coincided with Marvel's sales collapse and later bankruptcy. DC passed Marvel in the late 1990s due to its early and aggressive adoption of graphic novels and trade paperbacks.
Marvel reclaimed the lead in the early 2000s. Image's share decreased in the late 1990s due to Wildstorm Studios' move to DC, with the publisher's percentages improving later following the debut of the Walking Dead TV show. IDW, launching in the early 2000s, grew steadily in that decade and became the #4 publisher in the 2010s.
The above figures account for the majority of the comic books moving through the comics shop system, though in more recent years the book channel has grown much larger. The above chart does not reflect sales to chain bookstores, Amazon, or digital sales; only what was sold to comics shops.
As the calculation includes non-comics magazines, the true share for each publisher is probably slightly higher each month.