Quick Hits | 2021 comic sales topped $2 billion

Last year was the best year ever for comic sales, according to a new report. Plus: News on Oni/Lion Forge, Substack, Zestworld, Henry Barajas, Kieron Gillen and more.

Comics sales | Milton Griepp of ICV2.com and John Jackson Miller of Comichron.com have released their annual assessment of the comics and graphic novel market for last year, noting that sales grew 62% in 2021 over the prior year in the U.S. and Canada to approximately $2.075 billion. They were also up 70% when compared to pre-pandemic 2019.

“Publishers made more selling comics content than in any year in the history of the business, even when adjusted for inflation,” Miller said of the 2021 estimates. “The biggest year in the modern era, 1993, saw sales of around $1.6 billion in 2021 dollars — and the pricier product mix puts 2021 ahead of what the colossal circulations of the early 1950s brought in, also adjusted for inflation.”

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Comics Lowdown | Marvel editors participate in #DisneyWalkout

Plus: ‘Persepolis’ under fire in Pennsylvania school district! David Gallaher, real-life superhero! News on Behemoth, Zestworld, Julie Doucet and more!

Marvel employees joined their colleagues from Pixar, Lucasfilm and other Disney-owned divisions in a walk-out on Tuesday to protest the company’s response to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education act, which has become to be known as the “Don’t Say Gay bill.”

The bill bans lessons about sexual orientation in kindergarten through third grade and prohibits lessons in other grades unless they are “age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate.” Critics say the law could stigmatize LGBTQ+ students, and lead to bullying and attacks. The bill has yet to be signed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, but it’s just a matter of time, as the governor has expressed his support for it.

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Smash Pages Q&A | Alex Segura’s ‘Secret Identity’

The comics writer, novelist and industry veteran discusses his newest book, which combines his love of mysteries with the comic book industry.

Alex Segura is known to comics readers for various comics projects ranging from The Dusk to The Black Ghost to Archie Meets the B-52’s to the upcoming The Awakened, but the Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Oni-Lion Forge has another career as a novelist. Segura has written an acclaimed series of novels featuring journalist-turned-private eye Pete Fernandez, and his new novel Secret Identity bridges these two worlds.

A murder mystery set in 1970s New York, the novel centers around Carmen Valdez, an assistant at Triumph Comics who aspires to be a writer. After a co-worker is murdered, Valdez tries to understand what happened. Chapters of the novel are also interspersed with pages from the fictional The Lynx comic book, which Valdez co-wrote in the novel, but are drawn by real-life artist Sandy Jarrell.

The novel is a departure for Segura, less focused on plot but more about character and atmosphere, focused on evoking another era and a look inside the comics industry of that time. It’s his best and richest work to date, and we had a chance to talk recently about the novel, which is out this week.

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Subscription-based comics platform Zestworld will launch next year

New titles by Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Phil Jimenez, Eric Canete, Alex Segura, Dean Kotz and more are expected next year.

A new digital comics platform that’s focused on helping creators “monetize their creations” will debut next year with titles by Eric Canete, Amanda Conner, Phil Jimenez, Jimmy Palmiotti, Alex Segura, Peter Tomasi and more, according to The New York Times.

Zestworld, who have a very basic website set up here, was founded by Chris Giliberti, who told the NYT that “this industry is broken for creators; and it’s broken in publishing and TV and film; it’s also broken in events and collectibles.”

“We wanted to build something that’s useful across all areas of their business — anywhere they generate income,” he said, noting that the creators they’re working with will be stockholders in the company.

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