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July 2012 comics sales: Steady as she goes

Friday, August 3, 2012

by John Jackson Miller

Coinciding with the release of the July jobs report in the United States, Diamond Comic Distributors released its comics sales report for the month — and again, it depicts a comics market in the midst of a robust recovery. Comic book stores ordered approximately $40 million in comic books and graphic novels in the month, slightly less than in the month of June but more than 20%, or more than $7 million, more than July 2011. Click to see the preliminary top-seller list from July.

The Walking Dead #100 is, of course, the big news in the Direct Market for the month; it looks to be the best selling comic book of the last several years, with its multiple covers. Reports from the publisher are of sales of well over 300,000 copies — but The Comics Chronicles will wait until next week's final estimates to suggest where the title might rank in the 21st century list. 

Note that the list is based on known orders from Diamond, not what the publisher said it sold — and thus the two figures will naturally differ. The Diamond figures don't include newsstand or overseas sales, and the July figure won't include any copies that have shipped so far in August. There's a reason these tables are only updated annually here: we'll have a clearer picture in January. But for now, we're likely to find that something like one out of every 25 comic books retailers ordered in July was a Walking Dead #100 variant!

The issue helped Image build a dollar market share of 9.42%, which is the highest placement for the publisher since amassing 9.95% of the market in Feburary 2003, a month in which it put 35 titles in the Top 300. IDW's 6.61% was just a shade off its previous 6.66% record, set in February.
 
Comics periodical unit sales were up 15.24% over last July. The top-selling graphic novel in this Batman: The Dark Knight Rises release month was Batman: Earth One, and that portion of the market continues to move along at nearly 17% over last year.

With July we're comparing a four-week month versus a four-week month last year, and this August will be a five-week month versus a five-week month. But the July report is the last one which compares only with figures from before the DC reboot; last August's report included sales from Justice League #1. With comics and graphic novels combined, last July was a pretty good month relative to what had come before, with orders of close to $38 million. But the Direct Market has been posting months better than that all summer. For the year of 2012, Direct Market orders are up 18.51%, or more than $40 million, to $263 million.

The below aggregate change figures are based on a revision Diamond provided after its initial release this morning, which had included year-to-date figures that were slightly lower than what is reported here:


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

DOLLARS
UNITS
JULY 2012 VS. JUNE 2012
COMICS
0.61%
-1.96%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-4.36%
6.45%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-0.95%
-1.33%
JULY 2012 VS. JULY 2011
COMICS
22.09%
15.24%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
16.89%
18.25%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
20.46%
15.48%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2012 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2011
COMICS
20.72%
18.59%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
13.98%
10.80%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
18.51%
17.95%


And here are the market shares:


PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
DC COMICS
32.71%
36.55%
MARVEL COMICS
31.96%
35.45%
IMAGE COMICS
9.42%
9.39%
IDW PUBLISHING
6.61%
4.51%
DARK HORSE COMICS
4.51%
3.79%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
2.77%
2.64%
BOOM! STUDIOS
1.38%
1.30%
ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT
1.22%
1.04%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS
1.20%
0.27%
VIZ MEDIA
0.95%
0.42%
OTHER NON-TOP 10
7.28%
4.65%

As described in this essay from after San Diego, there do appear to be many positive currents flowing comics' way this year. July, at least, appears to have been consistent with the trend.

The full estimates will appear next week. In the meantime, be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

1 comments:

Anonymous,  August 4, 2012 at 12:39 AM  

You know what I noticed this year, it may be just an opinion or maybe it's not a coincidence, but as Comics are doing well, Video Game sales are suffering.. In the past Video Games have prevailed and many people have thought that Comics are dying but right now it's totally the opposite.

http://www.digitalspy.com/gaming/news/a396919/playstation-console-video-game-sales-in-quarterly-decline.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/erikkain/2012/05/11/video-game-sales-down-42-in-april-due-to-lack-of-new-releases-aging-consoles/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2012/04/13/us-game-sales-down-25-from-last-year-but-why/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/12/video-game-sales_n_1669771.html

The last of the three coincidentally enough says that the best selling game right now Is Lego Batman. Also that Video Game sales have been going down hill 7 months in a row, a total opposite with comics where the comic book industry has been doing very strong in the last several months.

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