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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, November 12, 2018

October 2018 comics sales estimates online: Strong month for the midlist

by John Jackson Miller

 Click to see the estimates for October 2018

As reported last week, comics and graphic novel orders through Diamond Comics Distributors ended October ahead for the year-to-date, thanks to one additional New Comic Book Day during the month. We also know the month benefited from particularly strong sales of middle-tier titles, thanks to Comichron estimates, just posted: click to see the comics sales estimates for October 2018.

October was generally without the major launches that previous months saw; the major event for the month (besides the Venom movie) was Walking Dead Day on Oct. 13, which saw 15 different "blind bag" editions of previous issues (along with new variant covers) on offer. Batman #56, with its foil edition, finished first in units and dollars among comic books, with Walking Dead #1's 15th anniversary edition in second. The issues landed around 107,500 and 106,100 copies shipped respectively in North America.

But as noted, the performance of titles in the midsection of the charts was strong. The 150th place title shipped 17,305 copies, the third largest amount at that level in 20 years. The 200th place title sold 12,184 copies, the fourth highest amount in two decades. The 50th, 100th, 400th, and 500th place titles all hit one-year highs.

While in part due to more releases on offer after a year in which publishers had cut their slates back, it appears that, in the absence of a blockbuster title for the month, retailers may have spread their ordering dollars around to other issues. October's total comics shipment of 8 million copies was the largest since May 2017, which had the 25¢ Saga #43 padding the totals.

The Batman: White Knight trade paperback topped 12,000 copies shipped in October. It's now also nearly certain that Infinity Gauntlet will be the top-ordered graphic novel from Diamond in 2018; this would be the first time Marvel led that list since Civil War in 2007, after a five-year run with Saga volumes in the lead. Click to see sales for comics and graphic novels for the year to date; you can also see the top titles by year.

The vital statistics for October:

Friday, November 9, 2018

Comics sales ahead for year after $49.4 million October; Batman, Walking Dead's 15th anniversary drive month

by John Jackson Miller


As predicted here, comics and graphic novel orders through Diamond Comics Distributors ended October ahead for the year-to-date, thanks to a stronger midsection of 2018 and one additional New Comic Book Day during the month. Retailers ordered $49.39 million in comics and graphic novels in October, up 8.4% year-over-year; year-to-date orders stand at $438.4 million, up $1.6 million (or 0.4%) over the past year. Click to visit our page for October 2018 comics sales estimates; the figures will be posted there on Monday.

 Find this book at TFAWIt has been a slow and steady climb — the first time the year-to-date figure has been positive since December 2016. And while November 2018 is up against a month from last year with one more shipping week, December 2017's sales were low enough that 2018 overall has a good chance of eking out a modest win.

The extra week distorts the comparisons with last October, a month dominated last year by Marvel's Legacy launch; Marvel, DC, and Image's dollar sales performances all improved against that month. Marvel's dollar sales of comics and graphic novels to retailers are up $6 million year-to-date; DC's are up $4 million, and Image's are back even. The smaller publishers were the last into the recession; publishers seem to be exiting it in the same order they went in.

October was generally without the major launches that previous months saw; the major event for the month was Walking Dead Day on Oct. 13, which saw 15 different "blind bag" editions of previous issues (along with new variant covers) on offer. Batman #56, with its foil edition, finished first in units and dollars among comic books, with Walking Dead #1's 15th anniversary edition in second. With fewer launches, the charting comic books were generally cheaper than we've seen — leading to a total shipment of comic books topping 8 million copies for the first time since May 2017, which had hundreds of thousands of copies of the 25¢ Saga #43 padding the totals.

 Find this book at TFAW
Comics unit sales were up 5% in the month, bringing the year-to-year loss to a little over five-and-a-half percent, or about 4 million copies — though that shortfall is partially because 25-cent Image issues like that Saga edition were in 2017's charts, as well as many more overshipped comics. The number of normally-priced comics that retailers paid their regular discounts for in 2018 is a lot closer to even with 2017. But there's another factor inflating 2017's comic-book unit sales: the number of releases. Through ten months, publishers have offered 4,732 new issues to retailers, a drop of 198, or 4%.

The Batman: White Knight trade paperback was the top graphic novel for the month in units; Wonder Woman Earth One Vol. 2 was tops in dollars. The number of new graphic novel offerings is slightly up this year; sales for the category through October were down less than 4% — down, but continuing to improve.

There were significant deep-discount sales promotions for retailers in October, manifesting in a nine-point gap in the comparative change statistics for graphic novel unit and dollar sales. Year-to-date, the categories are much closer.

