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

 

Monday, April 11, 2016

March 2016 Comics Sales Estimates online; Batman tops 163k copies, Walking Dead Vol. 25 sells 19k

by John Jackson Miller

http://bit.ly/CCBat50
The full report on North American comics shop orders in the month of March has been reported by Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, a very strong month for graphic novel orders was enough to erase the shortfall during the first two months of the year. The first quarter ended up 1.32%, with the graphic novel portion up 12.67%. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in March 2016.

Batman #50, priced at  $5.99 price, led the comics chart with orders topping 163,000 copies, followed by Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 with nearly 120,000 copies shipped. Many variant covers helped the Boom Studios release, and while there were launch parties that provided a number of free copies to retailers, judging from the quantity/dollar ranking split those copies do not appear to have impacted the title's final placement in the charts.

Meanwhile, Walking Dead Vol. 25 topped the graphic novel list in its debut month with more than 19,000 copies shipped to retailers. The performance of top-sellers and a significant number of high-profile hardcovers combined with a larger volume of new releases to result in graphic novel sales in March being up 36.36%: deep discounting does not appear to have played as much of a role this time out.

Overall, performance on the periodical side continues to lag graphic novels. In particular, we are continuing to see degradation in the depth of the market when it comes to new comics: this month's 300th place title sold 4,269 copies, which is the lowest such figure for a month with five shipping weeks since February 2012. Click to see the sales of 300th-place titles across time.

We have a new record for the average cover price of all comics placing in the Top 300: $3.96, eclipsing the previous high by a cent. The average is still flirting with topping the modal $3.99 level, which would be a significant benchmark to cross.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2016: 6.09 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +1%
Versus 10 years ago this month: -14%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +22%
YEAR TO DATE: 18.45 million copies, -11% vs. 2015, +19% vs. 2011, -1% vs. 2006, +21% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
March 2016 versus one year ago this month: -8.45%
YEAR TO DATE: -9.16%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2016: $24.72 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +20%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +13%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +79%
YEAR TO DATE: $72.8 million, -9% vs. 2015, +35% vs. 2011, +29% vs. 2006, +75% vs. 2001
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
March 2016 versus one year ago this month: +0.53%
YEAR TO DATE: -3.4%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2016: $8.67 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +16%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +4%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +96%
YEAR TO DATE: $24.49 million, +30% vs. 2015
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
March 2016 versus one year ago this month: +36.36%
YEAR TO DATE: +12.67%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES
March 2016: $33.39 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +16%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +4%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +96%
YEAR TO DATE: $96.67 million, -2% vs. 2015
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
March 2016 versus one year ago this month: +11.04%
YEAR TO DATE: +1.32%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
March 2016: approximately $46.58 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +11%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +35%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +34%
YEAR TO DATE: $129.58 million, +1 vs. 2015

RELEASES
New comic books released: 488
New graphic novels released: 371
New magazines released: 81
All new releases: 940

As noted, the average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.96; the average comic book retailers ordered cost $4.06. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.

Another first quarter weathered. Comichron reminds readers that because of lower volumes, the winter months tend not to impact the end-of-year results as much as other seasons do. But while Winter 2016 has not dug a hole for the industry, neither has it given it much of a head-start.

http://bit.ly/STPrey1
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, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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

Friday, April 8, 2016

2016 turns positive with strong March: Walking Dead Vol. 25, Batman, Power Rangers lead lists

by John Jackson Miller
http://amzn.to/1qceFJEA slow start to 2016 was erased with a March that saw extremely strong graphic novel sales, thanks to a much-larger-than-usual new release slate led by Walking Dead Vol. 25.

The preliminary report on the month from Diamond Comic Distributors, released today, found that North American comics shops ordered approximately $46.58 million in comics, graphic novels, and magazines in March, as compared to $41.95 million last March.

The resulting 11.04% year-over-year dollar increase was enough to erase the shortfall during the first two months of the year; the first quarter ended up 1.32%, with the graphic novel portion up 12.67%. In March alone, graphic novel dollar sales were up 36.36%.

The aggregate statistics:

DOLLARS UNITS
March 2016 vs. February 2016
Comics 3.62% 2.59%
Graphic Novels 31.90% 26.24%
Total Comics/GNs 12.29% 4.61%
March 2016 vs. March 2015
Comics 0.53% -8.45%
Graphic Novels 36.36% 34.78%
Total Comics/GNs 11.04% -5.31%
Year-To-Date 2016 vs. Year-To-Date 2015
Comics -3.40% -9.16%
Graphic Novels 12.67% 13.56%
Total Comics/GNs 1.32% -7.53%


Caveat department: This March had five shipping weeks versus four shipping weeks last year, and in a circumstance made more likely by this being a leap year, the first quarter of 2016 had 13 New Comics Days versus 12 in 2015. So the March increase is sort of in line with what we'd expect from an additional week in a month, but normally we'd expect the year to be doing just a little better to date for the additional week.

Also, periodical unit sales were down 8.45% for the month year-over-year, even though there was no Loot Crate comic book distorting the statistics in March 2015.

While comics units were down, comics dollars were up, thanks in part to the category-leading Batman #50 and its $5.99 price, releasing the same month that the Batman/Superman movie came out. Also noteworthy is the performance of Boom's Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1, which debuted at a startling second place. Rankingwise, that's far better than the title's performance during its 1994-96 incarnations.

