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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.

 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Infinity Countdown Prime #1 leads advance reorders; Doomsday Clock #3 tops comics reorders

by John Jackson Miller

The final full week of reorder and advance reorder charts from January is out from Diamond Comic Distributors. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Jan. 22-28, 2018 (in dollars)

 Find this issue on TFAW
These are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders from retailers. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking.

Image's Saga Vol. 8 trade paperback, the top graphic novel for December, was both the top reordered softcover for the third week in a row and also the top reordered item overall by dollars.

The top reordered comic book was DC's Doomsday Clock #3, which went on sale January 24. It had previously led the advance reorder charts.

The top reordered hardcover was DC's Superman: Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 5, which went on sale January 24.

The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
2Superman The Golden Age Omnibus HC Vol. 5$125.00 DC
3Infinity War TPB$29.99 Marvel
4Vision HC$39.99 Marvel
5Dead Drop TPB$9.99 Valiant
6TMNT Allies & Enemies TPB$17.99 IDW
7Doomsday Clock #3$4.99 DC
8Runaways Complete Collection TPB Vol. 1$34.99 Marvel
9Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
10Doomsday Clock #3 Var Ed$4.99 DC
11Amazing Spider-Man Venom Inc Omega #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
12Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
13Batman TPB Vol. 4 The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99 DC
14Hulk Planet Hulk Omnibus HC$100.00 Marvel
15Miles Morales Ultimate Spider-Man Ultimate Coll TPB Book 01$34.99 Marvel
16Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel
17Avengers #677 Leg$3.99 Marvel
18Avengers #676 Leg$3.99 Marvel
19Rick & Morty HC Book 1$49.99 Oni
20Wolverine Old Man Logan TPB$29.99 Marvel
21Damage #1$2.99 DC
22Saga TPB Vol. 7$14.99 Image
23Star Wars Darth Vader TPB Vol. 1 Vader$19.99 Marvel
24Saga TPB Vol. 2$14.99 Image
25Infinity TPB$49.99 Marvel

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Jan. 15-21, 2018 (in dollars)
 Preorder this book at TFAW
These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.

As with last week, it was another week in which the advance reorder chart was mostly dominated by comic books. Topping the list overall was Marvel's Infinity Countdown Prime #1, a $4.99 issue which is set to go on sale February 21. A Logan variant of the issue was the #2 advance reordered comic; a trading-card variant also made the list.
Dark Nights Metal
#6
was the top advance-reordered March comic book. Gone finally from the list was  Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition, a recent fixture.

The Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman book repeated in the top hardcover slot; it's been first among hardcovers four out of five weeks. It's an April 11 title.

For the third week in a row, there weren't any trade paperbacks in the Top 25 at all.

This chart is ranked by full retail dollars and not units, or wholesale dollars.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
2Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Logan Holds Infinity Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
3Action Comics #1000 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99 DC
4Avengers #681 Leg$3.99 Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #796 Leg$3.99 Marvel
6Avengers #676 2nd Ptg Brooks Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
7Doctor Strange Damnation #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
8Dark Nights Metal #6$4.99 DC
9Brave & The Bold Batman & Wonder Woman #1$3.99 DC
10Venom #162 Leg$3.99 Marvel
11Damage #2 (Res)$2.99 DC
12Doctor Strange Damnation #1 Tarnation Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
13Hit-Girl #1 Cvr G Romita Jr$3.99 Image
14Damage #1 2nd Ptg$2.99 DC
15Thanos Infinity Siblings Ogn HC$24.99 Marvel
16Dark Nights Metal #6 Comicsxposure Var Ed (Net)$4.99 DC
17Mighty Thor #704 Leg$3.99 Marvel
18Hit-Girl #1 Cvr F Doyle$3.99 Image
19Ice Cream Man #2 Cvr A Morazzo & Ohalloran$3.99 Image
20Thanos #15 2nd Ptg Shaw Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
21Cave Carson Swamp Thing Special #1$4.99 DC
22Old Man Hawkeye #1 2nd Ptg Checchetto Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
23Batman #41$2.99 DC
24Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Trading Card Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
25Batman #41 Var Ed$2.99 DC

We've seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for January 2018, February 2018 and March 2018. Check them out for a further glance at the future.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Marvel leads reorders last week with Phoenix, Vision collection; Star Wars Thrawn top advance reorder

by John Jackson Miller


After several weeks with mostly DC and Image books atop the reorder and advance reorder charts at Diamond Comic Distributors, Marvel had the largest share of both tables last week. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Jan. 15-21, 2018 (in dollars)
 Find this comic at TFAW
 Find this comic at TFAWThese are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders from retailers. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking.

