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2000 for 2014: Sales estimates for the Top Thousand Comics and Graphic Novels

Monday, January 19, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

With today's release of December comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors — and our subsequent analysis and estimates for December 2014 comics sales now posted — Comichron has drawn upon that information to project estimates for the Top Thousand Comics and the Top Thousand Graphic Novels for 2014. Click to see them.

http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=amazing+spider-man+1&pubid=&PubRng=&AffID=874007P01The tables are on the page just beneath the image links to individual months. As in past years, it is a large page, necessarily, so it may take a bit to load. Also as in the past, I have rounded off estimates to the nearest hundred comics.

Before launching into a discussion of what's on the list, some more general thoughts on 2014, now that we've seen all the data:

• Last winter stank, but it didn't matter. Headlines for comics sales in January, February, and March 2014 were dire in many places (though not here); the Direct Market was off 4% in the first quarter, overall, or about $5 million. But comics shops made that up in April alone. Across the next three quarters. the market was up 7.1%, or $28 million — allowing the final comics and graphic novel total sale for the year to be up more than 4%, or $23 million to $540.4 million.

It's a good reminder that not all sales seasons are created equal (especially not as January 2014 had one of its weeks given to December 2013 in the accounting), and that the amount of volume in the market is what matters. It is also a good reminder as we look ahead to the figures for the first part of this year, which will be infused by Star Wars #1's blockbuster sales: its effect is likely to be even further amplified given the lower amount of releases to the market in the winter. The addition of a million-copy book to a market that might only see 6 or 7 million copies sold in January could be quite significant.

• 2014 was not the year of the blockbuster — despite a new top-selling comic book for the century. As noted further below, Amazing Spider-Man #1 from April broke all sales records from the last fifteen years — but it was largely an outlier, as six months out of twelve the top-seller for the month was the book that leads the list when no blockbusters are around: Batman. (Not that Batman's sales haven't been blockbuster some months in the past, just that it is the typical industry leader in non-event months.) This seems to have played out in the charts in general, as we see in the Top Thousand and the larger indexes that the upper tier books didn't carry as much weight this year, even as comics sales overall grew.

Here's some visible evidence of the shape of the market, as seen on the lists. We find the following breakdowns for unit sales:

NUMBER OF COMIC BOOK ISSUES SELLING
AT LEAST THIS MANY COPIES DURING YEAR
  



200,000+ 100,000+ 75,000+ 50,000+ 25,000+ 10,000+
2009 2 39 119 379 n.a. n.a.
2010 0 26 94 303 955 n.a.
2011 3 42 86 343 984 n.a.
2012 5 63 129 403 1100 2250
2013 6 64 178 390 1128 2430
2014 4 40 108 401 1195 2353
  
Another way to look at the above is: where does the 100,000-copy level start on the chart? In 2010, every book above 26th place sold that many copies or more; in 2014, six-figures started at 40th place.
As you can see, the upper tiers, above 75,000 copies, fell off dramatically from 2013 to 2014. But the next tiers bulked up. The best guess is that about 3,800 comics sold at least 5,000 copies — which makes sense, considering that's about where the 300th place cutoff is each month these days.

Now to that list. The Top Thousand Comics account for around 52.07 million copies; that's well over half of all the comics that Diamond sold. The figure is down from 54.21 million copies in 2013, though Diamond's unit sales of comics overall were up 0.25%.  In 2012 the figure was 53.43 million copies; in 2011, it was 47 million copies, and in 2010, the total was 45.3 million copies.

Using our database to project sales for other issues, it appears that the Top 2,500 Comics for the year sold around 78 million copies, down from 79 million in 2013. So the farther down the list we go, the more the unit sales picture improves.

In full retail dollars, the Top Thousand Comics sold for $201.03 million, a $1 million drop from last year's total of $202.02 million. (See the 2013 article here and charts here.) Again, since Diamond's dollar sales for comics were up 4%, it's clear that the highest-selling comics were not where the growth was last year — but rather, the titles selling fewer than 25,000 copies each. And it's growth from 2012's figure, which was $191.4 million. (See the 2012 article here and charts here.)

Doing the same estimating for the Top 2,500 Comics puts 2014 ahead of 2013, $294 million versus $288 million.

Once again this year, almost every single one of the Top 100 comics on the list had a "multiple order codes" notation from Diamond, meaning there were variant covers or reprints combined to make the main entry. 

