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John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Monday, January 15, 2018

The 2017 Two Thousand: A look at the 1,000 top-selling comics and graphic novels ordered by comic shops

by John Jackson Miller



With the release of December comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors — and our subsequent analysis of and estimates for December 2017 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 2017. The tables are on the page just beneath the image links to individual months.

This year's charts have our sorting and searching features implemented, as now do our previous 26 years of annual charts, going back to 1991. You can find the links to them, along with updated comparatives for how the market as a whole did across that time, by viewing our Yearly Comics Sales page.

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Led by Marvel Legacy #1, the Top Thousand Comics accounted for around 49.68 million copies; Diamond reported it sold 89.44 million copies altogether, so that's about 55% of all copies. That fraction is down from around three-fifths two years ago, and underscores the degree to which the charts have gotten less top-heavy. It's also a reason why Diamond shifted to reporting the Top 500 comics monthly; the market is fragmented such that more sales are outside the top portions of the charts.

Here are the totals for the Top Thousand Comics from the past few years. Diamond did not release figures for 2016, but we calculated minimum values for the Top Thousand based on known orders and reorders from that year:

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
2016: 59.8 million (minimum, probably slightly higher)
2017: 49.68 million copies

As you can see, 2017's figure comes in under 2012's — but we already know that Diamond sold more comics in 2017 than in 2012, so this is again a consequence of the Top Thousand representing a smaller portion of the distributor's volume. In full retail dollars, the Top Thousand Comics likely sold for $190.6 million, just a smidge under the 2012 figure; the same observation applies.

Almost everything in the Top 100 had "multiple order codes" at Diamond, meaning there were variant covers or reprints combined into one entry; sometimes it's not a simultaneous variant, but rather a reprint with a different cover. Very standard, by now.

Breaking down unit sales — and again employing our estimated minimums for 2016 — we see clearly the troubles in the higher tiers in 2017. The first chart shows what's in each bracket; the second is a cumulative measure:

NUMBER OF COMIC BOOK ISSUES SELLING THIS MANY COPIES DURING YEAR


200,000+100,000+75k-100k50k-75k25k-50k10k-25k
200923980260
201002668209652
201134244257641
2012563662746971150
20136641142127381302
2014436682937941158
20152174722007991114
2016*1183111261n.a.n.a.
2017346502338341200


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+
2009239119379n.a.
201002694303955
201134286343984
201256312940311002250
201366417839011282430
201444010840111952353
2015219516736711662280
2016*1194205466n.a.n.a.
20173499933211662366

The dearth of hits isn't as bad as it appears in 2017, because of Diamond's practice of listing variants with different cover prices as separate entries; in truth, there are five books above 200,000 copies when Doomsday Clock #1 and Batman #21's versions are fused. Taking the chart as is, however, just 99 comics topped 75,000 copies in 2017, less than half the sum projected as the minimum for 2016, when Marvel was doing better and when DC had its Rebirth launches.

And yet, the industry was still moving the same number of different titles, we can see: 2015 was a much better year than 2017, and yet retailers ordered at least 25,000 copies of the same number of titles, 1,166, in each year.

Every year we also add a number of items to the Top Comics of the Decade and the Top Comics of the Century (So Far, in each case) lists. As you might expect — especially in a year with no Loot Crate activity — a smaller number of new entrants made the lists, and at lower ranks. The year 2017 added 26 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 2010s, with Marvel Legacy #1 placing 20th, and 15 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 21st Century, with Marvel Legacy #1 placing 25th.

Find this book at TFAWThe Top Thousand Graphic Novels, led by Saga Vol. 7, went for $73.19 million. We again counted up all the graphic novels Diamond reported in 2016 to come up with a minimum for that year, and for this category the estimate is definitely too low, since graphic novels sell every month of the year but only a few get to chart every month. It's probably more like $80 million.

2011: $58.4 million
2012: $71.4 million
2013: $79.03 million
2014: $81.19 million
2015: $81.46 million
2016: $69.48 million (minimum, likely a good deal higher)
2017: $73.19 million

Combined, the Top Thousand Comics and Top Thousand Graphic Novel lists account for only a little over 50% of all the orders by dollars Diamond received for print products in 2017. That's again a drop, down from around 55% in 2015. As they were earlier this decade, the the top-selling books accounted for less of the pie; unlike earlier this decade, the pie didn't grow in 2017.

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

Marvel: 502
DC: 459
Image: 29
Dark Horse: 3
Valiant: 3
IDW: 2
Dynamite: 1
Titan: 1

I don't want to compare these with the provisional 2016 list, but versus 2015 diversity in the table took a huge hit, with many fewer publishers represented and Image's share cut down.

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

DC: 306
Marvel: 304
Image: 188
Dark Horse: 50
 Viz: 41
IDW: 18
Boom: 22
Oni: 14
Archie: 10

I again don't want to compare these with the provisional 2016 list, but versus 2015 there are fewer publishers with 10 or more titles. Marvel, Image, and Viz have more entries on the list this time, with Marvel nearly catching DC.

So that's the year that was. There are a few more housekeeping things to do on the site to update it with 2017's data (and of course, I have many previous years' information that I'll be posting soon). In the meantime, on to 2018 — and hopefully better weather, sales and otherwise!


Comichron founder 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 novels including Star Wars: KenobiOverdraft: The Orion OffensiveStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.


Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

December 2017 estimates online: Diamond expands comics, graphic novel tables to Top 500

by John Jackson Miller


A big change, as the headline says, but first the news: As reported here Friday, after five consecutive years of growth following DC's "New 52" reboot, the Direct Market gave back some of those gains in 2017 — and December served as a lackluster finish to a disappointing year. Overall, Direct Market orders finished the year at $522.25 million, off 10%. Click to see our sales estimates for December 2017.

While publishers appear to have shifted into their winter crouch early, DC did slightly improve on its previous December, thanks in part to Doomsday Clock #2 and Dark Nights Metal #4. The former had shipments in the month of over 158,600 copies. But the overall direction was down. It was a straight-up comparative with December 2016, as both months had four shipping weeks. Saga Vol. 8 was the top-selling graphic novel, with the new release topping 21,100 copies ordered.

I have also just posted, as well, Comichron's Top 1000 Comics and Top 1000 Graphic Novels for 2017, along with market shares; more detailed analysis posts will follow. But first, the big change, which is to be found in data already released. In short, there's more of it — a lot more. Beginning with the December report, Diamond has increased its reporting to include the Top 500 comics and Top 500 graphic novels.

The move with regard to comics appears to have been a response to the fact that sales levels at 300th place have grown dramatically over the last decade and a half, pushing a significant number of releases of interest outside the Top 300. Comichron calculates that the extension from 300 to 500 comics brings the number of shipped comics units captured by the table in December from 91.9% to 97.4%.

Post-300th-place data had been available sporadically for comics and graphic novels over the years. Diamond had previously switched temporarily to running the top 400 in 2013-14, but that appears to have been more of an oversight, where this is known to be an intentional policy change. Because Diamond releases Top 50 charts for independent and small publisher comics and graphic novels, as well as manga, some items after 300th place have been known and published on Comichron over the past five years — but it was always scattershot. Now, we'll have more information every month, so we've used the past data to create a new page tracking 400th place items across time. All items on in the independent and small publisher charts were captured by the Top 500 list in December.

There will be material, eventually, for a 500th-place table, though the reader will see that quite a lot of reordered items appear in the lower ranks; if a figure looks low for a comic book, it's worth looking at the month before to see if there's an earlier, more highly ranked entry.

The increase in the number of graphic novels could possibly have been done to keep the chart consistent with the comics one; whatever the reason,  the move performed a service in that the table now captures a little more than half of the graphic novel units shipped.

For years, I've explained that the "overall" sales figure includes millions of dollars worth of material uncaptured by the Top 300 charts; in December, for example, the Top 300s only capture $28.67 million of the projected $38.49 million in sales overall. The additional 200 comics and graphic novels bring the total up to $31.31 million. So what's in the missing seven and a half million dollars?

Answer: the other half of the graphic novel revenue, all of the magazine revenue, and the missing fraction of comics. Thousands and thousands of different backlist books. On Friday, Diamond announced that it shipped 7.4 million graphic novels to the Direct Market in 2017; December's share of that you might figure at somewhere over 600,000 copies. How many units were sold of the Top 500 graphic novel sales for the month? Right at 350,000 copies. With those valued at $7.71 million at full retail, the other 250,000-plus would easily soak up the lion's share of the unreported dollars, with unreported comics and all the magazines covering the rest.

As will be seen in the table below, Comichron's measures, while reporting the Top 500 comics and graphic novels, will continue to use 300 items as the main benchmark, since it allows for comparisons across the largest span of Direct Market history.

The vital statistics for December:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Weak December puts 2017 comic shop orders down 10%; big drop, but from a lofty perch

by John Jackson Miller


In the 21st Century, growth — and sometimes rapid growth — in the comics Direct Market has often been the rule. Following the complete collapse of the mid- and late-1990s, retailer orders for comic books and graphic novels increased in 2001-2008 and from 2012-2016, broken up with a three-year recessionary period turned around in mid-2011 by DC's "New 52." 

That's 13 "up" years out of 16, and 2011 just barely missed. (Click to see all our yearly results.) Looking more closely, however, some of those growth years were, themselves, close-run things; it was the case in most of the first decade of the 2000s that whenever periodicals saw temporary downturns, the monumental growth of graphic novels saved the day.



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That did not happen in 2017, with graphic novels and periodicals down about equally. The absence of that moderating factor — plus the lofty level the market was at from all those growth years — combined with a weak December to send comics shop orders of comics, graphic novels, and magazines down 10% for the year, according to the December report released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. The tables are below. (Click also to see our December charts page, which will be updated as more information is processed. We also have a 2017 page with the projected best-sellers through November; our final tallies will go there.) Comichron estimates the total yearly orders to be worth $522.25 million at full retail, a $58.65 million decline. That’s the loss of more than a month’s worth of sales at the previous heated pace.

That heated pace, as mentioned above, is relevant: Diamond reports that the year was still its fourth best for sales to retailers, and my estimates corroborate that: 2014 through 2016 had orders of $540 million, $579 million, and $581 million respectively. 2017 is still up 26% from 2011, nearly $109 million. The altitude’s such that even a significant pullback — and a 10% drop is likely the worst since 1998 — still keeps the market at a higher level than it’s been at for most of the 21st Century. Comichron calculates the number of comic books ordered in 2017 to be 89.44 million, a figure confirmed in Diamond’s release; that number, while off, is better than anything from the first dozen years of the century. Add to that the likely prospects for at least a slight increase in graphic novel sales in 2017 outside the Direct Market, and the long-term positive prospects for the medium likely remain unaltered.

Find this book at TFAW
It’s the current year-to-year and month-to-month that concerns the businesses involved most, of course — and there, again, the picture was not improved by December. December 2016, as I’d noted before, had been off 15%, near the start of the market’s downturn; December 2017 matched that figure. Its $38.48 million in comics and graphic novels ordered by retailers was the lowest monthly total since February 2014, and the 6.23 million comics ordered was the lowest sum since January 2012. The aggravating factor was a much decreased number of new comics offered to market: 447 new comics was the lightest new release slate since April 2016. Graphic novel releases were up, though Image only offered 10 new ones, half its July pace. Publishers appear to have shifted into their winter crouch early.

Earlier in the year, Marvel had been responsible for the full loss in 2017; as reported here when it happened, that shifted when the comparatives began to include DC’s Rebirth months from 2016. The result is that the rest of the market was down 8% for the year, and DC 9%; we still have Image up slightly for the year, and Dynamite by close to 10%, but those were the bright spots.

That said, even with the state of play, DC managed to beat its December 2016 sales, thanks to Doomsday Clock #2, Dark Nights, and the other current chart toppers that helped it to take the market share lead for the month. DC entered 2018, then, with some momentum.

The comparatives:


December 2017 Vs. November 2017
Comics-16.13%-14.05%
Graphic Novels-21.95%-10.88%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-18.11%-13.77%
Toys-33.23%-30.05%
December 2017 Vs. December 2016
Comics-16.54%-24.11%
Graphic Novels-10.17%-13.37%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-14.57%-23.23%
Toys-27.60%-37.11%
Fourth Quarter 2017 Vs. Third Quarter 2017
Comics-2.41%-5.19%
Graphic Novels8.49%7.61%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs0.82%-4.24%
Toys9.14%2.15%
Fourth Quarter 2017 Vs. Fourth Quarter 2016
Comics-13.90%-19.53%
Graphic Novels-1.77%-7.71%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-10.37%-18.66%
Toys-15.67%-24.40%
Year 2017 Vs. Year 2016
Comics-10.40%-9.69%
Graphic Novels-9.38%-11.86%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-10.09%-9.86%
Toys-12.55%-19.90%

It's notable that not only are comics and graphic novels off about the same, but toys were, too. Remember, also, in looking at graphic novels, that retailers can and do order a sizable amount from distributors other than Diamond, so there's activity not being captured there.

The market shares for December:

Dollar ShareUnit Share
DC34.54%37.65%
Marvel33.80%38.81%
Image8.69%7.20%
IDW3.92%2.92%
Dark Horse2.69%2.06%
Boom2.28%1.98%
Dynamite2.08%1.84%
Oni1.00%0.52%
Viz0.96%0.35%
Valiant0.96%1.08%

Based on the figures to date, we project Marvel's end of year market share to be just over 36%, followed by DC at 30%, Image at nearly 10%, IDW at 4.5%, Dark Horse at around 3%, and Boom and Dynamite clustered next around 2%.

