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March 2015 comics sales estimates online; Princess Leia #1 tops 250k

Monday, April 13, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/PrLeia1
The final sales report for last month is now out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, the first quarter closed with some modest improvement overall versus the same period last year. Marvel's Princess Leia #1, the top-selling title, topped a quarter million copies. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in March 2015.

Readers studying Diamond's order index number will note a significant move this month; as there was no issue of Batman, the charts keyed off of Batman: Arkham Knight #1 instead. There also appears, from Diamond's wholesale rankings, to have been significant discounting on Guardians Team-Up #1. It had the same cover price as Amazing Spider-Man #16, which it sold nearly twice as many copies as — but Diamond took in more money for Amazing.

Someone asked what the first comic book was to top the monthly sales charts starring a female lead whose name was also the title of the comic book. (The title inclusion is an useful distinction, because several of the issues of Uncanny X-Men which led the market in the 1980s focused almost entirely on Storm, Kitty Pryde, and other characters.) My guess would be Dazzler #1, which sold 428,000 copies in Marvel's first major Direct Market-only experiment. For early 1981, that would have been enough to give it the top honors. Red Sonja's launch in the 1970s was certainly popular but likely didn't have near the distribution of other titles.

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=dazzler+1&pubid=&PubRng=?AffID=874007P01In the 1960s, Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane reached as high as third in 1962, behind Superman and Superboy — and did so again in 1965. DC didn't publish sales data for 1963 and 1964 for those titles, but it likely was in around the same place then. But while there were months back then that Superman wasn't published, there was always a Superboy issue in those months. And Uncle Scrooge, #1 in 1960 and 1961, did not file a circulation statement with the U.S. Postal Service for 1962 because of Gold Key's split from Dell, so it might have been a contender for the top spot in 1962 as well.

Before the 1960s, I don't see any likely challengers. Wonder Woman was never a top-tier seller, Little Lulu was middle-tier at Dell, and it was 1980 before Betty and Veronica were outselling Archie. So I think while there may have been individual shipping weeks where Lois Lane was the bestselling title on the racks, Dazzler #1 is likely the first such title that topped the charts for an entire month.

(Edit: And to quickly correct any misapprehension, there were other titles in the Diamond Exclusive era that fit the description. Lara Croft, Tomb Raider led the charts in November 1999. 1998 saw months led by Fathom and Witchblade/Tomb Raider, which may not fit the strict definition if those weren't the lead characters' proper names.)

As detailed in Friday's report, the quarterly sales were up nearly 10% for the Direct Market this winter. The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2015: 6.77 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +1%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +16%
YEAR TO DATE: 20.77 million copies, +13% vs. 2014, +22% vs. 2010, +18% vs. 2005, +23% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2015 versus one year ago this month: +9.92%
YEAR TO DATE: +13.76%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2015: $25.17 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +10%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +18%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +32%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +64%
YEAR TO DATE: $79.63 million, +17% vs. 2014, +34% vs. 2010, +60% vs. 2005, +81% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2015 versus one year ago this month: +11.19%
YEAR TO DATE: +13.85%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2015: $6.23 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -28%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -40%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -12%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +22%
YEAR TO DATE: $18.82 million, -9% vs. 2014

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
March 2015 versus one year ago this month: -12.56%
YEAR TO DATE: +0.65%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2015: $31.4 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -1%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +5%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +14%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +33%
YEAR TO DATE: $98.42 million, +11% vs. 2014

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
March 2015 versus one year ago this month: +2.99%
YEAR TO DATE: +9.63%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
March 2015: approximately $41.94 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +14%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +33%
YEAR TO DATE: $127.89 million, +10% vs. 2014

RELEASES
New comic books released: 455
New graphic novels released: 258
New magazines released: 29
All new releases: 742

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.75; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.83. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

And that concludes the March report. I'll be at Star Wars Celebration later this week; if you're there, stop by and say hello. My schedule is here.

http://bit.ly/SWNewDawnJohn 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. He'll be in Anaheim, Calif. from April 16-19, speaking at Star Wars Celebration.

Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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March 2015 sales mildly up as comics outperform graphic novels; Princess Leia #1 leads the charts

Friday, April 10, 2015

by John Jackson Miller


http://bit.ly/PrLeia1
March closed the winter quarter on a mildly positive note in the comics industry, according to data released this morning by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comic shops ordered nearly $42 million in comics and graphic novels, up about 3% over last March, which like this one had four shipping weeks.

Marvel's relaunch of the Star Wars line continued to energize what is usually a lighter quarter for new releases, with Princess Leia #1 taking the top slot and Star Wars #3 coming in second. The second issue of Princess Leia also made the top five, and Darth Vader #2 took eighth place. There weren't even four Star Wars titles in the Top 10 in May 1999 when Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace #1-4 all came out; the fourth issue of that placed 11th. So this is the first month four Star Wars titles have been in the Top 10 list in the Diamond Exclusive Era.

(Before that, we'd have to look at 1977, and when the waves of Whitman's reprints for the original Star Wars #1-3 were hitting; that would have put multiple Star Wars issues high on the charts. But we have no way of knowing how many of those came out, and in what months.)

Orders for the quarter totaled $127.9 million, up $11 million from the first quarter of 2014, which had an equal number of shipping weeks, despite what the calendar shows. (The first Wednesday of 2014 was counted with the December 2013 sales.)

Comparative Sales Performance
MARCH 2015 VS. FEBRUARY 2015
Comics -3.86% -4.32%
Graphic Novels 8.34% 10.63%
Total Comics & GNs -0.58% -3.37%
MARCH 2015 VS. MARCH 2014
Comics 11.19% 9.92%
Graphic Novels -12.56% -22.36%
Total Comics & GNs 2.99% 6.70%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2015 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2014
Comics 13.85% 13.76%
Graphic Novels 0.65% -8.96%
Total Comics & GNs 9.63% 11.76%
FIRST QUARTER 2015 VS. FOURTH QUARTER 2014
Comics -9.56% -8.37%
Graphic Novels -17.28% -15.58%
Total Comics & GNs -11.97% -8.93%

Comics unit sales were up 10%, making the category the bright spot this month. For a change, there doesn't appear to be an issue in the Top 10 obviously influenced by a Loot Crate variant. The Top 10:

Top 10 Comic Books
Title Price Publisher
1 Princess Leia #1 $3.99 Marvel
2 Star Wars #3 $3.99 Marvel
3 Guardians Team-Up #1 $3.99 Marvel
4 Spider-Gwen #2 $3.99 Marvel
5 Princess Leia #2 $3.99 Marvel
6 Amazing Spider-Man #16 $3.99 Marvel
7 Howard the Duck #1 $3.99 Marvel
8 Darth Vader #3 $3.99 Marvel
9 Batman: Arkham Knight #1 $3.99 DC
10 Amazing Spider-Man #16.1 $3.99 Marvel

A side note about the Star Wars titles, of interest mainly to indexers: Darth Vader, Princess Leia, and April's Kanan: The Last Padawan appear to represent the first Star Wars comics in eons — maybe Marvel's Ewoks, ending in 1987 — not to have "Star Wars" in their titles as shown in the issues' indicias. That's what price guides and indexing databases use to classify books.

Graphic novel sales were down more than 12%, with the market up against a strong comparative month in March 2014 which saw new Walking Dead and Saga releases. The Top 10:

Top 10 Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks 
Title Price Publisher
1 Nemo: River of Ghosts HC $14.95 IDW
2 Ms. Marvel Vol. 2: Generation Why $15.99 Marvel
3 Low Vol. 1: The Delirium of Hope $9.99 Image
4 Hawkeye Vs. Deadpool $16.99 Marvel
5 Saga Volume 4 $14.99 Image
6 Deadpool Volume 7: Axis $17.99 Marvel
7 Deadpool's The Art of War $12.99 Marvel
8 Deadly Class Vol. 2: Kids of the Black Hole $14.99 Image
9 Birthright Vol. 1: Homecoming $9.99 Image
10 Bob's Burgers Vol. 1 $17.99 Dynamite

The market share list contained the same ten publishers we've seen lately, with almost all of then topping 1% of the market in dollar sales:

