5 largest comic book publishing companies

It is commonly known that art cannot be developed without the industry, and the industry cannot be developed without competition. The competition among business titans always has a positive effect on the consumer, no matter what improvements he is looking for in a product: price, availability or quality.
Comics industry began its development in the twentieth century, during the prewar period. Throughout the entire history all comic book publishers tried to create their own unique fantasy worlds. Some changed their name, while others took different approached to the audience. Superheroes and villains were getting new features that allowed them to win interest of the public over and over again.
Many people argue about which publishing company makes the best comics, but we decided to leave this question up to you and just tell about those who dominate on comics market.

1. Marvel Company

Marvel Logo
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The history of Marvel started in 1939, when publisher Martin Goodman decided to group together his subsidiaries under the name “Timely Comics”. The first Marvel’s characters were Human Torch and Namor The Sub-Mariner, and only in 1941 Captain America was created.
In 1961 Marvel Comics makes a revolution in the history of graphic novels. It launches The Fantastic Four #1. Unlike any previous superheroes the Fantastic Four characters appear in front of a reader with all their humanity. They experience daily stress, general household troubles and fight with each other like any other ordinary inhabitant of the Earth. Initially, they didn’t even wear costumes, therefore were deprived of the main attributes – secrets and double life.
Marvel presented to us such popular and well known superheroes as Spider-Man, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk and many more. Most of them live in a fictional universe called Earth-616. However events often take place in very real New York, Washington and London. Marvel uses the theme of parallel worlds, magic, mythology and time travel.
Nowadays Marvel continues to take over Hollywood with its superheroes. In 2009 Marvel signed a contract with The Walt Disney Company and became a part of the US largest media company. Today Marvel is the largest comic book publisher with 45% market share.

2. DC Comics

DC Logo
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DC comics was founded in 1934 and very soon became the main competitor of the Marvel publishing house. Abbreviation DC came from the popular series “Detective Comics”. DC Comics created such iconic characters as Batman and Superman, along with other well-known superheroes: Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern and others.
Company’s comics are less infantile and more positive. Actions usually take place in fictional cities like Gotham or Metropolis. DC Comics uses a lot of parallel worlds themes, demons and even vampires. The company also owns “Vertigo” series, which is designed for the production of comics for adult audience. This brand name publishes such comics as “V for Vendetta”, “Sandman”, “100 Bullets”, “Hellblazer” etc.
In 2009 American film studio Warner Brothers gained a full control over DC Comics. The studio now is able to use a maximum amount of characters from the comics.

3. Dark Horse Comics

Dark Horse Comics
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Dark Horse Comics was established in 1986 as a private company in the state of Oregon in the United States. Company creator Mike Richardson owned several comics shops and put its income into creating Dark Hoese Comics. The name “Dark Horse” did not come by an accident. At that time Marvel and DC Comics were the main players on the comic book market and independent publishers, who tried to fight against these giants, often faced a lot of challenges.
However Dark Horse Comics has grown and become the third-largest comics publishing company in the United States. The main aim of the company is quality and variety of manufactured products. Dark Horse and its subsidiaries have over 350 items, which are sold under company’s own brand. Company is best known for such comic books as Conan, Hellboy, Mask and Sin City. Dark Horse Comics also publishes comic books based of Star Wars, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, King Kong etc.

4. Image Comics

Image Comics Logo
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Image Comics is an American comic book publishing house created in 1992 by artists Erik Larsen, Jim Lee, Rob Liefeld, Todd McFarlane, Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and Jim Valentino, who at their time left biggest publishers at the top of their popularity to create their own company.
The main peculiarity of Image Comics, that distinguishes it from other comic book companies, is that character’s authors retain all copyrights and don’t have to pass them to the publisher. At first Image Comics’ issues were dominated by characters from other studio partners, but nowadays company publishes comics in many genres from a lot of independent creators. Image Comics is best known for such series as “The Walking Dead”, “Savage Dragon”, “Invincible”, “Spawn” and more. Currently Image Comics sells a little over 4% of all comics sold.

5. IDW Publishing

 Description: IDW Publishing logo
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IDW Publishing is the youngest major comic book publisher. It was founded in 1999 as a division of Idea and Design Works, LLC to develop products related to comic books, movies, video games etc. Nowadays IDW Publishing most well-known creations are licensed from movie and TV franchises, for example Star Trek, Terminator, Transformers and Doctor Who. Company takes fifth place on the comic book market with 3,5% of dollar share.

Comics chronicles: 14 significant dates in the history of Marvel

Such characters as Hulk, Iron Man and Thor are well known to the audience for many years. But most of us know nothing about the creator of these superheroes – Marvel Company. Only the biggest comics fans can tell company’s history without a single hitch. For others “Marvel” often is just a familiar name.