The new shipment data for December:

PublisherComics shippedGraphic Novels shippedMagazinesTotal shipped
Marvel85430128
DC80381119
IDW3532067
Image5510065
Boom247031
Dark Horse199028
Dynamite215026
Viz016016
Valiant6208
Oni4307
Other11816427309
TOTAL SHIPPED44732928804

That puts us at 5,919 new comics for 2017, up from 5,812 — and 4,002 new graphic novels, up from 3,768. Almost the entire increase in new graphic novels in 2017 comes from publishers in that "other" column above.

Finally, the charts for December's top-selling comics...

COMIC BOOKPRICEPUBLISHER
1Doomsday Clock #24.99DC
2Dark Nights: Metal #4$3.99DC
3Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #1$4.99Marvel
4Batman #36$2.99DC
5Batman #37$2.99DC
6Batman: White Knight #3$3.99DC
7Amazing Spider-Man/Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha #1$4.99Marvel
8Marvel Two-In-One #1$3.99Marvel
9Hawkman Found #1$3.99DC
10Amazing Spider-Man #792$3.99Marvel

...and graphic novels:

GRAPHIC NOVELPRICEPUBLISHER
1Saga Volume 814.99Image
2Batman Vol. 4: The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99DC
3Star Wars Vol. 6: Out Among The Stars$19.99Marvel
4Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 4: Deus Ex Machina$16.99DC
5Black Hammer Vol. 2: The Event$19.99Dark Horse
6Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad$24.99DC
7Shirtless Bear-Fighter$16.99Image
8Deadly Class Volume 6$16.99Image
9Venomverse$15.99Marvel
10Rick And Morty Volume 6$19.99Oni

As the 2017 data rollout continues,  this page may be updated. Either way, the December estimates should be along next week.

Comichron founder 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion OffensiveStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Batman: Dark Prince Charming leads advance reorders; Hawkman Found #1 repeats

by John Jackson Miller


The first full week of 2018 saw a repeat at the top of the reorder charts at Diamond Comic Distributors — and a new mix of books atop the advance reorder charts. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Jan. 2-8, 2018 (in dollars)

Find this book at TFAW These are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders from retailers. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking.

DC's Hawkman Found #1, a "Dark Nights" tie-in that went on sale Dec. 27, repeated as the top reordered comic book of the week.

Repeating yet again, Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet was the top reordered softcover.

And DC's Batman & Robin by Tomasi and Gleason Omnibus was the top reordered hardcover. It shipped back on Nov. 8.

The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Hawkman Found #1$3.99 DC
2Doomsday Clock #2$4.99 DC
3X-Men Grand Design #1$5.99 Marvel
4Batman & Robin by Tomasi & Gleason Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
5Doomsday Clock #2 Var Ed$4.99 DC
6Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
7Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey LH #1$4.99 Marvel
8Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
9Dark Nights Metal #4$3.99 DC
10Batman TPB Vol. 4 The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99 DC
11Batman White Knight #4$3.99 DC
12Rick & Morty TPB Vol. 1$19.99 Oni
13Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel
14Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
15Doomsday Clock #1 2nd Ptg$4.99 DC
16Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
17Star Wars Darth Vader TPB Vol. 1 Vader$19.99 Marvel
18Batman Flash The Button Deluxe Ed HC$19.99 DC
19Batman TPB Vol. 1 I Am Gotham$16.99 DC
20Batman #37$2.99 DC
21Batman Hush Complete TPB$24.99 DC
22Shiver HC Junji Ito$22.99 Viz
23Uncanny X-Men Omnibus HC Vol. 1 New Ptg$99.99 Marvel
24Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
25Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 1$59.99 Image

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS  for Jan. 2-8, 2018 (in dollars)

Preorder this book on TFAWLet's turn now to the future. These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.

Topping the list overall was the second printing of the top advance-reordered hardcover, Batman: The Dark Prince Charming Book 1, a $12.99 book slated for Valentine's Day release. The Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman book, first among hardcovers last week, placed second.

The top advance-reordered comic book was Flash Annual #1, a $4.99 edition set to go on sale on January 31. Missing the Top 25 altogether this week after topping the past two weekly lists is Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition from Image. It's expected to go on sale March 7.

The leading trade paperback was X-Men: Grand Design from Marvel. It's an April 4 title.

