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Comics and graphic novel sales top $1 billion in 2015

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

According to new estimate by ICV2 and Comichron

The comics and graphic novel market crossed the billion dollar threshold in 2015, according to a new joint estimate by Comichron’s John Jackson Miller and ICv2’s Milton Griepp. Total comics and graphic novel sales to consumers in the U.S. and Canada reached $1.03 billion in 2015, a 10% increase over sales in 2014.

“The audience for comics and graphic novels continues to broaden,“ Griepp said. “The increase in sales reflects not only the increased awareness of comics properties from other media, we’re also seeing rapid growth in new audiences for comics, including kids and women.”

“Sales of comics in print formats have finally eclipsed the $850 million modern-era high from 1993,” Miller said. “That 1993 total was $1.4 billion in inflation-adjusted dollars, though, so there’s still some ways to go to reach a new inflation-adjusted high for the last 50 years. But the book channel in particular is helping us make progress toward it.”

Graphic novels in the book channel represented the biggest area of growth, although every other area of print sales (except newsstand) grew in 2015 as well. Print grew over $100 million to $940 million in 2015, up 13% over 2014.

Sales of graphic novels through the book channel grew 23% to $350 million, after growing 16% in 2014, while graphic novel growth in the comic store channel was in the mid-single digits.

Sales of comic books in comic stores were up solidly to $385 million, roughly 8% over 2014 sales.

Digital sales declined around 10% in 2015, back to 2013 levels. This was the only area of decline among all the segments of the market, reflecting trends specific to digital, and in some cases specific to digital comics.

As presented above and in the accompanying infographic, the analysis by Comichron and ICv2 was divided up between periodical comics (what some call “floppies” or “pamphlets”), graphic novels, and digital download-to-own sales. All print figures are calculated based on the full retail price of books sold into the market, and do not account for discounting or markup. Digital sales do not include subscription or “all you can read” services.

This is the third joint market size analysis from ICv2 and Comichron; the first two were for 2014 and 2013 sales. ICV2 and Comichron also previously collaborated on revised estimates for 2011 and 2012.

Comichron is the world’s largest public repository of comic-book sales figures, featuring data from the 1930s to today about comic book and graphic novel circulation, cover prices, and market shares on its website, www.comichron.com. With data and analysis on the distant past as well as the present, Comichron serves as a trusted resource for academics studying the historical reach of the medium and for collectors seeking accurate information about how many copies of a comic book originally circulated.

ICv2 is the #1 industry source on the business of geek culture, including comics and graphic novels, hobby games, and showbiz on its Website, www.ICv2.com, and in its magazine, Internal Correspondence. For the people on the front lines of the geek culture business, staying ahead of the trends isn't something that can be left to chance-it's a basic necessity for being successful. That's why ICv2 is the #1 source of news and information for the buyers, gatekeepers, and tastemakers on the front lines. ICv2 is where trend-watching is a science.

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Civil War II #1 sells 381k copies, Batman #1 280k; June comic unit sales best since 1997

Monday, July 11, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCCivil1
Eleven comic books sold more than a hundred thousand copies to comics retailers in North America and two topped a quarter million, according to Comichron's analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Those two copies — Marvel's Civil War II #1 and DC's Batman #1 — both easily outsold their respective precursor launch titles from 2006 and 2011 respectively. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in June 2016.

Marvel sold more than 381,000 copies of Civil War II #1 to retailers in June, well ahead of Civil War #1 back in May 2006, which sold more than 260,000 copies in its first month. Granted, the scope of that hit was a surprise back then — the third issue outsold the first — and Marvel's summer event last year, Secret Wars, launched with 527,000 copies. On the other hand, that issue last year was a dollar cheaper. At $5.99, Civil War II #1 brought in more than $2.28 million at full retail, more than double what the second place title made.

That title was Batman #1, which set a considerable mark on its own with more than 280,000 copies ordered. Even with its orders reduced for returnability, it outsold the corresponding Batman #1 from the September 2011 DC relaunch; that issue sold more than 188,000 copies in its first month. Eight DC comics topped 100,000 copies ordered. Among other titles of note, Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 picked up an additional 13,000 copies in reorders, adding to its 99,000 total from May.