The Top Thousand Graphic Novels, led by Saga Vol. 3, went for $81.19 million, up from $79.03 million in 2013, from $71.4 million in 2012, and from $58.4 million in 2011. Combined, the Top Thousand Comics and Top Thousand Graphic Novel lists account for about 52% of the orders by dollars Diamond received in publishing last year, which was around $540 million. That percentage is down from 54% in 2013 and 55% in 2012. Again, the best-selling books are accounting for less and less, even as the pie grows larger.

TOP COMICS OF THE YEAR, DECADE, AND CENTURY


http://www.mycomicshop.com/search?q=amazing+spider-man+583&pubid=&PubRng=&AffID=874007P01The renumbered Amazing Spider-Man #1 was the top seller of the year; Comichron estimates that, all told, around 559,200 copies of the issue, including all variants, were ordered by Direct Market retailers in North America. That's enough to make it the highest-selling comic book of the 21st Century through the end of 2014; Marvel's Star Wars #1, released last week, will easily surpass it, but we won't see it on the list until Diamond releases its 2015 end-of-year data next year.

So it will be a short reign for the Spider-Man issue atop the list — less than a year. The issue takes the spot held for five years by the Obama Amazing Spider-Man #583, with orders of 530,500 copies in 2009. You can see the updated top-sellers by year here.

The entire Top Comics of the 21st Century list has been updated, and it has been split into lists for the decade of 2000-2009 and the decade of the 2010s. One more comic book from 2014, Walking Dead #132, cracked the Top 10 for the Century, landing at #8. It's the third year in a row an issue from the series has broken into the list, but this one comes with a dagger in our charts, noting that most of its sales came from a single gigantic purchase by the repackager Loot Crate. While the copies were sold by Diamond and can't be separated out, it is worth some kind of footnote so readers in future years will know why this one issue ranked the way it did.

The Top 10 since 2000, up to 2014: 

TEN MOST ORDERED COMIC BOOKS OF THE 21ST CENTURY (up to 2014)

Comic-book Title Issue Ship Price Publisher Est. sales
1 Amazing Spider-Man (new series) 1 Apr-14 $5.99 Marvel 559,200
2 Amazing Spider-Man 583 Jan-09 $3.99 Marvel 530,500
3 Walking Dead (including Chromium edition) 100 Jul-12 $3.99 Image 384,800
4 Civil War 2 Jun-06 $2.99 Marvel 341,900
5 Civil War 3 Jul-06 $2.99 Marvel 337,000
6 Walking Dead 115 Oct-13 $2.99 Image 329,300
7 Civil War 1 Feb-13 $3.99 Marvel 328,500
8 Walking Dead† 132 Oct-14 $2.99 Image 326,300
9 Justice League of America 1 Feb-13 $3.99 DC 326,000
10 Captain America 25 Mar-07 $3.99 Marvel 317,700

Uncanny Avengers #1 and Civil War #4 were bumped from the Top 10.

Fourteen issues from 2014 made the Top 300 for the 21st Century list, once again fewer than last year. Five 2014 issues made the Top 100, and four made the Top 50.

THE PUBLISHERS
Who published the Top Thousand Comics this year? Here's the breakdown:

Marvel: 512 (+20 from 2013)
DC: 407 (-3 from 2013)
Image: 57 (+8 from 2013)
Dark Horse: 14 (-4 from 2013)

Archie: 4
(+3 from 2013)
Titan: 3 (+3 from 2013)
IDW: 1
(-14 from 2013)
Valiant: 1 (unchanged from 2013)
Dynamite: 1 (unchanged from 2013)

That's a pretty short list, with Aspen and Boom dropping out. Titan made the list, thanks to Doctor Who. Marvel picked up a bunch, while the biggest drop-off belonged to IDW, mostly for the reason that My Little Pony isn't as high on the charts as it was in 2013.

And here's the publisher breakdown of the Top Thousand Graphic Novels. Those with 10 or more entries:

DC: 393 (+31 from 2013)
Marvel: 251 (-37 from 2013)
Image: 115 (+19 from 2013)
Dark Horse: 88 (-3 from 2013) 
IDW: 36 (-6 from 2013)
Random House: 25 (+8 from 2013)
Boom: 19 (+7 from 2013)
 Viz: 17 (+1 from 2013)
Oni: 10 (+1 from 2013)

Marvel's loss is almost the size of DC's gain, and Image picked up a lot. Random House and Boom also made headway into the list.

Walking Dead softcovers and hardcovers in the Top 2,500 added up to more than $6.5 million at retail — with comics bringing the total for the line up to nearly $10.8 million. That's enough to give it a market share of exactly 2%, which would make it once again the seventh largest publisher for the year, after Dynamite were it a separate firm.

