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Where the Data Ranks 2018’s Comic Book Films. Spider-Verse Passes LEGO Batman

Comic film adaptations are big dollars and we track how they do each week to see trends and what’s working and what’s not.

2018 is a record setting year for comic film adaptations. It has topped 2017’s record year and then some. Currently, comic adaptations have earned $2.618 billion domestically, $4.420 billion internationally, $7.038 billion worldwide, with a “profit” of $5.826 billion. That’s off of 10 films. 2017, with 16 films, saw domestic earnings of $2.365 billion, international earnings of $3.755 billion, worldwide earnings of $6.120 billion, and “profits” of $4.442 billion.

The 2019 way of comic based films has launched and already making news. In third place this past weekend was a surprise with Dragon Ball Super: Broly. The movie is based on the popular manga which has spun out numerous anime shows and films. The film was close with Aquaman and is expected to beat that film with an estimated earning between $9.3 million and $10.7 million for the weekend. The studio isn’t reporting domestic grosses so this one is definitely estimates. On the lower end, the film will be in fourth place with Aquaman in third. The film opened on Wednesday so is estimated to have earned around $21 million domestically since then. Internationally, the film is in its seventh week and earned an estimated $5.3 million from 18 markets for an international total of $65.8 million for a worldwide total of $87 million. An anime film debuting in the top five is big news and kicks off the year nicely.

Aquaman earned an estimated $10.3 million domestically this past weekend to bring that total to $304.3 million. It also added $14.3 million from 79 international markets to bring that total to $759.1 million internationally. Worldwide the film has earned $1.06 billion and will likely pass The Dark Knight Rises to become to the top grossing DC Comics adaptation worldwide.

Interestingly, the film is the third lowest (really the middle of the pack out of six films) DC Cinematic film so far beating just Justice League and Man of Steel. There’s a chance it will beat both Suicide Squad and Dawn of Justice domestically when its done in the theater. The film is first when it comes to international earnings by over $200 million. That’s the difference. It’s also rather average when it comes to the budget for those films.

Rounding out the top five this past weekend was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which had a small drop of 19.8% from the previous weekend and earned $7.25 million for the three day and around $9 million for the for day. The domestic total is $158.3 million. Internationally the film added $4.7 million to bring that total to $164.6 million for a worldwide total of $322.9 million. The film passed last year’s animated release LEGO Batman for worldwide earnings.

This past weekend Venom didn’t chart but earned about $50,000 domestically and $60,000 internationally over the week. The film now stands at $213.5 million domestically and $642.3 internationally for a worldwide total of $855.8 million.

The film also shows that budget isn’t everything. It has the best return in multiplier when it comes to budget for a comic film of 2018, so far. With 8.56x it beats Avengers: Infinity War‘s 6.83x and 6.73x for Black Panther.

With a budget of just $100 million, the film is quite profitable and another success for Sony’s Spider-Man franchise which previously earned on average $318.8 million domestically, $488.4 million internationally, and $807.2 million worldwide. The film is likely to be the second or third worst performing Spider-Man related film domestically for Sony but first currently internationally. The difference is the budget is almost half the other films allowing for a healthy profit. The film is leaning heavily on the international market where it has earned 75.07% of its earnings compared to 62.65% for other Spider-Man films.

Deadpool 2 will soon be opening in China which will give the film a nice boost. It’s still bringing in money as is adding about $12,000 to its domestic total and $230,000 to its international total. Those amounts are being added to the original film, Deadpool 2‘s, earnings. Deadpool 2 has earned $324.6 million domestically, $419.3 internationally, and $743.9 million worldwide.

Avengers: Infinity War saw an adjustment for its international earnings bringing that total down by about $300,000.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.618 billion
Total International Gross: $4.420 billion
Worldwide Gross: $7.038 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.187 billion
Total “Profit”: $5.826 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $261.8 million
Average International Gross: $442.0 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $703.8 million
Average Budget: $131.9 million
Average Profit: $571.9 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

Review: Marvel Tales Featuring: Venom

Marvel’s celebrating 80 years and they’ve relaunched Marvel Tales celebrating their classic characters. Each Marvel Tales packs in three previously released comics.

Marvel Tales Featuring: Venom includes Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #119, Amazing Spider-Man #316, and Amazing Spider-Man #361 by Peter David, Rich Buckler, Bob McLeod, D. Martin, Rick Parker, Jim Owsley, David Michelinie, Todd McFarlane, Bob Sharen, Jim Salicrup, Mark Bagley, Randy Emberlin, Joe Rosen, and Danny Fingeroth featuring a cover by Jen Bartel.

