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.
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%
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%
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%
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%
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
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.
John 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!