Top selling comic books
Comic Book Price Publisher
1 Batman #50 $5.99 DC
2 Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1 $3.99 Boom
3 Star Wars #17 $3.99 Marvel
4 Superman #50 $4.99 DC
5 Amazing Spider-Man #9 $3.99 Marvel
6 Darth Vader #17 $3.99 Marvel
7 Darth Vader #18 $3.99 Marvel
8 Deadpool #8 $3.99 Marvel
9 International Iron Man #1 $3.99 Marvel
10 Avengers Standoff: Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha #1 $4.99 Marvel

The graphic novel side, as noted, was led by Walking Dead Vol. 25. The Paper Girls Vol. 1 trade paperback launched strongly — and noteworthy was the top-ten placement of the $50 Secret Wars hardcover.

Top selling graphic novels
Graphic Novel Price Publisher
1 The Walking Dead Volume 25: No Turning Back $14.99 Image
2 Paper Girls Volume 1 $9.99 Image
3 Civil War $24.99 Marvel
4 Tokyo Ghost Volume 1: Atomic Garden $9.99 Image
5 Batman Volume 7: Endgame $16.99 DC
6 Beauty Volume 1 $9.99 Image
7 East Of West Volume 5: All These Secrets $14.99 Image
8 Secret Wars HC $50.00 Marvel
9 Batman Volume 8: Superheavy HC $24.99 DC
10 Avatar The Last Airbender Volume 12: Smoke & Shadow Part 3 $10.99 Dark Horse

The market shares found Marvel leading both categories, with Boom leaping to fifth thanks to the Power Rangers offering:

Market shares
Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 37.39% 42.71%
DC 26.32% 25.94%
Image 8.73% 8.63%
IDW 5.82% 4.41%
Boom 3.26% 4.07%
Dark Horse 2.82% 2.47%
Dynamite 1.69% 1.56%
Viz 1.45% 0.63%
Titan 1.42% 1.48%
Eaglemoss 1.21% 0.34%
Other 9.88% 7.77%
 If you missed it earlier this week, be sure to examine our 25-year track of market shares.

Finally, we see that the number of offerings was significantly up over last March, largely due to the extra week in the month:

Comics shipped Graphic Novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 84 44 0 128
DC 77 40 0 117
IDW 50 32 0 82
Image 54 19 0 73
Eaglemoss 0 0 47 47
Viz 0 43 0 43
Dark Horse 23 16 0 39
Titan 19 11 5 35
Boom 23 11 0 34
Dynamite 18 2 0 20
Other 140 153 29 322
TOTAL 488 371 81 940

While the 2016 list for March only includes 33 additional comic books, the graphic novel slate was much larger, with 113 additional graphic novels offered. That's a big addition. Also noteworthy is the sheer number of action-figure magazines that Eaglemoss put out: 47 is likely the largest number we've seen in this category.

Final estimates for March will appear here next week.

http://bit.ly/STPrey1
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, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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

Sunday, April 3, 2016

A 25-year track of comics publisher market shares

by John Jackson Miller

By popular demand, I have added a landing page on Comichron encapsulating the larger publisher market shares as far back as they are known, which is to 1991. You can click to see the annual market shares across time, which will be the permanent home of this material -- but I'll be recapping it all below.



Diamond Comic Distributors, the sales agent for most North American comics publishers serving the comics shop "direct market," reports annual market shares at the end of the year for its sales of comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines. Above are the reported full-year market shares for several consistently large publishers over the last several years.

Before 1993, the figures are from Capital City Distribution, because Diamond did not report annual shares back then; 1991 was Capital City's first year for reporting them. Previously, Marvel's share in the 1980s was thought to have topped 70%, if you included the newsstand; that lead eroded in the late 1980s with the Black-and-White Independent Comics Boom, and the rise of several new publishers including, in the early 1990s, Malibu and Valiant.

Marvel share dropped precipitously in the early 1990s due to the departure of many of its top creators to start Image. There were no annual shares figures available during the Exclusivity Wars of 1995-96, when it was no longer possible to obtain all comics from a single distributor. (Read more about that period here and here.) That coincided with Marvel's sales collapse and later bankruptcy. DC passed Marvel in the late 1990s due to its early and aggressive adoption of graphic novels and trade paperbacks.

Marvel reclaimed the lead in the early 2000s. Image's share decreased in the late 1990s due to Wildstorm Studios' move to DC, with the publisher's percentages improving later following the debut of the Walking Dead TV show. IDW, launching in the early 2000s, grew steadily in that decade and became the #4 publisher in the 2010s. Dark Horse, as you see, remained fairly steadily around that 5% line for the past quarter-century. DC ticked up again in 2011 during its relaunch; Marvel has increased its lead in recent years.

The above figures account for the majority of the comic books moving through the comics shop system, though in more recent years the book channel has grown much larger. The above chart does not reflect sales to chain bookstores, Amazon, or digital sales; only what was sold to comics shops. As the calculation includes non-comics magazines, the true share for each publisher is probably slightly higher each month.

You can find many more charts of this nature in our Vital Statistics section.

http://bit.ly/STPrey1
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, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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