Get your copy in comic shops now! To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/comiXology/Kindle

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and make a purchase, we’ll receive a percentage of the sale. Graphic Policy does purchase items from this site. Making purchases through these links helps support the site

Where the Data Ranks 2018’s Comic Book Films. Aquaman Crosses $1 Billion

Comic film adaptations are big dollars and we track how they do each week to see trends and what’s working and what’s not.

2018 is a record setting year for comic film adaptations. It has topped 2017’s record year and then some. Currently, comic adaptations have earned $2.607 billion domestically, $4.410 billion internationally, $7.018 billion worldwide, with a “profit” of $5.806 billion. That’s off of 10 films. 2017, with 16 films, saw domestic earnings of $2.365 billion, international earnings of $3.755 billion, worldwide earnings of $6.120 billion, and “profits” of $4.442 billion.

In second place at this past weekend’s box office was Aquaman which dropped from first place after three weeks on top. The film added an estimated $17.26 million domestically and $27.9 million internationally. That pushed the film to $1.020 billion worldwide which has it as the second highest grossing DC Comics film worldwide. It’s the first film in the DC Cinematic universe to cross the billion dollar mark and the ninth comic film to do so. It currently is the eighth highest grossing comic film worldwide ever.

Interestingly, the film is the second lowest DC Cinematic film so far beating just Justice League. It needs about another $4 million to pass Man of Steel. The film is first when it comes to international earnings by almost $200 million. That’s the difference. It’s also rather average when it comes to the budget for those films.

The film’s box office success has China to thank where it has earned almost the same amount as it has domestically. Domestically, the film has brought in $287.9 million while in China it has earned $284.9 million.

The film needs to earn $64.6 million to be the top grossing DC film ever and it is likely to do just that before its run is over. It opens in Japan on February 8 so will likely succeed in doing that and more.

In fourth place this past weekend was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse fresh off of its Golden Globe win. The film earned an estimated $9 million in its fifth week. Domestically the film has earned $147.7 million. Internationally it added. $9.4 million to bring that total to $154.6 million and worldwide earnings to $302.4 million. With a budget of just $90 million, the film has done well and will likely have longer legs with award season showering it with accolades.

This past weekend Venom didn’t chart but earned about $70,000 domestically and $100,000 internationally over the week. The film now stands at $213.4 million domestically and $642.2 internationally for a worldwide total of $855.7 million. There’s a chance the film will become the highest grossing “Spider-Man” film before its run is done and make it into the top ten comic based films of all time.

The film also shows that budget isn’t everything. It has the best return in multiplier when it comes to budget for a comic film of 2018, so far. With 8.56x it beats Avengers: Infinity War‘s 6.83x and 6.73x for Black Panther.

With a budget of just $100 million, the film is quite profitable and another success for Sony’s Spider-Man franchise which previously earned on average $318.8 million domestically, $488.4 million internationally, and $807.2 million worldwide. The film is likely to be the second or third worst performing Spider-Man related film domestically for Sony but first currently internationally. The difference is the budget is almost half the other films allowing for a healthy profit. The film is leaning heavily on the international market where it has earned 75.07% of its earnings compared to 62.65% for other Spider-Man films.

Once Upon a Deadpool didn’t chart for the weekend but did bring in dollars over the week. It added $40,000 to its domestic total and $880,000 to its international total. Those amounts are being added to the original film, Deadpool 2‘s, earnings. Deadpool 2 has earned $324.6 million domestically, $419.1 internationally, and $743.6 million worldwide.

Avengers: Infinity War has gained some more dollars. The film added about $1,200 to its international earnings.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.607 billion
Total International Gross: $4.410 billion
Worldwide Gross: $7.018 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.187 billion
Total “Profit”: $5.806 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $260.7 million
Average International Gross: $441 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $701.8 million
Average Budget: $131.9 million
Average Profit: $569.9 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

Comic Movies Domestic Earnings
Comic Movies International Earnings
Comic Movies Worldwide Earnings
Comic Movies "profits"
Comic Movies multiplier

Preview: Venom #10

Venom #10

(W) Donny Cates (A/CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 16, 2019
SRP: $3.99

• Eddie Brock takes a walk down memory lane and revisits San Francisco for the first time in years.
• The homecoming is anything but pleasant, though, as he comes face-to-face with his estranged father and a little brother he never knew he had…
• This while the Venom symbiote remains silenced, perhaps forever, leaving Eddie to struggle by himself…

Venom #10

Around the Tubes

Captain Marvel #1

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone getting? What are you excited for? Sound off in the comments below! While you wait for shops to open, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.

Variety – A Venom Sequel Is Officially in the Works – Duh? It was being worked on the moment the first week returns came in and has another 850 million more reasons after.

Reviews

Talking Comics – The Cape #3
Newsarama –
Captain Marvel #1
Newsarama –
Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #1
Atomic Junk Shop –
The Furnace
Comic Attack –
The Passing #0
The Outhousers –
Transformers: Lost Light #25
CBR –
Wolverine: The Long Night #1

Where the Data Ranks 2018’s Comic Book Films. Aquaman Swims to the Top Ten.

Comic film adaptations are big dollars and we track how they do each week to see trends and what’s working and what’s not.

2018 is a record setting year for comic film adaptations. It has topped 2017’s record year and then some. Currently, comic adaptations have earned $2.565 billion domestically, $4.345 billion internationally, $6.910 billion worldwide, with a “profit” of $5.698 billion. That’s off of 10 films. 2017, with 16 films, saw domestic earnings of $2.365 billion, international earnings of $3.755 billion, worldwide earnings of $6.120 billion, and “profits” of $4.442 billion.

Aquaman is the little film that could. After a domestic debut that some called a failure the film is now the top grossing DC Cinematic Universe film as it has now earned $940.7 million worldwide and will be the first of that film universe to cross $1 billion (though not the first DC related film).

This past weekend the film earned an estimated $30.7 million to come in first place for the third weekend. It has now earned $259.7 million domestically which is about what Wonder Woman did after the same time period. Wonder Woman went on to gross $407.2 million domestically to be the highest grossing domestic film of the DC Cinematic Universe.

Internationally is where the film has really taken off adding another $56.2 million this past weekend from 79 markets to bring its international total to $681 million. The film has passed Black Panther in international earnings to be the second highest grossing internationally comic film of the year and third for all films.

The film is the top of the new batch of DC films beating the previous king Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice by nearly $70 million and that will only expand. As far as all films based on DC Comics, it currently ranks third behind The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises. It will need about $150 million to become the highest grossing DC film of all time worldwide and it will likely cross $1 billion. The film still hasn’t opened in Japan and will do so in February 8. That’s the last key market to see release.

The movie is now the ninth highest grossing comic film of all time worldwide and will need to pass those two Batman films to move higher on the list. While there’s a chance it’ll do that, it’d need over $230 million to get to #6 on the list.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse held on to fourth place this past weekend with an estimated $13 million to bring its domestic total to $133.9 million. It added $11.7 million overseas to bring that total to $141.5 million and $275.4 million worldwide. The recent Golden Globe win should boost the film’s box office over the next week or two and a likely Oscar win will do the film well. It shouldn’t be expected for this film to do numbers like other Spider-Man films and with a much smaller budget, the film has done quite fine.

This past weekend Venom didn’t chart but earned about $165,000 domestically and $180,000 internationally over the week. The film now stands at $213.4 million domestically and $642.1 internationally for a worldwide total of $855.5 million. There’s a chance the film will become the highest grossing “Spider-Man” film before its run is done and make it into the top ten comic based films of all time.

The film also shows that budget isn’t everything. It has the best return in multiplier when it comes to budget for a comic film of 2018, so far. With 8.56x it beats Avengers: Infinity War‘s 6.83x and 6.73x for Black Panther.

With a budget of just $100 million, the film is quite profitable and another success for Sony’s Spider-Man franchise which previously earned on average $318.8 million domestically, $488.4 million internationally, and $807.2 million worldwide. The film is likely to be the second or third worst performing Spider-Man related film domestically for Sony but first currently internationally. The difference is the budget is almost half the other films allowing for a healthy profit. The film is leaning heavily on the international market where it has earned 75.07% of its earnings compared to 62.65% for other Spider-Man films.

Once Upon a Deadpool didn’t chart for the weekend but did bring in dollars over the week. It added $70,000 to its domestic total and $50,000 to its international total. Those amounts are being added to the original film, Deadpool 2‘s, earnings. Deadpool 2 has earned $324.5 million domestically, $418.1 internationally, and $742.7 million worldwide.

Avengers: Infinity War has gained some more dollars. The film added about $3,000 to its international earnings.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.565 billion
Total International Gross: $4.345 billion
Worldwide Gross: $6.910 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.187 billion
Total “Profit”: $5.698 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $256.5 million
Average International Gross: $434.5 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $691 million
Average Budget: $131.9 million
Average Profit: $559.1 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

Comic Movie's Domestic Gross
Comic Movie's International Gross
Comic Movie's Worldwide Gross
Comic Movie's Profit
Comic Movie's Multiplier

Preview: Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed #1

Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed #1

(W) Ryan Stegman (A) Kyle Hotz, Juan Gedeon (CA) Ryan Stegman
Rated T+
In Shops: Jan 09, 2019
SRP: $4.99

From the illustrator of the blockbuster series of the summer comes the next epic installment in the WEB OF VENOM – a journey from the symbiote’s perspective through Eddie’s old haunts in San Francisco. It might not like what it finds…

Web of Venom: Venom Unleashed #1

The Top 5 of Everything in 2018

While I also have a top and bottom list of the movies of 2018, I love things outside of movies, too. Indeed, so much of what has happened in 2018 has been outside of movies, or blurring the lines between what movies and television even are with Netflix bringing us things like The Ballad of Buster Scruggs or Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, the first of whach was originally planned as a tv miniseries, and the latter is just. . . well, what even is Bandersnatch?

