Manga and Webtoon Publishers Are Dominating the Comics Industry

These days, manga is giving comics a run for it. The medium has been popular for decades, of course, but its recent push outside of Japan proves manga is for everyone. In the past few years, manga publishers have been outselling Western comic prints with ease, and a stunning graph shows just how well manga is doing.

As you can see below, the team at Europe Comics posted a graph denoting the approximate revenue of the top ten graphic novel publishers between 2020 and 2021. It was there fans got a look at how big publishers of manga and South Korean webtoons have become.

To start, Shueisha came in first place while Kodansha took second and Kadokawa took third. Shogakukan took hold of fourth place ahead of Kakao and Naver, two of the biggest webtoon publishers on the market. Marvel Comics and DC Comics came in seventh and eighth respectively before Media Participations and Panini Comics wrapped the top ten list.

Of course, there are some Western-centric publishers missing from this list, but that is thanks to this data's global reach. The info was sourced by Fumettologica in Italy, so relevant publishers in Europe were considered with global brands. However, we know Viz Media is absolutely crushing in sales these days.

For one, the publisher saw many of its current and backlog titles go out of stock during the pandemic's shutdown as manga rose in popularity. Nowadays, Viz Media's licenses all but dominate graphic novel sales in the United States according to BookScan. In fact, January 2023's list was comprised entirely of manga including Chainsaw Man and Spy x Family. And again, there were no Western comics to be found.

Obviously, manga is selling very well for itself, and South Korean webtoons are on the rise as well. Companies like Naver and Kakao have seen their biggest series draw in millions of readers. From live-action adaptations to anime orders, webtoons are shaping up to restructure the graphic novel business once again, and it seems we have manga to thank for disrupting the cycle. 

What do you make of this latest sales data? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB.