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

 

Monday, May 18, 2015

April 2015 comics sales break records aplenty; $9.99 Deadpool #45 top dollar item

by John Jackson Miller

Modern-era records fell all over the place last month in the comic shop market, according to Comichron's analysis of data reported by Diamond Comic Distributors. Click to see the comics sales estimates for April 2015.

Among the Diamond Era records that fell, or nearly fell:

Comics ordered (units): Retailers ordered 8.39 million copies of the Top 300 comic books in the month. That bests any figure since December 1997, when the figure was 8.99 million copies preordered. (That was the month that Darkness #11 had eleven covers.) Notably, eleven comic books had orders of more than 100,000 copies; that didn't even happen during the DC relaunch in 2011. The last month with 12 titles above 100,000 copies was July 2007.

Comics unit sales are up by more than 50% over the same month five years ago. This is a statistic worth keeping in mind: while increased prices have contributed to the topline figures in the business, there has been growth in the number of copies sold, greater than can be accounted for by variant covers.

Comics ordered (dollars): Retailers ordered $33.72 million worth of the Top 300 comics, beating by nearly $2 million a record set last October. That was due to the unit sales mentioned above, and also...

Comics cover prices: The average comic book in the Diamond Top 300 cost $3.82, eclipsing the old record by four cents. The average Top 300 comic book retailers ordered (the weighted price) was $4.02, another record. Both were impacted by what was actually the top dollar volume comic book in the industry, Marvel's Deadpool #45. Celebrating 250 issues of the title in its various incarnations, the $9.99 book had unit sales of just under 100,000 copies, and thus total retail dollar volume of just under $1 million.

http://bit.ly/CCWD23
The presence of the title in the charts pulled the average cost of the Top 25 comics to $4.39; I don't keep records on that but it sure sounds like one. The median and most offered price in the Top 300 remained $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

Graphic novels ordered (dollars): The Top 300 graphic novels, aided by a new Walking Dead volume, topped $9 million for the first time—or second, depending on how you're counting. December 2013 was an aberration in the charts with a ridiculous number of graphic novels sent to market at deep discounts, meaning more than $10 million in volume at full retail was purchased; but as we noted at the time, the figure was much inflated. April's performance appears to be built more on books that were offered at something closer to their usual discounts.

• Finally, as noted here Friday, comics, graphic novels, and magazines combined had orders of $56.72 million, another record; the year now stands at close to $185 million, nearly $20 more than the first four months of 2014.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2015: 8.39 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +51%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +39%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +45%
YEAR TO DATE: 29.16 million copies, +15% vs. 2014, +29% vs. 2010, +24% vs. 2005, +29% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +22.5%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.22%


TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2015: $33.72 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +21%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +75%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +96%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +119%
YEAR TO DATE: $113.35 million, +18% vs. 2014, +44% vs. 2010, +69% vs. 2005, +90% vs. 2000

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +19.75%
YEAR TO DATE: +15.58%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2015: $9.01 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +19%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -4%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +32%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +154%
YEAR TO DATE: $27.83 million, -1% vs. 2014

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +13.45%
YEAR TO DATE: +4.37%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
April 2015: $42.73 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +20%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +57%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +70%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +135%
YEAR TO DATE: $141.15 million, +14% vs. 2014

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
April 2015 versus one year ago this month: +17.75%
YEAR TO DATE: +12%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
April 2015: approximately $56.72 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +18%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +77%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +107%
YEAR TO DATE: $184.61 million, +12% vs. 2014

RELEASES
New comic books released: 545
New graphic novels released: 314
New magazines released: 44
All new releases: 903

All in all, a decent start to the year. We'll see next month how the Avengers movie, Free Comic Book Day, and Secret Wars have affected the picture.

http://bit.ly/SWNewDawnJohn 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 several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. See him next at Star Wars Day, Saturday, June 6 in at the Joliet Public Library in Joliet, Ill.

Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

Friday, May 15, 2015

April 2015 comics sales boom; Star Wars #4, Convergence, new Walking Dead GN lead lists

by John Jackson Miller
http://bit.ly/CCMarvSW4
Last year, April provided a big rebound from a weak winter in comics sales; this year's winter was strong in comics shops, and its April was better still. Retailers ordered $56.72 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in April, according to Diamond Comic Distributors, beating last October's Diamond Era record by more than $600,000.

