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Comics and graphic novel sales hit new 20-year high in 2014

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

According to new estimate by ICv2 and Comichron

The comics and graphic novel market hit another new high for the century in 2014, and a new high since the mid-90s, 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 $935 million in 2014, a 7% increase over sales in 2013.

“It’s a very exciting time in the comics business,” Griepp said. “The broad range of titles being published, the wide variety of places they’re sold, and the great exposure comics are getting from other media are all very positive for the industry.”

“The market’s in great shape,” Miller said. “According to our tracking at Comichron, 2014 was the biggest year for print since 1995, adjusting for inflation; without adjusting for inflation dollar sales hit a mark unseen since 1993. And digital appears to be complementing, rather than cannibalizing, print.”

Increases were spread across all three formats. Print grew $55 million to $835 million in 2014, or around 7% more than the $780 million in print sales in 2013. That growth occurred in every channel and format except newsstand sales of periodical comics, which declined from $25 million to $20 million as Marvel withdrew from the market.

Sales of periodical comics through comic stores grew 4%, from $340 million to $355 million. Sales of graphic novels through comic stores grew at a slightly faster pace, from just under $170 million to just over $175 million.

The book channel (bookstores, online, mass) was where the greatest growth was, with graphic novel sales in the book channel up 16%, from $245 to $285 million.

Download-to-own digital sales reached $100 million in 2014, but the growth rate declined to around an 11% increase over 2013’s $90 million in sales, compared to a 29% growth rate in 2013, according to estimates released yesterday by ICv2. So despite a slower growth rate in 2014 than in 2013, the signs of strength were broad, across channels and formats, a positive sign for the industry.

As presented above and in the accompanying infographic, the 2014 analysis by ICv2 and Comichron 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 second joint market size analysis from ICv2 and Comichron; the first was last year for 2013 sales. ICV2 and Comichron also previously collaborated on revised estimates for 2011 and 2012.

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.

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.

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May 2015 comics sales estimates online: Loot Crate effect hits half-million copies

Monday, June 15, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCSecrW1
Marvel's Secret Wars revival made a big splash in the comics market in May, moving more than 527,000 copies to comic shops in North America. That's according to Comichron's estimates for May 2015 comics sales based on information released by Diamond Comic Distributors. You can find the report here.

That's enough to place the issue fourth on the list of best-selling comics of the century, and it could go higher with reorders. It came in a month when strong six-figure launches from A-Force and Old Man Logan, and a dominating performance from Batman: Earth 2 Vol. 2 on the graphic novel charts helped push the market to a 13% increase.

The Secret Wars issue edged out a surprise second-place finisher, Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1 — and with the comic book, Loot Crate's effect on the Direct Market sales charts may finally have reached — pun entirely intended — cartoonish levels. Just over half a million copies of the comic book based on the animated series were shipped by Diamond, and indications are that most of those copies went directly to one customer: Loot Crate, which then doled them out to its subscribers (who do not know in advance what comic books they're going to receive). When the regular Bravest Warriors title appeared on the periodical charts more than a year ago, it was selling around the 4,000 copy level, and while this first issue likely sold more copies than that in comic shops, it's likely that more than 98% of the copies went to one customer.


http://bit.ly/CCBravW1
The massive single order had effects on the charts in several ways. Comics unit sales were up 20% over last May: 7.5% of that came from the Loot Crate copies. Industry sales went up $5.8 million versus last May, but $2.5 million of that came from Bravest Warriors. The title cost $4.99, so it helped punch up the weighted average cover price — the price of the average comic book Diamond shipped — to a record $4.17; without the inclusion of the Loot Crate books, that average drops to $4.11. (Still a record, but it only beats the last one — set in April — by nine cents.) It also sent Boom's market share northward, making it the #4 publisher in terms of units sold last month — and #3 in dollar sales within just the Top 300.

