This morning, Diamond Comic Distributors released its detailed report on comics and graphic novels ordered by North American comics shops in December, and here at Comichron we've completed our estimates based on it. Click to see our comics sales estimates for December 2016.
I wrote yesterday about December and how its lackluster performance nonetheless brought the Direct Market year to a positive conclusion overall, up $1.7 million over last year — but allow a quick digression here on the presentation of the tables here at Comichron.
We are, as you may have seen, in the middle of a redesign, our first since 2008 — and unlike that event, forced hurriedly by the failure of a previous content management system, the new look for the site is the result of a lot of thought into how I can get more data — and I have much that is unpublished — online more efficiently and in a more useful manner.
To that end, I've made changes to my workflow, automating many file preparation steps that for 20 years on the spreadsheet side have been done by hand. On the web side, the styles for the tables — which once came in with lots of bric-a-brac courtesy of Microsoft Excel — have been standardized across the site. Only a handful of recent months have the new design, but each file is about half the size of its previous incarnation, loading faster. (You may need to hit refresh on some pages to see the new versions.)
More importantly, the new issue-level data tables are now all sortable by column. You can resort and reverse ranks by dollar rank, title, issue number, price, publisher, and number of units sold. Every column, essentially!
And as a bonus, while it's hard to make multiple column tables too mobile-friendly without a database involved, it is now possible to show only a small number of entries at a time and page through them.
The Top 300 pages currently default to loading the entire charts, although that may change; the end-of year charts like 2015, already upgraded, display 250 entries at a time, unless you use the pull-down menu to request the full list.
There's a search box, as well; if you're looking for just titles with the name "Batman" in them, it'll limit to that.
Beyond that, we've added some cosmetic and informational updates. Table entries appear in alternating colors, with a mouse-over highlight. And while we don't as yet have the capacity to output title histories (there are several complicated reasons for that), there are a couple of methods now for determining what book you're looking at the record for. Comics title links initiate a search for the title and issue number at MyComicShop.com, while graphic novel links do the same for books at Amazon. (And yes, Comichron does earn a small amount as an affiliate from purchases made in both places; it's all put back into the hosting of the site and the development of new research collections. Reader purchases at MyComicShop for the last several years have gone directly into purchases of comics to complete our Statement of Ownership data collection.) Links atop each table also lead to the Comic Shop Locator Service.
|TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in UNITS)|
|December 2016||7.39 million copies|
|1 Year Ago||7.95 million copies||-7%|
|5 Years Ago||6.16 million copies||+20%|
|10 Years Ago||6.97 million copies||+6%|
|15 Years Ago||5.71 million copies||+29%|
|20 Years Ago||10.06 million copies||-27%|
|ALL Comics Shipped in Month (Units)||8.21 million copies||-8%|
|Year To Date||89.35 million copies|
|1 Year Ago||89.17 million copies||-|
|5 Years Ago||72.13 million copies||24|
|10 Years Ago||81.85 million copies||9|
|15 Years Ago||66.92 million copies||34|
|ALL Comics Shipped Year to Date (Units)||99.05 million copies||+1%|
|TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)|
|December 2016||$28.63 million|
|1 Year Ago||$32.16 million||-11%|
|5 Years Ago||$21.25 million||+35%|
|10 Years Ago||$21.94 million||+30%|
|15 Years Ago||$17.37 million||+65%|
|20 Years Ago||$25.09 million||+14%|
|ALL Comics Shipped during Month (Dollars)||-19%|
|Year To Date||$344.28 million|
|1 Year Ago||$353.18 million||-3%|
|5 Years Ago||$248.44 million||+39%|
|10 Years Ago||$252.18 million||+37%|
|15 Years Ago||$186.98 million||+84%|
|ALL Comics Shipped Year to Date (Dollars)||-0%|
|TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)|
|December 2016 (Top 300 GNs)||$7.13 million|
|December 2016 (Top 100 GNs)||$4.28 million|
|December 2016 (Top 50 GNs)||$2.57 million|
|December 2016 (Top 25 GNs)||$1.64 million|
|Versus 1 Year Ago||$7.22 million||-1%|
|Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300)||$6.06 million||+18%|
|Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 100)||$3.79 million||+13%|
|Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 25)||$1.72 million||-5%|
|ALL Graphic Novel Shipped in Month (Dollars)||-4%|
|Year To Date||$93.72 million|
|1 Year Ago||$89.43 million||+5%|
|ALL Graphic Novel Dollars Shipped Year to Date (Dollars)||+1%|
|TOP 300 COMICS plus TOP GNs SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)|
|December 2016 (including Top 300 GNs)||$35.76 million|
|December 2016 (including Top 300 GNs)||$32.91 million|
|December 2016 (including Top 100 GNs)||$31.19 million|
|December 2016 (including Top 25 GNs)||$30.26 million|
|Versus 1 Year Ago||$39.38 million||-9%|
|Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300)||$27.3 million||+21%|
|Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 50)||$25.73 million||+11%|
|Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 25)||$19.09 million||+65%|
|All Comics & GNs Shipped in Month (Dollars)||-15%|
|Year To Date||$437.38 million|
|1 Year Ago||$442.6 million||-1%|
|ALL Comics & GNs Shipped Year to Date (Dollars)||+0%|
|ALL COMICS AND GNs SHIPPED (in Dollars)|
|Versus 1 Year Ago||$52.9 million||-15%|
|Versus 5 Years Ago||$34.4 million||+31%|
|Versus 10 Years Ago||$33.62 million||+34%|
|Year To Date||$580.91 million|
|1 Year Ago||$579.18 million||+0%|
|TOP SELLING TITLE|
|Justice League Suicide Squad #1||179,643 copies at||$3.99|
|300th SELLING TITLE|
|Zombie Tramp New Years Eve 2016 Cvr B #0||3,954 copies at||$4.99|
|NEW RELEASE VOLUME|
|New Comics Released||478|
|New Graphic Novels Released||294|
|New Magazines Released||31|
|Total New Print Items Released||803|
|Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300||$3.97|
|Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300, weighted by orders||$3.88|
|Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 25||$3.91|
|Median Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300||$3.99|
|Most Common Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300||$3.99|
The above information allows us to calculate that the average price for all comics in the Top 300 this year was $3.89, with the average weighted price down to $3.85. That's an eleven-cent drop year-over-year for the latter category, something that happened once before in 2011 when DC did its previous price fallback. Click to see cover prices across time.
The 300th place title chart — also refitted — has a new column, telling whether a month was a four-week or a five-week month in shipping terms. December's 300th-place sales levels, as you can see, were the second worst for the year, beating only February; winter started early in a lot of places, and the comics market was one of them.
Which, I am delighted to say, you can now do here. It will take some time to retrofit all the previous pages with the new format — there are more than 270 monthly and yearly reports! — but it'll happen. You can see the yearly sales changes at the updated Yearly Comics home page — and you may note we've created a new Postal Data Repository, where big things will be happening. Yes, tables I haven't updated in nearly a decade are about to get a lot of new entries...
...but only after 2016's business is concluded. Which should happen here next week, when Diamond releases its top sellers list for the year. To be alerted when that happens, follow Comichron on Twitter or Facebook.
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. All three volumes of his novel trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, are now on sale.
Visit his fiction site at http://www.farawaypress.com. And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.