‘Tex’ sells in Italy more than ‘Spiderman’ does in the USA. On average, the regular ‘Tex’ series sells 200,000 copies a month, while ‘Spiderman’ sells 100,000 copies a month (source: Sergio Bonelli Editore, Diamond Comics).
“’Tex’ is the best-selling comic book in history and today” explains Michele Masiero, editorial director at Sergio Bonelli Editore (SBE). “It appeared for the first time in news-stands 69 years ago and had golden moments in the 60s and 70s, when it reached peaks of more than 500,000 copies sold monthly. It is followed by ‘Dylan Dog’ with 120,000 copies per month and, ‘Nathan Never’ and ‘Julia and Zagor’ both with about 30,000 copies”.
SBE has 400 employees including about 50 authors and 300 cartoonists who produce stories for twenty characters. “If there was a globally ranking by comic productivity we would be positioned very well – continues Masiero – Not so much by number of characters; American Marvel, for example, has many more than us, but they produce only 20 pages of comics per month, while our comic books are an average of 100 pages each”. Another notable comic book is Diabolik which sells 3.2 million copies a year, including three monthly issues (a new one and two reprints) and special editions. As Roberto Recchioni, one of the most popular and prolific cartoonists in Italy, points out “an average American comics sells about 5-8 thousand copies, while a good Italian one sells 18,000 copies”. Indeed, Italy is such a unique market in the global comics panorama that it has become a very attractive place for foreign authors.
Not only Italy is one of the most prolific comics publishing countries, but it also imports huge amounts of comics from Japan, England, France and the USA.
Ilona Catani Scarlett