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January 2016 comics sales estimates online: The difference five years makes

Monday, February 8, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

The final sales report for January is out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, the first month of the year was slightly off versus the same month in 2015, when statistics for several categories of that month were inflated by Loot Crate sales of Star Wars #1. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in January 2016.

http://bit.ly/CCWD150
While the comparatives were part of the story, looking at the internals makes this January look less impressive than at first glance. We can now see that while graphic novel wholesale dollars were off 7.77% overall, according to Diamond, the total retail value of the Top 300 was actually up 20%. That points to something we can see by looking at the dollar rankings: there was heavy discounting of graphic novels in the month.

Many Marvel graphic novels in the Top 300, for example, had dollar volume rankings far lower than their unit rankings: Diamond does dollar rankings based on money it receives from retailers. This is a common enough occurrence, but in this month these sales accounted for a disproportionate share of the market.

January often tends to have a punier release slate than other months, meaning lower-selling titles make the Top 300; this month's 300th place title sold 4,028 copies, the lowest sum since June 2012. Click to see the sales of 300th-place titles across time.

On the other hand, some perspective: Five years ago, January 2011 was the pits. The Top 300 comics sold 4.4 million copies, likely the lowest sum since the 1930s. There were a couple of reasons: it was the bottom of the comics slump pre-DC reboot, but it was also a month where publishers shipped extremely few titles to market. The market ordered more than 2 million more comics this January, and publishers are releasing more, now, too: 719 new comics and graphic novels versus 555 five years ago. That shows a market with more breadth.

And eight titles had six-figure sales this January, led by Walking Dead #150 with orders topping 156,000 copies. Compare that with one title in six figures five years ago, and that at 115,000 copies. Back then, that one book was the only one above 73,000 copies; this January, there were 11. And the 300th place book had sales of 1,291 copies — less than a third of what today's title at that level sold!

[Update: Reading one of my comments at one of my own links above, I'm reminded that January 2011 had an additional strike against it: Diamond had switched all publishers so their books would arrive on Tuesday, and a number didn't meet the logistical demands and their books slid into February. That in part led to how few titles were out. That said, the February figure was only 5.17 million copies, so it's likely the sales of a January 2011 where everything went right still would have been between 4 and 5 million.]

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
January 2016: 6.49 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -6%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +46%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +15%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +22%
YEAR TO DATE: 6.49 million copies, -6% vs. 2015, +46% vs. 2011, +15% vs. 2006, +23% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
January 2016 versus one year ago this month: -4.09%
YEAR TO DATE: -4.09%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
January 2016: $24.7 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +58%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +47%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +69%
YEAR TO DATE: $24.7 million, -9% vs. 2015, +58% vs. 2011, +47% vs. 2006, +69% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
January 2016 versus one year ago this month: -3.86%
YEAR TO DATE: -3.86%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
January 2016: $7.96 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +73%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +19%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +24%
YEAR TO DATE: $7.96 million, +20% vs. 2015
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
January 2016 versus one year ago this month: -7.77%
YEAR TO DATE: -7.77%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
January 2016: $32.66 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +43%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +29%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +81%
YEAR TO DATE: $32.66 million, -4% vs. 2015
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
January 2016 versus one year ago this month: -5.1%
YEAR TO DATE: -5.1%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
January 2016: approximately $41.52 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: -5%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +64%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +62%
YEAR TO DATE: $41.52 million, +5% vs. 2015
RELEASES
New comic books released: 450
New graphic novels released: 269
New magazines released: 59
All new releases: 778

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.79; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.86. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. These are some of the lowest prices we've seen in a while, and that also contributed to the month looking the was it did. Click to see comics prices across time.

Comichron.com curator John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.

He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium, now available. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket books.
Visit his fiction site to learn more. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

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Walking Dead #150, Star Wars trades lead traditionally light January comics sales volume

Friday, February 5, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCWD150Sales volumes in January tend to be lower than most months of the year, and as such, a single comic book can make a huge difference. Particularly when that comic book was the best-selling one in more than twenty years—as Star Wars #1 was, last January. Comic shop orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in January 2016 were off 5% versus a year before according to Diamond Comic Distributors — but if Star Wars #1 hadn't been in the mix in January 2015, sales would have been up 7%!

