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
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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
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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
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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
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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
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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.