Check out our lists below, and also our explanatory video:



The comparative sales statistics:


DollarsUnits
October 2018 Vs. September 2018
Comics+11.93%+11.51%
Graphic Novels+3.28%-0.76%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+9.32%+10.49%
Toys+19.04%+22.50%
October 2018 Vs. October 2017
Comics+9.66%+5.33%
Graphic Novels+5.30%+14.38%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+8.38%+5.95%
Toys+21.58%+47.81%
Year-To-Date 2018 Vs. Year-To-Date 2017
Comics+2.13%-5.56%
Graphic Novels-3.76%-4.45%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+0.38%-5.48%
Toys-2.16%-1.15%

Thanks to its graphic novels and the Walking Dead event, Image's market shares vaulted to near 13%, both for units and dollars. A consequence: Marvel and DC's combined market shares were at their lowest level since August 2017.

The market shares:


PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel34.22%37.89%
DC30.48%32.99%
Image12.62%12.64%
IDW4.03%3.74%
Dark Horse3.32%2.41%
Dynamite2.37%2.06%
Boom1.86%1.52%
Viz1.34%0.48%
Titan0.87%0.57%
Random House0.78%0.16%
Other8.11%5.55%

The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Batman #56$3.99DC
2The Walking Dead #1 15th Anniversary Ed.$2.99Image
3Spider-Geddon #1$3.99Marvel
4Batman #57$3.99DC
5Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #1$3.99Marvel
6Heroes In Crisis #2$3.99DC
7Venom #7$3.99Marvel
8Justice League #10$3.99DC
9Amazing Spider-Man #7$3.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man #8$3.99Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Batman #56$3.99DC
2Spider-Geddon #1$3.99Marvel
3Venom #7$3.99Marvel
4Batman #57$3.99DC
5Venom Annual #1$4.99Marvel
6Spider-Gwen: Ghost-Spider #1$3.99Marvel
7Heroes In Crisis #2$3.99DC
8Amazing Spider-Man #7$3.99Marvel
9Amazing Spider-Man #8$3.99Marvel
10Justice League #10$3.99DC

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Batman: White Knight$19.99DC
2Wonder Woman Earth One Vol. 2 HC$24.99DC
3My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies HC$16.99Image
4Batman Vol. 7: The Wedding$16.99DC
5Gideon Falls Vol. 1: Black Barn$9.99Image
6Isola Vol. 1$9.99Image
7The Wicked & The Divine Vol. 7$17.99Image
8Death Or Glory Vol. 1$16.99Image
9Avengers By Jason Aaron Volime 1: Final Host$17.99Marvel
10Batman & The Justice League Manga Vol. 1$12.99DC

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 2 HC$24.99DC
2Batman: White Knight$19.99DC
3My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies HC$16.99Image
4Amazing Spider-Man By Michelinie & McFarlane Omnibus HC$100.00Marvel
5The Walking Dead Compendium 15th Annv Box Set$200.00Image
6Batman Vol. 7: The Wedding $16.99DC
7The Wicked & The Divine Vol. 7$17.99Image
8X-Men: Grand Design: Second Genesis$29.99Marvel
9Tomb Of Dracula Omnibus Vol. 1 HC$100.00Marvel
10Marvelocity: The Marvel Comic Art of Alex Ross HC$50.00Pantheon

Finally, the number of new items offered. The Image comics number is its highest in four years, but it's partially because all fifteen of the Walking Dead anniversary editions would have been tabulated as individual releases:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel95410136
DC78381117
Image78240102
IDW3416050
Dark Horse2320043
Boom2614040
Dynamite279036
Viz026026
Titan1212125
Archie114015
Other14223636414
TOTAL SHIPPED526440381004

Lastly, the chart at right is a pretty good visualization of the market over the last couple of years — at least in terms of its month-to-month status. It shows year-to-date performance, as it changed every month in 2017 and 2018. (It is not sales levels — it's how the year compared to the year before at each point.)

You'll see that 2017 started off softly, but that the year really lost ground as it got to summer, and the months where DC's Rebirth issues entered the 2016 tallies. By August, the hole was dug — and things stabilized in September as Legacy began to ramp up: it's also the first time I noted any hint of a change. It turned out we'd found something close to a bottom: the first months of 2018 are a bit distorted because January had a ship week that March didn't. Beginning in April with Action #1000, the market began a long, more or less steady trek to claw its way out of the red.

So as expected, October put the year-to-date slightly ahead and November may well return it slightly behind, leaving December as the deciding factor. We beat December 2017's sales this September by 17%, so the prospects for a sixth up year in seven remain good. Click to see what we know about November and December sales so far.

