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More than 139,000 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

75 years of Superman -- and a whole mountain of comics sold

by John Jackson Miller

Today is being celebrated as the 75th anniversary of Superman's first appearance, so I thought I would update one of the resources on the site. I now have the information from every single circulation form with sales data ever published in the main Superman title; I had been missing a few of the details when I first posted this material four years ago here, but now it is all online. (I've got everything for Action, too — that post is coming soon.)

Sales data begins in Superman in 1960 and runs until DC stopped publishing postal statements in 1987. By that time, the series had transformed into Adventures of Superman; it may appear to be information for two titles, but as far as the Postal Service regulations were concerned, it's all one series. (It later changed back to Superman with #650.)

Superman, we see in the yearly tables, was the #1 title for several years in the 1960s — and probably in 1963-64 as well, years in which DC published Statements with no sales figures.

While the Statement of Ownership period at DC is only a chunk of the title's long history, I include a little bit about estimated sales before 1960 and after 1987. Everything from 1996 to present  can be found in the monthly sales charts here on site; that gives us about 44 years of data.

The main title alone has had total all-time sales in the nine figures, just in North America.

I also have a post from a few years ago getting into how many copies of Action #1 were initially printed and sold.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013

March 2013 comics sales estimates now online

by John Jackson Miller

As noted here last week, sales in the Direct Market were up considerably in March, according to data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comics shops in North America ordered $41.3 million worth of comics and graphic novels in March, beating the previous year's total by nearly 23%.

Guardians of the Galaxy #1 led the market, with orders topping 200,000 copies. Click to see the estimated sales for comics for March 2013.

The Top 300 graphic novels posted nearly $9 million in sales, the highest figure for that category ever. However, the figures this month were distorted considerably by heavy discounting. Marvel sold several million dollars worth of hardcovers to retailers in a sale, inflating the total retail value of books sold.

We can partially see this by adding up everything that sold in the Top 300 Comics and Top 300 Graphic Novels categories: if all books were counted at full retail, Marvel's share of those sales would have topped 50% this month. But Marvel's overall dollar share was reported as 40% by Diamond, which makes its calculations based on wholesale dollars. So while Marvel did move more dollars worth of material (unadjusted for inflation) into shops in March than in any month in the last 17 years, an asterisk is probably in order.

It's still a blockbuster month for this time of year, no matter what. The aggregate sales:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2013: 7.2 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +18%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +29%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +1%
YEAR TO DATE: 20.93 million copies, +17% vs. 2012, +10% vs. 2008, +23% vs. 2003, +1% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +21.43%
YEAR TO DATE: +18.62%

---

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2013: $25.93 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +25%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +35%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +65%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +48%
YEAR TO DATE: $75.2 million, +22% vs. 2012, +26% vs. 2008, +57% vs. 2003, +51% vs. 1998

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +26.28%
YEAR TO DATE: +21.38%

---

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2013: $8.97 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +39%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +25%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +44
YEAR TO DATE: $22.78 million, +26% vs. 2012

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +14.33%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.22%

---

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2013: $34.89 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +28%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +34%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +62%
YEAR TO DATE: $97.97 million, +23% vs. 2012

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
March 2013 versus one year ago this month: +22.59%
YEAR TO DATE: +19.78%

---

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
March 2013: approximately $41.33 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +23%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +32%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +69%
YEAR TO DATE: $121.94 million, +20% vs. 2012

The average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.59; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $3.60. The median price for comics offered was $3.97, and the most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

The Flashback column for Marches past is also online here at Comichron: click to read about the best-sellers from March five, ten, 25, and even 50 years ago.

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Friday, April 5, 2013

March 2013 comics sales: The beats go on

by John Jackson Miller


Spring arrived in the comics industry with sales up considerably in the Direct Market, according to preliminary data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comics shops in North America appear to have ordered $41.3 million worth of comics and graphic novels in March, beating the previous year's total by nearly 23%.

The first quarter of the year wasn't able to top the last quarter of 2012 — that would have been extremely difficult — but it made a good run at it, coming in at around $122 million versus $128 million for the fourth quarter. And it beat the first quarter of 2012 handily, by nearly 20%, or $20 million. That's one of the bigger year-to-year quarterly increases we've seen.

And whereas the first quarter of 2012 had 13 shipping weeks, the first quarter of 2013 only had 12, because the comics that shipped first week of January were invoiced to retailers in December and not counted with this year.

The aggregate sales figures:


 

DOLLARS
UNITS
MARCH 2013 VS. FEBRUARY 2013
COMICS
3.05%
2.78%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
7.77%
17.00%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
4.36%
3.71%
MARCH 2013 VS. MARCH 2012
COMICS
26.28%
21.43%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
14.33%
7.78%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
22.59%
20.31%
FIRST QUARTER 2013 VS. FOURTH QUARTER 2012
COMICS
-4.13%
-3.62%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-6.00%
-2.09%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-4.70%
-3.51%
FIRST QUARTER 2013 VS. FIRST QUARTER 2012
COMICS
21.38%
18.62%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
16.22%
12.38%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
19.78%
18.15%

Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven's Guardians of the Galaxy #1 was the top-ordered book by retailers. Every title in the Top 10 had a cover price of $3.99.
 (The Flashback column for Marches past is now online here at Comichron: click to read about the best-sellers from March five, ten, 25, and even 50 years ago.)

The top comics:


RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
$3.99

Marvel
2
Age of Ultron #1
$3.99

Marvel
3
Batman #18
$3.99

DC
4
Wolverine #1
$3.99

Marvel
5
Age of Ultron #2
$3.99

Marvel
6
Justice League #18
$3.99

DC
7
Age of Ultron #3
$3.99

Marvel
8
Superior Spider-Man #5
$3.99

Marvel
9
Justice League of America #2
$3.99

DC
10
All New X-Men #8
$3.99

Marvel

The Batman Vol. 2 City of Owls hardcover topped the graphic novel charts for the month. The top graphic novels:


RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
Batman HC Vol. 2 The City of Owls
$24.99

DC
2
Batman SC Vol. 1 The Court of Owls
$16.99

DC
3
Hawkeye SC Vol. 1 My Life as Weapon Now
$16.99

Marvel
4
Avatar Last Airbender SC Vol. 4 Search Part 1
$10.99

Dark Horse
5
Walking Dead SC Vol. 1 Days Gone Bye
$14.99

Image
6
Avengers Vs. X-Men SC
$34.99

Marvel
7
Kick-Ass 2 SC
$19.99

Marvel
8
Kick-Ass 2 Prelude Hit-Girl Prem HC
$24.99

Marvel
9
Saga SC Vol. 1
$9.99

Image
10
Earth 2 HC Vol 1 The Gathering
$22.99

DC

The market shares:


PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
MARVEL COMICS
39.96%
43.78%
DC COMICS
27.09%
29.88%
IMAGE COMICS
8.01%
7.88%
IDW PUBLISHING
6.34%
5.24%
DARK HORSE COMICS
4.72%
4.16%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
2.16%
1.87%
BOOM! STUDIOS
1.68%
1.49%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD
0.97%
0.20%
VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC
0.86%
0.84%
AVATAR PRESS INC
0.83%
0.60%
OTHER NON-TOP 10
7.38%
4.06%


It would appear that every publisher in the top three is up in sales over a year ago. Image's March sales are up 47% in dollar terms; Marvel's, up 35%. DC's are up 7.3%. Other publishers have been catching up to DC's blazing pace from late 2011 and early 2012, but DC's sales are, in fact, ahead for 2013 overall. 

The full estimates will be along next week.

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