As noted here Friday, dollar orders of comics and graphic novels in June were at their highest level in more than 20 years, $58.59 million in a five-week month. A small bit significant part of that comes from what was clearly a big month for deep discounts on hardcovers and graphic novels from Marvel: well over $1 million of the near-record $9.45 million that the Top 300 graphic novels brought in came from Marvel books that placed above 1,000th place in Diamond's dollar volume rankings, meaning the cost of those books to retailers was greatly reduced. This is an effect we've seen before, however, and as it tends to happen in the last month of each quarter — perhaps as publishers seek to clear out stock or make budgets — it doesn't muddy up the year-to-year comparisons as much as it otherwise might.

http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/1997/1997-12.htmlUnit sales for periodicals were up strongly as well: the Top 300 comics had orders of 8.53 million copies, the highest figure since December 1997 when the Darkness #11-infused market had preorders of 8.99 million copies. The 300th place title this month approached 5,600 copies sold. (Click to see the sales of 300th-place titles across time.)

There does remain a disparity between the Top 300 comics unit and dollar performance and that of Diamond's overall change figures for those categories: this is at least partially due to the absence of well over a million Loot Crate copies, which affected our Comichron tabulations in the breakout categories. It is also likely that a larger share of comics are being sold outside the Top 300 this year, due to the number of releases on the market.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
June 2016: 8.53 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +42%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +22%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +56%
Q2 2016: 21.59 million copies, -10%vs. Q2 2015
YEAR TO DATE: 40.04 million copies, -10% vs. 2015, +25% vs. 2011, +2% vs. 2006, +32% vs. 2001
 ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
June 2016 versus one year ago this month: +19.75%
Q2 2016 versus Q2 2015: -7.71%
YEAR TO DATE: -8.38%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
June 2016: $34.13 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +66%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +61%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +125%
Q2 2016: $86.94 million, -9% vs. Q2 2015
YEAR TO DATE: $159.74 million, -9% vs. 2015, +44% vs. 2011, +32% vs. 2006, +93% vs. 2001

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
Q2 2016 versus Q2 2015: -4.21%
June 2016 versus one year ago this month: +23.06%
YEAR TO DATE: -3.84%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
June 2016: $9.45 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +17%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +45%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +45%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -33%
YEAR TO DATE: $49.21 million, +14% vs. 2015

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
Q2 2016 versus Q2 2015: +1.69%
June 2016 versus one year ago this month: +14.37%
YEAR TO DATE: +6.58%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
June 2016: $43.58 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +45%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +37%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +125%
YEAR TO DATE: $208.33 million, -5% vs. 2015

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
June 2016 versus one year ago this month: +20.26%Q2 2016 versus Q2 2015: -2.42%
YEAR TO DATE: -0.73%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
June 2016: approximately $58.59 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +60%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +83%
Q2 2016 versus Q2 2015: -2%
YEAR TO DATE: $280.17 million, -1% vs. 2015

RELEASES
New comic books released: 536
New graphic novels released: 334
New magazines released: 34
All new releases: 904

As noted, the average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.98, a new record; the average comic book retailers ordered cost an even $4. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. This is the first time we've seen all four statistics clustered so close together; it indicates that the best-selling comics are also the most representative in terms of pricing. Click to see comics prices across time.


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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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

Read more...

Civil War II, DC Rebirth propel $58.6 million June, best month in 20+ years

Friday, July 8, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCCivil1
The dual releases of Civil War II from Marvel and many of DC's Rebirth titles drove comic shop retailers to order a modern record $58.59 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in June 2016, according to Comichron's analysis of charts released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. The single month's orders nearly eclipsed last June's by nearly $10 million and nearly erased the Direct Market's losses to date through 2016. Comics shop market orders for the year stand at about $280 million, versus $282 million in the first half of 2015.

