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September 2014 comics sales estimates online; best quarter since mid-1990s

Monday, October 6, 2014

by John Jackson Miller

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=death+of+wolverine+1&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01
The final comics sales estimates for September 2014 are out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, it was a good one, with orders of comics and graphic novels by comics shops in North America topping $50 million for the second time in three months — and just the third time in the last decade and a half. The result was the best quarter in dollar terms (not adjusted for inflation) in the 17 years that Diamond has been the exclusive distributor for all the major publishers. At $145.56 million, it topped the previous record, set in the fourth quarter of last year, by nearly $10 million. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in September 2014.

The Death of Wolverine #1 was the top-selling title with orders approaching 262,000 copies, but the bigger story was DC and its Futures End event. The lenticular covers and the standard versions combined to give DC 115 entries in the Top 300 comics list. All those high-volume entries combined to push many publishers out of the Top 300 entirely; only nine publishers put more than one title onto the list.

That doesn't mean those publishers didn't have successful releases, however: with the 300th-place title getting orders of more than 6,300 copies — nearly but not quite a record for a four-week month — that left a lot of volume outside the charts. Archie was the 401st place title with 3,651 copies sold, for example; last September's 400th-place book had orders of 2,621, nearly a thousand fewer copies. It's why the Top 300 comics unit sales could be down 3% while overall comics unit sales were basically flat. The additional "Future's End" entries had the effect of making the "long tail" that much longer.

It's of interest to look at comic unit sales performance across Septembers across five-year intervals, to see a glimpse of comics performance where cover price inflation is not in play:

COMICS SHOP ORDERS OF TOP 300 COMICS
September 1999: 7.06 million copies
September 2004: 7.01 million copies
September 2009: 7.05 million copies
September 2014: 7.89 million copies

So there has been significant recent growth there, with increases of 12-13%. Of course, the choice of years for selection introduces some distortion: 1999 and 2009 weren't good years, while 2004 was part of a recovery from a deep hole. But it's of interest, too, to see where the volume has moved:

ORDERS FOR 300th PLACE COMIC BOOK
September 1999: 2,363 copies
September 2004: 1,681 copies
September 2009: 4,095 copies
September 2014: 6,306 copies

This implies that 2014 unit sales are actually significantly larger than those earlier years, on the basis of volume not captured by the charts. The bench has simply grown stronger relative to what it was in the past: the smaller publishers are releasing more titles, and to more comparative success.

RECORDS: A couple of Diamond Exclusive-era records were set in the month. In addition to the highest dollar value for comics, graphic novel, and magazine orders in a single quarter, September saw the highest dollar value for orders for the Top 300 comics, at $31.18 million.

We nearly saw a record with the highest weighted average price for comic books ordered by retailers within the Top 300 — $3.95, a nickel short of April's $4 mark. Here we find the influence of high prices for the better-selling titles: the Top 25 comics had an average cover price of $4.15.

And the 22.37 million copies ordered of Top 300 comics in the third quarter is the most in a quarter since the fourth quarter of 1997.

The aggregate changes:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
September 2014: 7.89 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +12%
Q3 2014: 22.37 million copies, +2% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: 60.76 million copies, -4% vs. 2013, +8% vs. 2009, +9% vs. 2004, +4 vs. 1999

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: -0.12%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +6.15%
YEAR TO DATE: -2.04%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
September 2014: $31.18 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +27%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +56%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +69%
Q3 2014: $85.67 million copies, +7% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $230.44 million, unchanged vs. 2013, +20% vs. 2009, +45% vs. 2004, +53% vs. 1999

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: +4.58%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +10.3%
YEAR TO DATE:
+2.69%


TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
September 2014: $7.39 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -2%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +3%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +37%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +78%
Q3 2014: $22.29 million copies, +4% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $64.69 million, -4% vs. 2013

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: +8.49%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +7.04%
YEAR TO DATE: +4.33%


TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
September 2014: $38.57 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +43%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +81%
Q3 2014: 107.94 million copies, +7% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $295.12 million, -1% vs. 2013

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
September 2014 versus one year ago this month: +5.64%
Q3 2014 vs. Q3 2013: +9.33%
YEAR TO DATE: +3.19%


OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
September 2014: approximately $50.78 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6% Versus 5 years ago this month: +24%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +65%
Q3 2014: $145.56 million copies, +9% vs. Q3 2013
YEAR TO DATE: $395.1 million, +3% vs. 2013

RELEASES
New comic books released: 484
New graphic novels released: 265
New magazines released: 13
All new releases: 762

As noted above, the average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.77; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.95. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

That's it for September's report. I'll be at New York Comic-Con later this week, signing at the Random House/Del Rey booth. And wherever you are, be sure to visit your local comic shop here.
  