COVER PRICES

The average cost of the comic books retailers ordered in the Top Thousand was $3.86, but that goes down to $3.79 when you extend the chart to the Top 2,500. The average comic book offered in 2014 only cost $3.72, so people are tending toward the more expensive comics. This may also explain why the books at the top of the charts aren't pulling the same weight as they had before when it comes to number of units moved: the books atop the charts were more likely to cost more.

With the December data, we now have a 20-year monthly track on comics sales. While average prices on the covers of all offerings (the black line) and the average price of all the comics retailers bought (the red line) have been increasing, we note that they haven't been too far off what prices would have been if they followed inflation exactly. The green line below tracks what the average comic book at the end of 2014 — $2.25 — would have cost if it followed the inflation rate exactly:


Since comics are linked to prices to other goods and services — like paper and ink, and what it costs to hire talent — it's not too surprising that the average prices tend to have been a bit higher. And we can see that there have been times in which prices have increased faster than others: particularly 2008-2010, when major publishers tried to go from $2.99 to $3.99 in defiance of the general recession the rest of the economy was suffering. Comics publishers pulled back on price increases at that point. But generally, we might expect that a $2.25 comic book in 1994 ought to cost about $3.50 now — which it might if most publishers didn't eschew half-dollar increments. We're not far off of that.

To a degree, some of the perception of high comics prices comes from a lack of collective memory about what comics used to cost: look back on monthly changes over time and annual median prices since 1961 here. And the track of the green line above would be different depending on what year it started in: 1994 was a year in which paper supply was in great demand, and so that $2.25 baseline could already have been high. But there generally haven't been many wild departures from inflation in the general economy in the last 20 years.

Repeating the end-of-year report, the comic shop market in North America ordered more than $540 million worth of comics and graphic novels in 2014, an increase of 4% over 2013. The final end-of-year report, bringing in outside channels and digital, will appear later this year. You can look back on the 2013 Overall charts here.

There are 23 other years of Diamond annual reports on the site, going back to 1991. You can also find comparatives for how the market as a whole did across that time by viewing our Yearly Comics Sales page.

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, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

December 2014 comics sales estimates now online

by John Jackson Miller

The final comics sales charts for December have been released by Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, Batman #37 from DC as the top-selling comic book of the month. Comichron estimates that the issue finished with orders of more than 113,000 copies, one of only three titles to reach six figures. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in December 2014.

http://bit.ly/CCBat37And as noted last week, Batman #37 was probably not the highest-circulation comic book in North America for December, given that the previous issue, Batman #36, was part of the December Loot Crate — and the numbers for that are not reflected in Diamond's sales. The previous issue did not re-chart in December. (Diamond sold a Marvel and an Image issue to Loot Crate earlier in the year, but it doesn't seem to have been in the mix this time.)

The Direct Market closed out the year up 4%, with all categories in positive territory overall — comics unit sales, just barely — but as expected, the graphic novel subcategories were down quite a bit in December, given that the comparative month from 2013 was so bizarre: the Top 300 Graphic Novels category vaulted over the $10 million mark that month due to a lot of graphic novel discounting going on this month.
The aggregate changes, which give us our end-of-year figures:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
December 2014: 82.65 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +2%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +4%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +3%
Q4 2014: 21.89 million copies, +4% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: 82.65 million copies, -2% vs. 2013, +10% vs. 2009, +11% vs. 2004, +6% vs. 1999

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: +4.5%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.05%
2014 YEAR END: +0.25%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
December 2014: $25.58 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +14%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +35%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +46%
Q4 2014: $82.64 million, +6% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: $313.08 million, +1% vs. 2013, +21% vs. 2009, +47% vs. 2004, +55% vs. 1999

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: +6.67%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.89%
2014 YEAR END: +4.03%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
December 2014: $6.51 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -38%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -23%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -5%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -17%
Q4 2014: $24.13 million, -8% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: $88.82 million, -5% vs. 2013

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: -5.41%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.56%
YEAR TO DATE: +5.18%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
December 2014: $32.08 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +18%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +56%
Q4 2014: $106.76 million, +2% vs. Q4 2013
2014 YEAR END: $401.88 million, unchanged vs. 2013

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
December 2014 versus one year ago this month: +2.83%
Q4 2014 versus Q4 2013: +7.78%   
2014 YEAR END: +4.39%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
December 2014: approximately $42.22 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +6%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +6%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +47%
Q4 2014: $134.79 million, +5% vs. 2013

2014 YEAR END: $517.66 million, +9% vs. 2013

RELEASES
New comic books released: 489
New graphic novels released: 243
New magazines released: 65
All new releases: 797

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.77; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.79. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

The release of December data allows the end-of year estimates to be made: those will be up shortly.
 
