Comic book-based TV: Don't assume Marvel and DC will dominate

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"The Walking Dead," "Arrow," and Marvel's upcoming "S.H.I.E.L.D." are three examples of how TV's largest emerging market is shows based on comic books. Fans should not assume that Marvel and DC will eventually dominate this market. The smaller companies entering the game have more to prove and can reap the greatest benefits.

Greatest impact

The greatest impact a successful comic book-based show could have is on the market share of the comic book industry. The collector's market has been coming back, and people are returning to comic book stores in droves. The recent blockbuster string of movies out of Marvel and DC have shed new light on the comics and reignited the reading and collecting bug across the country. While Marvel and DC will not likely lose their dominance of the market, a loss of a percentage point or two by either company to an independent or smaller company would be significant.


While Image Comics has been a player in the comic book industry for many years, "The Walking Dead" solidified the #3 comic book publisher. AMC is looking for another hit from the company in the form of "Thief of Thieves." Recently, the 100th issue of the comic book version of the zombie apocalypse story became the best-selling comic in almost a generation. The show has driven new readers to the comic book stores and forced Marvel and DC to worry about holding their shares of this market.


IDW Publishing has the fourth largest share of the comic book market and has already seen "30 Days of Night" turned into a major motion picture. A successful TV show based on one of its properties could take a bite out of the market and catapult the smaller company. It would be fitting for the company, which has published comics based on successful shows, such as "Doctor Who" and "Buffy: The Vampire Slayer," to have a show based off of one of their original titles.


Perhaps the greatest winner in the emerging comic book-based TV market is Zenescope. Both Grimm Fairy Tales and Alice in Wonderland are being made into shows that will display the same level of sex and violence as the publications. Someone enticed by what they see on the screen could head to their local comic book store to check out the print versions of the show. The TV shows, if completed, will help to place the small company on the world's map and drive up their market share to where it can compete with IDW and Image.

The possibilities do not end with the publishers mentioned above. Dozens of titles for even smaller publication companies are being looked at for comics, and comic book fans might see a different market share picture in 2013 and beyond. A year from now, comic book fans might be expecting shows from Tranfuzion Publishing, Big Dog Ink, or another up-and-coming publisher. All a smaller comic book publication company needs is a chance to shine, and it can shift millions of dollars from the comic book market.

More from this contributor:

How important is Marvel's 'S.H.I.E.L.D.' to ABC?

Image Comics' Hoax Hunters perfect for TV

Lessons learned from worst comic book-based shows

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