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: KenobiStar 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, and check out our Youtube channel.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Historical document alert: 1961 Marvel sales push letter to wholesalers now auctioning

by John Jackson Miller

A fascinating find is now being auctioned by Heritage Auctions: a form letter from Independent News Company, distributor for Marvel Comics in 1961, offering wholesalers an improved return on issues sold above a certain quantity. (Hat tip to Patrick Ford for alerting me to it.)

This was in the time before Marvel's Silver Age phenomenon got going; Fantastic Four had just started, and the other titles in its line were all romance, horror, or western books. In the letter, Independent News vice president Harold Chamberlain tells wholesalers that "a 3¢ per copy bonus will be paid on all Marvel Comics sold over 60% in each agency!" 

Imaged by Heritage Auctions, HA.com
That'd be 25% of cover price at the time, which had just gone up to 12¢ — and so a significant bonus. The 60% refers to sell-through — Independent wanted to see no more than four in ten unsold copies returned for credit.

But what's tantalizing about this letter is the comment that its recipient marked in pencil on the letter: "None ever sells as much as 60%". The remark would have come from one of the resellers — and it appears to be in line with what we know about Marvel's sell-through levels on the newsstand at the time.

What we know about that comes from the Postal Circulation Statements; I have a complete run of the Marvel ones, eventually to all be posted here. Beginning with the 1963 reports, publishers were legally obliged to report how many copies they printed, as well as sold — allowing us to make estimates of sell-through levels.

Looking at the filings for 1963 titles, we see the following sell-through levels:


Tales of Suspense: 59% 
Journey into Mystery: 59% 
Tales to Astonish: 59% 
Strange Tales: 59% 
Rawhide Kid: 59% 
Kid Colt Outlaw: 58% 
Patsy & Hedy: 58% 
Modeling with Millie: 56% 
Patsy Walker: 56% 
Millie the Model: 55%

Nothing above 60%, but they're close. The titles with the super-hero content in this era were clustered at the top, with the romance titles at the bottom — though within a narrow, four-point range. So 60% looks to be a reasonable goal to offer to distributors.

The letter touts that Marvel's seventeen titles had combined sales in 1961 of 18 million copies, a figure that looks reasonably close to what we'd expect, going by postal statements. Interestingly, that's only about half what Marvel sells of its periodical comics today — though, of course, that's across a much larger number of releases.

Bidding begins tomorrow, Nov. 5 on the item, with the close of the auction slated for Nov. 11. There's another page to this document, not depicted by Heritage; hopefully whoever wins will share the contents with the world. (Update: Hake's previously sold the letter for $253 in 2016, and has the second page online; it simply denotes the on-sale dates of the eligible issues. Thanks to Frank Motler for the find!)

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: KenobiStar 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, and check out our Youtube channel.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Alex Ross, Venom, Batman Damned lead latest reorder charts

by John Jackson Miller

 Find this book at TFAW
An interesting batch of reorder data from Diamond Comic Distributors today:

October reorders saw the Batman White Knight TPB climb to the top spot, after having placed second last week.

Alex Ross's Marvelocity from Random House was the top reordered hardcover. Harley Quinn #52's foil edition was the top reordered comic. Click to see the charts for October.

The top advance-reordered comic of November was Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 from Donny Cates. Click to see the charts so far for November.

And the top December book and item overall was Batman Damned #2's recently announced Jim Lee variant cover. Click to see what's known so far about comics sales in December.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel.

Monday, October 15, 2018

September 2018 comics sales estimates online: Return of Wolverine #1 ships 260k copies

by John Jackson Miller


In September, Marvel's Return of Wolverine #1 became the tenth comic book in 2018 to ship more than 200,000 copies and the sixth to top 250,000 copies, according to our analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. By contrast, only three comics topped 200,000 copies in all of 2017, and only two were above a quarter-million. Click to see the comics sales estimates for September 2018.

As reported here on Friday, the recovery in the comics shop market gained steam in the third quarter of 2018, as September comics and graphic novel orders rose 4% over the previous year, allowing the three-month period to close up 6%. Significantly better than the second quarter's 1% win, the $137.5 million quarter was the best in dollar terms since the fourth quarter of 2016. In all, orders during the past six months were up $9 million over the same period in 2017. The $45.18 million month of September was up $1.6 million, meaning that the year-to-year loss piled up this winter was cut in half for the third month in a row.

Graphic novels were a big winner in the month, up 12% year-over-year thanks to the Image trio of new editions of Saga, Walking Dead, and Monstress, which finished 1-2-3 in the unit sales charts.

Marvel offered a free overship on Iceman #1, doubling its paid orders; it's the only Marvel title all year where an overship is evident, and the extra copies' effect on both Marvel's unit share for the month and the overall unit sales for the Direct Market is negligible. Oblivion Song #7 saw a modest increase and shows evidence of a significant added discount.

The average cover price for new comics dropped back down under $4, to $3.93.