Marvel's Civil War II #1 led the new comics charts, and by the increase in comics unit sales this month — nearly 20% — we can expect that a large number, if not all, of the top 10 titles may wind up over 100,000 copies. By placing ahead of DC's Batman #1 at $2.99, the $5.99 60-page Civil War II issue is further expected to bring in more than twice the revenue.

The month beat the previous Diamond Exclusive Era record-holder, April 2015, by nearly $2 million. The aggregate sales figures for the month show a 23% increase in comics dollars and a 14% increase in graphic novel dollars, netting out to a 20% increase overall:

DOLLARS UNITS
June 2016 vs. May 2016
Comics 34.90% 37.59%
Graphic Novels 25.16% 49.68%
Total Comics/GN 31.77% 38.59%
June 2016 vs. June 2015
Comics 23.06% 19.75%
Graphic Novels 14.37% 17.55%
Total Comics/GN 20.26% 19.55%
Year-To-Date 2016 vs. Year-To-Date 2015
Comics -3.84% -8.38%
Graphic Novels 6.58% 6.30%
Total Comics/GN -0.73% -7.26%
Second Quarter 2016 vs. First Quarter 2016
Comics 18.04% 18.05%
Graphic Novels 12.48% 17.06%
Total Comics/GN 16.22% 17.96%
Second Quarter 2016 vs. Second Quarter 2015
Comics -4.21% -7.71%
Graphic Novels 1.69% 0.80%
Total Comics/GN -2.42% -7.02%

http://bit.ly/CCSaga6
The first quarter of the year was slightly up; the second quarter slightly down, due to weakness in April and May. This June had five shipping weeks versus four last June, and the first half of the year had 26 Wednesdays as opposed to 25 in the first half of 2015.

But while the number of releases in June 2016 was way up — 536 new comics versus 453 last June — the number of comics shipping per week dropped 5%, so it's not all about the volume. The second quarter of 2015 was very strong, as was last June; the third quarter last year was weaker. Leading into this year's third quarter with momentum, thus, may bode well for the rest of 2016's comparatives.

The top-sellers charts for comics and graphic novels show a number of reasons why this June performed so well. Two Civil War II issues, but also dual Batman relaunches, a Dark Knight III issue, and a Star Wars launch were in the mix. And Image had a new Saga edition out, topping the graphic novel charts.

Comic Book Price Publisher
1 Civil War II #1 $5.99 Marvel
2 Batman #1* $2.99 DC
3 Batman Rebirth #1* $2.99 DC
4 Star Wars: Han Solo #1 $3.99 Marvel
5 Civil War II #2 $4.99 Marvel
6 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #5 $5.99 DC
7 Dark Knight Returns: The Last Crusade #1 $6.99 DC
8 Superman Rebirth #1* $2.99 DC
9 Wonder Woman #1* $2.99 DC
10 Superman #1* $2.99 DC
Graphic Novel Price Publisher
1 Saga Volume 6 $14.99 Image
2 Dark Night: A True Batman Story HC $22.99 DC
3 Sex Criminals Vol. 3: Three The Hard Way $14.99 Image
4 DC Super Hero Girls Vol. 1: Finals Crisis $9.99 DC
5 Color Your Own Young Marvel By Skottie Young $9.99 Marvel
6 Batman: The Killing Joke Special Edition HC $17.99 DC
7 Preacher Book 1 $19.99 DC
8 Outcast By Kirkman & Azaceta Vol. 3: Little Light $14.99 Image
9 Harley Quinn Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab $16.99 DC
10 Neil Gaiman's How To Talk To Girls At Parties HC $17.99 Dark Horse

Asterisks by the DC books mean that their rankings were adjusted for potential returns, meaning that the ultimate sales positions could be higher.