So, regardless of medium, here are my Top 5 favorites of everything.

5. Educated: A Memoir

This book hit a lot of lists of the top books of 2018 (including culture critic Barack Obama’s), but it hit especially close to home for me because, like author Tara Westover, I attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Her story of growing up kept out of public education was too familiar to me, as survivalism and mistrust of public schools were something I encountered too frequently. This is the same anti-intellectual stew that spawned Glenn Beck and the Bundys’ ranch standoff/takeover of the Malheur Bird Refuge. But Westover’s memoir is a testament to what happens when this is taken to the extreme, to the point that as an adult she had never heard of the Holocaust. It’s a great read and my favorite book of the year.

4. Detroit: Become Human

Ok, there may have been “better” games than this in 2018. (God of War, Super Smash Bros Ultimate, Spider-Man, Red Dead Redemption II) But this story of a near-future where androids begin to gain sentience and their struggle for equality was my personal favorite. It almost wasn’t a video game– it was an interactive movie.

This is one of those games where the choices you make affect the outcome of the game, and you get to choose the fate of a revolution. Will your quest for equality for androids be violent, or non-violent? What are the consequences for the other characters you’re playing as?

This hit me right in my social-justice and robot-loving heart, and also had beautiful gameplay featuring a spectacular cast of actors.

3. Sorry to Bother You

Spoiler Alert: this was my favorite movie of 2018. First time director Boots Riley delivers a searing indictment of capitalism and racial expectations, exposing a sort of gonzo form of racial exploitation that is a perfect intersectional skewering of the nexus of race and class.

It’s very rare for a movie to surprise me, and this made me literally say to the screen, “What the f@#$?!?!

This was the only film I gave five stars to all year, and it’s something you have to see to believe.

2. Hannah Gadsby – Nanette

I had never heard of Australian comic Hannah Gadsby before this year, so imagine my shock in watching a Netflix special in which she announces her retirement from comedy and then proceeds to deconstruct what comedy is, blow it up, and put it back together again– all told against the backdrop of a heartbreaking childhood story of coming to terms with her queer identity. I never thought anything could make me feel such a rainbow of emotions over such a short period of time. This wasn’t just a comedy special — in the same way Childish Gambino’s “This is America” wasn’t just a music videos. Those were pop culture grenades tossed into the heart of the beast that blew everything up.

1. The Good Place

More than anything else this year, The Good Place ruled my heart and mind. I have not anticipated a broadcast television show like this in a long time, and in between seasons and episodes so many binges of previous seasons.

The best thing about this show that is sorta about the afterlife but kinda mostly about ethics but really just about us dirtbags here on earth and how we treat each other is how it keeps reinventing itself almost every six episodes or so. The show’s writers seem to be laboring under the idea that at some point the network is going to figure out the scam they’ve been running and pull the plug, so we’d better get through as much of this plot as possible. Where most shows would drag out their premise, this races through multiple setups in a single season. It’s refreshing, it’s smart, but it’s also stupid.

You put the Peeps in the chili pot and mix it all up, You put the Peeps in the chili pot and add some M&Ms, You put the Peeps in the chili pot. . .

This season’s episodes “Jeremy Bearimy” and “Janets” deserve ALL THE EMMYS, especially for acting from Janet herself, D’Arcy Cardon. If you saw them, you know why. If you didn’t see them, what are you waiting for?! To Netflix! To Hulu! Begin the binge now!

It’s the best show on tv– fight me. It’s the best thing from 2018– let’s be friends and watch it together, will you please? It will make you laugh and feed your soul. Also, it has its own official podcast, hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn, who ends every episode asking, “What’s good?”

The Good Place. It is good. And the best for 2018.

So, Who Won the Year?

I also like to look back at the year look for threads, throughlines, trends that indicate something. Invariably there are big winners and losers in the year. I want to quickly celebrate the top winners.

Honorable Mention: Nicholas Cage

Despite being somewhere between an internet meme and a pariah, Nick Cage still gets some pretty amazing work this year. His starring role in Mandy is like a cocaine-fueled horror fantasy made in the 80’s and then set to age for three decades soaking in LSD. But then he also showed up in the cartoons in some of the most unexpected places: as Spider-Man Noir in Into the Spider-Verse and as Superman in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. We’re glad to see him working.