John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of several bestselling novels including Star Wars: Kenobi and the recently released Star Wars: A New Dawn. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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Death of Wolverine, Futures End dominate September 2014 comics sales

Friday, October 3, 2014


by John Jackson Miller

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=death+of+wolverine+1&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01
Wolverine's death topped the new comics charts in September, but DC buried shelves with "Futures End"-ing new releases to give the publisher the top unit and dollar market share slots, according to preliminary data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comic book stores in North America ordered nearly $50.8 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in the month, a 5.6% increase over last September.

It's the second month this year to top $50 million in total orders, and just the third in the last decade and a half.

Both this September and last September had four shipping weeks, so we finally have a complete quarter of straight-up comparisons: and July, August, and September found the market up 14.52%, 2.84%, and 5.6% respectively to net out at a 9.33% increase for the third quarter. At $395 million for the year, Direct Market orders are $12 million ahead of last year's pace; the fourth quarter need only come in at 90% of last year's total in order for 2014 to see a year-over-year increase.

DC, again, had a remarkable number of new comics releases in September: 124, to Marvel's 80. This would appear to have come from the large number of Standard Editions for its "Futures End" books: at a dollar less, Diamond would give those titles separate entries in its records (as opposed to same-priced variant covers, which are all fused in single entries). For comparison, DC had 85 new comics releases in August.

The comparative sales statistics:
 
DOLLARS UNITS
SEPTEMBER 2014 VS. AUGUST 2014
COMICS 28.33% 23.90%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 12.12% -1.67%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 23.40% 21.86%
SEPTEMBER 2014 VS. SEPTEMBER 2013
COMICS 4.58% -0.12%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 8.49% -1.61%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 5.64% -0.22%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013
COMICS 2.69% -2.04%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 4.33% 4.99%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 3.19% -1.51%
THIRD QUARTER 2014 VS. SECOND QUARTER 2014
COMICS 13.59% 13.56%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 0.75% 0.77%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 9.50% 12.51%
THIRD QUARTER 2014 VS. THIRD QUARTER 2013
COMICS 10.30% 6.15%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 7.04% 4.17%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 9.33% 6.01%

The total number of new releases:


Comics shipped Graphic novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
DC 124 27 0 151
Marvel 80 26 1 107
Image 57 12 0 69
Dark Horse 36 21 0 57
IDW 35 18 0 53
Boom 30 7 0 37
Dynamite 34 0 0 34
Viz 0 24 0 24
Random House 3 20 0 23
Eaglemoss 0 0 12 12
Other 85 110 21 216
TOTAL SHIPPED 484 265 34 783

Death of Wolverine #1 and #2 were the top two comic books in the market in orders in September. The top sellers in each category:
 
COMIC BOOKS PRICE VENDOR
1 Death of Wolverine #1 $4.99 Marvel
2 Death of Wolverine #2 $4.99 Marvel
3 Batman: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
4 Harley Quinn: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
5 Amazing Spider-Man #6 $3.99 Marvel
6 Justice League: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
7 Original Sin #8 $4.99 Marvel
8 Detective Comics: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
9 Justice League #33 $3.99 DC
10 Batman/Superman: Futures End #1 $3.99 DC
GRAPHIC NOVELS PRICE VENDOR
1 Batman: Death of the Family Book & The Joker Mask Boxed Set $39.99 DC
2 Forever Evil HC $24.99 DC
3 Yu-Gi-Oh! 5Ds Volume 6 $9.99 Viz
4 Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2: Angela $19.99 Marvel
5 The Walking Dead Volume 10 HC $34.99 Image
6 Harley Quinn: Vengeance Unlimited $19.99 DC
7 Saga Volume 1 HC $9.99 Image
8 Kick-Ass 3 Premiere HC $29.99 Marvel
9 Fatale Volume 5: Curse The Demon $14.99 Image
10 Saga Volume 3 $14.99 Image

