Do Comic Movies Impact Comic Book Sales?
The short answer is yes, of course. You can't have billions of dollars in comic book properties selling all over the world without having some of that fall into the actual books themselves. But, is that all there is to the story?
One of the craziest things I've ever heard is that there is no way of universally tracking comic book sales. When I was younger, I didn't believe, but lo and behold, it's actually true. In an age where you can get real time notifications of almost every transaction on the planet, we can't get somebody to count comic sales? Well, it's not quite that simple, but I've veered off course here.
The point of all this is that it is very difficult to determine actual comic book sales. Instead, websites like Comichron use a variety of methods to get some sort of an idea of comic book sales. By comparing years in almost every chart Comichron has, the number of books ordered by shops, money spent, and interest has gone up since the late 90s and early 2000s. Of course, numbers were so low then, it wouldn't have taken much to be called an improvement.
This is also a big picture of the industry as a whole. It doesn't distinguish between major, indie, superhero, one shot, etc. When you start looking at sections of the industry, things look a little more interesting.
As I said in the beginning, the billions of dollars pumped into and reaped in profits from the big budget movies are sure to have an impact on the overall industry. It's these movies that have helped fuel the rise comic books, though the geeks taking over the world definitely hasn't hurt either, but there's hardly a correlation between a major blockbuster and it’s source material. For example, Thor: Ragnarok is unlikely to spike sales of Thor books.
What you do see are spikes in indie or non-superhero properties and books. The popularity of iZombie on the CW is more likely to spark direct sales than another Avengers film would. Again, when I say sales, it's far from an exact science.
All of this tells us one thing. If Marvel attempted their 150 phase MCU back when comic books were popular, they likely would have failed. Since MCU was created during a comic depression, if you will, they have managed to avoid burnout quickly. This also helped smaller books like The Walking Dead find a spot before comic (and zombie) fatigue set in. No matter what you think of this recent string of comic based properties hitting other mediums, you can count on them sticking around the for time being.