Market shares 
Dollar share Unit share
Marvel 38.82% 41.53%
DC 23.01% 26.13%
Image 11.39% 12.98%
IDW 6.51% 5.16%
Dark Horse 3.90% 3.07%
Boom 2.41% 2.44%
Dynamite 2.37% 1.99%
Eaglemoss 1.83% 0.32%
Titan 1.01% 0.77%
Viz 0.98% 0.37%
Other 7.76% 5.23%

The new release slate was slightly larger this March versus last March on the comics side, but the number of new graphic novels released was almost identical:

New items released
Publisher Comics shipped Graphic novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 79 30 0 109
DC 85 17 0 102
Image 59 20 0 79
IDW 52 18 0 70
Dark Horse 27 22 0 49
Boom 40 3 0 43
Dynamite 28 6 0 34
Viz 0 27 0 27
Titan 8 7 2 17
Eaglemoss 0 0 14 14
Other 86 98 13 197
Total 464 248 29 741

That's the preliminary report; the estimated sales will be up next week.

http://bit.ly/SWNewDawnJohn 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. He'll be in Anaheim, Calif. from April 16-19, speaking at Star Wars Celebration.

Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

February 2015 comics sales estimates online: Of "Asterisk Eras" and sales charts

Monday, March 16, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

In baseball, many of the statistics of the 1990s must be viewed with caution, as they're part of the "Steroid Era." Comics had its own Steroid Era in the early 1990s, in the sense that orders were inflated by an unprecedented number of retail accounts that had been opened on easy credit terms by the many competing distributors that existed then. Many issues in that speculation-fueled time sold into the millions, but the number of actual readers was smaller. And yet the distributors' charts were accurate: they did what they were supposed to do, reporting the number of copies they shipped.

Diamond Comic Distributors is doing exactly the same today with the charts it publishes: reporting what it shipped. Unlike the early 1990s, when nearly everything deserved an asterisk, we're fairly sure the number of comics sold is more representative of the number of active readers — but since the charts are "number-shipped" lists, there are occasions where what we see on them might not represent what we see happening in stores. We have another this month. According to Comichron's sales estimates for comics ordered in February 2015. based on data Diamond released today, in February a comic book has once again topped the monthly sales charts because of vast quantities by a single retailer, the repackager Loot Crate

With nearly half a million copies shipped, IDW's Orphan Black #1 would, in fact, rank as the fourth best-selling comic book of the Diamond Exclusive Era, behind January's Star Wars #1, last year's Amazing Spider-Man #1, and Amazing Spider-Man #583 from 2009. It is the third time a comic book has topped the charts likely due to the massive size of Loot Crate's order.

The rankings are, again, consistent with Diamond's practices — and a handful of books with sales supercharged by Loot Crate, Nerd Block, and similar firms do not an era make, whatever adjective we choose to label them with. But they do present irregularities for market-watchers and statisticians to cope with. Because while orders from mail-order comics retailers have always been counted in the charts — and while those retailers do work with publishers to offer their own store-specific variant copies of specific titles — the Loot Crate numbers in particular are now on a huge scale. The Orphan Black total makes it possible for Loot Crate's order to account for as many as 400,000 copies — more than double what they were a year ago.

So we're encountering months in which not just some, but large majorities of the copies the bestselling titles weren't ordered by comic shops. Since the gigantic purchases are one-time, we've been using asterisks (or, rather, daggers) here at Comichron, because readers a decade hence will definitely wonder why, for example, Walking Dead #132's sales spiked so amazingly in October. But there are other statistical curiosities that come from these kinds of large purchases, which are worth noting.

