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April 2015 comics sales break records aplenty; $9.99 Deadpool #45 top dollar item

Monday, May 18, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

Modern-era records fell all over the place last month in the comic shop market, according to Comichron's analysis of data reported by Diamond Comic Distributors. Click to see the comics sales estimates for April 2015.

Among the Diamond Era records that fell, or nearly fell:

Comics ordered (units): Retailers ordered 8.39 million copies of the Top 300 comic books in the month. That bests any figure since December 1997, when the figure was 8.99 million copies preordered. (That was the month that Darkness #11 had eleven covers.) Notably, eleven comic books had orders of more than 100,000 copies; that didn't even happen during the DC relaunch in 2011. The last month with 12 titles above 100,000 copies was July 2007.

Comics unit sales are up by more than 50% over the same month five years ago. This is a statistic worth keeping in mind: while increased prices have contributed to the topline figures in the business, there has been growth in the number of copies sold, greater than can be accounted for by variant covers.

Comics ordered (dollars): Retailers ordered $33.72 million worth of the Top 300 comics, beating by nearly $2 million a record set last October. That was due to the unit sales mentioned above, and also...

Comics cover prices: The average comic book in the Diamond Top 300 cost $3.82, eclipsing the old record by four cents. The average Top 300 comic book retailers ordered (the weighted price) was $4.02, another record. Both were impacted by what was actually the top dollar volume comic book in the industry, Marvel's Deadpool #45. Celebrating 250 issues of the title in its various incarnations, the $9.99 book had unit sales of just under 100,000 copies, and thus total retail dollar volume of just under $1 million.

http://bit.ly/CCWD23
The presence of the title in the charts pulled the average cost of the Top 25 comics to $4.39; I don't keep records on that but it sure sounds like one. The median and most offered price in the Top 300 remained $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

Graphic novels ordered (dollars): The Top 300 graphic novels, aided by a new Walking Dead volume, topped $9 million for the first time—or second, depending on how you're counting. December 2013 was an aberration in the charts with a ridiculous number of graphic novels sent to market at deep discounts, meaning more than $10 million in volume at full retail was purchased; but as we noted at the time, the figure was much inflated. April's performance appears to be built more on books that were offered at something closer to their usual discounts.

• Finally, as noted here Friday, comics, graphic novels, and magazines combined had orders of $56.72 million, another record; the year now stands at close to $185 million, nearly $20 more than the first four months of 2014.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2015: 8.39 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +51%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +39%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +45%
YEAR TO DATE: 29.16 million copies, +15% vs. 2014, +29% vs. 2010, +24% vs. 2005, +29% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +22.5%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.22%


TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2015: $33.72 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +21%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +75%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +96%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +119%
YEAR TO DATE: $113.35 million, +18% vs. 2014, +44% vs. 2010, +69% vs. 2005, +90% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +19.75%
YEAR TO DATE: +15.58%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2015: $9.01 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +19%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -4%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +32%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +154%
YEAR TO DATE: $27.83 million, -1% vs. 2014

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +13.45%
YEAR TO DATE: +4.37%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2015: $42.73 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +57%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +70%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +135%
YEAR TO DATE: $141.15 million, +14% vs. 2014

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +17.75%
YEAR TO DATE: +12%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
April 2015: approximately $56.72 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +77%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +107%
YEAR TO DATE: $184.61 million, +12% vs. 2014

RELEASES
New comic books released: 545
New graphic novels released: 314
New magazines released: 44
All new releases: 903

All in all, a decent start to the year. We'll see next month how the Avengers movie, Free Comic Book Day, and Secret Wars have affected the picture.

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. See him next at Star Wars Day, Saturday, June 6 in at the Joliet Public Library in Joliet, Ill.

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

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April 2015 comics sales boom; Star Wars #4, Convergence, new Walking Dead GN lead lists

Friday, May 15, 2015

by John Jackson Miller
http://bit.ly/CCMarvSW4
Last year, April provided a big rebound from a weak winter in comics sales; this year's winter was strong in comics shops, and its April was better still. Retailers ordered $56.72 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in April, according to Diamond Comic Distributors, beating last October's Diamond Era record by more than $600,000.