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, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

December 2014: Batman leads the market — but which issue? Another Loot Crate conundrum

Friday, January 16, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBat37
The missing pieces from the sales picture for comics in 2014, December's comics orders, were provided today by Diamond Comic Distributors — and they depict a market that closed out the year on a positive note. It is, in fact, probably more positive than it looks. Meanwhile, we have a curious situation in that while Batman #37 was the top-seller in the Direct Market in December, the highest-circulation comic book in North America was probably actually November's issue, #36, which had a Loot Crate edition not distributed by Diamond.

More about that in a moment. December's sales of comic books and trade paperbacks to comics shops amounted to around $43.4 million, up 2.83% from the same month in 2013. December 2013 only had four Wednesdays, but Diamond did a small shipment on New Year's Eve, which was a Tuesday — making it effectively a five-week month. This December was a five-Wednesday month, as well, and while comics were up. graphic novels were down considerably:

Dollars Units
DECEMBER 2014 VS. NOVEMBER 2014
Comics 1.77% 0.31%
Graphic Novels -18.50% -21.51%
Total Comics/GN -5.14% -1.64%
DECEMBER 2014 VS. DECEMBER 2013
Comics 6.67% 4.50%
Graphic Novels -5.41% -8.39%
Total Comics/GN 2.83% 3.46%
YEAR 2014 VS. YEAR 2013
Comics 4.03% 0.25%
Graphic Novels 5.18% 5.28%
Total Comics/GN 4.39% 0.64%
4th QUARTER vs. 3rd QUARTER 2014
Comics -2.90% -1.57%
Graphic Novels 6.31% 4.02%
Total Comics/GN -0.20% -1.16%
4th QUARTER vs. 4th QUARTER 2013
Comics 7.89% 7.05%
Graphic Novels 7.56% 6.13%
Total Comics/GN 7.78% 6.98%
2nd HALF 2014 vs. 2nd HALF 2013
Comics 9.10% 6.60%
Graphic Novels 7.31% 5.16%
Total Comics/GN 8.55% 6.49%
2nd HALF 2014 vs. 1st HALF 2014
All Products Dollars Units
Comics 19.34% 18.58%
Graphic Novels 10.54% 4.26%
Total Comics/GN 16.53% 17.36%

But there's a reason for the evident softnesss in the graphic novel market: it may not be there. As we reported last year, December 2013 had about the same number of new graphic novel releases, but there was a huge amount of holiday-season (or end-of-fiscal-year clearance) graphic novel discounting going on that month: more than $3 million in sales came from older Omnibus hardcovers from Marvel which were steeply discounted. December 2013 set a record that stands for dollar value of Top 300 Graphic Novels ordered, topping $10 million — but publishers realized a relatively smaller portion of that money.

Looking at the unit to dollar change spreads, I would expect that this December did not have the same level of deep-discounting. With Saga Vol. 4 topping the December graphic novels chats, I would expect that when comparing only new material that sold for regular price, this year's December graphic novel bottom line probably compares rather better with last December's.

Loot Crate Edition of #36 (pic from Boxesfordays.com)
Batman #36, which released to the Direct Market in November, was in the December Loot Crate — but Diamond did not distribute it to the repackager: its placement in the end-of-year rankings Diamond posted earlier this week do not reflect the colossal boost Loot Crate previously gave Rocket Raccoon #1 and Walking Dead #132. This creates yet another unusual circumstance, because it's quite likely that #36 — and not #37 — is the comic book that had the most copies enter circulation in the month of December.