Other honorable mentions: Donald Glover, Streaming Services, Steve Carrell, Mahershala Ali, Dolph Lundgren, Michael B. Jordan

5. Cults

This was a good year for cults in movies and tv. Mandy, Bad Times at the El Royale, Wild Wild Country, and Hereditary. Also, the bizarre stories about real life sex cult NXIVM that involved Smallville‘s Allison Mack. So, way to go, cults? At least you have some diversity here– Jesus, Satan, new age, but all of them were big on sex, So, sex cults. Way to win 2018.

4. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski

These two not only had an amazing year, but they did it together. Blunt killed it as Mary Poppins, Krasinski brought Jack Ryan back, and then you have their on-screen duo in A Quiet Place. That movie was such a revelation– mostly about how terrible mainstream movie audiences are at making noise. But in a year when almost every top-grossing film was a sequel, franchise, or remake, A Quiet Place was a true original. Thanks to both of you. You won the year.

3. Comicsgate and the Alt-Right

Now hear me out. I know this will be an unpopular opinion, but the alt-right actually accomplished a decent amount this year, and it’s completely unacceptable. James Gunn is still fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3. Chuck Wendig was fired from Star Wars/Marvel comics. And, they raised a lot of money through crowdfunding for various ventures.

These guys aren’t playing around. And as long as they keep weaponizing things like offensive tweets, we will lose great creators from our favorite genres.

2. Asian Movie-going Audiences

Look, America, we need to understand that most movies aren’t being made for us anymore. We can decry as braindead anything like The Meg, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Skyscraper, Aquaman, Rampage, or Venom, but those movies kill overseas. There are very specific motifs and types of shots that work there that we as American audiences just aren’t picking up. This is going to have reverberations for years to come.

What’s the major difference? You can make a strong argument for diverse casts and female leads — giving us hits like Black Panther or The Last Jedi — but those movies generally just sort of do ok overseas while overperforming in the US.

That says something comforting about our country and culture at this time. But it says some things that should maybe be concerning that we won’t get complex stories like these in the future while we spit out more Venoms.

Perhaps the biggest irony in all of this is the alt right crusaders who don’t want diversity in our movies, shows, and comics will find common cause with the globalists who will continue to churn out lots of braindead action movies starring heroic dudes. Sigh.

[tie] 1. Disney

The Walt Disney Corporation had an amazing year, which caps off some pretty incredible past few years and is likely to continue into 2019. Why? Disney+ streaming service. The Fox merger. This isn’t necessarily good news for us, but is great news for corporate profits and creeping oligarchy. But, they gave us Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Incredibles 2, Mary Poppins Returns, Ralph Breaks the Internet. . . even the supposedly underperforming Solo: A Star Wars Story ended up making 393 million dollars worldwide. And that was considered by some a failure, even though 18 of my top 20 films of 2018 would love to have sold that many tickets.

But let’s talk about Black Panther for one moment. It’s arguably the most culturally salient and important piece of pop culture of the year, with Infinity War not far behind. For all their evils as a corporate overlord, we got something truly important for a lot of people to see — an authentically black superhero story that deals with identity, a history of violence and oppression towards the African diaspora, and that leaves us remember that “in times of crisis, the wise build bridges while the foolish build barriers.”

When the box office receipts went off the charts, you gave back– founding an actual charity to do the work of STEM education and scholarships like T’Challa and Shuri wanted. Thank you, Disney. For an evil corporation, you sure gave us a lot of what we loved this year. You win.

[tie] 1. The City of Oakland

Speaking of Black Panther, one of the most important pieces of the film is how director Ryan Coogler brought his Oakland roots into the film. That moment when you realize the voiceover from the beginning of the film is of young Erik and his dad N’Jobu (“Tell me a story of home.”) and the entire basis for Killmonger’s wrath is based on the economic oppression of being raised in poverty in Oakland and what he had to do to escape it. It ends with a hopeful note in the same building, that future children will not have to face such hardship. “Who are you?”

I already mentioned my love of Sorry to Bother You, but that film is not possible without Oakland as a backdrop. The same is true of another of my favorites, Blindspotting, which takes a similar look at poverty, gentrification, and violence. And then we have Bodied, the rap battle movie produced by Eminem, which plays a major part in the film, but whose setting is split between Berkeley, Oakland, and Los Angeles. Still, Oakland as a force is in that film.

And then there’s real life. The Golden State Warriors win the NBA Championship. A white woman calls the cops on a black family having a cookout at an Oakland city park at Lake Merritt and becomes known as “BBQ Becky.”

And then heartbreak. The Oakland Raiders plan to leave for Las Vegas looking for more corporate pork and handouts.

To understand what is going on in Oakland in film and culture is to understand a microcosm of what is happening in so many cities across the country facing gentrification and economic pressures that are displacing historically black populations. It is why I recommend to everyone they see each of these films I mentioned here and think about what is actually happening.

To 2018, the year of the Oakland Renaissance.

