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Wide range of publishers help May 2013 comics orders top $45 million

Friday, June 7, 2013

by John Jackson Miller

Last May was, as the just-posted Flashback column reminds us, a blockbuster — using attention from the Avengers film release and the first of the DC relaunch hardcovers to post the largest bottom line number, unadjusted for inflation, since at least 1994.

That figure would be only eclipsed in October 2012 — and again by 1% now, one year later. Direct Market orders for comics and trade paperbacks topped $45 million for only the second time in the Diamond Exclusive Era, according to Comichron's interpretation of data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors.

October 2012, at $47.2 million, still is the best mark, but the $45.1 million of this May seems built upon orders from a wide variety of publishers.

The total market share of the Top 5 producers — Marvel, DC, Image, IDW, and Dark Horse, just topped 80%, the lowest sum for that grouping since November 2005, when IDW was still around 1% of the market. It's not that the larger publishers sold less merchandise: remember, the pie is larger, so all five are in the middle to high end of their historic ranges. But nearly $9 million came from publishers outside the top five, and that is a figure we have not seen since the 1990s, when we had a "Big Six" (with Valiant and Malibu in the IDW slot). Some of the help came from Boom, which topped the trade paperback market with its Adventure Time graphic novels.

The aggregate change figures are as follows:

DOLLARS UNITS
MAY 2013 VS. APRIL 2013
Comics 6.95% 5.42%
Graphic Novels 15.79% 5.88%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels 9.76% 5.46%
MAY 2013 VS. MAY 2012
Comics 0.97% -2.62%
Graphic Novels 1.00% 3.17%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels 0.98% -2.15%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2013 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2012
Comics 15.04% 12.25%
Graphic Novels 12.01% 11.45%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels 14.07% 12.19%

The market shares:

PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
Marvel
33.36%
37.44%
DC
28.27%
30.84%
Image
7.48%
8.11%
IDW
6.28%
4.77%
Dark Horse
4.73%
4.36%
Dynamic Forces/Dynamite
3.50%
3.30%
Boom
2.97%
2.63%
Eaglemoss
1.57%
0.37%
Avatar
0.92%
0.76%
Zenescope
0.90%
0.82%
Other
10.02%
6.60%

Marvel's relaunched X-Men #1 — the fourth title by that name, by my count — led the market, with six Marvel and four DC titles in the Top 10. The top comics:

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE VENDOR
1 X-Men #1 $3.99 Marvel
2 Batman #20 $3.99 DC
3 Justice League #20 $3.99 DC
4 Age of Ultron #7 $3.99 Marvel
5 Age of Ultron #8 $3.99 Marvel
6 Superior Spider-Man #9 $3.99 Marvel
7 Superior Spider-Man #10 $3.99 Marvel
8 Justice League of America #3 $3.99 DC
9 All New X-Men #11 $3.99 Marvel
10 Detective Comics #20 $3.99 DC

The top graphic novels:

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE VENDOR
1 Adventure Time Vol. 1 Playing Fire $11.99 Boom
2 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
3 Walking Dead Vol. 1 Days Gone Bye $14.99 Image
4 Superman Earth One Vol. 1 $12.99 DC
5 Adventure Time Marceline & The Screamqueen Vol. 1 $19.99 Boom
6 Deadpool Vol. 1 Dead Presidents $15.99 Marvel
7 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Vol. 1 $17.99 IDW
8 Superior Spider-Man Vol. 1 My Own Worst Enemy $17.99 Marvel
9 Superman Action Vol. 1 Superman Men of Steel $16.99 DC
10 Girl with the Dragon Tattoo HC Vol. 2 $19.99 DC

The final estimates will be along next week.

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