Where we don't see the distortion is in Diamond's dollar shares, which only look at the dollars it was paid — and there, Boom is in fifth place. According to Diamond's dollar rankings, it sold 2.4 copies of Bravest Warriors for every Secret Wars #2 it sold — and yet the distributor made more money on Secret Wars #2. Since Secret Wars #2 and Bravest Warriors cost the same — $4.99 — that would indicate that Loot Crate got a much better deal from Boom at wholesale on its copies than retailers got from Marvel. In the case of this issue and Februrary's chart-topping Orphan Black, it's probably more appropriate to look at these as promotional copies. Diamond stopped including comics promotionally cover-priced below $1 in its charts several years ago, but there doesn't appear to be a rule concerning a wholesale price minimum. (If there were, we wouldn't see graphic novels sold at deep discounts included in the charts — and those have often distorted the sales figures by several million dollars.)

There is, again, no single rule I can think of that would easily fit all occasions here — and as the number of box offerings proliferates, the potential impact on the charts grows. (Secret Wars #1 itself was in the Comic Block, Geek Fuel, and Comic Con boxes in May, and Convergence: Action Comics #1 and Mythic #1 were also in the Comic Block box, although the numbers involved are likely much smaller than the Loot Crate case. It's also not clear whether they're all going through Diamond: DC didn't go through Diamond with its first Loot Crate offering.) About the only suggestion I might have would be for Diamond to remove from the Top 300 charts sales any non-Direct Market accounts that do not order a variety of comics monthly; that would allow in sales from outlets like Hastings, but separate out promotional one-off purchases by outside firms. Such titles might be reported as an addendum to the charts, such that we'd know how they affected the market shares and bottom line; publishers would also see their sales reflected in that event. But that approach might be more difficult to do as the number of grab-bag retailers increases.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
May 2015: 8 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +30%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +36%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +33%
YEAR TO DATE: 37.16 million copies, +16% vs. 2014, +29% vs. 2010, +26% vs. 2005, +30% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
May 2015 versus one year ago this month: +19.53%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.9%


TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
May 2015: $33.34 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +33%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +55%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +96%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +105%
YEAR TO DATE: $146.69 million, +21% vs. 2014, +46% vs. 2010, +75% vs. 2005, +94% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
May 2015 versus one year ago this month: +19.94%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.48%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
May 2015: $7.27 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: unchanged
Versus 5 years ago this month: +21%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +28%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +34%
YEAR TO DATE: $35.1 million, -1% vs. 2014

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
May 2015 versus one year ago this month: -0.29%
YEAR TO DATE: +3.41%


TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
May 2015: $40.61 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +26%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +38%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +72%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +118%
YEAR TO DATE: $181.76 million, +16% vs. 2014

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
May 2015 versus one year ago this month: +13.49%
YEAR TO DATE: +12.31%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
May 2015: approximately $48.89 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +13%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +39%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +83%
YEAR TO DATE: $233.5 million, +12% vs. 2014

RELEASES
New comic books released: 436
New graphic novels released: 228
New magazines released: 44
All new releases: 708

As mentioned above, the average cover price of the comic books in Diamond's Top 300 was $3.95, a record; there were 205 comics priced at $3.99, 26 above that mark, and 69 below. There were only 38 comics in the chart prices at $2.99, the previous most common price point. Click to see cover prices across time.

Our joint report with ICV2 on 2014's overall comics sales is being finalized; look for it here in the coming days.

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.

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

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Secret Wars #1 tops May 2015 comics sales; Loot Crate-powered Bravest Warriors takes second

Friday, June 12, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=296154&b=44882&m=8908&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Etfaw%2Ecom%2FProfile%2FSecret%2DWars%2D1%5F%5F%5F473602
Marvel's Secret Wars first topped the comics charts more than 30 years ago — and did so again in May 2015, according to preliminary sales reports released this morning by Diamond Comic Distributors.

The event — along with Free Comic Book Day, attention from the second Avengers movie, and a boost from a repackager contributed to nearly $49 million in orders for new comic books, graphic novels, and magazines by North American comics shops in the month.

Periodical comic book unit sales were up 20% year-over-year against last May, while graphic novel sales were flat; the result was that overall sales were up 13.5%. (That makes sense, because periodicals are about two-thirds of Diamond's combined print comics sales, while graphic novels make up the other third.)