Logan’s Favorite Comics of 2018

Without further ado, these are my favorite comics of 2018. This was the year I fell back on series that I had been checking out for years and found some new faves in the worlds of newspaper comics, symbiotes, gamma irradiated beasts, and maybe even a choose your own adventure game. Marvel seriously did a 180 this year, and I went from picking zero of their comics on my last year end list to three so well done on their part, and Donny Cates and Al Ewing should receive hefty bonus checks. But, honestly, this list should show you that visual humor, character driven narratives, and weirdness are my things, and I can’t wait to read more comics in that vein in 2019.

Honorable Mentions: Sex Death Revolution (Black Mask), Runaways (Marvel), Assassinistas (IDW/Black Crown), Punks Not Dead (IDW/Black Crown), That one really good issue of Peter Parker, Spider-Man that Chip Zdarsky wrote and drew (Marvel), Gideon Falls (Image)

10.Modern Fantasy  (Dark Horse)

Modern Fantasy is a miniseries about a data entry worker named Sage of the Riverlands, who secretly wants to epic hero or maybe just a curator at a cool museum, and has a penchant for smooching handsome elves. Did Rafer Roberts and Kristen Gudsnuk have access to my most secret thoughts while writing this book? In all seriousness, this comic marries millennial angst and struggles (Dead end jobs, mooching friends, annoying co-workers) with all kinds of fantasy tropes, including urban, high, and good ol’ Lovecraftian. Gudsnuk’s art is both humorous and touching and filled with background details and jokes that reward a close reading. But what makes Modern Fantasy a great comic is the awkward friend group dynamic that Roberts and Gudsnuk craft filled with drama, jokes, a touch of romance, and a final showdown with a fire demon.

9.The Wicked + the Divine (Image)

Kieron Gillen, Jamie McKelvie, and Matthew Wilson’s story of young gods and fandom hit some dark bits in 2018 and had plenty of surprises to go with the formalism and “glimpse behind the curtain” of the “Mothering Invention” arc. However, at its best, WicDiv is the story of the girl, who thought she wanted something, and then painfully realized that she didn’t really want it. That girl, of course, is Persephone whose personal journey along with McKelvie’s amazing facial expressions, Gillen’s clever quips, and Wilson’s majestic color palette keeps me returning to this series as it is about to hit its fifth year. Also, the specials were spectacularly glorious in 2018 from the illustrated prose story/murder mystery in 1923 to 1373’s dark piety. Then, there was the absolute bonkers nature of The Funnies  where we find out the origin of Laura’s cracked phone and the Pantheon gets to solve a Scooby Doo mystery courtesy of Kitty Curran and Larissa Zageris.

8.  Nancy (Go Comics)

I’ve been doing year end comics lists for five years, and this is the first time I’ve put a newspaper strip on one. However, Olivia Jaimes’ work on Nancy is one of the most hilarious things to come out of 2018. There are her “millennial” gags (Even though Nancy and Sluggo are definitely Generation Z.) about Nancy’s overuse of the Internet or swapping streaming service passwords with Sluggo, who is also “lit”. But she also has a firm grasp on meta-gags and the uniqueness of the comics medium like playing with panel layouts, lettering styles, reusing panels, and then having Nancy make a joke about it. Nancy is truly a ray of sunshine in a dark landscape while still being sarcastic and self-deprecating as hell and shows that even the proverbial old dog of the newspaper comic can learn some new tricks.

7.  “Milk Wars” (DC Comics/Young Animal)

“Milk Wars” really brought the best of DC Rebirth and Young Animal together and was the only Big Two crossover I kept up with in 2018. The series brings together the Doom Patrol, Mother Panic, Shade the Changing Girl, and Cave Carson to fight warped versions of DC Comics heroes, who are under the control of the Retconn corporation. The story is a literal metaphor for how corporations sanitize characters and go for the retread instead of taking risks with iconic characters as Wonder Woman becomes a submissive housewife in her tie-in story from Cecil Castelluci and Mirka Andolfo. “Milk Wars” shows that it’s okay to be a little weird as milk goes bad if it’s left in the bridge past its expiration day. It also features some gorgeous layouts from Aco in the crossover’s first chapter, which was co-written by Gerard Way and Steve Orlando, and he and the artists did an excellent job of melding an indie and mainstream sensibility throughout “Milk Wars”. Also, the story had a real effect on Mother Panic, Cave Carson, and Shade in their solo titles and introduced Magdalene Visaggio and Sonny Liew’s wonderful, yet depressed Eternity Girl character.