The top reordered hardcover was Marvel's Vision, a $39.99 edition collecting Tom King's limited series, which shipped January 10.

The top reordered comic book was Marvel's Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #3, an issue that also shipped January 10. As of this writing, it appears to be close to sold out at Diamond. The leader the past three weeks, Hawkman Found #1, was out of stock at Diamond last week and does not appear in the list. 


Image's Saga Vol. 8 trade paperback, the top graphic novel for December, was the top reordered softcover for the second week in a row.

The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Vision HC$39.99 Marvel
2Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
3Rick & Morty HC Book 01$49.99 Oni
4Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #3 Leg$3.99 Marvel
5Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
6Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
7Avengers LH #675 Leg$4.99 Marvel
8Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
9X-Men Grand Design #2$5.99 Marvel
10Old Man Hawkeye #1 Leg$3.99 Marvel
11Batman White Knight #3 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
12Doomsday Clock #2$4.99 DC
13Saga TPB Vol. 3$14.99 Image
14Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #4 Leg$3.99 Marvel
15Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
16My Hero Academia Vol. 1$9.99 Viz
17Hellboy Library HC Vol. 6 Storm Fury Bride Hell$49.99 Dark Horse
18Doomsday Clock #1 2nd Ptg$4.99 DC
19X-Men Grand Design #1$5.99 Marvel
20Saga TPB Vol. 7$14.99 Image
21Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
22Saga Dlx Ed HC Vol. 1$49.99 Image
23Amazing Spider-Man Venom Inc Omega #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
24Batman & Robin by Tomasi & Gleason Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
25Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Jan. 15-21, 2018 (in dollars)

 Find this book at TFAW
These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.

It was mostly comic books in the advance reorder list last week. Topping the list among comic books and overall was Star Wars: Thrawn #1, launching Marvel's take on Timothy Zahn's character from his novels at Del Rey. The issue is set to go on sale Feb. 14.

The top advance-reordered comic book shipping in March was yet again the Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition from Image. It's expected to go on sale March 7.

The Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman book repeated in the top hardcover slot; it's been first three out of four weeks. It's an April 11 title.

Once again, there weren't any trade paperbacks in the Top 25 at all.

This chart is ranked by full retail dollars and not units, or wholesale dollars.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Star Wars Thrawn #1$4.99 Marvel
2Avengers #680 Leg$3.99 Marvel
3Terrifics #1 (Res)$2.99 DC
4Supergirl #18 Var Ed$3.99 DC
5X-Men Grand Design #1 2nd Ptg Piskor Var$5.99 Marvel
6Avengers #675 2nd Ptg Larraz Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
7Amazing Spider-Man Annual #42 Leg$4.99 Marvel
8X-Men Blue #21 Leg$3.99 Marvel
9X-Men Grand Design #2 2nd Ptg Piskor Var$5.99 Marvel
10Ice Cream Man #1 2nd Ptg$3.99 Image
11Old Man Hawkeye #2 Leg$3.99 Marvel
12Star Wars Darth Vader #11$3.99 Marvel
13Action Comics #1000 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99 DC
14Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #1 2nd Ptg Var$4.99 Marvel
15Marvel Two-In-One #3 Leg Ww$3.99 Marvel
16Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1 Collectors Ed$200.00 Image
17Kick-Ass #1 Cvr A Romita Jr$3.99 Image
18Invincible #144 Cvr B Walker & Fairbairn$5.99 Image
19Mister Miracle Directors Cut #1$5.99 DC
20Shade The Changing Girl Wonder Woman Special #1$4.99 DC
21Judas #3 Foc Incv Bastian Var$3.99 Boom
22Action Comics #997 Var Ed$2.99 DC
23Doctor Strange #385 Leg$3.99 Marvel
24Punisher #221 Leg$3.99 Marvel
25Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel

We've seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for January 2018, February 2018 and March 2018. Check them out for a further glance at the future.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Bookscan graphic novels off 5% in 2017; a look at GN units across time

by John Jackson Miller

A new report from Publisher's Weekly reports that the graphic novel category was off 5% in units in stores and at online retailers reporting to Bookscan in 2017, as compared with a 11% increase in 2016. The category saw a drop from 11.94 to 11.33 million copies moved.

The Bookscan total requires some massaging, as always: it contains a number of prose books with cartoon illustrations which even under a generous definition wouldn't be called comics, and as Heidi MacDonald notes, children's graphic novels are not included in the count. (Update: ICV2 reports that Bookscan has shared that kids' graphic novels were up 1.9%, which is good news.) But Bookscan easily represents the largest portion of the book channel outside the Direct Market, and its stats are helpful in figuring out the bigger picture.