For example, note the Top 5, as Diamond reported it on Friday, plus Comichron's order estimates. You can see Diamond shipped nearly twice as many copies of Orphan Black #1 as its nearest competitor:

 Titles ranked by many copies Diamond shipped
Title Issue Price Publisher  Copies shipped 
1 Orphan Black 1* $3.99 IDW  497,002
2 Darth Vader 1 $4.99 Marvel  264,399
3 Spider-Gwen 1 $3.99 Marvel  254,074
4 Star Wars 2 $3.99 Marvel  162,042
5 Batman 39 $3.99 DC  118,106

Now, take a look at Diamond's "retail rankings," which it also released today. We don't look at these very often, but they're ranked in order of how much money Diamond received for the comics it shipped: the wholesale value. It is this wholesale value that Diamond's market shares are based upon, not the full cover price (though we have computed it in the column at right). And we can see that despite what we might expect from the numbers, Orphan Black #1 comes in not first, but third:

Titles ranked by how much retailers paid Diamond
Title Issue Price Publisher  Copies shipped 
1 Darth Vader 1 $4.99 Marvel  264,399
2 Spider-Gwen 1 $3.99 Marvel  254,074
3 Orphan Black 1* $3.99 IDW  497,002
4 Star Wars 2 $3.99 Marvel  162,042
5 Batman 39 $3.99 DC  118,106

Diamond does not reveal the wholesale amount it received for the books it shipped, but in providing the rankings, we can see that, while Diamond shipped nearly twice as many Orphan Black issues as it shipped Spider-Gwens (another comic book with a $3.99 cover price), it realized more revenue overall on Spider-Gwen than on Orphan Black. Put another way, Diamond took in about half as much for every Orphan Black copy it shipped as it did for every Spider-Gwen. This suggests a lot of books moving at a steep discount, which makes sense when dealing with a reseller willing to buy hundreds of thousands of copies.

Since Comichron and everyone else uses full retail dollars to track the market, though, we now wind up with a situation in which all the statistics for this month's performance include between $1-2 million in "Loot Crate copies." That — and the several hundred thousand units Loot Crate's purchase added to the total number of comics sold — might make you wonder whether the Direct Market, apart from Loot Crate, really was up in February or not.

The answer: yes, in all categories. Nearly 1.3 million more comics were shipped this February versus last February, probably three times what Loot Crate added. Subtracting out all the Orphan Black sales (including copies ordered by comic shops), we still get a Top 300 and an overall market that's up nearly $4 million. We actually see larger anomalies on a regular basis on the graphic novel sales chart, where we've often seen a lot of deep-discounting: some months as much as $4 million in full retail has been added to the overall totals when, in fact, those books moved at a fraction of their normally discounted prices. It's just part of the hazard in reporting sales based on retail prices rather than wholesale ones. Retail prices are easier to understand, but there can be complications.

http://bit.ly/CCMarvSW1So Loot Crate is making a splash, but its impact, at least so far, is limited to the sales rankings. Were its subscriber numbers to double or triple, or were the phenomenon to spread, then we'd begin to worry about how well the Diamond charts report Direct Market performance. Diamond's charts report what Diamond shipped, of course, and for many years now that has tracked Direct Market performance very well. But as new kinds of outlets offer comics, we shouldn't expect that any charts will always be a perfect mirror.

Darth Vader #1, with at least 21 variant covers, had orders of approximately 264,400 copies and would have been the top title of the month were it not for Orphan Black's Loot Crate edition. Marvel's relaunch issue from January, Star Wars #1, placed 53rd with more than 33,100 copies reordered. That brings the total number of Diamond-shipped copies to 1.019 million, clearing the million mark (which it had cleared anyway with British sales). The second issue had orders of more than 162,000 copies.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
February 2015: 7.19 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +22%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +34%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +23%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +32%
YEAR TO DATE: 16 million copies, +16% vs. 2014, +27% vs. 2010, +29% vs. 2005, +27% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
February 2015 versus one year ago this month: +22.14%
YEAR TO DATE: +15.76%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
February 2015: $27.56 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +27%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +48%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +65%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +91%
YEAR TO DATE: $54.46 million, +21% vs. 2014, +43% vs. 2010, +78% vs. 2005, +90% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
February 2015 versus one year ago this month: +20.42%
YEAR TO DATE: +15.20%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
February 2015: $5.96 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -24%
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: $12.59 million, +5% vs. 2014

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
February 2015 versus one year ago this month: +0.08%
YEAR TO DATE: +14.17%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
February 2015: $33.5 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +32%
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: +103%
YEAR TO DATE: $67.02 million, +18% vs. 2014