6.Venom (Marvel)

Donny Cates, Ryan Stegman, and Iban Coello’s Venom ongoing series is filled with all the fun excesses of the 1990s (Especially in the Venom Annual where James Stokoe shows him going toe to toe with Juggernaut.) and none of its toxicity. The first arc of the series is about Eddie Brock and his symbiote going to war against Knull, god of the symbiotes and a symbiote dragon. This has a terrible effect on him, and Cates carefully uses the symbiote as a metaphor for PTSD while freeing Stegman to draw unhinged heavy metal battles. And this series wasn’t just a one arc wonder as Cates, Coello, and Stegman explore the after effects of the battle with Knull on Eddie’s symbiote and have him confront his father. Plus one of the most underrated Marvel villains, Ultimate Reed Richards aka the Maker pops up for a little bit. This series work because it explores the psychological effects of the symbiote as well as the oozy, shoot-y violent bits.

5.Crowded (Image)

Crowded is a wicked bit of satire with a side of mismatched buddy adventure from the beautiful minds of Christopher Sebela, Ro Stein, Ted Brandt, and Triona Farrell. It is about an obnoxious woman named Charlie, who has a $2 million price on her head on an app called Reapr that is basically crowdfunded murder. Luckily, there’s an app called Defendr where Charlie hires a badass, meticulous, and noble woman named Vita to protect her. Stein and Brandt fill each page with oodles of panels, but you are able to follow every action scene, conversation, or Charlie ending up at the club or a bachelorette party even if she has a price on her head. The bounty hunting drives the plot while Sebela uses the quieter moments to develop the personality and relationships of Charlie and Vita as well as some of the “professionals” hunting them. Crowded is a thrill ride, but also looks at the dark, not so altruistic side of human nature through the Internet and constant connectivity.

4. You Are Deadpool (Marvel)

Al Ewing and Salva Espin’s You Are Deadpool was some of the most fun I had reading a comic book in 2018 beginning with Kieron Gillen showing up in the “tutorial” brandishing a sandwich as a weapon. It’s a combination spoof of different eras of Marvel Comics along with a pretty damn fun and addictive Choose Your Own Adventure Game. In some cases, you don’t even read the issues in order. Ewing and Espin also take cues from some not so table top RPGs and have the moral choices that Deadpool makes effect your reading and playing experience. Having Deadpool interact with both heroes and innocent passerbies during the Silver Age, horror/kung fu/blaxploitation, the edgy 80s, and of course, the good ol’ 90s is hilarious and shows Espin’s versatility as a cartoonist.

3. Archival Quality (Oni)

Archival Quality is a spooky graphic novel by Ivy Noelle Weir and Steenz about a young woman named Cel, who gets a job as an archivist at a medical museum. The comic tenderly explores Cel’s anxiety and depression and unexpected connection with a woman named Celine, who was a patient at the sanatorium that preceded the museum. It isn’t caught up in a fast paced thriller plot, but slowly unveils the mystery while focusing on Cel’s interactions with her boss Abayomi, super rad co-worker Holly, and her declining relationship with her boyfriend Kyle. Archival Quality has real atmosphere, and Steenz creates some fantastic spaces as Cel begins to explore her workplace with its skulls and lack of cellphone service. It is a fantastic story about mental health and relationships through the mystery genre.

2. Giant Days (BOOM! Studios) 

Giant Days continues to be one of life’s true blessings thanks to John Allison, Max Sarin, Liz Fleming, Julia Madrigal, and Whitney Cogar. At this point, we know the characters and their quirks are on fully display, especially when Sarin draws the title because she is a real pro at expressive eyes and touches of surrealism to break up the slice of life. 2018 was full of drama to go with the Giant Days’ comedy as Daisy broke up with her a little too footloose and fancy free girlfriend Ingrid, and Esther missed her shot at being in a relationship with Ed when he begins a romance with Nina, a girl he met while recuperating from a pub related injury. Nina being Australian is the subject of this year holiday’s special, which was a special treat drawn and written by Allison as Ed fends for himself Down Under. Giant Days shows that it’s one of the pre-eminent slice of life comics as it enters its fourth year, and Esther, Daisy, and Susan’s relationships continue to ebb and flow.

1. Immortal Hulk  (Marvel)

I will preface this by saying that the Hulk is one of my least favorite Marvel characters because he’s often used as a simplistic Jekyll/Hyde metaphor. Al Ewing, Joe Bennett, Ruy Jose, Lee Garbett, Martin Simmonds, and Paul Mounts blow that up in Immortal Hulk, which resembles an intelligent horror story rather than a superhero beat ’em up. It’s a road story with Bruce Banner on the run from the monster that comes out, wrecks, and kills when the sun goes down before morphing into a government conspiracy thriller and something more malevolent towards the end. Through cutting narration, Ewing reveals exactly what is going through Banner’s head while Bennett’s art shows the often gruesome effects of his rages. I also like how Ewing humanizes the supporting players from Walter Langkowski, who is struggling with his own monstrous nature to honest reporter Jackie McGee and even his opponent the Absorbing Man.