The aggregate changes:

DOLLARS UNITS
MAY 2015 VS. APRIL 2015
Comics -10.58% -9.60%
Graphic Novels -21.11% -19.41%
Total Comics & GNs -13.81% -10.38%
MAY 2015 VS. MAY 2014
Comics 19.94% 19.53%
Graphic Novels -0.29% 9.90%
Total Comics & GNs 13.49% 18.78%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2015 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2014
Comics 16.48% 16.90%
Graphic Novels 3.41% -1.13%
Total Comics & GNs 12.31% 15.35%

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=296154&b=44882&m=8908&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Etfaw%2Ecom%2FProfile%2FBravest%2DWarriors%2DTales%2DHolo%2DJohn%2D1%5F%5F%5F476095
There weren't any anomalous readings high on the charts due to Loot Crate or other repackagers last month, but that changed in a big way in May.

Boom Studios has been publishing Bravest Warriors comics, based on the cartoon series, for several years; insertion in the May Loot Crate vaulted the Bravest Warriors one-shot Tales from the Holo John up to second place, topping Secret Wars #2.

Loot Crate subscriptions were already climbing toward 400,000 earlier in the year and could be higher now; we ought to get a good idea from the final numbers what the figure is.

Top Comic Books
Title Price Vendor
1 Secret Wars #1 $4.99 Marvel
2 Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1† $4.99 Boom
3 Secret Wars #2 $4.99 Marvel
4 Star Wars #5 $3.99 Marvel
5 Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars #1 $4.99 Marvel
6 A-Force #1 $3.99 Marvel
7 Old Man Logan #1 $4.99 Marvel
8 Darth Vader #5 $3.99 Marvel
9 Convergence #5* $3.99 DC
10 Convergence #6* $3.99 DC

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=296154&b=44882&m=8908&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Etfaw%2Ecom%2FProfile%2FA%2DForce%2D1%5F%5F%5F475770
Comics with asterisks — here, Convergence — had their reported orders reduced slightly by Diamond owing to returnability. And the dagger stands for the Loot Crate entry. (Click to read more about the role of repackagers in the "asterisk era of sales charts.")

DC's Convergence issues placed ninth and tenth, whereas the debuts of A-Force and Old Man Logan placed sixth and seventh respectively. Star Wars kept two slots in the Top 10.

The Batman: Earth One Vol. 2 hardcover was the top graphic novel for the month:

Top Graphic Novels
Title Price Vendor
1 Batman: Earth-One Volume 2 HC $24.99 DC
2 Night Nurse $7.99 Marvel
3 Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles Of N'Rygoth $14.99 Image
4 Southern Bastards Volume 2: Gridiron $9.99 Image
5 Civil War $24.99 Marvel
6 Saga Vol. 4 $14.99 Image
7 Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past $19.99 Viz
8 Deadpool Vol. 8: All Good Things $24.99 Marvel
9 The Valiant $9.99 Valiant
10 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image

The market shares saw a big impact from Secret Wars, with Marvel topping 40% in dollar share — but again that Loot Crate inclusion had effects as well, putting Boom in the Top 5. It's the publisher's highest ranking ever.

Market Shares
Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 40.17% 41.11%
DC 25.43% 26.04%
Image 8.89% 10.28%
IDW 5.06% 3.82%
Boom 3.96% 7.16%
Dark Horse 3.83% 3.43%
Dynamite 2.22% 1.82%
Eaglemoss 1.16% 0.27%
Viz 1.01% 0.33%
Valiant 0.85% 0.92%
Other 7.43% 4.81%

The number of new releases was roughly comparable to that for last May, but the breakdown differed: there were more new graphic novels last year, perhaps helping to explain why graphic novel dollar sales made no gains this time out.

New releases by publishers
Comics shipped Graphic Novels Shipped Magazines Shipped Total Shipped
Marvel 71 35 0 106
DC 74 25 0 99
Image 58 10 0 68
IDW 42 21 0 63
Dark Horse 33 17 0 50
Boom 28 6 0 34
Dynamite 26 2 0 28
Eaglemos 0 0 27 27
Viz 0 19 0 19
Archie 11 2 0 13
Other 93 91 17 201
Total 436 228 44 708

The detailed estimates for the month will be along 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. See him at Superman Celebration Saturday, June 13 in Metropolis, 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 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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