And the market shares:


Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
DC 36.58% 40.76%
Marvel 32.04% 34.11%
Image 7.49% 8.24%
IDW 4.52% 3.24%
Dark Horse 4.11% 3.30%
Boom 2.34% 2.28%
Dynamite 2.18% 2.31%
Eaglemoss 1.29% 0.25%
Random House 1.15% 0.41%
Viz 0.96% 0.35%
Other 7.34% 4.77%



Final reports from September will be along next week.

John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. His latest novel, Star Wars: A New Dawn, has just been released by Random House. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

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August 2014 comics sales estimates — and a comic from the crypt charts!

Monday, September 8, 2014

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBatman34
The comics market continued to gain ground on its 2013 performance in August, according to Comichron's estimates of comic-book sales based on reports released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Retailers in North America ordered more than $41 million in comics and graphic novels in the month. Click to see the comics sales estimates for August 2014.

Unit sales for the Top 300 comics were up less than 1% over last August, a month which also had four shipping weeks; once comics outside the top 300 are accounted for, the margin of increase grows to 4%. Batman #34 led the market, while Rocket Raccoon established a more normal sales level for its second issue with orders above 56,000 copies, following a first issue that benefited from a gargantuan order from a single online retailer. Comics shops still ordered additional copies of Rocket Raccoon #1 in August, however, with reorders placing it in 227th.

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=tales+from+the+crypt+3&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01Positively the craziest thing I've seen in the Diamond Top 300 in a long time came along in 251st place: Tales from the Crypt #3, listed as being published by "WIL" with a cover price of $2 and an order code from 1991. Tales from the Crypt #3 was published in the summer of 1991 by Russ Cochran; Diamond listed it in its catalog under "E.C. Comics", and indeed, it was a reprint of the original E.C. issue, Tales from The Crypt #22 in from February-March 1951. On seeing it, I thought it a computer error; it had the same order number it did in 1991, but I couldn't imagine it being still in stock.

In fact, it was and is, as sources at Diamond have confirmed. When Diamond owner Steve Geppi purchased Cochran's company in the mid-1990s — which he folded into Diamond's sister company Gemstone Publishing — a large amount of inventory came with the sale, significant quantities of which still reside in Diamond's warehouse. Diamond confirmed that a very large sale of Tales from the Crypt #3 did take place, and that its presence on the chart is legitimate.

Diamond listed the publication as being sold by "WIL" — meaning William Gaines — though for chart purposes its sales could well be assumed to belong to Cochran's company, long gone. It's amazing that a reordered title could chart after 23 years — and still more amazing I could find the original listing for it in my files!

The aggregate change statistics:


TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2014: 6.39 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: unchanged
Versus 5 years ago this month: -6%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +2%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -6%
YEAR TO DATE: 52.87 million copies, -5% vs. 2013, +8% vs. 2009, +9% vs. 2004, +3 vs. 1999
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
August 2014 versus one year ago this month: +4.20%
YEAR TO DATE: -2.32%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2014: $23.87 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +2%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +33%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +35%
YEAR TO DATE: $199.26 million, -1% vs. 2013, +19% vs. 2009, +44% vs. 2004, +51% vs. 1999
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
August 2014 versus one year ago this month: +7.3%
YEAR TO DATE: +2.4%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2014: $6.26 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -7%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +3%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +40%
YEAR TO DATE: $57.3 million, -5% vs. 2013
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2014 versus one year ago this month: +8.31%
YEAR TO DATE: +3.81%
 
TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
August 2014: $30.13 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -8%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +18%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +45%
YEAR TO DATE: $256.55 million, -1% vs. 2013
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
August 2014 versus one year ago this month: +7.6%
YEAR TO DATE: +2.84%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
August 2014: approximately $41.15 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +14%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +50%
YEAR TO DATE: $344.32 million, +3% vs. 2013

RELEASES
New comic books released: 451
New graphic novels released: 280
New magazines released: 47
All new releases: 778

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.72, and the average comic book ordered cost $3.73. The average comic book in the Top 25  cost $3.67. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.
A couple of sites have highlighted the paucity of comics above 100,000 copies; this is a headline that could have been written a few dozen times over the last decade and a half, and I'm not sure it matters as much when the market has the breadth that it does. The first time the market got down to having only a couple of titles above 100k was near the turn of the century, when the 300th-place title was doing less than 1,000 copies. Now, it's doing more than 5,000 copies. The sales are still there; they're just spread out.