Remember, this is ranked by invoiced dollars and not units.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Batman The Dark Prince Charming HC Book 1 2nd Ptg$12.99 DC
2Action Comics #1000 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99 DC
3Flash Annual #1$4.99 DC
4X-Men Grand Design TPB$29.99 Marvel
5Thanos #13 2nd Ptg Shaw Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
6Green Lantern Earth One HC Vol. 1$24.99 DC
7Dark Days The Road To Metal HC$29.99 DC
8Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5 Lee Jean Grey$4.99 Marvel
9Detective Comics Annual #1$4.99 DC
10JLA Doom Patrol Special #1$4.99 DC
11Batman & Harley Quinn HC$24.99 DC
12Sideways #1 (Res)$2.99 DC
13Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5 Leg$4.99 Marvel
14Ex Machina The Complete Series Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
15Walking Dead #176 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
16Marvel Two-In-One #1 2nd Ptg Cheung Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
17Young Monsters In Love #1$9.99 DC
18Dark Nights Metal #6$4.99 DC
19Supergirl #18 Var Ed$3.99 DC
20Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus HC Vol. 3$99.99 DC
21Doomsday Clock #4$4.99 DC
22X-Men Red #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
23Star Wars Last Jedi DJ #1$4.99 Marvel
24Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
25Legion of Super Heroes Silver Age Omnibus HC Vol. 2$75.00 DC

We've seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for December 2017 and January 2018; check them out for a further glance at the future.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Kirkman's Oblivion Song again leads advance reorders; Hawkman Found tops reorders

by John Jackson Miller


March is a ways off, but we already know a few things about the comics sales charts then. First, this March has four shipping weeks versus five last year, so it'll face a bit of a challenge there; our extra week this quarter falls in January. We also know that the big ticket for the month already appears to be Robert Kirkman's new series, as the Collector's Edition for Oblivion Song #1 repeated as the top advance reorder item in dollars at Diamond Comic Distributors for the last week of 2017.

Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Dec. 26, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018 (in dollars)

 Find this issue on TFAW!
These are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders from retailers. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking.

DC's Hawkman Found #1, a "Dark Nights" tie-in that went on sale Dec. 27, was the top reordered comic book of the week. In yet another repeat, Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet was the top reordered softcover.

DC's Green Arrow: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 1, also released on Dec. 27, was the top reordered hardcover.

The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Hawkman Found #1$3.99 DC
2Doomsday Clock #2$4.99 DC
3Dark Nights Metal #4$3.99 DC
4Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
5Green Arrow The Golden Age Omnibus HC Vol. 1$125.00 DC
6Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
7Doomsday Clock #1 2nd Ptg$4.99 DC
8BPRD Hell On Earth HC Vol. 1$34.99 Dark Horse
9Doomsday Clock #2 Var Ed$4.99 DC
10Batman TPB Vol. 4 The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99 DC
11Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel
12Venom #159$3.99 Marvel
13Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 1$59.99 Image
14Art of Marvel Studios TPB Slipcase$99.99 Marvel
15Rick & Morty TPB Vol. 1$19.99 Oni
16X-Men Grand Design #1$5.99 Marvel
17Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
18Batman #37$2.99 DC
19Marvel Two-In-One #1$3.99 Marvel
20Paper Girls TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
21X-Men Grand Design #2$5.99 Marvel
22Walking Dead Heres Negan HC$19.99 Image
23Star Wars Darth Vader TPB Vol. 1 Vader$19.99 Marvel
24Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
25My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Vol. 1$39.99 Fantagraphics

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS  for for Dec. 26, 2017 to Jan. 1, 2018 (in dollars)

Find this issue at TFAWLet's look now into the future. These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.


The top advance reorder item was, for the second week running, the Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition from Image, priced at $200; it comes with a statue, a print, and a pin and is limited to 1,000 copies. It's expected to go on sale March 7. The basic comic version, second place last week in reorder dollars, dropped to eleventh; the Walking Dead #176 cover by Bill Sienkiewicz was the top standard-priced comic book this time.

The top advance reordered hardcover was the Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman book. The leading trade paperback was Robotech Vol. 1, from Titan.

Remember, this is ranked by invoiced dollars and not units.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1 Collectors Ed$200.00 Image
2Action Comics #1000 80 Years of Superman HC$49.99 DC
3Walking Dead #176 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
4Dark Knights Rising The Wild Hunt #1$4.99 DC
5Robotech TPB Vol. 1$16.99 Titan
6Monstress #13$4.99 Image
7Abbott #1 Lotay Var$3.99 Boom
8Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5$4.99 Marvel
9Vinegar Teeth #1$3.99 Dark Horse
10Frankenstein Alive Trio$7.99 IDW
11Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1$3.99 Image
12Maestros #3 2nd Ptg$3.99 Image
13Dissonance #1$3.99 Image
14Maestros #4$3.99 Image
15Divinity Comp Trilogy Dlx Ed HC$59.99 Valiant
16Abbott #1$3.99 Boom
17Tales of Suspense #103$3.99 Marvel
18Doomsday Clock #4$4.99 DC
19Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5 Lee Jean Grey$4.99 Marvel
20Gears of War Rise of Raam #1 Cvr A Brown$3.99 IDW
21Thanos #13 2nd Ptg Shaw Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
22Adventure Time Original Gn Vol. 11 Princess & Princess$14.99 Boom
23True Believers Venom Vs Spider-Man #1$1.00 Marvel
24Doomsday Clock #4 Var Ed$4.99 DC
25X-O Manowar #11 Cvr A Larosa$3.99 Valiant

We've seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for December 2017 and January 2018; check them out for a further glance at the future.