The vital statistics:

Friday, October 12, 2018

September graphic novels power second consecutive growth quarter; Return of Wolverine, Saga lead charts

by John Jackson Miller


 FInd this issue at TFAW
The recovery in the comics shop market gained steam in the third quarter of 2018. September comics and graphic novel orders rose 4% over the previous year, allowing the three-month period to close up 6%. Significantly better than the second quarter's 1% win, the $137.5 million quarter was the best in dollar terms since the fourth quarter of 2016. In all, orders during the past six months were up $9 million over the same period in 2017. Click to visit our page for September 2018 comics sales estimates; the figures will be posted there on Monday.

Last winter, my reports that the rate of decline was decreasing may have seemed like an exercise in excess optimism. That wasn't the intention: rather, signs of what might be a market bottom were becoming detectable, and that seemed worth sharing. I tried not to overstate the possible case, as I did in 1998 when I had much less history to look back upon — but it does now appear that the change in trajectory starting last winter was real, and is continuing.

The $45.18 million month of September was up $1.6 million, meaning that the year-to-year loss piled up this winter was cut in half for the third month in a row. Year-to-date sales now stand at $389 million, off just a little more than $2 million.

 Find this book at TFAW
I had some concern in late September after a couple of weekly reorder charts came in with very few comic books charting; one week, no comic books at all charted. But comics share the reorder charts with graphic novels, and those charts are measured in dollars — so a dearth of comics entries in a month with many high-profile graphic novels on sale isn't necessarily a negative indicator. Graphic novels were indeed a big winner in the month, up 12% year-over-year thanks to the Image trifecta of new editions of Saga, Walking Dead, and Monstress, which finished 1-2-3 in the unit sales charts.

Marvel's Return of Wolverine #1 led new comics sales, with DC's Heroes in Crisis #1 placing second; the controversial Batman: Damned #1 placed fifth in units and second in dollars. (See auctions for the issue on eBay.) Comics unit sales for the month stood at 7.19 million units, down half a million copies against the previous September, which was fueled by Marvel Legacy #1 — and the category is down 4.6 million copies year-to-date.

 See eBay listings for this issue
As noted here all year, of course, unit sales comparisons with 2017 are distorted due to that year's inclusion of many overshipped and 25¢ titles (and the lack of inclusion of this year's million-copy DC Nation #0). And there's something else in play. Through September, 4,206 new comic books have been released this year. In the same period last year, the figure was 4,446. That's 240 fewer comics released this year, a drop of 5.5%.

Marvel released 10 more comics this September than last September; DC, 10 fewer. Perhaps consequently, Marvel's overall dollar sales were up 9% year-over-year for the month, while DC's were unchanged. (Both Marvel and DC's dollar sales are up, year-to-date.) Image's graphic novels joined with a larger new comics slate to send the publisher up 10%; Image had the same number of new comics as DC, 66. It's the first time Image's slate has been as large as DC's since September 2015. Dark Horse's dollar sales were up substantially, though we can't tell why from the Top 10s. (Update: It turns out to be right in Diamond's press release: Stranger Things #1 debuted in 20th place, very high for a Dark Horse launch.)

See our explanatory video, here:


The comparative sales statistics are up first. Remember, August had an extra week, so the month-to-month changes aren't that important:


DollarsUnits
September 2018 vs. August 2018
Comics-4.51%-0.16%
Graphic Novels-7.07%-3.86%
Total Comics/GNs-5.30%-0.48%
Toys-29.36%-9.02%
September 2018 vs. September 2017
Comics+0.75%-6.58%
Graphic Novels+11.74%+15.36%
Total Comics/GNs+3.84%-5.09%
Toys-1.58%+11.95%
Third Quarter 2018 vs. Second Quarter 2018
Comics+0.23%-0.05%
Graphic Novels+0.83%+1.89%
Total Comics/GNs+0.40%+0.10%
Toys+41.66%+28.44%
Third Quarter 2018 vs. Third Quarter 2017
Comics+7.44%-0.82%
Graphic Novels+1.95%+3.85%
Total Comics/GNs+5.81%-0.47%
Toys+9.23%+6.96%
Year-To-Date 2018 vs. Year-To-Date 2017
Comics+1.25%-6.78%
Graphic Novels-4.80%-6.37%
Total Comics/GNs-0.55%-6.75%
Toys-4.74%-6.11%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel39.86%43.24%
DC29.06%32.76%
Image10.13%8.74%
Dark Horse3.62%2.91%
IDW3.14%2.84%
Boom2.12%1.65%
Dynamite1.55%1.38%
Viz1.11%0.43%
Oni0.99%0.69%
Titan0.80%0.47%
Other7.63%4.88%