Yes, it is more efficient for a retailer to sell one extra copy of a title selling a hundred copies, rather than a single copy of a less popular title which takes up an additional racking spot and time to process, but the market has been trending for a long time toward its current state. The need for more racking and time to handle each additional title has increased gradually over the years, rather than coming all at once, so that increased cost of doing business may not stand out as much.

This isn't to say the direct market doesn't "need" blockbusters; certainly, they produce many ancillary effects when they happen. But having them happen every other month or so, as we've seen this year, may generate much of the same effect.

John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. His latest novel, Star Wars: A New Dawn, has just been released by Random House. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

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Batman, Thanos keep strong summer for comics sales going in August

Friday, September 5, 2014

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBatman34
After a summer of "bombshell" covers, anniversary covers, high-profile relaunches, and giant purchases by online retailers, August appears to have been something more resembling a generic month in the comics industry. Comic-book retailers purchased more than $41 million in comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines in August 2014, according Comichron's analysis of data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. Dollar sales for the month were up 7.6% year over year, bringing annual sales to $344 million, up nearly 3% over 2013.

http://bit.ly/CCThanosJuly's sales, the highest recorded dollar amount paid for comics and graphic novels in the seventeen-year long Diamond Exclusive Era, were boosted in part by a fifth week to the month, by the addition of thousands of Rocket Raccoon #1 copies bought by Loot Crate, and by DC's Batman 75th Anniversary covers, among other things. August's sales appear to have returned to a more regular pattern, with Batman #34 taking the top slot.

The leading new series launch  was DC's Multiversity #1, in fourth place, with the Thanos: The Infinity Revelation hardcover from Marvel leading the graphic novel list.

The aggregate change statistics:

DOLLARS UNITS
AUGUST 2014 VS. JULY 2014
COMICS -23.77% -22.73%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -22.06% -20.96%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -23.26% -22.60%
AUGUST 2014 VS. AUGUST 2013
COMICS 7.30% 4.20%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 8.31% 9.95%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 7.60% 4.63%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013
COMICS 2.40% -2.32%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 3.81% 5.79%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 2.84% -1.69%

PRODUCTS SHIPPED
Diamond shipped 778 new releases in August; all variants for a single title are counted together as one in the chart below. That's 113 fewer releases than July, including 79 fewer comics and 32 fewer graphic novels; still, it's 45 more comic books than were released last July. So 11% more comics came out this year versus last and 7% more comics units sold. Changes in the number of releases are  strongly tied to changes in overall performance; when trying to explain massive shifts one way or another, it is advisable to look there first.

PUBLISHER COMICS GRAPHIC NOVELS MAGAZINES TOTAL SHIPPED
DC 85 22 1 108
Marvel 78 29 0 107
Image  63 5 0 68
IDW 42 17 0 59
Dark Horse Comics 36 18 0 54
Dynamite 25 12 0 37
Boom 23 9 0 32
Random House 1 27 0 28
Eaglemoss 0 0 25 25
Viz 0 24 0 24
Other 98 117 21 236
TOTAL 451 280 47 778


MARKET SHARES
Marvel led in both unit and dollar shares. Remember, this chart includes magazine sales, which is why we see Eaglemoss in eighth. It shipped 25 magazines this month.

