Monday, July 9, 2012
by John Jackson Miller
All eyes in the comics industry are turning to California and Comic-Con International, which is starting in a little more than 48 hours; I'll be heading there myself. (My own signing schedule is here). But first, some important business, as Diamond Comic Distributors has released the full data for comics-shop sales for June 2012. The Comics Chronicles first reported on the monthly, second-quarter, and first-half of 2012 figures on Friday, and much of that information is recapped below. But the full charts are now available; click to see the full Comichron comics sales estimates for June 2012.
As mentioned previously, orders by Direct Market comics shops in North America are up more than 18% year-to-date through June, by contrast with last year, when they were down by 8%. Retailers have already ordered more material through June — nearly $223 million in retail dollars— than they did in last year through July. Click to see a summation of 2012 so far.
Retailers are estimated to have ordered $40.5 million in comic books and trade paperbacks from Diamond in the month, a sum that brings the second quarter orders to more than $20 million higher than the same three-month period last year. For the year to date, all Direct Market sales are more than $34 million ahead of the first half of 2011.
But as discussed on Friday, the comparison observers may be more interested in isn't between the first six months of this year and the first six months of 2011. Rather, how has the Direct Market fared compared with the last six months of 2011, which included the DC reboot? Direct Market orders were $224.92 million from July 2011 to December 2011 — so even with the reboot titles reaching double-digit issue numbers, the market is down less than 1% from that blockbuster six-month period. The reasons are several: Marvel has Avengers Vs. X-Men on the playing field, and graphic novels are rebounding with the DC hardcovers and Walking Dead. But the fact we can compare at all is significant, because the second half of the year has outperformed the previous first half every year for the last 10 years — and by an average of 10%.
Comic book unit sales are up significantly; with June's orders, retailers have bought 38.32 million copies of the Top 300 periodicals this year. That's more than 6 million copies more than the first six months of 2011. Again, Marvel's Avengers Vs. X-Men #6 led the charts; sell-in numbers on the title continue to increase from month to month. (Click to see a list of all monthly top sellers across time.) The four DC Before Watchmen debut issues landed in fifth through eight place.
June 2011 was a five-week month versus four shipping weeks for June 2012, and the beats were a little smaller than we've seen — the 300th-place issue sold just over 3,300 copies, a bit of a dip from the last four-week month in April. But periodical units and dollars were still up double-digits. On the trade paperback side, the release of Walking Dead Vol. 16: A Larger World topped the charts. Both the Top 300 comics and Top 300 graphic novel category totals are doing several percentage points better than Diamond's figures for the entire category; the real gap is with trades, where sales for the Top 300 were up 14% but the whole category was only up 2.51%. That means more of the dollar volume was in the toplist this month; the top three trades rang up nearly a million dollars on their own.
The aggregate totals:
TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALESJune 2012: 7.03 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +17%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +1%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +19%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -11%
Q2 2012: 20.43 million copies, +23% vs. Q2 2011
YEAR TO DATE: 38.32 million copies, +20% vs. 2011, -9% vs. 2007, +14% vs. 2002, -24% vs. 1997
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
June 2012 versus one year ago this month: +12.14%
Q2 2012 versus Q2 2011: +23.34
YEAR TO DATE: +19.21%
TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALESJune 2012: $24.92 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +21%
Versus 5 years ago this month:+13%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +48%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +32%
Q2 2012: $71.98 million, +25% vs. Q2 2011
YEAR TO DATE: $133.58 million, +20% vs. 2011, +1% vs. 2007, +41% vs. 2002, +12% vs. 1997
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
June 2012 versus one year ago this month: +14.97%
Q2 2012 versus Q2 2011: +15.81%
YEAR TO DATE: +20.47%
TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALESJune 2012: $7.46 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -1%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +67%
Q2 2012: $22.49 million, +29% vs. Q2 2011
YEAR TO DATE: $40.62 million, +25% vs. 2011
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
June 2012 versus one year ago this month: +2.51%
Q2 2012 versus Q2 2011: +23.33%
YEAR TO DATE: +13.49%
TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALESJune 2012: $32.37 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +19%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +10%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 50 TPBs: +26%
Q2 2012: $94.47 million, +26% vs. 2011
YEAR TO DATE: $174.2 million, +21% vs. 2011
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
June 2012 versus one year ago this month: +10.74%
Q2 2012 versus Q2 2011: +18.14%
YEAR TO DATE: +18.16%
OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)June 2012: approximately $40.5 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +15%
Q2 2012: $121.18 million, +23% vs. 2011
YEAR TO DATE: $222.99 million, +18% vs. 2011
The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.54, with the average comic book ordered by retailers costing $3.54. $3.50 was the median price of comics, and $2.99 was the most common price.
At present, a completely flat second half of 2012 would bring the year in nearly at $450 million, or up 8%. It would also be the best year of the century so far. But again, even in our worst years, the second half of the year has always beaten the first half — at least, in the 21st Century — so a letdown in the second half of 2012 would be something new. We'll see whether Walking Dead #100, "Marvel Now," and the other new things in the mix can keep the momentum going.
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