In truth, the market may really be slightly down, flat, or evenslightly up this month, because Star Wars #1's sales included a lot of copies that went to Loot Crate, where Diamond was simply passing along the books; they shouldn't really have counted toward the industry's dollar sales, but there's no way to easily excise them. But we know that retailers placed orders worth approximately $41.52 million last month, off about $2.2 million — and sources suggest Loot Crate's order could have accounted for 400,000 copies or more. Figuring at $4.99 per issue, that's at least $2 million right there.

And unit sales for comic books, off 4.09% for the month, are almost certainly up if you remove the Loot Crate Star Wars copies. So accounting for the accounting, so to speak, the message of the month is somewhat more positive than the numbers below suggest:


DOLLARS UNITS
JANUARY 2016 VS. DECEMBER 2015
Comics -25.19% -21.25%
Graphic Novels -11.81% -6.73%
Total Comics/GNs -21.52% -20.31%
JANUARY 2016 VS. JANUARY 2015
Comics -3.86% -4.09%
Graphic Novels -7.77% -9.65%
Total Comics/GNs -5.10% -4.54%
  
It's also worth noting that Dark Knight III took a break in January, to return with the third issue Feb. 24. Both this January and last January had four shipping weeks, so there's at least a direct comparison there.

Regardless, remember our usual caveat: volumes in the first quarter are lower, and a modestly off January (which this one might not have really been!) can be erased by an October that's even slightly up.

Image took the top comics slot with Walking Dead #150.

Top-sellling comic books
COMIC BOOK PRICE VENDOR
1 The Walking Dead #150 $2.99 Image
2 Secret Wars #9 $4.99 Marvel
3 Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 $3.99 Marvel
4 Star Wars #14 $3.99 Marvel
5 Star Wars #15 $3.99 Marvel
6 Old Man Logan #1 $4.99 Marvel
7 Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin #1 $3.99 Marvel
8 Batman #48 $3.99 DC
9 Darth Vader #15 $3.99 Marvel
10 Uncanny X-Men #1 $3.99 Marvel

A pair of Star Wars graphic novels topped the book charts for the month, a list dominated by Marvel:

 Top-sellling graphic novels
GRAPHIC NOVEL PRICE VENDOR
1 Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets $19.99 Marvel
2 Star Wars Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smugglers' Moon $19.99 Marvel
3 Color Your Own Deadpool $9.99 Marvel
4 Death Of Wolverine $19.99 Marvel
5 Star Wars: Lando $16.99 Marvel
6 Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars $15.99 Marvel
7 Invader Zim Volume 1 $19.99 Oni
8 Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder $19.99 Marvel
9 Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1: Vader $19.99 Marvel
10 Civil War $24.99 Marvel

The market shares found the same top five atop both charts:

DOLLAR MARKET SHARE UNIT MARKET SHARE
Marvel 44.38% Marvel 48.17%
DC 22.16% DC 24.02%
Image 9.67% Image 10.99%
IDW 4.11% IDW 3.48%
Dark Horse 3.06% Dark Horse 2.51%
Eaglemoss 2.26% Boom 1.89%
Boom 1.98% Titan 1.02%
Viz 1.18% Valiant 0.98%
Titan 1.15% Dynamite 0.92%
Dynamite 1.15% Oni 0.78%
Other 8.89% Other 5.24%

And, finally, the lower volume of new releases we always see in January. Full estimates out next week.

PUBLISHER  COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL SHIPPED
Marvel 94 37 0 131
DC 77 21 0 98
Image 58 11 0 69
IDW 37 15 0 52
Dark Horse 34 12 0 46
Viz 0 40 0 40
Boom 22 12 0 34
Eaglemoss 0 0 30 30
Titan 14 6 3 23
Dynamite 10 5 0 15
Other 104 110 26 240
TOTAL 450 269 59 778

Comichron.com curator John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.