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
February 2015 versus one year ago this month: +14.17%
YEAR TO DATE: +13.2%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
February 2015: approximately $42.19 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +42%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +59%
YEAR TO DATE: $85.94 million, +13% vs. 2014

RELEASES
New comic books released: 458
New graphic novels released: 221
New magazines released: 38
All new releases: 717

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.75; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.83. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

That's it for the February report. I'll be on several panels this weekend at Midsouthcon in Memphis; be sure to drop by if you're in the area.


http://bit.ly/STTakedownJohn 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, and the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, now available. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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Loot Crate-charged Orphan Black gives IDW its first top-seller in strong February market

Friday, March 13, 2015


by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCOrphan1In the strangest turn yet in what has turned into the Mail-Order Grab-Bag Era of comics sales, a comic book has topped the Diamond Comic Distributors charts in February 2015 based in large degree on the sales of a mail-order variant that has not, as of this writing, been shipped to its customers.

IDW's Orphan Black #1 appeared atop the preliminary Diamond sales charts for February released today, giving the publisher its first #1 book and making IDW only the fifth publisher in the Diamond Exclusive Era to have a book top the charts. (It joins Marvel, DC, Image, and Dreamwave, which was the last new publisher to top the list in April 2002.) And while we won't know until the mail-order boxes arrive, it very much appears that the comic book may be in the Loot Crate for March, which doesn't reach subscribers' mailboxes until later this month.

The Top Ten list:

Top 10 Comics for March
  Description Price Vendor
1 Orphan Black #1 $3.99 IDW
2 Darth Vader #1 $4.99 Marvel
3 Spider-Gwen #1 $3.99 Marvel
4 Star Wars #2 $3.99 Marvel
5 Batman #39 $3.99 DC
6 Amazing Spider-Man #14 $3.99 Marvel
7 Darth Vader #2 $3.99 Marvel
8 Amazing Spider-Man #15 $3.99 Marvel
9 Silk #1 $3.99 Marvel
10 Justice League #39 $3.99 DC

While IDW's unit sales share went up, its dollar share did not — and as Diamond's market shares are based on dollars received, it appears that something was ordered in very large numbers and at a much deeper discount than average. That would tend, too, to suggest that Orphan Black #1 was helped out significantly by Loot Crate:

Market shares
Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 38.44% 39.33%
DC 25.91% 28.15%
Image 10.51% 10.61%
IDW 5.57% 8.06%
Dark Horse 3.48% 2.66%
Dynamite 2.63% 2.38%
Boom 2.12% 2.12%
Eaglemoss 0.95% 0.18%
Viz 0.89% 0.32%
Avatar 0.85% 0.64%
Other 8.64% 5.54%

So, taking nothing away from IDW or Orphan Black #1 — the chart appearance of which is perfectly in line with Diamond's practices, since Diamond did sell Loot Crate, a reseller, the copies in February — it appears likely this is another comic book, like Marvel's Rocket Raccoon #1 and Image's Walking Dead #132 before it, that would not have been the #1 book in the comic shop market alone. Loot Crate's orders recently appear to have been over a quarter of a million copies — and while that sum was only gravy for Marvel's Star Wars #1 in January, any other month, it easily creates a #1 in the comics market most months.

There was a different paradoxical situation created in December, when the Loot Crate included Batman #36, but that book saw no spike on the Diamond chart because Diamond evidently wasn't the intermediary. And Star Wars #1 appeared in the February Nerd Block, but we have no way of knowing whether those copies were counted with February or already reported in January.

Grab bags are nothing new in comics: three-packs were a major delivery system for Whitman in the 1970s. The scale of the sales relative to the rest of the market is what's different. I have from the start flagged comics with these large outside sales with asterisks (or rather, daggers) in the sales charts; it is important for readers ten and twenty years down the road to know why a particular book spiked so high. I've included the full figures, though, because there's no way to know how many copies came from Loot Crate, or Nerd Block, or whomever.

I tend to be skeptical that a grab-bag comic book sale is of equal "weight" with a purchase at a comic shop — while money changes hands for these boxes, no one took the affirmative step to purchase a specific comic book, and usually grab bags generate a lot of unwanted copies. (The three-packs of old always seemed to include that middle comic book no one wanted!) But the books are in circulation, and theoretically could increase the sales of later issues as introductions to the series. It's really the sheer volume of copies being ordered that's complicating the charts. Three hundred copies, no one would notice. Three hundred thousand copies makes an impact!