The mix of titles which sell well in the bookstore market differs from what we see in the Diamond Comic Distributors charts; Raina Telgemeier's books usually dominate the list, but there wasn't a new one in 2017, and that undoubtedly plays into the decrease.

One of the facts that Diamond  revealed in its end-of-2017 report last week was that it had shipped "more than 7.4 million" graphic novels in the year to comics shops. While we've had some overall figures before for comics, this was the first one for graphic novels, and applying the annual change data Diamond releases, we're able to determine the number of graphic novels shipped annually to North American comics shops since 2010:


2010: 7.2 million
2011: 6.3 million
2012: 7.2 million
2013: 7.6 million
2014: 8 million
2015: 8.2 million
2016: 8.4 million
2017: 7.4 million

We don't usually focus on graphic novel units, because the prices for them vary so widely— but what we see here generally fits the contours of events in the business. In 2011, graphic novel sales suffered comparatively against 2010, when a lot of low-cover-price Walking Dead and Scott Pilgrim volumes were in the mix. Meanwhile, graphic novels saw an abrupt recovery that began following DC's "New 52" in 2011 and which continued up until 2017's Direct Market slowdown, which struck every print format.

So the comics shop market ordered 1 million fewer graphic novel units last year versus 2016, even as Bookscan saw a drop in its reporting outlets of 610,000 copies. I suspect the 5% drop at Bookscan may work out to closer to 4% in dollars, if we consider that the typical GN bought at a comics shop is pricier; regardless, we should ultimately see that the overall sales for the overall comics industry is off in the high single digits rather than the 10% the Direct Market was.

Graphic novel shipments to the Direct Market still beat those of 2011 by more than a million copies, and what's remarkable is that the range for the category over this decade has been relatively confined, within a two-million copy range.

Something the data may put to rest is the talk of there being a channel shift taking place, with graphic novel buyers leaving comics shops for non-Direct Market channels. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, as Carl Sagan said, and here, really strong evidence would have been the book chains and Amazon having a wildly better year than the comics shops. That didn't happen. That theory never fully accounted for the possibility that comics shops might themselves have been ordering the same number of graphic novels, but just not from Diamond, which could well explain a portion of any Diamond/book channel gap.

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, January 19, 2018

Diamond's Sales Charts: The road to the Top 500

by John Jackson Miller

Earlier this week, Diamond Comics Distributors made a major move in its reporting, switching from publishing the Top 300 comics and graphic novels to the Top 500s for each. The graphic novels had been at the 300 level for a little over nine years, but when did the 300 figure become the benchmark for comics?

Answer: 25 years ago this month, in the January 1993 Diamond Dialogue.

 Diamond had briefly run the Top 250 comics before that, and the Top 100 in the late 1980s in its Dateline newsletter. In 1993's robust industry with more titles, Diamond expanded its magazine and had more room to accommodate longer charts.

(Rival Capital City Distribution, which had released the first distributor sales charts in 1984, had been running just about everything, with lists going out past 600 places sometimes — though comics and graphic novels were mixed together often.)

But even in an industry where new titles were flooding the market, the bottom quarter of the Top 300 in January 1993 was exclusively independents and small press books, as can be seen in the image at left. Marvel, DC, Image (via Malibu), Malibu proper, and Valiant monopolized the top 150. Reordered books were not included back then.

Graphic novels started as a monthly Top 25 list before falling back to just the Top 10 when the market collapsed. That went back to a Top 25 twenty years ago this year, in March 1998 -- growing to 50 in 2002, 100 in 2004, and 300 in 2008, and now 500, reflecting the category's growth.

The Top 500 only captures half of GN sales, but the comics list is 97+%. You'll see that the 400s for comics are a mix of indies, kids comics, reordered Big Two books, and old books on liquidation. December's 500th place book was 2015's Secret Wars #8!

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Hawkman Found #1 top reordered book third consecutive week; February, March Comichron pages added

by John Jackson Miller


Now that the December and end-of-2017 comics sales charts are online here at Comichron, it's time to turn back to January and beyond.  The second batch of reorder charts for the year are out from Diamond Comic Distributors, featuring some familiar titles. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Jan. 8-14, 2018 (in dollars)

 Find this book at TFAW
These are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders from retailers. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking.

DC's Hawkman Found #1, a "Dark Nights" tie-in that went on sale Dec. 27, was the top reordered comic book for the third consecutive week. The Metal tie-in, by Jeff Lemire, Brian Hitch, and Kevin Nowlan and its variant appear to have sold through their initial allotments at Diamond, which is now taking back-orders.