The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Return of Wolverine #1$4.99Marvel
2Heroes in Crisis #1$3.99DC
3Doomsday Clock #7$4.99DC
4Batman #55$3.99DC
5Batman: Damned #1$6.99DC
6Batman #54$3.99DC
7Thanos Legacy #1$4.99Marvel
8Fantastic Four #2$3.99Marvel
9Amazing Spider-Man #6$3.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man #5$3.99Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Return of Wolverine #1$4.99Marvel
2Batman: Damned #1$6.99DC
3Doomsday Clock #7$4.99DC
4Heroes in Crisis #1$3.99DC
5Thanos Legacy #1$4.99Marvel
6Batman #55$3.99DC
7Spider-Geddon #0$4.99Marvel
8Batman #54$3.99DC
9Amazing Spider-Man #6$3.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1$4.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Saga Vol. 9$14.99Image
2Walking Dead Vol. 30: New World Order$16.99Image
3Monstress Vol. 3$16.99Image
4Oblivion Song By Kirkman & De Felici Vol. 1$9.99Image
5Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album HC$17.99DC
6Franklin Richards: A Fantastic Year #1$7.99Marvel
7DC Super Hero Girls: The Search For Atlantis$9.99DC
8Descender Vol. 6: War Machine$16.99Image
9Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 3: Burning Seas$19.99Marvel
10Action Comics #1000: The Deluxe Edition HC$19.99DC

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Saga Vol. 9$14.99Image
2Walking Dead Vol. 30: New World Order$16.99Image
3Monstress Vol. 3$16.99Image
4Batman by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale Omnibus HC$125.00DC
5Spider-Man Vs. Venom Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel
6Absolute Batman: The Killing Joke HC$49.99DC
7Earth X Trilogy Omnibus Alpha HC$125.00Marvel
8Batman/Catwoman: The Wedding Album HC$17.99DC
9Dark Knight III: The Master Race$24.99DC
10Marvel Masterworks: Killraven Vol. 1 HC$100.00Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered. This September saw 2% fewer comics released and 6% more graphic novels released than last September:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel99440143
DC66350101
Image6627093
Dark Horse2521046
IDW2910039
Boom2510035
Titan117321
Viz021021
Oni97016
Dynamite123015
Other13520214351
TOTAL SHIPPED47738717881

It is worth noting that, almost no matter what, October 2018 is likely to be a growth month, as well. It has five shipping weeks, versus four in last October. We give that week back in November — but historically, it's been better to get the extra week in October rather than November due to reduced slates the week of the Thanksgiving holiday.

A likely scenario is that October will put the year-to-date slightly ahead and that November will return it slightly behind — leaving December as the deciding factor. December 2017 was a horrible month, which we beat this September by 17% — so it would take a fairly significant change in direction to keep the year below break-even. Click to see what we know about October sales so far.

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: KenobiStar 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, and check out our Youtube channel.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Heroes in Crisis leads first reorder chart for October

by John Jackson Miller

No October-shipping comics made the first reorder list for the first week of October, so Heroes in Crisis #1 was the top reordered comic book.

The Final Crisis 10th Anniversary Omnibus was the top reordered hardcover.

The first Hellboy Omnibus was the #2 item overall in reorder dollars.

X-Men: Black: Emma Frost
#1 was the top advance-reordered comic book. It has an on-sale date of Oct. 31.

All Star Superman Black Label led softcover advance reorders; it has an on-sale date of Nov. 28.

Shazam: Power of Hope
led advance-reordered hardcovers; it's due out Apr. 17, 2019.

Check out all the October reorder charts here.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Justice League, Batman, Venom lead reorders; first Local Comic Shop Day items appear

by John Jackson Miller

 Find this book at TFAW
The Jim Lee/Scott Williams variant of Justice League #7 was the top reordered comic in last week in a Diamond chart laden with hardcover releases. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's Batman Omnibus was the top reordered item by invoiced dollars.

Marvel's top reordered book comic was Old Man Logan Annual #1. Click to see the reorder charts for September 2018.

Venom #7 was the top advance-reordered October comic.

We're starting to see Local Comic Shop Day advance reorders; it's on Nov. 17 this year. The top advance reordered item by dollars last week was a black-and-white LCSD variant of the Brave and Bold Batman/Wonder Woman hardcover.

Click to see our advance reorder charts for the month of October 2018.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel.

Monday, September 17, 2018

August 2018 comics sales estimates online: Fantastic Four #1 moves 369,000 copies

by John Jackson Miller

Marvel's First Family returned in August, with nearly 369,000 copies of Fantastic Four #1 shipping to retailers in the United States and Canada. Click to see our comics sales estimates for August 2018.