PUBLISHER DOLLAR SHARE UNIT SHARE
Marvel 34.27% 35.85%
DC 28.71% 32.56%
Image 8.83% 10.97%
IDW 5.43% 4.67%
Dark Horse 4.73% 4.03%
Dynamite 2.59% 2.40%
Boom 2.32% 2.14%
Eaglemoss 1.65% 0.43%
Random House 1.14% 0.38%
Viz 1.04% 0.42%
Other 9.28% 6.17%


TOP PRODUCTS

TOP COMIC BOOKS PRICE VENDOR
1 Batman #34 $3.99 DC
2 Amazing Spider-Man #5 $3.99 Marvel
3 Original Sin #7 $3.99 Marvel
4 Multiversity #1 $4.99 DC
5 Superior Spider-Man #32 $4.99 Marvel
6 The Walking Dead #130 $2.99 Image
7 Harley Quinn #9 $2.99 DC
8 Amazing Spider-Man #1.4 $3.99 Marvel
9 Guardians Of The Galaxy #18 $3.99 Marvel
10 Batman Eternal #18 $2.99 DC
TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS PRICE VENDOR
1 Thanos: The Infinity Revelation OGN Hc $24.99 Marvel
2 Fables Volume 20: Camelot $19.99 DC
3 Deadpool Vs. Carnage $16.99 Marvel
4 Trillium $16.99 DC
5 Batman: Earth-One $12.99 DC
6 Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 1: Cosmic Avengers $19.99 Marvel
7 Saga Volume 3 $14.99 Image
8 Watchmen Hc $39.99 DC
9 Saga Volume 1 $9.99 Image
10 Saga Volume 2 $14.99 Image

The final estimates for August are expected next week.

John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. His latest novel, Star Wars: A New Dawn, has just been released by Random House. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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July 2014 comics sales estimates online; multiple Diamond-era records beaten

Monday, August 11, 2014

by John Jackson Miller
http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=rocket+raccoon+1&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01The comics industry in North America moved into positive territory for 2014 with a record-setting month of July, according to Comichron's analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in July 2014.

A much larger number of new comic book and graphic novel releases for the month helped July's sales to set a number of records for the Diamond Exclusive Era, which began in April 1997:

Highest dollar value for orders of the Top 300 comics: $30.62 million. This beat out the record set in September 2013.

Highest combined dollar value for orders of the Top 300 comics and Top 300 Graphic Novels: $39.27 milllion. This also beat out a record set in September 2013.

Highest dollar value for all comics, trade paperbacks, and magazines: $53.63 million. This clobbered the previous record, set in October 2013, by more than $3 million.

Highest sales for the 300th-place comic book in a five-week month: 6,620 copies. This also beat the record set in October 2013.

Highest average price of comics offered in the Top 300: $3.79. This beat the previous record high by seven cents.

And we don't keep detailed records on this, but it really is remarkable how many new comic releases are coming from the middle-tier publishers. Image had 66 new comics this month, IDW 48, Dynamite 40, Dark Horse 39, Boom 29; it all contributed to a month where the 300th place book this July would have ranked 250th just five years ago and 192nd 10 years ago. The middle-to-lower tier titles are simply stronger relative to times past, and there are more of them.

And Titan Entertainment broke into the Top 100 this month now that it's offering the Doctor Who comics, with titles in 59th and 67th places. So there are more players vying for the top spots, too.

The aggregate change statistics:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
July 2014: 8.09 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +17%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +32%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +21%
YEAR TO DATE: 46.48 million copies, -5% vs. 2013, +10% vs. 2009, +10% vs. 2004, +4 vs. 1999
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
July 2014 versus one year ago this month: +14.73%
YEAR TO DATE: -3.16%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
July 2014: $30.62 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +27%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +72%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +79%
YEAR TO DATE: $175.39 million, -1% vs. 2013, +21% vs. 2009, +45% vs. 2004, +54% vs. 1999
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
July 2014 versus one year ago this month: +19.23%
YEAR TO DATE: +1.76%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
July 2014: $8.64 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +18%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +56%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +61%
YEAR TO DATE: $51.04 million, -6% vs. 2013
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
July 2014 versus one year ago this month: +4.84%
YEAR TO DATE: +3.25%
 
TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
July 2014: $39.27 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +14%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +53%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +91%
YEAR TO DATE: $156.5 million, -5% vs. 2013
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
July 2014 versus one year ago this month: +14.52%
YEAR TO DATE: +2.22%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
July 2014: approximately $53.63 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +15%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +29%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +92%
YEAR TO DATE: $207.85 million, unchanged vs. 2013