Last April's sales were up 17% over the same month in 2013, but had the advantage of a fifth shipping week that April 2013 did not have. This April had five shipping weeks so it's an even comparison — and even so, it was up by even more: 17.75%.

A lot can be attributed to strength in graphic novel orders, which have been generally softer than sales for comics this year: with a new Walking Dead volume and the Avengers: Rage of Ultron hardcover in the mix graphic novels were up 13.45%. The industry now stands up 12% year-over year.

The aggregate sales changes:

  DOLLARS UNITS
APRIL 2015 VS. MARCH 2014    
Comics 32.70% 27.45%
Graphic Novels 41.29% 41.25%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs 35.22% 28.45%
     
APRIL 2015 VS. APRIL 2014    
Comics 19.75% 22.50%
Graphic Novels 13.45% 10.03%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs 17.75% 21.40%
     
YEAR-TO-DATE 2015 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2014    
Comics 15.58% 16.22%
Graphic Novels 4.37% -3.63%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs 12.00% 14.47%
 
Marvel's Star Wars #4 led the charts; Star Wars titles have taken the #1 slot in the Direct Market comic shops every month this year. (Orphan Black #1 in February topped the charts because of its sales through Loot Crate; there weren't any comics in the April Loot Crate, but it's not clear from the initial lists whether anything in April saw any boosts similar repackagers.) DC's weekly Convergence series had five weeks to work with, and took five slots in the Top 10.

Top 10 Comic Books
  Description Price Vendor
1 Star Wars #4 $3.99 Marvel
2 Convergence #0* $4.99 DC
3 Convergence #1* $4.99 DC
4 Batman #40 $4.99 DC
5 Darth Vader #4 $3.99 Marvel
6 Convergence #2* $3.99 DC
7 Convergence #3* $3.99 DC
8 Kanan: The Last Padawan #1 $3.99 Marvel
9 Convergence #4* $3.99 DC
10 Princess Leia #3 $3.99 Marvel

Issues of Convergence were returnable, which is what the asterisks in the chart mean. Diamond reduced their reported sales slightly to reflect the possibility of returns, but DC will get credit in the charts at the end of the year for any additional copies sold.

Top 10 Graphic Novels  
  Description Price Vendor
1 The Walking Dead Vol. 23 $14.99 Image
2 Avengers: Rage of Ultron HC $24.99 Marvel
3 Fables Volume 21: Happily Ever After $17.99 DC
4 Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year: Dark City $16.99 DC
5 Saga Volume 4 $14.99 Image
6 Jupiter's Legacy Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
7 Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot In The City $16.99 DC
8 Batman Volume 6: The Graveyard Shift HC $24.99 DC
9 The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye $14.99 Image
10 Lumberjanes Vol. 1 $14.99 Boom

Marvel and DC's market shares were closer this month, owing partially to Convergence. The eighth spot for Titan marks the highest that publisher's ever been:

Market Shares 
  Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 34.15% 36.33%
DC 30.91% 33.90%
Image 10.23% 11.18%
IDW 6.00% 4.78%
Dark Horse 3.65% 2.92%
Boom 2.17% 1.98%
Dynamite 2.05% 1.78%
Titan 0.95% 0.90%
Avatar 0.94% 0.73%
Oni 0.89% 0.54%
Other 8.05% 4.97%

Finally, new release volume. Diamond shipped 543 new comic books this April, versus 481 last April. But last October saw even more new releases — 590 comics and 60 additional new graphic novels—and yet this April's topline sales were higher. It's not just how many books are coming out, it's what the books are.

Below are the number of items that Diamond reported sales on for the first time in April:

 New release volume
  Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 88 40 1 129
DC 88 33 1 122
IDW 61 31 0 92
Image 74 15 0 89
Dark Horse 32 24 0 56
Boom 39 11 0 50
Dynamite 35 4 0 39
Avatar 12 2 1 15
Titan 7 3 4 14
Oni 8 5 0 13
Other 101 146 37 284
TOTAL 545 314 44 903

The full charts with estimates should be out Monday.