Immortal Hulk is the best comic of 2018 because it has a compelling plot, is a searing character study of an American pop culture icon, and is an homage to Jack Kirby and Bernie Wrightson while breaking new ground. (See issue 10’s final page.)

Where the Data Ranks 2018’s Comic Book Films. Aquaman Passes Deadpool 2. Venom Passes Ragnarok.

Comic film adaptations are big dollars and we track how they do each week to see trends and what’s working and what’s not.

2018 is a record setting year for comic film adaptations. It has topped 2017’s record year and then some. Currently, comic adaptations have earned $2.463 billion domestically, $4.191 billion internationally, $6.654 billion worldwide, with a “profit” of $5.443 billion. That’s off of 10 films. 2017, with 16 films, saw domestic earnings of $2.365 billion, international earnings of $3.755 billion, worldwide earnings of $6.120 billion, and “profits” of $4.442 billion.

It’s not surprising, but Aquaman won the weekend for the second in a row with an estimated $51.6 million and a drop of just 23.5%, the smallest of the DC Cinematic Universe as well as any Marvel Cinematic Universe film. Most DC films drop in the high 60% range in the second week, with Wonder Woman being the exception with the low 40s. Marvel films tend to drop in the mid-50% range in the second weekend. This would indicate that little competition and positive word of mouth are driving the film and DC’s late year gamble is paying off. While the film would fit right in during the summer popcorn film season, this time of year it’s counter-programming to the usual Oscar/adult focused films.

The film has now earned $188.8 million domestically. International earnings is the real story of the film. This past weekend the film earned an estimated $85.4 million from 78 markets to bring its international total to $560 million and a worldwide total of $748.8 million.

The movie is currently third when it comes to worldwide earnings for the DC Cinematic Universe with about $73 million between it and second place Wonder Woman and $125 million between it and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. It will likely pass both by the time its run is over. It still has to open in Italy on January 1 and Japan on February 8.

The film currently ranks as 21st when it comes to worldwide earnings for a film based on comics and passed this year’s Deadpool 2 on the list over the past week.

In fourth place this past weekend was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which saw a 11.2% improvement from the previous weekend. It earned an estimated $18.3 million in its third week to bring its domestic total to $103.6 million. Internationally, the film added an estimated $27.4 million from 60 markets to bring that total to $109.6 million and a worldwide total of $213.2 million. The film still has Brazil to open which happens January 10 and Japan on March 28. Interestingly when it comes to earnings, the film has a domestic/international split that’s close to Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3.

This past weekend Venom didn’t chart but earned about $170,000 domestically and $480,000 internationally over the week. The film now stands at $213.2 million domestically and $642 internationally for a worldwide total of $855.2 million. There’s a chance the film will become the highest grossing “Spider-Man” film before its run is done and make it into the top ten comic based films of all time. It passed Thor: Ragnarok to become #13 for all time.

The film also shows that budget isn’t everything. It has the best return in multiplier when it comes to budget for a comic film of 2018, so far. With 8.55x it beats Avengers: Infinity War‘s 6.83x and 6.73x for Black Panther.

With a budget of just $100 million, the film is quite profitable and another success for Sony’s Spider-Man franchise which previously earned on average $318.8 million domestically, $488.4 million internationally, and $807.2 million worldwide. The film is likely to be the second or third worst performing Spider-Man related film domestically for Sony but first currently internationally. The difference is the budget is almost half the other films allowing for a healthy profit. The film is leaning heavily on the international market where it has earned 75.07% of its earnings compared to 62.65% for other Spider-Man films.

Once Upon a Deadpool didn’t chart for the weekend but did bring in dollars over the week. It added $239,000 to its domestic total. That total is being added to the original film, Deadpool 2‘s, earnings. Deadpool 2 has earned $324.5 million domestically, $417.1 internationally, and $741.5 million worldwide.

Avengers: Infinity War has gained some more dollars. The film added about $520,000 to its international earnings.

Here’s where this year’s comic films stand as far as the actual numbers.

Total Domestic Gross: $2.464 billion
Total International Gross: $4.191 billion
Worldwide Gross: $6.654 billion
Total Reported Budgets: $1.187 billion
Total “Profit”: $5.443 billion

Average Domestic Gross: $246.4 million
Average International Gross: $419.1 million
Average: Worldwide Gross: $665.4 million
Average Budget: $131.9 million
Average Profit: $533.5 million

Below is where the films released stand when it comes to being compared to this year’s averages. Those in green are above average while those below are red.

2018 Comic Movie Adaptations Domestic Gross
2018 Comic Movie Adaptations International Gross
2018 Comic Movie Adaptations Worldwide Gross
2018 Comic Movie Adaptations Proft
2018 Comic Movie Adaptations Multiplier
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