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Sunday, December 31, 2017

MAD runs postal circulation statement, last one left in comics industry

by John Jackson Miller
 Find this issue on eBay
Earlier this month, MAD magazine did something it's done regularly every year since the 1950s: it ran its Statement of Ownership, Management, and Circulation for the year, this one in issue #549. It did so as well at the end of 2016, in #543 — and while that year's form was notable for being the first to include electronic sales, we didn't know something else at the time: that it would be the only title to publish a form in the entire comics industry in 2016.

That's because, to date, no forms with 2016 data have been found in any 2017 cover-dated Archie publications, neither digests nor regular comics. Archie had, like Mad, run forms with something pretty close to clockwork regularity for half a century — but the large number of its series reboots  may have impacted what titles require forms, plus many of the digests of late have been renamed or transformed into something else. I have not had confirmation from Archie that the forms are gone for good, but after a year it's possible that it could be a case like Marvel's earlier this decade: that publisher just stopped running them. If the same holds true in 2017, then the 2017 data set is likewise now complete with just one title's form, down from a probably peak of 170 titles running forms in 1961.

It also would wind down a large comics circulation data set just around the time that I've finally collected most of what's out there. (Learn more about Statements of Ownership here, and see some of the data.)

While other researchers and I continue to find oddball titles with Statements (not many would have thought to look in Cool Cat for Black Magic's 1961 data, or in Favorite Funnies, Alan Light's short-lived comic strip magazine, for its sole form), I finish 2017 with full data from 3,907 forms, and at least the average annual sales numbers from 21 more.

Beyond those only 184 suspected forms remain, though that count includes 22 forms which I believe Harvey failed to print any numbers in. Then 35 more would be from magazines Cracked, Comic Relief, and CarToons, with another seven suspected in Shonen Jump — so that's really a maximum of 120 postal bottom line circ numbers that I don't have, mostly in early 1960s Charltons and Harveys. A good number of those simply don't exist.
The last one left: the form from MAD #549.

Specifically to Mad's posting (my thanks to the Grand Comics Database for the form, as I've had trouble finding the physical issue) its sales during this year of its move to California went up, from 133,512 to 138,598 copies, with losses in newsstand sales more than covered by increases in subscriptions. 2016's form included 412 average electronic copies sold per issue; 2017 reported 233.

It remains to be seen if Archie will print filings again, or if another comics publisher will start; if anyone does, we'll track it as well. But with 2017's website redesign mostly complete here, 2018 should be the year the nearly-finished Postal Data Set finally gets updated on here, with a list of what's missing or suspected for each year. Stay tuned!

Comichron founder 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion OffensiveStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Kirkman's Oblivion Song leads advance reorders for March; Comichron pages for December, January added

by John Jackson Miller

Find this issue at TFAWI know from experience that people are frequently looking to see the charts for future months before they're released; until now, those requests have gone to a redirect page. But we've seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for December 2017 and January 2018.

The problem with reorders is that they don't synch up exactly with any given shipping month; they're placed all the time and reported weekly, whereas comics orders are reported here monthly. Any given list will have a mix of titles from various months. So while the January page links to some of the more recent advance reorders, some of those items are for months beyond January (as is the case with this week's top advance reorder book, Oblivion Song #1 I don't intend to go any more than a month into the future with these landing pages, so the farthest-out month will simply collate the latest advance reorders.

Non-advance reorder charts, meanwhile, are going to be more relevant to the current month, since the books being reordered are on the shelves already. So the current month's report, December, aggregates links to the most recent reorder reports, while also linking to some advance reorder reports from October and November, because the reported reorders relate to December-shipping books.

It's not a perfect system, but it'll do — and you'll notice that the Top 25s are not being stored on those monthly pages. That's because those pages will be replaced by the estimated sales charts once they become available. The reorder tables become less important then (especially because they don't necessarily represent filled orders) so there's no need to keep them in the permanent archives, though at least for the moment, they will remain visible as blog posts — like this one.

And let's get to it. Here are the reorders and advance orders placed with Diamond Comic Distributors between December 19-25, 2017.