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. See him next at Star Wars Day, Saturday, June 6 in at the Joliet Public Library in Joliet, Ill.

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

Read more...

Free Comic Book Day: The origin story

Thursday, April 30, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

Saturday, May 2 is Free Comic Book Day, the fourteenth observance of the comics industry' official holiday — and while I was at a convention during last year's event and couldn't do a signing in my local shop, I will be returning to do one at Galaxy Comics, Games, and More in Stevens Point, Wisconsin from 1-3. And in something else that's become a tradition for this site, I'm retelling the story of how an event which began with a suggestion by a retailer in the pages of a trade magazine has  become a major happening in stores around the world, and the kickoff not just for the summer but most of the comic book year for many publishers.

There had been earlier hopes for an equivalent to the milk marketing board in comics — some kind of advertising council — over the years, including a publisher-and-distributor attempt in the mid-1990s that met several times but never generated much of anything before it vanished in the industry's collapse that decade. The idea for Free Comic Book Day, by contrast, came from the retail sector — or, rather, from a retailer: Joe Field, owner of Flying Colors Comics in California.

I had signed Joe on in the late 1990s as a monthly columnist for Comics & Games Retailer magazine, a trade publication that went for free each month to most of the comics shops in North America. Like the other columnists, Joe's contributions ranged from commentary on retail issues to practical advice — and in June 2001, just as the comics industry was beginning to emerge from the disaster of the 1990s, Joe advised us he had a special column on the way, along with something unusual: an instantaneous response from the Powers That Be being addressed.

In "The Power of Free," Joe spoke of how Baskin-Robbins had held its annual Free Scoop Night on May 2, 2001. The event resulted, he wrote, in the ice cream store near his shop moving 1,300 scoops in four hours, meaning that's how many patrons came through the door. Joe wrote that he'd suggested a national comics "open house" event to Diamond Comic Distributors in 1997; now, he thought, the key element to add would be giveaway comics.

Giveaway comics were a major source of new readers for the comics industry over its history, from the March of Comics issues given away at shoe stores to the Big Boy comics still distributed in restaurants. I've done a lot of research into those and several other giveaway lines over the years — and it's plain that many of the people who learned to read comics (and, odd as it sounds, the storytelling language of comics is something one does have to learn to read) learned it from ones they got for free. Most of those comics went completely away in the 1980s and 1990s. Joe's suggestion in the article was that publishers could create sampler comics for their different lines — "just as Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors of ice cream... a selection of samplers available from different publishers would allow stores to better cover the disparate tastes of those who'll show up."

Joe suggested a variety of steps that could be taken by publishers, retailers, and creators; I've posted the original article pages here, which I hope he doesn't mind. Click the pages to see them larger. It shows that many of those ideas, relating to the production and distribution of the samplers, were pretty close to what was eventually adopted. It also shows the sidebar response from Diamond's Roger Fletcher, embracing the idea and promising to solicit retailer interest in the idea.

And it happened. The first Free Comic Book Day was on May 4 of the following year — right after the release of Spider-Man, and a year and two days after the Baskin-Robbins event that Joe said provided the partial inspiration. The magazine followed the progress of the event, and was happy to be associated — our Maggie Thompson attended many of the FCBD board meetings as an advisor. But it all came from Joe — and Diamond and the major publishers' evident agreement that, as he had written, 2001 was the beginning of a turnaround for comics, a new opportunity. "There's a strong sense among many retailers with whom I've spoken that we're definitely experiencing a resurgence of sales and customers," he wrote. "A promotion like this could be the calling card we need to give our market strong forward momentum."

And it did. A few years later, both the sportscard and gaming hobbies put together similar events, organizers citing the FCBD experience as a positive reason to go forward. And FCBD still goes forward.

Lots of free comics are on offer this year: you can find the full list of titles here. Participating stores and their events can also be found on their website. There's also a handy FAQ page on the site. If your local comic shop is not listed, give them a call for a complete list of events and signings.

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 on the Joy Cardin Show on Wisconsin Public Radio on Monday, May 4 at 6 a.m.

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 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.

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