What is the Competition for Your Comic?

gamalhennessy Community • May 26, 2020

Your comic may be unique and original, but it doesn’t exist in a vacuum. There are probably similar elements in other comics that appeal to your ideal reader profile no matter what your story is about. Understanding what’s already in the market and the characteristics of your competition can provide valuable information in both creating relationships with your reader and producing a better book.

Competition is the effort of two or more parties acting independently to secure the business of a third party. For an independent comic book publisher, competition is defined as all media that can appeal to the ideal reader profile. Because readers do not have unlimited time or money, they have to make choices about what content they consume. For our purposes, we should consider competition beyond just comics, since the modern ideal reader can choose from books, comics, movies, television, the theater and video games to get the stories that interest them. Expanding your concept of competition offers more information about the world your ideal reader lives in.

How Do You Find Your Competition?

Because your story isn’t targeting everyone, you’re not in direct competition with every comic book and movie ever created. The good news is you only have to compete with the media that appeals to your ideal readers.

To develop a list of your potential competition, there are several painless research options available both inside and outside of comics. Using the keywords that apply to your comic, you can find similar comics that make up your competition. Social media, shopping sites and comic databases like these can all help you find your competition:

• Amazon
• Comichron
• Comixology
• The Grand Comics Database
• Goodreads
• Google
• Kickstarter
• Wikipedia

How Do You Compare Your Competition?

All competition is not created equal, so finding similar comics to yours is only the first step in your analysis. While your story idea might share genre characteristics with the competitors you found, there will be points of difference you can use to appeal to your ideal reader. Using comparative analysis and SWOT will reveal the untapped potential your book can fill for the target market.

To conduct an ideal reader profile comparison, look at the demographic, psychographic, genre, and generational aspects of each competitor in relation to your story. Consider the following questions:

● What demographic aspects of your story are similar to each competitor?
● Which ones are different?
● What psychographic values does your book share with the competitor?
● In what ways do they deviate?
● How much sub-genre overlap exists?
● How many unique sub-genres does your book have?
● What generation does the competitor speak to?
● What message does it support?
● What generation does your book speak to?
● How is the message different?

If the profile of your competitors and your book are identical, it might be time to consider altering aspects of your story to give it a fresh perspective in the market. I’m not advocating changing essential elements of a story just for the sake of change, especially if you love the story. I’m simply pointing out that it will be hard to compete with an established competitor if you are both fighting for the same readers with a similar story.

SWOT is an acronym that stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats. It is a framework for evaluating the competitive position of a company, product, or service. While SWOT can be used for various aspects of your business, in this context you want to compare your book to the competition in terms of appeal to your ideal reader. Your SWOT analysis can help you adjust your marketing based on your conclusions.

For example, a possible strength could be that my story has more generational relevance than the competitors, or maybe my specific genre mix is underrepresented in the market. Possible weaknesses could be similar plot points, characters, or settings that prevent my story from standing out, or a lack of unique world-building. My opportunities could come from the fact that the last new competitor was published several years ago, creating a gap that needs to be filled. My weaknesses could come from the announcement of a new book in the same space.

Of course, the best way to understand your competition is to read every book your target market might read. This will help you understand what they do well, the pitfalls you want to avoid, and the qualities that are missing from the market. This isn’t an exercise in denigrating your rivals or ego gratification. In many instances your competitors might be masters of their craft who have created classics in the medium. Use them as goals to achieve and teachers to learn from.

Understanding your competition gives you the context to connect with your target market. You can use what’s already in the market to help you connect with the right people and you can differentiate yourself from the competition before your book is created because you know what they offer. You can also wrap your head around just how big the target market is and what steps you can take to make it bigger.

Have fun with your comic.


Christopher admin 1 year ago (edited 1 year ago)

Oh this is cool. A few points to add for where to find competition would be a few webcomic platforms (for folks who are creating webcomics).

- Webtoons
- Tapas
- Comicsfury


Christopher admin 1 year ago

@PCMLucif3r @chanYE @Mr-Toontastic here's the follow-up notification to the previous post :)


MK-Wizard 1 year ago

I would say it is huge because there is another comic that came out before that is Jekyll and Hyde themed which also happens to be LGBT+ themed. It has quite a following and with LGBT+ inclusion being all the rage, I have a huge dog to compete with.