The Top Comic Book Companies
The Big Six
- Marvel Comics - Marvel has existed under other names in the past: Atlas and Timely, for example. Best known for their high grossing movie adaptations and tie-ins. Spider-Man, X-Men, Avengers, the list is long. Currently owned by Disney and valued at $224 billion. (Source: UK Guardian newspaper, April 2020)
- DC Comics - One of the very first comic book companies, and probably the longest lived. DC was known as National Periodical Publications for a very long time despite the big DC logo emblazoned on nearly every cover. The original trio of super-high-recognition comic book superhero characters belong to DC - Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman. DC itself is at the bottom of a long chain of ownership that goes this way: currently owned by DC Entertainment, which is owned by Warners Bros. Entertainment Inc., which is owned by Time Warner, which has been bought by AT&T. DC Comics is valued at $192 billion. (Source: UK Guardian newspaper, April 2020)
- Dark Horse Comics - A start up begun by Mike Richardson with the help of veteran comic artist Chris Warner along with a few other Oregon comic book folks. Originated during the "black and white" boom of the 1980s, Dark Horse got a leg-up on the competition early by getting into movie theatres with an adaptation of their character The Mask, and since then has been involved in numerous cross-over movie and TV show tie-ins. Best known for Frank Miller's Sin City, the long run of Star Wars licensed comics, and for Paul Chadwick's Concrete. Dark Horse has had a number of minor imprints, including: Legend, Dark Horse Manga, Maverick, DH Press, M Press, Dark Horse Digital, DH Deluxe.
- Image Comics - The home of Spawn, along with other characters like Savage Dragon, Witchblade, Invincible, Walking Dead, Saga and others. Image is a unique corporate set-up in which the individual creative personalities own their own "studios" which operate under the Image banner but are not owned by Image.
- IDW Publishing - This comic book publisher specializing in adaptations is part of Idea and Design Works LLC. Some of the titles have been: 30 Days of Night, Popbot, and licensed adaptations of Transformers, Star Trek, Castlevania, Metal Gear Solid and is the licensed publisher of Disney comic characters like Uncle Scrooge. IDW also owns other comic book companies, such as Top Shelf Productions and co-owns EA Comics.
- Valiant Comics - A 1990's start-up, Valiant went dark and then was rebooted in 2011. Their line-up is known for Shadowman, Bloodshot, X-O Manowar, Unity and Harbringer.
Original Page February 5, 2016 | Updated June 28, 2017