He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium, now available. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket books.
Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

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The 2015 Two Thousand: Sales estimates for 2015's Top 1,000 comics and Top 1,000 graphic novels

Monday, January 11, 2016

by John Jackson Miller

With the release of December comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors — and our subsequent analysis of and estimates for December 2015 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 2015. The tables are on the page just beneath the image links to individual months.

This completes a quarter century of information, as there are 24 other years of Diamond annual reports on the site, going back to 1991. You can also find updated comparatives for how the market as a whole did across that time by viewing our Yearly Comics Sales page.

Led by Star Wars #1, the Top Thousand Comics accounted for around 58.59 million copies; Diamond reported it sold 98 million copies altogether, so that's nearly three-fifths of all copies. The figure is up from 52.07 million copies in 2014 and represents a big rebound. The totals from the past six years:

2010: 45.3 million copies
2011: 47 million copies
2012: 53.43 million copies
2013: 52.21 million copies
2014: 52.07 million copies
2015: 58.59 million copies

In full retail dollars, the Top Thousand Comics sold for $239.05 million, a huge increase over 2014's $201.03 million. (See the 2014 article here and charts here.)

Every single comic book in the Top 100 had "multiple order codes" at Diamond, meaning there were variant covers or reprints combined into one entry; one did not, but we believe that to be an error.

Noticing the trend, yet? The top-selling books were accounting for fewer copies sold in recent years than they had been, with books further down the charts accounting for more. But in 2015, that changed — and if you compare this year's titles with last year's titles, from 1st to 1,000th place, you see it in action.

In the first graphic above (click to enlarge) the Top 10 titles for the year are off the charts at the top, mostly above 250,000 copies. But then the titles through about 300th place had sales considerably higher in 2015 than in 2014.

Running the same kind of analysis shows us how much the quantities have increased in the last five years. The second graphic, below, compares Top 1000 comic sales by rank in 2010, the bottom of the last comics recesssion, with sales in 2015. Issues at every single ranking in 2015 outsold equivalently ranked comics in 2010.
Depicting the same information another way, 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
2015 21 95 167 367 1166 2280
  
What this table answers is: where does the 100,000-copy level start on the chart? In 2010, every book above 26th place sold that in the six figures; in 2015, six-figures went out to 95th place.
As you can see, the upper tiers, above 75,000 copies, soared dramatically from 2014 to 2015, reversing a dip from the previous year.

The Top Thousand Graphic Novels, led by Saga Vol. 4, went for $81.46 million, just barely up from $81.19 million in 2014. For the last five years, that comes to...

2011: $58.4 million
2012: $71.4 million
2013: $79.03 million
2014: $81.19 million
2015: $81.46 million

Combined, the Top Thousand Comics and Top Thousand Graphic Novel lists account for about 55% of all the orders by dollars Diamond received for print products in 2015. That's again another increase, after several years where the top-selling books were accounting for less of a growing pie.

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

Marvel: 517 (+5 from 2014)
DC: 381 (-26 from 2014)
Image: 62 (+5 from 2014)
Dark Horse: 10 (-4 from 2014)
IDW: 10 (+9 from 2014)

Oni: 6
(+6 from 2014)
Archie: 5 (+4 from 2014)
Valiant: 4 (+3 from 2014)
Titan: 2 (-1 from 2014)
Boom: 2
(+2 from 2014)
Dynamite: 1 (unchanged from 2014)

Boom reappeared on the list and Oni was added, thanks to Invader Zim and Rick & Morty. IDW recovered from the drop-off in 2014, while DC lost 26 entries.

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

DC: 341 (-52 from 2014)
Marvel: 287 (+36 from 2014)
Image: 166 (+51 from 2014)
Dark Horse: 60 (-28 from 2014) 
IDW: 35 (-1 from 2014)
 Viz: 18 (+1 from 2014)
Boom: 14 (-5 from 2014)
Dynamite: 14 (+12 from 2014)
Random House: 13 (-12 from 2014)

Last year Marvel lost a lot of entries and DC gained them; the reverse happened this year. Image's increase was huge.

