A Summary of France's Comics Market and the Future of China's Comics Market
From the Chinese Anime and Comics portal Southcn comes an article analyzing France's comics market, the article goes on to look at China's own market for comics, and compares it to its European counterparts.
A Summary of France's Comic Book Market
Abstract: France's comic book market is one of the most important comic book markets in the world, with 4,313 different comic book titles (including reprints) and around 77 magazines dealing specifically with comic books published in 2007. Last year also saw comic book sales of over 40 million there, totalling around 400 million Euros. Of 2007's 3,313 new works published in France, 253 were Chinese comic books. If China were to try to expand their portion of France's comic book market they would meet with a few cultural barriers; crucially because the work of Chinese artists differs greatly from the three mainstream comic books styles of Europe, Japan, and the US, and it is hard for many vendors to categorise them. Although all readers approve of the high-quality artwork and originality of Chinese comics, many feel that the storylines are inferior to their Japanese or European counterparts.
1. Overview of the market
France's comic book market is possibly one of the most important comic book markets in the world (alongside Japan and the US). The market in France can produce around 4,000 exciting titles (new and old) every year (in 2007 there were 4,313 titles, which works out to about twelve new releases each day).
In 2007, 254 publishing houses (all privately run) embarked on this market to varying degrees;, some published one or two titles, while others would publish as many as 500. Overall, over 40 million comic books were sold, with total sales that year of around 400 million Euros.
Ever since comic books first appeared in France back in the thirties, the market for them has never dried up, especially in the last ten years. This is clear just from looking at the number of titles now available. In 2000, there were 1,137 titles published; 227 of these were Japanese, 558 titles were from the main comic book companies, 236 were independent comics, and 116 were Chinese comics. In 2007, of the 3,313 new titles, 1,428 were from Asia, 1,018 were from the big companies, 613 were independents, and 253 were Chinese. Evidently, Asian comics, and more specifically Japanese manga, have the fastest- expanding market, currently making up over 40% of France's comic book market.
There are about 77 different magazines that deal specifically with comics,; however, some of these are very short lived (only a few weeks).
What we still haven't thought to include in this examination is the final element of the comic book market, the large amount of websites devoted to comics, especially Japanese manga. The young readership of this kind of comic book is relatively high, using mobile phones every day to connect to the internet and get comics transmitted directly into their hands.
What are the bestsellers among the comic book titles? Obviously, the two biggest names are Asterix and Titeuf, with both series having sales exceeding 1.5 million, each time they appear on the charts, they have a new title.
For example, the bestsellers of 2007 were:
This shows the strength of France's comic book market. As you may have noticed, in the top ten bestselling comic books list there isn't a single Japanese title,; the closest is the extremely popular series "Naruto", which sold 220,000 copies. What is most important to focus on it that, there are only nine manga series that enjoy over 50% of the sales of the French titles listed above.
3. Chinese comics (manhua)
Having only landed in the French comic book market recently, Chinese comics are just starting to gather momentum (although we should also consider several Hong Kong comics which have already been around since the nineties).
At the time of this writing, only the following publishing companies deal specifically deal with Chinese comics in France:
If China is to expand its share of the French Comic Book market, it could face the following obstacles:
What can be done?
First of all, we should be making appearances at conventions and festivals in Europe. In 2008, we held exhibitions in England, France, and Germany to get the message across to European readers that Chinese comics exist and have something special to offer.
Next, we should be putting on a few events of our own. In June 2008, we released our collaborative work 'Beijing Story', and through a competition on the website, we got 22,000 hits.
We should also cooperate and collaborate with European and American publishing companies. Chinese comic artist "Benjamin" has already been published in seven European countries.
Finally, we should work to connect Chinese artists with European artists, and help them to collaborate on stories and exchange ideas.
It is with these criteria in mind that Xiaopan has been fortunate to receive generous assistance and support from the Beijing Total Vision Culture Spreads Co., LTD from day one, and I would like to express my gratitude to them for their highly effective contributions.
4. The future of comics?
For a long time now, the European market has been the biggest consumer of comic books, and it looks to remain that way for some time. Chinese comics, still in their youth, have much to gain from expanding their share of this market. With the outstanding amount of Chinese talent, we are sure to see many international bestsellers coming out of China in the future.
It's just a matter of time... and hard work!