RELEASES
New comic books released: 530
New graphic novels released: 312
New magazines released: 49
All new releases: 891

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.79, and the average comic book ordered did, too. The average comic book in the Top 25 also cost $3.79, possibly the first time all three of those figures have been equal. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

Rocket Raccoon #1 was the lead title on the comics list, and as discussed here on Friday, its reported sales of nearly 294,000 copies was boosted by at least 100,000 copies because of a sale to a single account, the subscription club Loot Crate. (Read more about the firm and its purchase here and here.) The company bought the comics non-returnably just as any other Direct Market account; in essence, it is somewhat like one of the other new-comics-by-mail services whose sales already are accounted for by Diamond's charts — with a significant exception: since the service only bought the one issue, the second issue's sales will reflect only the comics shops' sales.

Regardless, even if the Loot Crate contribution is half the title's orders, it would only account for a little over 1% of the market's sales this month.

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=life+with+archie+36&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01
Life with Archie #36 hit the charts at 27th place with orders of more than 57,000 copies — as did the magazine-format version of the issue, which made it into 297th place with orders of more than 6,000 copies. While Diamond keeps a separate tally for magazines, the magazine format Life with Archie was been appearing in Diamond's comics section all along, so there's no change there.
 
Batman Eternal no longer has the returnable asterisk in July's report; reported sales on the title increased, perhaps partially as a reflection of the sales no longer being reduced for returnability.

A few notes about some changes to the charts as they come from Diamond. First, once again, only the Top 300 was released to the media; I have confirmed with Diamond that the several months during the past year in which the Top 400 were released was an error, and not a change in policy. Diamond has released just the Top 300 for nearly 20 years, and that will continue to be the policy -- with the addition of a few items outside 300th place that appear in the Top 50 Small Publisher lists each month.

There is a case to be made for going out to 400th place when so many titles are coming out; only 14 publishers appeared in the Top 300 this month, just one more than the record low. My projections are that the Top 300 now captures 92% of all comics Diamond sells, while the Top 400 captures 97%, so it is a bit more than a marginal addition. But clearly the Top 300 still does capture the vast majority of comics sales (and far more than the Top 300 graphic novel list does). Comichron will continue to print any items after 300th place that Diamond sends, but will just the Top 300s for cross-time comparisons no matter what is released.

Next, for several years readers have asked why Comichron has listed Dynamite titles as coming from Dynamic Forces. Dynamite is an imprint of Dynamic Forces, which has had a presence in the charts for more than a decade; when the Dynamite line was started, Diamond continued to refer to the company as Dynamic Forces in its market share reports and counted the sales of Dynamite as belonging to Dynamic Forces, just as Vertigo's share belongs to DC. Comichron likewise ignores imprint distinctions in its listings, so we continued to use "Dynamic Forces."

In recent times, however -- perhaps because the Dynamite line now represents most of Dynamic Forces' product moving through Diamond -- Diamond has gone back and forth between calling the publisher Dynamic Forces and Dynamite Entertainment in its market share listings in its spreadsheets released to the press. (It was listed as Dynamic Forces in the file as recently as June.) But whatever the name might be in the internal record-keeping (and I imagine that it's all still one account under the original name), Diamond has regularly been changing the name to Dynamite in tables in its press releases accompanying the sales charts. So we're doing it as well, starting with July. Offerings under the Dynamic Forces label rarely make the Top 300 in these days of so many new comics releases, so it makes sense to do it at this point.

But we will probably not make the change retroactive, as there's a lot to update -- and again, further back we get into a time when it's more Dynamic Forces-labeled material than Dynamite making the charts.

John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Kenobi and the upcoming hardcover Star Wars: A New Dawn. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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July 2014 comics market tops $53 million, most in Diamond Exclusive Era; Rocket Raccoon, Walking Dead lead lists

Friday, August 8, 2014


by John Jackson Miller

July in recent years has tended to be a month where things really get going for comics; sales did indeed, reaching their highest dollar value in the Diamond Exclusive Era which began in 1997. Comics shops in North America ordered more than $53.6 million in comics, graphic novels, and magazines, topping $50 million for the second time and besting October's previous Diamond-Era record of $50.3 million.