As reported here on Friday, August was a fourth growth month out of five, despite a dearth of new comics releases. Comics dollar sales were up 5% and units were down 5% in a five-week month that saw 11% fewer new comics released than the same month in the previous year. August 2017 was one of the most disappointing months of the comics recession that year, so a rebound was welcome. Graphic novels were also up, thanks to significant deep-discount sales; it was just the second month both comics and graphic novels were up since 2016.

Marvel's Fresh Start relaunch mostly past, the month saw only three comics selling over 100,000 copies. But DC saw a strong launch for Sandman Universe #1, placing third in dollars and sixth in units with more than 83,500 copies shipped to the United States and Canada, a large number for a Vertigo launch.

The average cover price of comics in the Top 300 set a new record, $4.12; the previous record had been set in June 2017. Click to see monthly cover prices across time, and also all of our Diamond Exclusive Era records.

Batman #50 did not chart again, despite having led the comics reorder charts twice in July. The comic book was made retroactively returnable. You can see the year-to-date bestsellers here; we've doubled the length of both the comics and graphic novel charts to 200 items each.



The first two-thirds of the year closed down 1.1%, but prospects for a slight year-over-year improvement remain good.

The vital statistics:

Friday, September 14, 2018

Fantastic Four #1 leads August 2018 comics sales; market up 4%, Marvel up 22%

by John Jackson Miller



 Find this issue at TFAW
2017 truly was the summer of our discontent. The June-July-August stretch saw the worst year-over-year declines of any three month stretch in two decades, and August itself was down dramatically, despite a huge number of new comics releases. Marvel's Secret Empire was ending, with multiple series wrapping up in advance of the publisher's fall Legacy event; DC's sales were down dramatically against the huge Rebirth launch sales of 2016.

Given the improvement seen so far this year, it would have been remarkable if August 2018 comics and graphic novel orders didn't beat those from the previous year — and indeed, they did, up 4% with dollar sales increases for both comics and graphic novels. Comics shops in the United States and Canada ordered $47.7 million in comics, graphic novels, and magazines in the month; the year-to-date total stands at $343.8 million, just 1% off last year. Click to visit our page for August 2018 comics sales estimates; the figures will be posted there on Monday.

What is remarkable is that retailer dollar orders beat the previous August despite many fewer releases. While both Augusts had five shipping weeks, exactly 60 fewer new comic books were offered to market last month versus in August 2017, and slightly fewer graphic novels. That's a reduction in the new comic book slate of 11%; there were even fewer new comics released than in July, which had one less shipping week. That reduction in offerings, plus DC's higher prices this year, explains why new comics unit sales were up 5% while comics unit sales were down 5%. Remember, most new current product slates would have gone into development late last year, when prospects were a lot worse; belt-tightening on the number of new releases now is likely at least in part an echo of what happened then.

The comics that were released, however, sold relatively better in the aggregate — led by Fantastic Four #1, the top seller for the month. That comic book, along with significant discount offerings on many graphic novels, helped Marvel to a month that was up 22% in dollars over the previous August, a rate of increase that was five times better than the market as a whole and a pace matched among top-ten publishers only by Boom. Marvel represented $19.5 million of the $47.7 million worth of comic books and graphic novels retailers ordered in the month; that's actually it's best August performance in the Diamond Exclusive Era, though that neither accounts for inflation nor the number of shipping weeks in the month. (In some stronger recent years, August only had four ship weeks.)

Our preliminary video for the month is below:


Just as Marvel accounted for the entire loss in the early period of the comics recession in 2017, in August 2018 Marvel's gains were enough to account for the entire increase. DC and Dark Horse were slightly up, with other publishers down. If the recovery follows the 2017 path, we'd expect to see improvements at Marvel and then DC flowing outward to the other publishers.

The comparative sales statistics:

DollarsUnits
August 2018 vs. July 2018
Comics-1.95%-6.19%
Graphic Novels+33.98%+28.57%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+6.88%-3.97%
Toys+49.89%+32.04%
August 2018 vs. August 2017
Comics+5.04%-5.25%
Graphic Novels+2.91%+1.44%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+4.37%-4.71%
Toys+13.76%+4.26%
Year-To-Date 2018 vs. Year-To-Date 2017
Comics+1.31%-6.80%
Graphic Novels-6.73%-8.83%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-1.10%-6.95%
Toys-5.15%-8.32%

The market shares:


PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel40.87%43.12%
DC27.51%31.02%
Image8.90%9.08%
IDW4.43%3.81%
Dark Horse3.05%2.37%
Boom2.58%2.30%
Viz1.33%0.54%
Dynamite1.32%1.12%
Titan0.98%0.66%
Aftershock0.63%0.72%
Other8.40%5.27%

