Thousands of fans and collectors rushed into a comic book store to witness the death of an icon. They had seen it on the news, heard it on the radio, been told by their friends. Superman was dead. The cover of Superman 75 showed Superman’s torn cape blowing in the wind like a flag, while his family and friends wept in the background.
On this day in 1992, a single store in Detriot sold nearly 200 000 copies of a comic, as consumers raced to pick up that issue. The store began to see that they were running out of issues, so they marked the prices up higher and higher. By the end of the day, the issue that had started off at a $1.50 was going for twenty times its original price. This was a common sight in comic book stores across North America.
DC Comics, publisher of Superman, and comic book retailers made around $30 million in one day. This was the third time an American comic book publisher had hit the jackpot. It was also the last.
It was clear by the end of that same year that the comic market was shrinking. Sales dropped, the collectors cashed out and sent the whole system into what Grant Morrison, a writer at DC Comics, called “a death spiral.”
However, comic book creators see a way out of this tail spin through a new distribution system: the internet. Read the rest of this entry