Now, before we lament that we're running out of symbols to use for asterisks, it's important to remember what the charts are: a record of what Diamond sold. It happens that increasingly, some of its sales each month are going to places other than comic shops  — but in general, its tables are a fairly good expression of the sales picture for the Direct Market. There have always been comics selling other places — the newsstand, obviously! — and while we count those sales in broader indexes, we don't worry with them in the monthly charts. Diamond can't rank what Diamond didn't ship.


http://www.starwars.com/news/loot-crate-star-wars-1-variant-exclusive-reveal
Since the Direct Market's sales of comics surpassed those for the newsstand in the mid- to late 1980s, there have been only a few rare cases where the highest-circulation comic book in a month hasn't been sold in the Direct Market. Pokémon: The Electric Tale of Pikachu #1 sold a million copies, almost all of them in bagged editions retailing in toy and department stores, over the course of 16 printings from November 1998 until early 2000. It's possible several of those printings were large enough to top the feeble sales numbers leading the Direct Market in those dark months. Gears of War #1 was distributed in huge numbers in 2008, but almost entirely in game stores. Star Wars #1, which released this week, has distribution through a number of different channels, including a just-announced Loot Crate edition: there's enough Direct Market copies that it will clearly be the top seller on our 21st Century charts here, but we'll have to see from the numbers in a few weeks just how many of them moved through Diamond.

If there are companies that deal directly with repackagers like Loot Crate — as appears to be the case with DC here — we might expect there to be quite a few more months where the top comic book in the industry isn't reflected in the Direct Market. Since Comichron's monthly charts are based on what Diamond sells, we'll continue to keep to that in our charts — though we might acknowledge what else is out there parenthetically when we know about it. (More parenthetically than this!)

With all that said, the Top 10 comics Diamond sold in the month of December:

Title Price Publisher
1 Batman #37 $3.99 DC
2 Amazing Spider-Man #11 $3.99 Marvel
3 Shield #1 $4.99 Marvel
4 Batman Annual #3 $4.99 DC
5 Thor #3 $3.99 Marvel
6 Justice League #37 $3.99 DC
7 Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1 $4.99 Marvel
8 Avengers and X-Men Axis #7 $3.99 Marvel
9 Avengers and X-Men Axis #9 $4.99 Marvel
10 Avengers and X-Men Axis #8 $3.99 Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels:

Title Price Publisher
1 Saga Vol. 4 $14.99 Image
2 Captain America Peggy Carter Agent of Shield #1 $7.99 Marvel
3 Just the Tips HC $12.99 Image
4 Manhattan Projects Vol. 5 The Cold War $14.99 Image
5 Sunstone Vol. 1 $14.99 Image
6 Superman Unchained Deluxe Ed HC $29.99 DC
7 Batman the Jiro Kuwata Batmanga Vol. 1 $14.99 DC
8 New 52 Futures End Vol. 1 $39.99 DC
9 Nightwing Vol. 5 Setting Son $16.99 DC
10 Walking Dead Vol. 1 Days Gone Bye $14.99 Image

The market shares:

Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 32.07% 34.10%
DC 31.76% 36.17%
Image 9.89% 10.40%
IDW 6.10% 4.17%
Dark Horse 3.47% 2.95%
Boom 2.66% 2.82%
Dynamic Forces 2.58% 2.26%
Eaglemoss 1.22% 0.22%
Archie 0.88% 0.91%
Avatar 0.86% 0.74%
Other 8.50% 5.25%

Finally, the number of new items released to the market:

Publisher Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
DC 102 36 1 139
Marvel 77 24 0 101
Image 52 18 0 70
IDW 44 24 0 68
Boom 42 6 0 48
Dark Horse 30 12 0 42
Dynamite 33 3 0 36
Viz 0 22 0 22
Action Lab 15 1 0 16
Hachette 0 16 0 16
Other 94 81 31 206
TOTAL 489 243 32 764

That's a considerable number from Action Lab, appearing on this chart for the first time.


The December estimates will appear here Monday, to be followed by the estimates for the top sellers of 2014. We'll also amend our Comics of the Century lists at that time as well.
 
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, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Read more...

Amazing Spider-Man, Saga top 2014 bestseller lists; comics market ends year up 4%

Friday, January 9, 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCAmz1
Diamond Comic Distributors has started the rollout of its December 2014 and 2014 year-end comics sales reports, and as in past years Comichron will provide estimates and analysis as information is released. The first news was released in Wall Street Journal report announcing the Top 10s for comics and graphic novels and the market shares, but now more is out from Diamond.

Diamond said combined comics and graphic novel sales for 2014 were up 4.39%, which would amount to around $540 million total, an increase of $22 million over 2013. (That would suggest a December in the $43-44 million range, up gently from the same month last year.) That represents a cooldown from 2013's 9.04% increase, which itself was a drop from 2012's 14.72% boost. To a degree, this isn't surprising — as the volumes get higher, it takes a lot more comics sold to equal the same percentage increases. The farther we get from the recession-era lows, growth is less likely to look quite as explosive as it was then.

Comics dollar sales were up 4.03% for the year and graphic novel sales were up 5.18%, but no change figures were reported for unit sales. Those figures suggest that December's comics sales beat last December's, while December's graphic novel sales lagged. We should see the December data in full shortly.