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for December 19-25, 2017 (in dollars)

 Find this issue on TFAWThese are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking.

DC's Dark Nights Metal #4, which went on sale Dec. 20, is the top reordered comic book.

In repeats from the previous week, Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet was the top reordered softcover, and DC's Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus the top reordered hardcover.

The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Dark Nights Metal #4$3.99 DC
2Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
3Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
4X-O Manowar TPB Vol. 1 Soldier$9.99 Valiant
5Green Lantern Secret Origin TPB New Ed$14.99 DC
6Gotham by Midnight TPB Vol. 1 We Do Not Sleep$14.99 DC
7Batgirl The Bronze Age Omnibus HC Vol. 1$99.99 DC
8Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
9BPRD Hell On Earth HC Vol. 1$34.99 Dark Horse
10Amazing Spider-Man #792$3.99 Marvel
11Batman TPB Vol. 4 The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99 DC
12Rick & Morty TPB Vol. 1$19.99 Oni
13Batman Dark Knight Master Race HC$29.99 DC
14Walking Dead Heres Negan HC$19.99 Image
15Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 1$59.99 Image
16X-Men Classic Omnibus HC$125.00 Marvel
17Batman Who Laughs #1 2nd Ptg (Metal)$3.99 DC
18Star Wars Darth Vader TPB Vol. 1 Vader$19.99 Marvel
19Batman The Killing Joke Special Ed HC$17.99 DC
20Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
21Rebels TPB Vol. 1 Well Regulated Militia$24.99 Dark Horse
22Abe Sapien Dark & Terrible HC Vol. 1$34.99 Dark Horse
23Runaways Complete Collection TPB Vol. 1$34.99 Marvel
24Batman Flash The Button Deluxe Ed HC$19.99 DC
25Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS  for Dec. 19-25, 2017 (in dollars)


And now, a look into the future. These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.

The top advance reorder item was the Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition from Image, priced at $200; it comes with a statue, a print, and a pin and is limited to 1,000 copies. It's expected to go on sale March 7. The basic comic version led all comics in advance reorders, placing second in dollars overall.

IDW's
Lights of the Amalou was the top trade paperback, and Boom's Giant Days Vol. 2 the top hardcover.

Remember, this is ranked by invoiced dollars and not units.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1 Collectors Ed$200.00 Image
2Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1$3.99 Image
3Walking Dead #176 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
4Dark Knights Rising The Wild Hunt #1$4.99 DC
5Lights of the Amalou TPB$39.99 IDW
6Tales of Suspense #103$3.99 Marvel
7Giant Days Not On The Test Edition HC Vol. 2$34.99 Boom
8Star Wars Adventures #6 Cvr B Levins$3.99 IDW
9Frank Cho Savage Wolverine Artist Ed HC$150.00 IDW
10Star Wars Adventures #6 Cvr A Charm$3.99 IDW
11Archie Giant Comics Roll TPB$7.99 Archie
12Under (Statix) #2$5.99 Titan
13Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5$4.99 Marvel
14Eternity #4 Cvr A Djurdjevic$3.99 Valiant
15Eternity #4 Cvr B Muller$3.99 Valiant
16Ninjak Complete Classic Omnibus HC$99.99 Valiant
17Flash Annual #1$4.99 DC
18Action Comics #1000 80 Years of Superman HC$49.99 DC
19Bettie Page #7 Cvr C Photo$3.99 Dynamite
20Archies #4 Cvr B Allred & Martin$3.99 Archie
21Berserk Official Guidebook TPB$14.99 Dark Horse
22Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5 Lee Jean Grey$4.99 Marvel
23X-Men Grand Design TPB$29.99 Marvel
24Avengers #678 Leg$3.99 Marvel
25Archies #4 Cvr A Reg Smallwood$3.99 Archie

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Fourth World, Infinity Gauntlet lead week's reorder charts; Doomsday Clock #3 top advance reorder

by John Jackson Miller

http://shrsl.com/paxt
Something we've never done before on Comichron is look at the reorder and advance reorder charts released by Diamond Comic Distributors. We do so now, looking at the report released today, December 20, covering orders placed between December 11 and 17.

These charts have been available from Diamond since at least the 1990s, when they appeared in the distributor's Diamond Dateline newsletter; then, as now, they served to supplement for retailers the monthly sales charts by informing on which already-released comics and graphic novels were being ordered again, as well as what books that hadn't been released were generating orders beyond their initial order cutoff dates. Both tables are indicators of customer interest, and suggest what we may see in future monthly sales charts.

