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Comic Genius

Pow! He sold his comic online. Bang! He made $100,000 a week.

This story appears in the February 2002 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Back in 1996, few had experienced the Internet, let alone purchased from it-but that didn't stop Marc Silvestri, owner of Top Cow Productions Inc. in Los Angeles, from diving headfirst into e-commerce and offering his hot new comic on the Web. The move certainly paid off-he made $400,000 in just four weeks.

With publishing rights to the character Lara Croft from the wildly popular Tomb Raider video game released earlier that year, Silvestri arranged for a special-edition comic. Forgoing the comic-book-store route, he risked selling it exclusively on his Web site. "Even back then, we knew our core audience wasn't only into comics and video games; they were also very computer-savvy," says Silvestri, 42. With most of his ads appearing in the industry trade magazine Wizard, Silvestri expected to move about 70,000 comics. Instead, 150,000 copies sold out.

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