As expected, Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man #1 from April topped the charts as the best-selling comic book of the year. The book had orders of more than 532,000 copies in its first month and reorders that made the charts for several months afterward, making it the most ordered comic book of the 21st century — a claim that it will keep for about a week, with Star Wars #1 reported to have sales over a million copies.

The Top Comics of 2014 chart: 

Issue Price Publisher Released
1 Amazing Spider-Man #1 $5.99 Marvel Apr-14
2 The Walking Dead #132* $2.99 Image Oct-14
3 Rocket Raccoon #1* $3.99 Marvel Jul-14
4 Death of Wolverine #1 $4.99 Marvel Sep-14
5 Death of Wolverine #4 $4.99 Marvel Oct-14
6 Thor #1 $3.99 Marvel Oct-14
7 Original Sin #1 $4.99 Marvel May-14
8 Death of Wolverine #2 $4.99 Marvel Sep-14
9 Death of Wolverine #3 $4.99 Marvel Oct-14
10 Superior Spider-Man #31 $5.99 Marvel Apr-14

http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&keywords=9781607069317&tag=farawaypcom-20&index=blended&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325
Nine of the entries in the list came from Marvel, and Image's entry on the list is because of Walking Dead #132's massive order from Loot Crate. The same is true of Rocket Raccoon #1, which also has an asterisk. (Loot Crate is a Diamond account and is considered when Diamond makes its charts — but when an account only orders a comic book a month at most and orders more copies than all the rest of the Direct Market combined, some notation is necessary.)

Diamond said Marvel published 53 of the Top 100 comics; we'll do the full accounting when the larger lists are released.

On the graphic novel side, it was Image that had nine entries in the Top 10, led by Saga Vol. 3. As two of the releases in the Top 10 were priced at only $9.99, the top dollar-earning list would likely be different.

It would appear that Saga Vol. 4 will wind up as the top selling graphic novel for December, once those sales figures are out.

The Top 10 graphic novels:

Title Price Publisher
1 Saga Vol. 3 $14.99 Image
2 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
3 The Walking Dead Vol. 20: All Out War, Part 1 $14.99 Image
4 Saga Vol. 2 $14.99 Image
5 The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye $14.99 Image
6 The Walking Dead Vol 21: All Out War, Part 2 $14.99 Image
7 Sex Criminals Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
8 The Walking Dead Vol. 22: A New Beginning $14.99 Image
9 Batman Vol. 1: The Court of Owls $16.99 DC
10 Saga Vol. 4 $14.99 Image

The market shares for the year found Marvel atop both categories: units and dollars. Marvel picked up less than a percentage point in dollar share and Image picked up more than a point from 2013, while DC gave up a little over a point. The next three on the list, IDW, Dark Horse, and Dynamite, all dropped a fraction of a point from their 2013 dollar shares, while the final four, Boom, Eaglemoss, Avatar, and Random House, each picked up a fraction of a point.

The market shares:

Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 34.38% 36.78%
DC 28.86% 32.47%
Image 9.23% 10.41%
IDW 5.69% 4.34%
Dark Horse 5.07% 4.25%
Dynamite 2.57% 2.41%
Boom 2.23% 2.16%
Eaglemoss 1.30% 0.29%
Avatar 0.97% 0.83%
Random House 0.95% 0.30%
Other 8.75% 5.75%
 
Finally, Diamond released the tally of new releases for the year. This accounting includes titles invoiced for the first time in the year: variant covers at the same price point count as the same book, while variants at different prices are counted separately. DC had the most new titles out:

PUBLISHER COMICS GRAPHIC NOVELS MAGAZINES TOTAL
DC 1107 340 6 1453
Marvel 953 387 3 1343
Image 717 151 0 868
IDW 515 257 0 772
Dark Horse 432 260 0 692
Boom 354 82 0 436
Dynamite 367 57 0 424
Random House 14 203 0 217
Avatar 130 29 7 166
Eaglemoss 0 0 150 150
Total Top 10 4589 1766 166 6521

This post will be updated to include all the links to Comichron's end-of-2014 reports going forward, including news of the December sales. Also, when the Comics of the Century pages are updated, that will be linked here, too.

UPDATE:

The December preliminary analysis is online, as well as the December final analysis. And you cal click to see the December sales estimates.

• The Top Thousand Comics and Graphic Novels of the Year with estimates are now online.

  
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, releasing January 27. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com.

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