Search for titles on Comichron!
Custom Search

More than 147,000 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Monday, April 10, 2017

Retailers order 114,000 Amazing Spider-Man #25s, most expensive comic ever to top charts

by John Jackson Miller

http://www.shareasale.com/r.cfm?u=296154&b=44882&m=8908&afftrack=&urllink=www%2Etfaw%2Ecom%2FComics%2FProfile%2FAmazing%2DSpider%2DMan%2D25%5F%5F%5F532191Comics retailers in North America ordered nearly 114,000 copies of the $9.99 Amazing Spider-Man #25 in March, making it both a million-dollar item at full retail and the most expensive comic book ever to top the monthly sales charts. That's according to Comichron's estimates based on an analysis of the latest information released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Click to see the comics sales estimates for March 2017.

As noted here Friday, March was the best week of the year thus far, helping the market to edge back to just a 3% loss for the quarter — a middling performance when it comes to the light-volume winter season. Ten percent more comic books were shipped in the month than in the same month in the previous year. A particularly heartening sign is that the 300th-place title for the month had orders of 4,812 copies, many more than last March's 4,269 copies for that level.

Fewer new graphic novel releases meant the category continued to lag year-over-year; in all, 6% fewer graphic novels have been released this year versus last year. Unit sales levels were down all along the Top 300 list for graphic novels, in part but probably not entirely because of these missing new releases. That said, the #2 book for the month, Walking Dead Vol. 27, had an identical number of copies ordered as last March's Walking Dead Vol. 25, so there's no apparent slowdown in that line. There was major deep-discounting on several books, including Marvel hardcovers, so while those appear in the Top 300s, those don't have much as effect on the market shares.

There's been online discussion lately about Marvel's performance at the end of last year and the possible reasons involved — but as I told NPR last week, there are elements in play that make comparatives more complicated, not just for the publisher but for the market in general. As I reported at the end of 2016, 2015 saw a major publishing event — the return of Star Wars comics to Marvel — that added $31 million that we know of in Direct Market orders to that year. The impact of that return in 2015 made it especially challenging for 2016's orders for all publishers combined to keep pace, and they only just barely did — and Marvel's Direct Market fourth quarter was down in 2016 versus 2015. But total Q4 2016 retailer orders from the publisher still appear to have increased quite a bit from the same season in 2014, before Star Wars arrived at Marvel, so while the effect was diminished, the publisher still netted out ahead of where it was two years before.

As mentioned often here, the monthly Diamond shipment numbers aren't always the best metric when it comes to evaluating the cross-time performance of individual titles; the aggregate figures are usually the better thing to look at. But 2015 falls into a small category of timeframes (including, most recently, 2011-12) with events so impactful that even the wider measures require comparative caveats for years to come. Those events may not always be decisive in looking at various trends, but they are part of the statistical environment.

The vital statistics for the month:


TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in UNITS)
March 2017 6.64 million copies
1 Year Ago 6.01 million copies +10%
5 Years Ago 6.02 million copies +10%
10 Years Ago 7 million copies -5%
15 Years Ago 5.12 million copies +30%
20 Years Ago 8.45 million copies -21%
ALL Comics Shipped in Month (Units) 7.48 million copies +9%
Year To Date 20 million copies
1 Year Ago 18.45 million copies +8%
5 Years Ago 17.89 million copies +12%
10 Years Ago 20.3 million copies -1%
15 Years Ago 16.18 million copies +24%
ALL Comics Shipped Year to Date (Units) 22.89 million copies +11%
TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)
March 2017 $26.03 million
1 Year Ago $24.38 million +7%
5 Years Ago $20.8 million +25%
10 Years Ago $22.44 million +16%
15 Years Ago $14.01 million +86%
20 Years Ago $19.7 million +32%
ALL Comics Shipped during Month (Dollars) +6%
Year To Date $75.37 million
1 Year Ago $72.8 million +4%
5 Years Ago $61.6 million +22%
10 Years Ago $64.14 million +18%
15 Years Ago $45.81 million +65%
ALL Comics Shipped Year to Date (Dollars) +1%
TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)
March 2017 (Top 300 GNs) $9.89 million
March 2017 (Top 100 GNs) $6.2 million
March 2017 (Top 50 GNs) $3.31 million
March 2017 (Top 25 GNs) $1.95 million
Versus 1 Year Ago $8.67 million +14%
Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300) $6.44 million +54%
Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 100) $4.14 million +50%
Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 50) $2.77 million +19%
ALL Graphic Novel Shipped in Month (Dollars) -15%
Year To Date $24.21 million
1 Year Ago $24.49 million -1%
ALL Graphic Novel Dollars Shipped Year to Date (Dollars) -11%
TOP 300 COMICS plus TOP GNs SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)
March 2017 (including Top 300 GNs) $35.92 million
March 2017 (including Top 300 GNs) $32.22 million
March 2017 (including Top 100 GNs) $29.34 million
March 2017 (including Top 25 GNs) $27.97 million
Versus 1 Year Ago $32.73 million +10%
Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300) $27.23 million +18%
Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 50) $26.58 million -2%
Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 50) $16.78 million +86%
All Comics & GNs Shipped in Month (Dollars) -2%
Year To Date $99.62 million
1 Year Ago $96.67 million +3%
ALL Comics & GNs Shipped Year to Date (Dollars) -3%
ALL COMICS AND GNs SHIPPED (in Dollars)
March 2017 $45,792,244.00
Versus 1 Year Ago $46.58 million -2%
Versus 5 Years Ago $33.72 million +36%
Versus 10 Years Ago $33.43 million +37%
Year To Date $125.67 million
1 Year Ago $129.57 million -3%
TITLE SPECIFICS
TOP SELLING TITLE
Amazing Spider-Man #25  113,934 copies at  $9.99
300th SELLING TITLE
Doctor Who 11th Year Three #3  4,812 copies at  $3.99
NEW RELEASE VOLUME
New Comics Released 536
New Graphic Novels Released 325
New Magazines Released 27
Total New Print Items Released 888
PRICING
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300 $3.95
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300, weighted by orders $3.92
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

One change for March in the comparatives: fifteen years ago, Diamond started reporting the Top 50 rather than the Top 25 trade paperbacks, so the comparatives for the 15-year columns now look at just the Top 50 when it comes to 2017's sales.

Comichron founder 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion OffensiveStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Some improvement in March 2017 comics orders; $9.99 Amazing Spider-Man #25 tops charts

by John Jackson Miller


If you didn't know a number of things about the comics market this past winter, looking at the comics shop market sales estimates for the first quarter would be extremely confusing. By the numbers, for example, fewer comics were shipped in five-shipping-week March, 7.47 million copies, than in either of the four-week months of January and February, for example (7.57 and 7.85 million copies respectively). Yet retailers spent more on comics in March than in either of those two months.

That's because -- as you know if you've been reading -- Marvel shipped a significant number of copies to retailers for free in January, while February saw retailers buy three quarters of a million copies of a 25-cent issue of Walking Dead. Meanwhile, March's top-ordered comic book, Amazing Spider-Man #25, cost nearly $10!

As a result, according to Comichron's analysis of data released this morning by Diamond Comic Distributors, March was the best month of the year thus far, with nearly $45.8 million in comics, graphic novels, and magazines shipping to retailers.

That's still a drop from the previous year, but only of 1.68% -- meaning that the year-over-year decline has narrowed to just 3%, or about $4 million dollars ($125.67 million versus $129.58 million last year). And if we skip back to the first quarter of 2014 -- before Star Wars arrived at Marvel and transformed the winter charts dramatically -- we find that the first quarter of 2017 is up 8% in dollars by comparison.