The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Fantastic Four #1$5.99Marvel
2Infinity Wars #1$5.99Marvel
3Batman #52$3.99DC
4Batman #53$3.99DC
5Amazing Spider-Man #3$3.99Marvel
6Sandman Universe #1$4.99DC
7Amazing Spider-Man #4$3.99Marvel
8Superman #2$3.99DC
9Justice League #5$3.99DC
10Justice League #6$3.99DC

The top-selling comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Fantastic Four #1$5.99Marvel
2Infinity Wars #1$5.99Marvel
3Sandman Universe #1$4.99DC
4Batman #52$3.99DC
5Punisher #1$4.99Marvel
6Batman #53$3.99DC
7Amazing Spider-Man #3$3.99Marvel
8Infinity Wars #2$4.99Marvel
9Amazing Spider-Man #4$3.99Marvel
10Venom: First Host #1$3.99Marvel

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Graphic novels, led in units by Dark Horse's Legend of Korra Vol. 3: Turf Wars Part 3 and in dollars by Punisher Max by Garth Ennis Omnibus Vol. 2, were up 3% in dollars; this is the just the second time since August 2016 that both new comics and graphic novel dollar sales were up (the other time being April 2018).

DC Super-Hero Girls: Out of the Bottle
 placed second in units, while Infinity Gauntlet finally slipped out of the unit sales Top 10, though it did make the dollar charts.

We do expect to see significant deep-discounting in the final graphic novel data, given what's appeared in the reorder charts — but given how often in the last couple of years graphic novels were the weak point, it is a positive change. Remember, also, that the 3% increase are based on the number of dollars Diamond received, so monies paid in definitely did go up, even if some of the books went out at a steeper discount.

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Legend of Korra Volume 3: Turf Wars Pt 3$10.99Dark Horse
2DC Super Hero Girls: Out of the Bottle$9.99DC
3East Of West Volume 8$16.99Image
4Black Panther Book 1: A Nation Under Our Feet$16.99Marvel
5Spider-Man/Deadpool Vol. 1: Isn't It Bromantic?$17.99Marvel
6Rat Queens Vol. 5: Colossal Magic Nothing$16.99Image
7The Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice$17.99DC
8Kill Or Be Killed Volume 4$16.99Image
9I Hate Fairyland Volume 4$16.99Image
10Sex Criminals Vol. 5: Five-Fingered Discount$16.99Image

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Punisher Max By Garth Ennis Omnibus Vol. 2 HC$100.00Marvel
2Jack Kirby: Marvel Heroes & Monsters Artist Edition$90.00IDW
3X-Men Revolution By Chris Claremont Omnibus HC$100.00Marvel
4Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Venom$39.99Marvel
5Spider-Man/Deadpool Vol. 1: Isn't It Bromantic?$17.99Marvel
6Black Panther Book 1: A Nation Under Our Feet$16.99Marvel
7The Flash Vol. 1: Lightning Strikes Twice$17.99DC
8X-Men: Dark Phoenix Saga Omnibus HC$100.00Marvel
9Seven Soldiers By Grant Morrison Omnibus HC$75.00DC
10Infinity Gauntlet$24.99Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic
Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel86450131
DC72301103
Image6116077
IDW3924063
Dark Horse2321044
Boom2714041
Titan1510328
Dynamite146020
Aftershock132015
Viz015015
Other11418031325
TOTAL46436335862

Lower unit sales of comics does appear to be the main discordant note in the report; when a five-month August's publishing slate of new comics is smaller than any month of the year since March, capitalize on improving conditions is a greater challenge. But even a flat September would yield a third quarter up 5%, making for two back-to-back increases. Prospects for the year ending slightly positive continue to improve. Click to see what we know about September sales so far.

Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for 25 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: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.


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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Catwoman leads first October comics reorders; early reorder traffic for Thanos OGN

by John Jackson Miller

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The first advance reorders for October-shipping comics are out from Diamond Comic Distributors.

Last week's top title was Stanley Lau's variant of Catwoman #4. The issue has a ship date of Oct. 10.

The top Marvel was the new Magneto title, while November's Thanos original graphic novel topped hardcover reorders.

Our October sales chart preview is here.

Meanwhile, the final reorder piece of August's sales picture was released, with the Fantastic Four #1 Facsimile Edition as the top reordered comic book and the Batman Bronze Age Omnibus Vol. 2 leading hardcovers.

Our August reports appear here; shortly we'll have the sales charts for the month online. Stay tuned!

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Heroes in Crisis leads advance reorders as August ends

by John Jackson Miller

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DC's Heroes in Crisis #1 by Tom King and Clay Mann was the top advance-reordered comic book by retailers during the last week of August; a variant appeared in first place, with the main edition in third.

