2015 has been huge in the world of comic books so here is a quick retrospective in case you missed any of the big events.
2015 is slowly coming to a close and it has been one insane year in the world of comic books. The Marvel Universe ended (sure, it might have been rebooted eight months down the line but it still ended), DC comics are slowly undoing their New 52 relaunch from a few years back, and Image comics are edging closer and closer to rivalling the big two. Meanwhile, in the industry, the independent market has continued to boom. Mark Millar has taken on his first set of thirteen young wards in his talent search, DC Comics have announced a need to cut story lengths and increase advertising, Marvel are reporting sales figures that rival some major blockbuster films, and Brian Azzarello dug Frank Miller up from his grave to finish the Dark Knight Returns trilogy. With so much going on in the industry, here is run down of the top five comic book events of 2015.
5) Star Wars came back to Marvel
The year of films might have ended with Star Wars but the year of comics started with it as Marvel comics regained the rights to the universe and started big. Smashing almost every known sales record and selling over a million copies, Star Wars Issue One boosted an all-star line-up of both characters and creators. This gave Marvel a significant boost to their sales to start the year on, a boost that never seemed to diminish, and led to a veritable slew of Star Wars comics flooding the shelves. Almost every Star Wars series has been met with high critical and public acclaim which can only mean we are going to be receiving more in the future.
4) DC Comics struggling
While Marvel Comics have been booming this year, their old sparring partner, DC Comics, have been having some serious problems. The year started fairly well for them with the Convergence cross-over arc, however it was overshadowed by Marvel’s Secret Wars arc and heralded a slow decline in sales. In October DC Comics released a statement saying that they would have to decrease the number of pages in their comics and increase the amount of advertising. This led to a hefty amount of critical discussion and some debate over whether this was ‘the end’ for DC Comics. Luckily, as the year draws to a close, The Dark Knight Returns series appears to be pumping a little cash in DC Comics vaults. The next year could make or break DC Comics as the release of some big budget films and comic series may bail them out of their slow decline.
3) The Image boom
Sex Criminals, Saga, The Walking Dead, I Hate Fairyland, Tokyo Ghost, Head Lopper, Lumberjanes, Southern Bastards and Chew. Few of these series started this year but each and every one of them have seem a boom in sales as many have become optioned for films and have become founded by the mainstream public. The combination of Image’s collaboration with Millarworld and their slow monopolisation of comic book talent has led to their steady increase in the market, filling a lot of the space left by DC Comics. Every writer and artist worth his salt seems to be making an appearance over at the Image offices. This is leading to a genre change in the market as more readers are looking for something different from the norm. Over the next year this trend could increase further and begin to seriously challenge the other industry titans.
2) The winter war
In my experience this has happened almost every year on the comic book industry. Around October both Marvel and DC start to pump out the equivalent of Oscar bait in hopes to garner some Eisner awards in the coming year. This year DC Comics came out swinging, possibly in hopes of increasing their sales in the final quarter of the year. Fans were presented with Dark Knight Returns, Superman: American Alien, and Batman: Europa which are all selling well and look set to lay out a strong couple of months for the publishing house. Unfortunately for DC, Marvel came back with Captain America: White, Vader Down, and their vast All-New All-Different line-up that left their competition in the dust.
1) An All-New All-Different Universe
Marvel have had a brilliant year in the world of comics and it all started with their big cross-over, Secret Wars. The event started with the destruction of the Marvel universe and ended with a gentle reboot and the closure of the Ultimate Universe. After some horrendous scheduling problems, Marvel began to produce their All-New All-Different line-up consisting of brand new starts for almost every recognisable character. There were many controversies over the line-up, including the cancellation of the Fantastic Four and the reduction of the X-Men lines, but most fans seem to have been won over by the change. This bodes well for the New Year and it’s possible we could see Marvel rising to a position of industry dominance throughout the coming months.