Diamond's position is even more complicated. It's selling the comics to the reseller Loot Crate — although it's unclear whether the same terms are in effect, if Diamond's making significantly less per copy than on its usual comics. It is also performing services for both the publishers of the books and the retail outlet buying them; it probably cannot either remove the Loot Crate sales from its list, which would under-report both Diamond and the publisher's performance — or segregate them into a separate listing, which would reveal how much Loot Crate was buying.

www.mycomicshop.com/search?TID=401281?AffID=874007P01I think the best route would probably be if the books these firms bought were treated as special items, not included in the Top 300s but still counting toward the market shares for each publisher. Diamond did that after April 2002 (that month again!) which was the month the first Free Comic Book Day issues shipped; Diamond initially put them in the Top 300 list, where the low-cost books easily topped the charts. In years since, however, it has removed them — as well as stunt-pricing products, in the years after the mini-wave started by Batman: The Ten-Cent Adventure.

We will see for sure on Monday where Orphan Black #1 is in the scheme of things: if its dollar ranking is beneath any of the $3.99 issues also on the list, we can presume most of its sales came from Loot Crate or elsewhere. (And when the Loot Crate for March reaches subscribers, we'll know either way.)

Okay, back to February in general. Retailers (storefront and otherwise) bought more than $42 million in comics and graphic novels from Diamond in the month, just a little less than January. The market was up 14% over last February, and it's up 13% for the year:

Comparative Sales Performance
  DOLLARS UNITS
FEBRUARY 2015 VS. JANUARY 2014    
Comics 3.22% 6.42%
Graphic Novels -18.17% -17.23%
Total Comics & GNs -3.56% 4.53%
     
FEBRUARY 2015 VS. FEBRUARY 2014    
Comics 20.42% 22.14%
Graphic Novels 0.08% -12.28%
Total Comics & GNs 14.17% 19.18%
     
YEAR-TO-DATE 2015 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2014    
Comics 15.20% 15.76%
Graphic Novels 8.64% -0.34%
Total Comics & GNs 13.20% 14.43%

For readers wanting to know how much Loot Crate is impacting sales overall: the answer is that while it's clearly causing some impact at the top of the charts each month, in the overall figures, it tends to wash out. At Loot Crate's current sales levels it's kicking in about a million a month to the overall retail figure when a comic book is included; but Diamond is currently ahead by $10 million this year. So its contribution is considerable, but probably not determinative of whether the market is up or down.

Superman: Earth One Vol. 3 led the top-selling graphic novels:

Top Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks
  Description Price Vendor
1 Superman: Earth One Vol. 3 HC $22.99 DC
2 Sex Criminals Vol. 2: Two Worlds One Cop $14.99 Image
3 The Fade-Out Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
4 Saga Vol. 4 $14.99 Image
5 Chew Vol. 9: Chicken Tenders $14.99 Image
6 Trees Vol. 1 $14.99 Image
7 The Walking Dead Vol. 11 HC $34.99 Image
8 Ms. Marvel Vol. 1: No Normal $15.99 Marvel
9 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
10 Kick-Ass 3 $24.99 Marvel

And, finally, we see that there weren't a whole lot of new releases this month, which is par for February. There were 25 more new releases this February than last February. IDW was actually seventh in the new-release volume list, lower than it often is; this again underscores the amount that Orphan Black's sales added.

New release volume
  Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
DC 94 26 1 121
Marvel 79 28 0 107
Image 61 15 0 76
Dynamite 34 6 0 40
Boom 33 6 0 39
Dark Horse 27 9 0 36
IDW 23 8 0 31
Viz 0 25 0 25
Avatar 8 2 1 11
Eaglemoss 0 0 10 10
Other 99 96 26 221
Total 458 221 38 717

That's it. Back here Monday for the full estimates.

http://bit.ly/STTakedownJohn 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, and the upcoming Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, now available. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

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Faraway Looks: The Blog of John Jackson Miller

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