As noted, the volume of releases went up quite a bit this month, ending shy of record levels but showing Marvel with 112 new comic books, its highest figure in several years:

Publisher Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 112 42 0 154
DC 69 30 1 100
IDW 56 27 0 83
Image 57 16 1 74
Dark Horse 23 25 0 48
Boom 24 9 0 33
Titan 23 6 3 32
Dynamite 22 4 0 26
Viz 0 23 0 23
Valiant 9 3 0 12
Other 141 149 29 319
TOTAL 536 334 34 904

Finally, the market shares found Marvel at almost exactly 40% of the market and DC at almost exactly 30%:

Dollar share Unit share
Marvel 40.08% 44.17%
DC 29.93% 31.69%
Image 7.88% 7.64%
IDW 5.22% 4.15%
Dark Horse 2.81% 1.76%
Boom 2.23% 2.18%
Dynamite 1.45% 1.17%
Titan 1.09% 1.07%
Viz 0.97% 0.34%
Valiant 0.75% 0.84%
Other 7.58% 5.00%
 
Detailed estimates will be out on Monday.



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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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

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Chet Krause, 1923-2016: Comics Buyer's Guide publisher, and a titan in collecting

Sunday, June 26, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

As many in the Krause Publications community have posted this morning, Chester "Chet" Krause has died at the age of 92. You may not be aware of the name -- there is no Wikipedia page, only one on a currency site but if you have been to the collectibles magazine and book sections of your bookstore or library, you have certainly seen his name. Chet took Numismatic News, a magazine for coin collectors started on his kitchen table in 1952, and parlayed it into the world's largest hobby publisher, greatly spurring development in his hometown of Iola, Wisconsin.

The company's line grew not only to include his own hobby interests in coins and old cars, but also sportscards, records, toys, and comics which is how I learned his name, following his 1983 purchase of the magazine that became Comics Buyer's Guide. I had been a subscriber for nearly a decade when I took a life-changing job with the staff in the early 1990s; Chet came to visit me at my desk, as he did all new employees, bringing me a signed copy of the book you see here.

Krause with the first issue of Numismatic News in 1952.
I saw him frequently following that, as he would stop by to offer advice on publishing and indexing collectibles. Early on as I struggled to find easy ways to report on all the items comics shop sold, he said he'd learned that "the only category in any hobby that captures everything is 'miscellaneous'." Later on he dropped by after we bought Scrye, the Magic: The Gathering magazine; he confessed he didn't understand the product area we were covering at all. Yet he understood there was a market of hobbyists interested in the field, and that meant Krause Publications needed to be there.

Folks in the area also thrilled to one of his other hobby pursuits, collecting many of the military vehicles from his World War II unit. A tour of Chet's tanks was a regular stop on the Comics Buyer's Guide picnic. There are old car and military vehicle shows near the publishing company's grounds to this day; the Iola Old Car Show, every July, attracts more than 100,000 annually. 

Krause at the historical marker unveiling outside his home
(Credit: Iola Historical Society)
Importantly, he arranged to sell the company to its employees, giving them all a stake in its future. The employees later sold the company as it faced internet headwinds; he was unhappy following that, wanting to take his name back. I remember suggesting at the time it might be worth renaming the town after him as he had played such a role in so many lives. Certainly I would not be working in the comics and science fiction fields today without his presence, and I know there are other writers with similar stories.

I did see him later as he continued to keep offices downtown in Iola; a couple of years ago he gave my young son several old railroad stock certificates, from yet another hobby he was pursuing. I thought it made sense: he was continuing to spread the word about collecting. Chet will be very much missed indeed.

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May 2016 comics sales estimates online; DC Rebirth tops 235k in orders

Monday, June 13, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

Comics retailers in North America ordered nearly 236,000 copies of DC Universe Rebirth #1 in May 2016, according to Comichron's analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. The figure, certain to increase with figures from later months, gave the $2.99 issue the top slot in the charts for May — but more money was earned by the second-place finisher: Marvel's $4.99 Civil War II #0, with orders of more than 177,000 copies. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in May 2016.