The American company Marvel was established over 70 years ago. Marvel created the idea of superheroes and put it into practice by inventing hundreds of fantastic stories. Over time the popularity of comics started to grow and the company decided to expand its activities by creating a series of animations based on existing plots. Later Marvel moved on to shooting big screen movies, becoming more and more famous throughout the world. At the moment Marvel Company has over 5 000 comic book characters and nearly two dozen films, not to mention the mass production of cartoons.

Although the way to the top of the publishing business was not so easy, Marvel is now one of the largest publishing houses, which represents modern comic book culture. We have gathered the most important facts and dates of the company’s history, to help you find out what is actually hidden under the name “Marvel”.

Marvel comics

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The Marvel Company was created by Martin Goodman in 1939 as a group of subsidiaries under the name Timely Comics. Company’s first publication was “Marvel Comics #1” in October of 1939. In this issue appeared superhero Human Torch created by Carl Burgos, as well as the modern anti-hero Namor: The Sub-Mariner, a mutant created by Bill Everett. Comics became a hit, although the company did not have enough of own funds to meet all the demand and had to use the services of an outside company Funnies Inc.


Goodman hires the chief editors Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, who are now responsible for a current style of the comics. By the end of the year Simon and Kirby find an assistant Stanley Lieber, but the whole world will soon know him as Stan Lee – editor in chief and main ideologue of Marvel Comics.

Stan Lee

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America has not yet entered the World War II, but everybody feel the inevitability of it. At this time the company’s chief editor, writer and artist Joe Simon teams up with the legend of comic book industry Jack Kirby to create the first national superhero – Captain America. Captain debuted in the comic book Captain America Comics # 1 in March 1941 and became a major sales hit.

Captain America

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In this year comes out the first film adaptation of Marvel comic book – “Captain America”. The film is about criminals, who are led by a villain called Scarab. They kill enemies with the help of mysterious poison and steal a secret device, which is able to destroy buildings with sound vibrations. Captain America stands on their way starting a fight for life and death. The series are shown in the movies right after the frontline chronicle.


Looking on DC Comics reviving superheroes in the late 50s and early 60s, Marvel decided to do the same. Editor and writer Stan Lee in collaboration with artist Jack Kirby created the Fantastic Four. Contrary to stereotypes of the genre heroes did not live a double life, and at first did not even wear costumes. They experience daily life struggles, which later was called “superheroes in the real world” approach.

On this wave of success Marvel created other comics superheroes, such as the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men, as well as such memorable villains as Doctor Doom, Magneto, Galactus, Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus. However the most commercially successful comic book was “The Amazing Spider-Man” created by Lee and Ditko.

The Hulk

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Jack Kirby leaves Marvel for a competing DC Comics. Stan Lee no longer writes stories and gets promoted to a publisher. This marks the end of the “Silver Age of Comic Books” (1956-1970).


Wolverine makes his debut as a minor character The Incredible Hulk #180. Captain America is disappointed in life, he throws his shield and becomes a Nomad.


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Jim Shooter becomes a chief editor of “Marvel Comics” and brings rapidly growing direct market to the company. He establishes authorship royalties for comics’ creators and starts to print “Epic Comics” in 1982. But despite the success Marlin publishing house loses ground to DC in the second half of the decade, after a few former stars of Marvel changed sides.

In 1989 Reagan publicly acknowledged that he reads the newspaper strip about Spider-Man first thing in the morning. Meanwhile, Marvel goes to billionaire Ronald Perelman.


Marvel and DC comics are doing an amazing thing: they release two series comics where the characters of both competing universes are fighting among each other.


Marvel establishes Marvel Studios, which is fully focused on the film industry. However the copyrights to the film versions of some characters (for instance Spider-man and X-Men) still belong to other studios.


“The Walt Disney Company” announces about the purchase of “Marvel” in late August. The deal took place in late December with the price of 4.24 billion dollars.


Marvel launched so-called “Phase Two” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “Phase Two” introduces to the audience such films as “Iron Man 3”, “Thor: The Dark World”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and “Ant-Man”.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” logo

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Marvel announces about publishing “Star wars” again after a nearly twenty-year break.


Here comes the “Phase Three” of the Marvel cinematic Universe that will continue up to the 2019. However the box office has already exceeded 1.8 billion dollars. Phase Three brought to us “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) and “Doctor Strange” (2016). At the same time Marvel has confirmed release of such films as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” (2017), “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017), “Thor: Ragnarok (2017)”, “Black Panther” (2018), “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018), “Ant-Man and the Wasp” (2018) and other.

Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange

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