While I've got reorder charts going all the way back to the Dateline days, the tables never found their way into my previous magazine work or into Comichron's archives for several reasons. There aren't order indexes, as you see with the monthly charts, suggesting unit counts — but more importantly, the orders don't necessarily equate to filled shipments. The information is more along the lines of the preorder charts which appear on Comichron for years before 2003; it reflects consumer desire as expressed through retailer intent, but it doesn't speak to the number of copies ultimately in circulation. Reorders that are filled, meanwhile, already get reflected in the monthly charts both in the aggregate total, and also when they make the Top 300.

That said, reorder information is certainly of interest, and while it doesn't necessarily fit with our archive tracking the numbers of books in print, it is easily enough conveyed here on the blog. If you're interested in this feature appearing weekly, please let us know in the comments and on social media.

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for December 11-17, 2017 (in dollars)

Find this edition at TFAW.com
These are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking. Jack Kirby's Fourth World Omnibus is the top reordered hardcover; Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet the top-reordered softcover. Batman: White Knight #3, which went on sale Dec. 6, is the top reordered comic book in dollars. The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog Info Page
PricePublisher
1Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
2Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
3Batman White Knight #3$3.99 DC
4Amazing Spider-Man Venom Inc Alpha #1$4.99 Marvel
5Watchmen TPB$19.99 DC
6Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 01$59.99 Image
7Captain America By Waid & Garney Omnibus HC$125.00 Marvel
8Batman Who Laughs #1 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
9Black Hammer TPB Vol 2 The Event$19.99 Dark Horse
10Punk Rock Jesus Deluxe Edition HC$39.99 DC
11Rick & Morty TPB Vol. 1$19.99 Oni
12X-Men Classic Omnibus HC$125.00 Marvel
13DC Universe Holiday Special 2017 #1$9.99 DC
14Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 03$59.99 Image
15Monstress TPB Vol. 2$16.99 Image
16Walking Dead TPB Vol. 28 A Certain Doom$16.99 Image
17Batman Flash The Button Deluxe Ed HC$19.99 DC
18Runaways Complete Collection TPB Vol. 01$34.99 Marvel
19Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel
20Black Bolt TPB Vol 01 Hard Time$17.99 Marvel
21Batman Dark Knight Master Race HC$29.99 DC
22Batman White Knight #1 3rd Ptg$3.99 DC
23Saga TPB Vol. 7$14.99 Image
24Descender Dlx Ed HC Vol. 01$49.99 Image
25Batman The Killing Joke Special Ed HC$17.99 DC

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS for December 11-17, 2017 (in dollars)

And now, a look into the future. These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.

The top two items are both copies of Doomsday Clock #3, which releases on January 24; that is by no means a guarantee the book will be Diamond's top seller for that month, but it does suggest high placement, as well as something about its placement in December's lists. The Swamp Thing Winter Special, a $7.99 comic book set for January 31, appears third; remember, this is ranked by invoiced dollars and not units.

Marvel's new printing of its Venom: Lethal Protector trade paperback collection is the top advance-reordered softcover; Punisher Max by Garth Ennis Omnibus Vol. 1 is the top hardcover. Again, the links in the table below go to the Diamond information pages for each book.

Item and Diamond Catalog Info PagePricePublisher
1Doomsday Clock #3 Var Ed$4.99 DC
2Doomsday Clock #3$4.99 DC
3Swamp Thing Winter Special #1$7.99 DC
4Dark Nights Metal #1 3rd Ptg$4.99 DC
5Teen Titans #12 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
6Batman White Knight #3 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
7Amazing Spider-Man Venom Inc. Omega #1$4.99 Marvel
8Batman The Red Death #1 4th Ptg$3.99 DC
9Batman Lost #1 2nd Ptg$4.99 DC
10Batman The Dawnbreaker #1 3rd Ptg$3.99 DC
11Dark Nights Metal #3 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
12Dark Nights Metal #2 3rd Ptg$3.99 DC
13Batman The Murder Machine #1 3rd Ptg$3.99 DC
14Batman The Merciless #1 3rd Ptg$3.99 DC
15Batman The Drowned #1 3rd Ptg$3.99 DC
16Venom TPB Lethal Protector$16.99 Marvel
17Silencer #1$2.99 DC
18Amazing Spider-Man #792 2nd Ptg Ross Var$3.99 Marvel
19Amazing Spider-Man #794$3.99 Marvel
20Marvel Two-In-One #2$3.99 Marvel
21Punisher Max By Garth Ennis Omnibus HC Vol. 1$100.00 Marvel
22Flash #39 Var Ed$2.99 DC
23Batman #39$2.99 DC
24Carnage Omnibus HC$125.00 Marvel
25Mighty Thor #703$3.99 Marvel

Again, if there's interest we'll certainly consider running these with more regularity.

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