Comichron.com curator John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.

He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium, now available. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket books.


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

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December 2015 comics sales estimates online: Secret Wars #8 leads with 170k copies ordered

by John Jackson Miller

The final sales report for December is now out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and the sales estimates have been calculated here at Comichron. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in December 2015.

http://bit.ly/CCSecretW8We've already covered the end-of-year bottom line numbers in our preliminary 2015 post, but now we get to see some of the numbers in the narrower categories. Diamond sold 98 million comic books overall in 2015, we knew; now we see that 89.17 million of them, or 91% of them, appeared in Diamond's Top 300 lists during the year. Applying the weighted average price for Diamond's comics in 2015 to the 98-million-copy figure gives us $388 million in periodical sales overall; $353.18 million of that came from just the Top 300s.

The average price of comic books offered in Diamond's Top 300 lists each month of the year was $3.83. The weighted average price of those comics — total dollars divided by total units — was $3.96.

Diamond said it had sold "just over 8 million" graphic novels and trade paperbacks in the year. We know that the Top 300s each month added up to 4.45 million copies, so that tracks very well. The titles below 300th place would almost certainly on balance have higher average prices than those that made the lists each month.

In December proper, Secret Wars #8 was the top seller with nearly 170,000 copies sold. There were six comic books with sales above 100,000 copies. While that would seem to suggest poorer unit sales overall for comic books than November had—which had thirteen titles in six figures — in fact December's unit sales were much better. Where November saw 179 titles above 10,000 copies, December had 206. More of the Marvel relaunch books are now running—and, of course, December had an extra shipping week.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
December 2015: 7.95 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +43%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +21%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +44%
4th Quarter 2015: 24.18 million copies, +10% vs. 2014 
2015 YEAR-END: 89.17 million copies, +8% vs. 2014, +29% vs. 2010, +17% vs. 2005, +29% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
December 2015 versus one year ago this month: +18.63%
4th Qtr 2015 vs. 4th Qtr 2014: +6.43%
YEAR TO DATE: +4.21%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
December 2015: $32.16 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +26%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +58%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +61%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +104%
4th Quarter 2015: $98.8 million, +20% vs. 2014
2015 YEAR-END: $353.18 million, +13% vs. 2014, +44% vs. 2010, +59% vs. 2005, +85% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
December 2015 versus one year ago this month: +25.05%
4th Qtr 2015 vs. 4th Qtr 2014: +13.84%
YEAR TO DATE: +8.99%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
December 2015: $7.22 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +11%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +11%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: -15%
4th Quarter 2015: $23 million, -5% vs. 2014
2015 YEAR-END: $89.43 million, +1% vs. 2014

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
December 2015 versus one year ago this month: +14.12%
4th Qtr 2015 vs. 4th Qtr 2014: -7.43%
YEAR TO DATE: +3.14%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
December 2015: $39.83 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +23%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +20%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +35%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +104%
4th Quarter 2015: $121.8 million, +14%
2015 YEAR-END: $442.6 million, +10% vs. 2014

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
December 2015 versus one year ago this month: +21.85%
4th Qtr 2015 vs. 4th Qtr 2014: +7.2%
YEAR TO DATE: +7.17%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
December 2015: approximately $52.9 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +22%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +46%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +64%
4th Quarter 2015: $155.74, +7% vs. 2014
2015 YEAR-END: $579.18 million, +7% vs. 2014

RELEASES
New comic books released: 556
New graphic novels released: 306
New magazines released: 46
All new releases: 908

The average comic book in the Top 300 in December cost $3.90; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $4.04. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

Comichron.com curator John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.

He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium, now available. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket books.


