10 of the most popular comic book publishers in the world
From comic book publishers that have started their activity in the Golden Age of comic books to manga publishers and companies that are not active anymore or have been taken over, the complete list of the world’s comics publishing companies is huge. Here is a selection of the most popular and successful publishers:
1. Archie Comics (US)
Archie Comic Publications has been established in 1939 and its headquarters are located in Pelham, New York. The Archie Comics universe’s main characters are fictional teenagers such as Archie Andrews, Betty Cooper, Reggie Mantle, Jughead Jones, and Veronica Ludge, all created by Bob Montana. In spite of its long history, Archie Comics has adapted to present days and continues to evolve; in 2007 a “new look” series of stories was launched, with Archie characters being drawn in a way more similar to their first appearance.
2. Carlsen Verlag (Germany)
Carlsen Verlag was founded in 1953 in Hamburg and focuses on children’s books, such as The Adventures of Tintin, Harry Potter, and Rugrats’. Its comic book division has become in the last years one of the three largest comic publishers in Germany.
3. DC Comics (US)
Founded as National Allied Publications, DC Comics started its activity in 1934. DC Comics is the publishing unit of DC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Some of the most famous superheroes exist due to DC Comic’s artists: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Shazam, Cyborg, Aquaman, the Green Arrow, and many others. DC stands for Detective Comics, one of the company’s most popular series, where Batman debuted. Active imprints of DC Comics include DC, Mad Magazine, Johnny DC, Mad Books, Young Animal, and Vertigo.
4. Média-Participations (France)
This huge French media concern is specialized in Franco-Belgian comics including important publishers such as Dupuis, Dargaud, Fleurus, and Le Lombard. Média-Participations is the third largest publisher of France and it publishes around 20 million comics each year. Some Franco-Belgian comics that are famous all over the world include The Smurfs, The Adventures of Tintin, Asterix, Lucky Luke, and Gaston Lagaffe.
5. Marvel Comics (US)
Marvel Comics’s parent company, Marvel Entertainment, was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2009. Marvel’s beginnings date back from 1939, as Timely Publications. In the early 1950s, the company’s name was changed to Atlas Comics. The present incarnation dates from 1961, the year when The Fantastic Four was launched. The most popular characters include Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Superhero teams from Marvel are the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, The Guardians of the Galaxy, The X-Men, the Inhumans, and the Defenders. The first comic from Marvel or rather its precursor, Timely Comics, was Marvel Comics #1, published in October 1939.
6. Kodansha (Japan)
Headquartered in Bunkyō, Tokyo, Kodansha is one of the best-known Japanese publishing companies, founded in 1938. Its portfolio includes the manga magazines Afternoon, Nakayoshi, Evening, and Weekly Shonen Magazine. Kodansha also publishes literary magazines, such as Faust, Mephisto, and Gunzo.
7. Viz Media
Viz Media LLC was founded in 1986 as a Japanese-American manga and anime company in San Francisco, California. Previously called VIZ LLC, in 2005 the company merged and formed the current VIZ Media LLC, owned by multiple Japanese publishers. Viz Media’s manga ratings vary from All Ages to Mature Readers and the company was awarded the Manga Publisher of the Year Gem Award by Diamond Comic Distributors in 2007.
8. WaRP Graphics (US)
An alternative comics publisher, WaRP Graphics is known for being the original publisher of the Elquest comic book series. The company was created in 1977 by Wendy and Richard Pini. Other comic book series published by WaRP include Myth Adventures and Thunder Bunny. The comic book series is planned to be turned into a motion picture by Warner Bros.
9. Image Comics (US)
Image Comics was founded in 1992 by several illustrators who wanted to publish their materials without giving up the copyrights to the characters created. Although it has been founded rather recently compared to the largest comic book publishers in the US (Marvel and DC Comics), Image Comics has reached success immediately and continued to be appreciated by fans of series such as Savage Dragon, Witchblade, Spawn, The Darkness, The Walking Dead, Chew, Saga, and Invincible.
10. Dark Horse Comics (US)
Dark Horse Comics was founded in Milwaukie in 1986 by Mike Richardson, with the purpose of developing a favourable atmosphere for creative professionals. Current titles in the Dark Horse Comics portfolio include Abe Sapien, Angel & Faith, The Black Beetle, Harrow County, House of Gold & Bones, House of Night, Star Wars Adventures, and Usagi Yojimbo.
The dominance of Marvel and DC Comics will probably continue for many years, but other comic book publishers are also a part of the landscape; countries with successful comic book publishers include Japan, with some companies which have been established decades ago and which have made manga so popular it has influenced the comic book world all over the world.