Second place was held by Die Die Die #3 from Image, with Marvel's Spider-Geddon #0 in fourth.

(Click to see our September-so-far charts.)

Meanwhile, Batman: Kings of Fear #1 was the top reorder in a week dominated by backlist graphic novel sales. The New 52 Zero Omnibus was the top hardcover.

Our August reorder data appears here.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Strong X-Men week as Return of Wolverine, Extermination lead comic shop reorders

by John Jackson Miller

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A strong week for X-Men-related titles last week, according to Diamond Comic Distributors' reorder data.

Extermination #1 led reorders by dollar volume; the issue went on sale August 15.

The top softcover for the week was Old Man Logan; the top hardcover, Batman by Grant Morrison Omnibus.

Check out that and more reorder activity from last week on our August-so-far page.

Meanwhile, Charles Soule and Steve McNiven's Return of Wolverine #1 was the top advance-reordered item for the week. The issue goes on sale Sept. 19.


Click here to see  what's known about September orders so far.

You can also see all reorder and advance reorder activity for the year to date.

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Black Label Batman Damned #1 leads advance reorders; Fantastic Four #1 tops reorders

by John Jackson Miller

Retailers reordered more Fantastic Four #1s by Dan Slott and Skottie Young last week than any other comic from Diamond Comic Distributors, by dollar volume.

Check out that and more reorder activity from last week on our August-so-far page.

Meanwhile, DC's "Black Label" launches in September with Batman Damned #1 by Brian Azzarello; the issue topped advance reorders placed last week with Diamond by retailers.

Venom #3 led for Marvel, while the new series launch Cemetery Beach #1 led for Image.

Click here to see  what's known about September orders so far. You can also see all reorder and advance reorder activity for the year to date.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Batman #52 leads comic-book reorders, Thanos Legacy tops advance reorders

by John Jackson Miller
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Retailer reorders from last week are in from Diamond Comic Distributors, and they show the lingering effects of Batman #50's colossal 441,000-copy sale to retailers in North America in July. Batman #52 was the top reordered comic book for the week.

X-Men Revolution by Chris Claremont Omnibus was the top reordered item by dollars. And after many weeks in the top slot for reordered trade paperbacks, Infinity Gauntlet was finally dethroned by Prince T'challa in Black Panther Vol. 1: Nation Under Our Feet.

Click to see the full reorder lists for August.

We now also have our first advance reordered comics for September. Thanos Legacy #1 was the top advance-reordered comic book, with two versions in the top four. Batman: White Knight was the top advance-reordered graphic novel.

Click to see our reorder lists for September.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

July 2018 comics sales estimates: Batman #50 ships more than 441,000 copies, Spidey #1 289k

by John Jackson Miller

As noted here Friday, the comics shop market made up considerable ground in July comparison with a weak July 2017, thanks to the Batman wedding storyline and several high-profile launches. Retailers ordered $44.64 million worth of comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in the month; the year-to-date deficit, piled up in winter, was cut in half to less than 2%. Click to see the comics sales estimates from July 2017.

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Both Marvel and DC contributed, combining for a dual market share of 70.69%, the highest proportion of the market seen since October 2011, right after the debut of the New 52. DC's Batman #50 led the comics list with nearly 441,000 copies shipped; it was the third regularly priced item of the year to top 400,000 copies.

While DC announced both it and Catwoman #1 would be made returnable owing to retailer concerns over the storyline and its premature revelation online, Diamond Comic Distributors did not adjust the issues' numbers downward for returnability. This is normal, in keeping with practices regarding comics that are not made returnable until after they've been ordered; comics become returnable after they've been ordered and/or shipped all the time, and those items are not adjusted in tables. The end-of-year totals always account both for returns and for reorders; Batman #50 did lead comics in the reorder charts twice during the month.

Market share leader Marvel beat its July 2017 dollar sales by 16%, aided by Amazing Spider-Man #1 (more than 289,000 copies) and Captain America #1 (more than 167,000 copies), among other launches. DC's dollar sales were up 29% year over year, a figure exactly matched by IDW, which followed up a June in which it had a recent-record-low number of new comic books on the shelves (19) with nearly three times as many, 56.

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Die Die Die #1, which shipped without being solicited and went on sale July 11, landed in 174th place even though it was the highest-circulation Image book of the month. That's because its initial shipment, reportedly equal to the 80,000 or so copies shipped of Robert Kirkman's previous launch, Oblivion Song #1, was provided to retailers at no charge, and Diamond confirmed it had treated those copies as promotional items.

Retailers reordered 9,975 copies of Die Die Die #1 in July in the United States and Canada, and it is those copies that appear in Diamond's tables. The number of copies in circulation, however, is more than 90,000.

See the vital statistics, after the jump:

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