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

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Comichron's Top 300 Bestselling Comics of the 21st Century: Star Wars #1 is #1, huge 44 titles from 2015 make list

Friday, January 8, 2016

by John Jackson Miller
http://bit.ly/CCMarvSW1With all sales from the year included, Marvel's relaunched Star Wars #1 from January rocketed to the top spot in Comichron's chart of the top-selling comic books of the 21st Century (thus far). The chart incorporates Comichron's estimates of 2015 sales based on information released this week by Diamond Comic Distributors, as well as our estimates from the previous years going back to 2000.

In addition to the entire Top Comics of the 21st Century list, we continue to maintain lists for just the decade of 2000-2009 and the decade of the 2010s.

By the time we added the best-selling 2014 titles to our top-sellers chart for the century last year, Marvel's relaunched Star Wars #1 had already sold 1 million comics and passed it. The issue, with dozens of variant covers, continued to sell throughout the year, charting several more times; Comichron calculates that its final 2015 total was 1.073 million copies shipped.

Star Wars #1 takes over the spot held briefly by Amazing Spider-Man #1, which in 2014 got a boost of its own from repackaging. You can see the updated top-sellers by year here.

As with several other top-selling titles, Star Wars' sales were inflated by between 250,000 and 450,000 copies sold by the repackager Loot Crate. The issue would still have beaten everything else on the charts regardless, though the same cannot be said for Bravest Warriors: Tales of Holo John #1 and Orphan Black #1, which placed fifth and sixth on the century list but wouldn't have made the Top 300 if not for Loot Crate.

As mentioned here earlier in the week, the Loot Crate effect has probably played out, as more publishers are following DC's lead and sending their comics directly to repackagers. Thus these outsized sales figures won't wind up in the Direct Market charts Diamond produces.

An amazing six issues from 2015 made the Top 10 for the Century list; in addition to the titles already mentioned, Secret Wars #1, Dark Knight III Master Race 1, and Star Wars: Vader Down #1 all made the top ten.

The Top 10 since 2000:

TEN BESTSELLLING COMIC BOOKS OF THE 21ST CENTURY
based on orders by North American Comics Shops

Comic-book Title Issue Ship Price Publisher Est. sales
1 Star Wars† 1 Jan-15 $4.99 Marvel 1,073,000
2 Amazing Spider-Man 1 Apr-14 $5.99 Marvel 559,200
3 Secret Wars 1 May-15 $4.99 Marvel 550,500
4 Amazing Spider-Man 583 Jan-09 $3.99 Marvel 530,500
5 Bravest Warriors Tales of  Holo John† 1 May-15 $4.99 Boom 503,000
6 Orphan Black† 1 Feb-15 $3.99 IDW 502,000
7 Dark Knight III Master Race 1 Nov-15 $5.99 DC 449,100
8 Star Wars Vader Down 1 Nov-15 $4.99 Marvel 410,600
9 Walking Dead 100 Jul-12 $3.99 Image 384,800
10 Civil War 2 Jun-06 $2.99 Marvel 341,900

Forty-four issues from 2015 made the Top 300 for the 21st Century list, a big increase of 30 over last year's 14. Twenty-four 2015 issues made the Top 100, and 16 made the Top 50. There are more books from 2015 in the Top 300 for the current century than comics from any other year. That's impressive, even without Loot Crate in the picture.

You can see other sales records from the Diamond Exclusive Era here. Look early next week for our annual post with the Top Thousand Comics and Graphic Novels sales estimates.

Comichron.com curator John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.

He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket books. 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, Private Eye top December comic charts in strong finish to 2015

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCSecretW8
Marvel's Secret Wars #8 was the top-selling comic book in the comic shop market in December, according to information that Diamond Comic Distributors released today.

As suggested by the bottom line projection in our end-of-year post, retailers ordered $52.9 million worth of comic books, graphic novels, and magazine in December, up a considerable 21.85% over the same month in 2014. That was enough to push the 2015 totals higher, to $579.18 million, up 7.17%.

In an unusual happenstance, December had five shipping weeks, as did last December; often the holidays push one of the reporting weeks into January.