Four comic books posted sales of more than 100,000 copies, down from 10 last year — confirming our Friday view that most of the difference between this May's and last May's performance comes from a lack of blockbusters. Last year had the launch of Secret Wars with over half a million copies sold of #1 and more than 200,000 copies sold of #2 — and the charts also included the last of the Loot Crate-charged titles, Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1, which added half a million comics to the unit sales totals. There was also Convergence in the mix back then.

http://bit.ly/CivilWarII0
May 2016's top-sellers simply didn't have the same high volumes. In total, the Top 300 comics sold 6.37 million copies in the month, down 20% from almost exactly 8 million last May — but really, that should be down 15% from 7.5 million, since the Loot Crate copies were never part of the Direct Market. That leaves a deficit of 1.13 million copies, which is almost entirely explained by softer sales in the Top 100.

On the other hand, all comics in 140th through 300th places outsold those in the corresponding rankings on the list from last year; this month's 300th place title sold 4,986 copies, which is a very respectable number. (Click to see the sales of 300th-place titles across time.)

So why are the midlist and low-end entries doing better? One reason is that they're more likely to be Marvel titles this year as opposed to last year. Marvel placed 102 titles in the Top 300 this May; last May, there were only 81. There are fewer comics coming from the middle-tier publishers this year, so if Marvel is taking those spots on the list, its generally higher volumes would have an impact. To be clear, we're describing the relative performance of titles at the same rank on the charts, not the performance of specific ongoing titles over time. But it is another example of the shape of the comics sales chart evolving. Depth continues, even if the bestsellers aren't reaching the same heights.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
May 2016: 6.37 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +24%
Versus 10 years ago this month: -16%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +32%
YEAR TO DATE: 31.51 million copies, -15% vs. 2015, +21% vs. 2011, -3% vs. 2006, +26% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: -17.60%
YEAR TO DATE: -14.01%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
May 2016: $25.24 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -24%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +42%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +94%
YEAR TO DATE: $125.61 million, -14% vs. 2015, +39% vs. 2011, +26% vs. 2006, +86% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: -14.34%
YEAR TO DATE: -9.23%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2016: $7.07 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +26%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +23%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -7%
YEAR TO DATE: $39.76 million, +13% vs. 2015
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: +4.52%
YEAR TO DATE: +4.80%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
May 2016: $32.31 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +27%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +7%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +94%
YEAR TO DATE: $164.75 million, -9% vs. 2015
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
May 2016 versus one year ago this month: -9.05%
YEAR TO DATE: -5.11%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
May 2016: approximately $44.46 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: -9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +43%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +18%
YEAR TO DATE: $221.58 million, -5 vs. 2015

RELEASES
New comic books released: 479
New graphic novels released: 271
New magazines released: 23
All new releases: 773

As noted, the average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.89; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.96. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

http://bit.ly/STPrey1
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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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

Read more...

May 2016 top-sellers: DC Rebirth, Civil War II attempt to reverse 2016's sluggish start

Friday, June 10, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

Five summers ago, the release of Justice League #1 in August 2011 kicked off the DC reboot and marked the beginning of a major turnaround for the comics direct market. While overall sales levels in the first part of 2016 are nowhere near as bad as they were in early 2011, the market, slightly down for the year, could use a definite shot in the arm — and publishers began a double dose of treatment with DC Universe: Rebirth #1 and Marvel's Civil War II #0, the top two ordered comics in May according to Diamond Comic Distributors. The issues presage wider launches in the next month, just as Justice League did.

This helps to make May 2016 — a month in which comics sales were down and graphic novel sales were up, netting out to an overall dollar loss of 9% — a peculiar month to judge from. An estimated $44.46 million in product was ordered, a drop of more than $4 million from last May, which also had four shipping weeks. The comparative sales statistics are as follows:

DOLLARS UNITS
MAY 2016 VS. APRIL 2016
Comics -6.54% -4.15%
Graphic Novels -6.31% -11.10%
Total Comics & GNs -6.46% -4.77%
MAY 2016 VS. MAY 2015
Comics -14.34% -17.60%
Graphic Novels 4.52% -3.39%
Total Comics & GNs -9.05% -16.58%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2016 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2015
Comics -9.23% -14.01%
Graphic Novels 4.80% 3.46%
Total Comics & GNs -5.11% -12.72%
 
