Friday, November 6, 2015
by John Jackson Miller
Diamond Comic Distributors. That's a healthy month but only the third best for the year.
However, any comparison with last October, which was the best month in seventeen years for the Direct Market, must begin with the difference in new release volume. Diamond shipped 743 new comics, graphic novels, and magazines in the month — versus an astounding 1,020 last October; a fifth week might have brought the month into closer parity this time out. Marvel and DC's slates were much smaller this October: Marvel shipped 68 new comics versus 94 last year, while DC's new-release volume went from 109 comics to 78.
Smaller new release volumes can be seen for the smaller publishers, as well; Dynamite offered less than half as many comics this October than it did last October. In any event, a month in which new release volume is off by 28% while sales are off less than 10% likely nets out positive: the titles that are out there are doing relatively better. (Last October also saw the Loot Crate Walking Dead release; another complicating factor for comparisons.)
The comparative sales statistics for the month:
|October 2015 vs. September 2015|
|October 2015 vs. October 2014|
|Year-To-Date 2015 vs. 2014|
Top-selling comic books
|1||Invincible Iron Man #1||$3.99||Marvel|
|2||Amazing Spider-Man #1||$5.99||Marvel|
|4||Secret Wars #6||$3.99||Marvel|
|5||Doctor Strange #1||$4.99||Marvel|
|6||Star Wars #10||$3.99||Marvel|
|8||Star Wars: Shattered Empire #2||$3.99||Marvel|
|9||Guardians Of The Galaxy #1||$3.99||Marvel|
|10||Amazing Spider-Man #2||$3.99||Marvel|
Top-selling graphic novels
|1||Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes||$19.99||Marvel|
|2||Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1: Vader||$19.99||Marvel|
|3||Bitch Planet Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine||$9.99||Image|
|4||Deathstroke Book and Mask Set||$29.99||DC|
|5||Marvel Super Hero: Contest Of Champions Vol. 1||$7.99||Marvel|
|6||The Walking Dead Compendium Volume 3||$59.99||Image|
|7||Saga Volume 5||$14.99||Image|
|8||Outcast By Kirkman & Azaceta Volume 2||$14.99||Image|
|9||Lumberjanes Volume 2||$14.99||Boom|
|10||Injection Volume 1||$9.99||Image|
Now for the market shares, which found Marvel beating DC nearly two-to-one in dollar shares. It is Marvel's highest dollar share since December 2009, when it posted 44.57%; and DC's lowest dollar share since March 1998, which was just a bit lower at 21.83%. That was DC's low-water mark for the Diamond Exclusive Era, incidentally; Marvel's high for the era was September 2008, and 45.31%. Recall that market share means little without considering the size of the pie; October 2015 is enough larger than August and September that DC's order volume is in fact not that much changed from those months.
|Dollar share||Unit share|
|Comics shipped||Graphic novels shipped||Magazines shipped||Total shipped|
There is more to come for the Marvel relaunch, but at least for the moment, the market has burnt off more than half of the year-to-year increase it had banked in the first six months. 2015 so far is somewhat resembling 2008, which was when the momentum behind the Civil War-era early 2000 boomlet started to wane, but a strong holiday season could easily break that pattern.
He is the author of several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium, now available. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket Books. Visit his fiction site, and be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.