Comics dollar sales spiked significantly, up 25% over the same month a year ago. November's top title slipped to second place with its second issue, Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2.

http://bit.ly/CCPrivateEye
Graphic novel sales rebounded nicely to end the year, with a pricey title topping the list that isn't a familiar name in print: The Private Eye, a hardcover collecting a digital comic by Brian K. Vaughan and Marcos Martin. An Image title priced at $49.95, it no doubt contributed to the 14% increase in graphic novel dollar sales that December saw year-over-year.
 Here's the comparative sales statistics for the month, including those for the fourth quarter. This table also obviously includes the final percentage changes for 2015 overall:

DOLLARS UNITS
December 2015 vs. November 2015
Comics -2.14% 0.68%
Graphic Novels 12.73% 7.36%
Total Comics/GNs 1.53% 1.09%
December 2015 vs. December 2014
Comics 25.05% 18.63%
Graphic Novels 14.12% 7.03%
Total Comics/GNs 21.85% 17.80%
4th Qtr 2015 vs. 3rd Qtr 2014
Comics 20.26% 16.49%
Graphic Novels -9.97% -21.18%
Total Comics/GNs 10.28% 12.95%
4th Qtr 2015 vs. 4th Qtr 2014
Comics 13.84% 6.43%
Graphic Novels -7.43% -11.24%
Total Comics/GNs 7.20% 5.06%
Year 2015 vs. Year 2014
Comics 8.99% 6.54%
Graphic Novels 3.14% 3.35%
Total Comics/GNs 7.17% 6.28%

The market shares for the year were previously reported, but the market shares for December are as follows:

Dollar share Unit share
Marvel 37.09% 41.87%
DC 29.32% 29.93%
Image 10.29% 10.65%
IDW 5.31% 4.10%
Dark Horse 3.05% 2.43%
Boom 1.91% 1.71%
Dynamite 1.63% 1.55%
Titan 1.38% 1.21%
Oni 0.89% 0.74%
Viz 0.82% 0.31%
Other 8.31% 5.50%

Moving along, the top sellers for the month:

Comic Book Price Publisher
1 Secret Wars #8 $3.99 Marvel
2 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #2 $5.99 DC
3 Star Wars #13 $3.99 Marvel
4 Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 $3.99 DC
5 Batman #47 $3.99 DC
6 Guardians of Infinity #1 $4.99 Marvel
7 Darth Vader #14 $3.99 Marvel
8 Harley's Little Black Book #1 $4.99 DC
9 Star Wars Annual #1 $4.99 Marvel
10 Darth Vader Annual #1 $4.99 Marvel

The graphic novels:

Graphic Novel Price Publisher
1 The Private Eye Deluxe Edition HC $49.99 Image
2 Harley Quinn Volume 2: Power Outage $16.99 DC
3 Avatar The Last Airbender Vol. 11: Smoke & Shadow Part 2 $10.99 Dark Horse
4 Batman Vs. Superman $9.99 DC
5 Saga Volume 5 $14.99 Image
6 We Can Never Go Home $9.99 Black Mask
7 Harley Quinn Vol. 3: Kiss Kiss Bang Stab HC $24.99 DC
8 Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 1: Vader $19.99 Marvel
9 Civil War $24.99 Marvel
10 Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows $17.99 Marvel

Finally, we have the figures for how many new items were released, broken down by format and publisher:

Comics shipped Graphic novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
DC 98 36 1 135
Marvel 81 27 0 108
Image 77 16 0 93
IDW 50 29 0 79
Dark Horse 32 17 0 49
Boom 31 9 0 40
Dynamite 23 9 0 32
Titan 17 6 4 27
Viz 0 17 0 17
Oni 8 4 0 12
Other 139 138 41 318
Total 556 308 46 910

Next up here at Comichron will be the updates to the Comics of the Century, followed by the December 2015 final estimates and the Top Thousand Comics lists.

Comichron.com curator John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 20 years, including a decade editing the industry's retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.

He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket books. Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

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