We can't blame the number of offerings this time, as 10% more new comic books and 19% more new graphic novels were released this May versus last May. Marvel released 102 new comic books, the first time it's broken 100 since Diamond began reporting new release totals in 2013. (On the other hand, Image and Dark Horse both released fewer new comic books than either of those publishers have in more than a year, continuing the retrenchment trend seen last month.) Here you see the number of comics and graphic novels released by publisher:

Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 102 34 0 136
DC 74 28 0 102
IDW 50 23 0 73
Image 43 22 0 65
Dark Horse 20 24 0 44
Boom 24 12 0 36
Dynamite 19 6 0 25
Titan 16 3 4 23
Oni 10 3 0 13
Valiant 10 2 0 12
Other 111 114 19 244
TOTAL 479 271 23 773

So the gap is coming from someplace else — and there's a lot to suggest it's coming from the very top of the charts, the Top 25 or so. Last May saw the launch of Secret Wars with over half a million copies sold of #1 and more than 200,000 copies sold of #2 — and the charts also included the last of the Loot Crate-charged titles, Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1, which added half a million comics to the unit sales totals. So right off, there's more than a million units just in the Top 3 that weren't replicated — plus Star Wars was still riding high, A-Force and Old Man Logan launched, and Convergence added four copies with around 100,000 copies sold.

By contrast, only four of the Top 10 this time out were first or "zero" issues. Apart from the two Marvel and DC event launch comics, May 2016 was going up against May 2015 with a less flashy release slate including several higher-numbered issues. Here are the top sellers for the month:

TOP SELLING COMICS PRICE PUBLISHER
1 DC Universe: Rebirth #1 $2.99 DC
2 Civil War II #0 $4.99 Marvel
3 The Punisher #1 $3.99 Marvel
4 Batman #52 $3.99 DC
5 Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 $4.99 Marvel
6 Star Wars #19 $3.99 Marvel
7 Justice League #50 $5.99 DC
8 Darth Vader #20 $4.99 Marvel
9 Black Panther #2 $3.99 Marvel
10 Amazing Spider-Man #12 $3.99 Marvel
TOP SELLING GRAPHIC NOVELS PRICE PUBLISHER
1 Batman: The Killing Joke Special Edition HC $17.99 DC
2 Descender Vol. 2 $14.99 Image
3 Civil War $24.99 Marvel
4 Black Science Volume 4: Godworld $14.99 Image
5 We Stand On Guard Deluxe HC $24.99 Image
6 Chew Volume 11: Last Suppers $14.99 Image
7 The Joker: Endgame $24.99 DC
8 Star Wars: Kanan Vol. 2: First Blood $17.99 Marvel
9 Spider-Gwen Vol. 1: Greater Power $17.99 Marvel
10 Spider-Man/Deadpool: Don’t Call It a Team Up $34.99 Marvel

So May's performance would track with what we've seen elsewhere this year, which is that the middle- and lower-tier titles have been holding up their end, despite the fact that there are fewer of them; there just aren't as many heavyweight titles at the tops of the charts. But since we know that the Big Two publisher's events are just now getting rolling — Rebirth #1 is onto a third printing already — it's likely that if there is to be an inflection point in 2016's sales, we're about to see it. (We're also now at the end of the months with Loot Crate issues to compare against, thank Odin.)

Lastly, here are the market shares:

Publisher Dollar share Unit share
Marvel 39.64% 44.80%
DC 26.45% 26.34%
Image 8.38% 7.95%
IDW 5.70% 4.99%
Dark Horse 3.25% 2.31%
Boom 2.51% 2.34%
Dynamite 1.66% 1.51%
Titan 1.39% 1.48%
Valiant 1.09% 1.25%
Oni 0.98% 0.89%
Other 8.95% 6.13%

Full estimates will be out next week.

http://bit.ly/STPrey1
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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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

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Faraway Looks: The Blog of John Jackson Miller

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