Last April's sales were up 17% over the same month in 2013, but had the advantage of a fifth shipping week that April 2013 did not have. This April had five shipping weeks so it's an even comparison — and even so, it was up by even more: 17.75%.

A lot can be attributed to strength in graphic novel orders, which have been generally softer than sales for comics this year: with a new Walking Dead volume and the Avengers: Rage of Ultron hardcover in the mix graphic novels were up 13.45%. The industry now stands up 12% year-over year.

The aggregate sales changes:

  DOLLARS UNITS
APRIL 2015 VS. MARCH 2014    
Comics 32.70% 27.45%
Graphic Novels 41.29% 41.25%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs 35.22% 28.45%
     
APRIL 2015 VS. APRIL 2014    
Comics 19.75% 22.50%
Graphic Novels 13.45% 10.03%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs 17.75% 21.40%
     
YEAR-TO-DATE 2015 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2014    
Comics 15.58% 16.22%
Graphic Novels 4.37% -3.63%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs 12.00% 14.47%
 
Marvel's Star Wars #4 led the charts; Star Wars titles have taken the #1 slot in the Direct Market comic shops every month this year. (Orphan Black #1 in February topped the charts because of its sales through Loot Crate; there weren't any comics in the April Loot Crate, but it's not clear from the initial lists whether anything in April saw any boosts similar repackagers.) DC's weekly Convergence series had five weeks to work with, and took five slots in the Top 10.

Top 10 Comic Books
  Description Price Vendor
1 Star Wars #4 $3.99 Marvel
2 Convergence #0* $4.99 DC
3 Convergence #1* $4.99 DC
4 Batman #40 $4.99 DC
5 Darth Vader #4 $3.99 Marvel
6 Convergence #2* $3.99 DC
7 Convergence #3* $3.99 DC
8 Kanan: The Last Padawan #1 $3.99 Marvel
9 Convergence #4* $3.99 DC
10 Princess Leia #3 $3.99 Marvel

Issues of Convergence were returnable, which is what the asterisks in the chart mean. Diamond reduced their reported sales slightly to reflect the possibility of returns, but DC will get credit in the charts at the end of the year for any additional copies sold.

Top 10 Graphic Novels  
  Description Price Vendor
1 The Walking Dead Vol. 23 $14.99 Image
2 Avengers: Rage of Ultron HC $24.99 Marvel
3 Fables Volume 21: Happily Ever After $17.99 DC
4 Batman Vol. 5: Zero Year: Dark City $16.99 DC
5 Saga Volume 4 $14.99 Image
6 Jupiter's Legacy Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
7 Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Hot In The City $16.99 DC
8 Batman Volume 6: The Graveyard Shift HC $24.99 DC
9 The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye $14.99 Image
10 Lumberjanes Vol. 1 $14.99 Boom

Marvel and DC's market shares were closer this month, owing partially to Convergence. The eighth spot for Titan marks the highest that publisher's ever been:

Market Shares 
  Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 34.15% 36.33%
DC 30.91% 33.90%
Image 10.23% 11.18%
IDW 6.00% 4.78%
Dark Horse 3.65% 2.92%
Boom 2.17% 1.98%
Dynamite 2.05% 1.78%
Titan 0.95% 0.90%
Avatar 0.94% 0.73%
Oni 0.89% 0.54%
Other 8.05% 4.97%

Finally, new release volume. Diamond shipped 543 new comic books this April, versus 481 last April. But last October saw even more new releases — 590 comics and 60 additional new graphic novels—and yet this April's topline sales were higher. It's not just how many books are coming out, it's what the books are.

Below are the number of items that Diamond reported sales on for the first time in April:

 New release volume
  Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 88 40 1 129
DC 88 33 1 122
IDW 61 31 0 92
Image 74 15 0 89
Dark Horse 32 24 0 56
Boom 39 11 0 50
Dynamite 35 4 0 39
Avatar 12 2 1 15
Titan 7 3 4 14
Oni 8 5 0 13
Other 101 146 37 284
TOTAL 545 314 44 903

The full charts with estimates should be out Monday.



http://bit.ly/SWNewDawnJohn 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 several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. See him next at Star Wars Day, Saturday, June 6 in at the Joliet Public Library in Joliet, Ill.

Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!
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