It was a five-week month against a five-week month, so that factor is not in play; what it was was a month in which a lot of new comics shipped. Diamond Comic Distributors shipped 530 new comic books in July, which is the highest figure seen since Diamond began releasing those statistics one year ago. The release of 312 graphic novels was also the highest seen in a year — and when one of those books is Walking Dead Vol. 21, it's likely to be a decent July. The result was a month with the largest year-over-year change since last September: comics and graphic novel sales were up 14.52% over a year ago. The seven-month total has now topped $300 million, and is ahead 2.22% year-to-year.

The aggregate sales changes:

JULY 2014 VS. JUNE 2014 DOLLAR CHANGE UNIT CHANGE
COMICS 32.22% 29.25%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 21.04% 24.64%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 28.66% 28.88%
JULY 2014 VS. JULY 2013
COMICS 19.23% 14.73%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 4.84% 4.59%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 14.52% 13.87%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2014 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2013
COMICS 1.76% -3.16%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 3.25% 5.27%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 2.22% -2.51%

As has been reported elsewhere, a ginormous purchase of copies of Rocket Raccoon #1 was made by Loot Crate, a reseller that repacks pop cultural items to sell to subscribers. Loot Crate has a Diamond account and buys non-returnably like the other retailers — and so, like non-Direct Market sellers like Hastings, its figures are reflected in the numbers. The Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in was the #1 comic book for the month.

The top-sellers:

TOP COMIC BOOKS PRICE VENDOR
1 ROCKET RACCOON #1 $3.99 Marvel
2 BATMAN #33 $4.99 DC
3 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4 $3.99 Marvel
4 ORIGINAL SIN #5 $3.99 Marvel
5 SPIDER-MAN 2099 #1 $3.99 Marvel
6 ORIGINAL SIN #6 $3.99 Marvel
7 JUSTICE LEAGUE #32 $3.99 DC
8 GRAYSON #1 $2.99 DC
9 THE LEGENDARY STAR-LORD #1 $3.99 Marvel
10 HARLEY QUINN #8 $2.99 DC
TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS and TRADE PAPERBACKS PRICE VENDOR
1 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 21: ALL-OUT WAR PART 2 $14.99 Image
2 AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER VOL. 8: RIFT PART 2 $10.99 Dark Horse
3 DEADLY CLASS VOLUME 1: REAGAN YOUTH $9.99 Image
4 SAGA VOLUME 1 $9.99 Image
5 BRYAN LEE O'MALLEY: SECONDS GN $25.00 Random House
6 DEADPOOL VOLUME 5: THE WEDDING OF DEADPOOL $15.99 Marvel
7 SAGA VOLUME 3 $14.99 Image
8 STAR WARS: THE LUCAS DRAFT $19.99 Dark Horse
9 BATMAN VOLUME 1: THE COURT OF OWLS $16.99 DC
10 LAZARUS VOLUME 2: LIFT $14.99 Image

The market shares, which include Archie above 2% thanks to the Life with Archie issue:

DOLLAR SHARE UNIT SHARE
Marvel 35.09% 38.39%
DC 28.18% 31.32%
Image 9.25% 9.82%
IDW 5.21% 4.11%
Dark Horse 5.02% 3.80%
Dynamic Forces/Dynamite 2.18% 2.16%
Archie 2.04% 1.88%
Boom 1.76% 1.78%
Eaglemoss 1.05% 0.24%
Zenescope 1.05% 0.87%
Other 9.18% 5.62%

And here's what Diamond shipped in the month:
 
Comics Shipped GNs Shipped Magazines Total Shipped
Marvel 93 36 0 129
DC 97 31 0 128
Image 66 17 0 83
IDW 48 31 0 79
Dark Horse 39 29 0 68
Dynamic Forces/Dynamite 40 4 0 44
Boom 29 4 0 33
Zenescope 14 4 0 18
Archie 15 5 0 20
Eaglemoss 0 0 10 10
Other 89 151 39 279
Total 530 312 49 891

More next week...

John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises. He is the author of the New York Times bestseller Star Wars: Kenobi and the upcoming hardcover Star Wars: A New Dawn. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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