The aggregate sales statistics:

DollarsUnits
March 2017 vs. February 2017
Comics+15.00%-4.72%
Graphic Novels+15.44%+19.72%
Total Comics/GNs+15.14%-3.13%
Toys+34.66%+55.98%
March 2017 vs. March 2016
Comics+6.02%+8.93%
Graphic Novels-15.36%-17.47%
Total Comics/GNs-1.68%+6.21%
Toys-9.24%+0.51%
Year-to-Date 2017 vs. Year-to-Date 2016
Comics+0.70%+11.05%
Graphic Novels-10.68%-13.49%
Total Comics/GNs-3.01%+8.89%
Toys-2.52%-0.31%

Now, as you can see from the above, it's not all good news, because dollar orders for graphic novels were off more than 15%. But on comparison, we see that 12% fewer new graphic novel titles were released this March versus last March, 325 versus 371. That explains a lot; with 46 more graphic novel releases, March overall might have gone into positive territory. The new release figures:

PublisherComics shippedGraphic Novels shippedMagazinesTotal shipped
Marvel
92
39
0
131
DC
92
31
0
123
Image
61
16
2
79
IDW
60
19
0
79
Dark Horse
25
14
0
39
Titan
24
6
5
35
Boom
24
10
0
34
Viz
0
26
0
26
Dynamite
21
1
0
22
Valiant
7
2
0
9
Other
130
161
20
311
TOTAL SHIPPED
536
325
27
888

It's DC and Image that had the largest declines in new graphic novel releases versus last March. On the comics side, the number of new releases increased, from 488 last March to 536 this March, with Marvel shipping fewer titles and DC, Image, IDW, Dark Horse, and Titan expanding their release slates.

On the market share side, Marvel led the dollar shares while DC again took the unit share lead, with its cheaper price points. The market shares:

Dollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel35.41%34.34%
DC28.75%35.46%
Image10.71%10.02%
IDW5.68%4.72%
Dark Horse3.48%3.09%
Boom2.15%1.86%
Dynamite1.76%2.00%
Titan1.15%1.06%
Viz1.14%0.43%
Valiant1.14%1.37%
Other8.62%5.64%

As suggested in the headline, part of what helped build Marvel's dollar-share is a comic book that, if it led the unit shares, must have done gangbusters on the dollar side: the $9.99 Amazing Spider-Man #25. It beat out the $5.99 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #8 and everything else for the top slot:

COMIC BOOK
PRICEPUBLISHER
1Amazing Spider-Man #259.99Marvel
2Dark Knight III: The Master Race #8$5.99DC
3Batman #18$2.99DC
4Batman #19$2.99DC
5Iron Fist #1$3.99Marvel
6X-Men Prime #1$4.99Marvel
7Star Wars #29$3.99Marvel
8All-Star Batman #8$4.99DC
9The Walking Dead #165$2.99Image
10Justice League #16$2.99DC

Saga Vol. 7 and Walking Dead Vol. 27 led the graphic novel charts. The final month of the quarter is when you often see publishers offering deep discounts on hardcovers, and this March was no different -- but the presence of these high-volume titles atop the list probably worked to keep the graphic novel unit and dollar share performances reasonably close, only two percentage points apart. The titles:

GRAPHIC NOVELPRICEPUBLISHER
1Saga Vol. 714.99Image
2The Walking Dead Vol. 27: The Whisperer War$14.99Image
3Harley Quinn Vol. 1: Die Laughing$16.99DC
4Suicide Squad Vol. 1: The Black Vault$16.99DC
5Death of X$17.99Marvel
6Titans Vol. 1: The Return of Wally West$16.99DC
7Wolverine: Old Man Logan$29.99Marvel
8Deathstroke Vol. 1: The Professional$16.99DC
9Batgirl Vol. 1: Beyond Burnside$16.99DC
10Deadly Class Vol. 5: Carousel$14.99Image

That's it for the preliminary analysis of March's sales; a first quarter that, for all the hue and cry heard about it, lands right in the middle of winters over the last twenty-plus years; neither particularly strong or weak. That is, of course, from the 30,000-foot level of aggregate sales -- but when the market's increased in dollar volume five years in a row and book channel graphic novel sales are up 12%, it should take a bit more than a 3% drop in the traditionally smallest quarter of the year to sound the general alarm. A defining feature of the comics market in 21st Century has been its resilience, and there's nothing in the numbers -- as yet -- to suggest that's going away any time soon.

Comichron founder 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion OffensiveStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.
Next Previous Home

 

Copyright © John Jackson Miller. Original template design by Free Website Templates. Privacy policy.

Comichron is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.

When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network.

Images used for identification are © their respective owners.