Reading this Iron Man article by Tom Pinchuk had me thinking.
I knew that Marvel had surpassed DC as No. 1 in comic book sales today, but I’ve always thought for the life of me, that it only happened just around this 2000 decade after they had bounced back from bankruptcy in the late 90’s. But after looking it up, I was very surprised to find that Marvel had actually accomplished that feat since the 70’s! In fact the year 1972 was the year Marvel overtook DC for the industry lead.
That’s almost 40 years that Marvel had been dominating DC in comic book sales!!! Anyone else realized this? I didn’t! How did that happen?
The 70’s were dominated by DC Hanna Barbera cartoons, the 80’s were dominated by Superman films and Superboy TV shows, the 90’s with Batman films and Flash TV shows, but yet the only thing going for Marvel were Spider-Man & Friends, and The Incredible Hulk TV shows. So I always thought growing up, DC was always the prevalent comic book company.
Since 1972 unitl today, DC has only outsold Marvel books less than a handful of times a year, literally a handful. Outside of Marvel declaring bankruptcy, DC had to basically kill Superman and break Batman during those years just to come close to what Marvel was selling. And after those stories settled, they were back to being non-existent to the readers.
Going back to Marvel’s bankruptcy, how were they able to bounce back and reclaim the No. 1 spot again in just a short time? How were they able to stay ahead of DC in comic book sales despite a lot more people in general always more used to seeing DC heroes like Superman and Batman on flim and TV during those years?