The Saga Vol. 8 trade paperback, the top graphic novel for December, was the top reordered softcover.

The top reordered hardcover was the George Perez Sirens Direct Market exclusive edition from Boom, which shipped January 10.

The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Hawkman Found #1$3.99 DC
2Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
3Doomsday Clock #2$4.99 DC
4X-Men Grand Design #2$5.99 Marvel
5George Perez Sirens HC Direct Market Exc$29.99 Boom
6Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey Lh #1$4.99 Marvel
7Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
8Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #2 Leg$3.99 Marvel
9Saga TPB Vol. 2$14.99 Image
10Batman #38$2.99 DC
11X-Men Grand Design #1$5.99 Marvel
12Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
13Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
14Saga TPB Vol. 7$14.99 Image
15Batman TPB Vol. 4 The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99 DC
16Doomsday Clock #1 2nd Ptg$4.99 DC
17Batman and The Signal #1 (Res)$3.99 DC
18Batman White Knight #4$3.99 DC
19Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel
20Saga TPB Vol. 6$14.99 Image
21Batman Flash The Button Deluxe Ed HC$19.99 DC
22Saga TPB Vol. 4$14.99 Image
23Star Wars Darth Vader TPB Vol. 1 Vader$19.99 Marvel
24Guardians of Galaxy Lh #150 Leg$4.99 Marvel
25Wonder Woman TPB Vol. 1 The Lies$16.99 DC

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Jan. 8-14, 2018 (in dollars)
 Order this issue at TFAW
These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.

Topping the list overall for the second time was the Bill Sienkiewicz variant cover for Walking Dead #176, which ships February 7.

The top advance-reordered comic book shipping in March was once again the Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition from Image. It's expected to go on sale March 7.

The Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman book returned to the top hardcover slot after dropping a position last week. And there weren't any trade paperbacks in the Top 25 at all.

Remember, this is ranked by invoiced dollars and not units.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Walking Dead #176 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
2Dark Knights Rising The Wild Hunt #1$4.99 DC
3X-Men Red #1 Legacy$4.99 Marvel
4Batman Who Laughs #1 3rd Ptg Metal$3.99 DC
5Infinity Countdown Adam Warlock #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
6Avengers #679 Leg$3.99 Marvel
7Mister Miracle #1 4th Ptg$3.99 DC
8Batman White Knight #4 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
9Mister Miracle #3 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
10Batman #38 2nd Ptg$2.99 DC
11Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1 Collectors Ed$200.00 Image
12Action Comics #1000 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99 DC
13Batman White Knight #5$3.99 DC
14Amazing Spider-Man #795 Legacy$3.99 Marvel
15Mister Miracle #2 3rd Ptg$3.99 DC
16Mister Miracle #4 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
17Captain America #698 Legacy$3.99 Marvel
18Batman #40$2.99 DC
19X-Men Red #1 Mok Comicxposure Var Leg (Net)$4.99 Marvel
20Mother Panic Batman Special #1$4.99 DC
21Batman and The Signal #2 (Res)$3.99 DC
22Batman #40 Var Ed$2.99 DC
23Venom #161 Legacy$3.99 Marvel
24Star Wars #43$3.99 Marvel
25Thanos #14 2nd Ptg Shaw Var Legacy$3.99 Marvel

We've seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for January 2018 — and, just added, February 2018 and March 2018. check them out for a further glance at the future.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Monday, January 15, 2018

The 2017 Two Thousand: A look at the 1,000 top-selling comics and graphic novels ordered by comic shops

by John Jackson Miller



With the release of December comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors — and our subsequent analysis of and estimates for December 2017 comics sales now posted — Comichron has drawn upon that information to project estimates for the Top Thousand Comics and the Top Thousand Graphic Novels for 2017. The tables are on the page just beneath the image links to individual months.

This year's charts have our sorting and searching features implemented, as now do our previous 26 years of annual charts, going back to 1991. You can find the links to them, along with updated comparatives for how the market as a whole did across that time, by viewing our Yearly Comics Sales page.

 See listings for this issue on eBay
Led by Marvel Legacy #1, the Top Thousand Comics accounted for around 49.68 million copies; Diamond reported it sold 89.44 million copies altogether, so that's about 55% of all copies. That fraction is down from around three-fifths two years ago, and underscores the degree to which the charts have gotten less top-heavy. It's also a reason why Diamond shifted to reporting the Top 500 comics monthly; the market is fragmented such that more sales are outside the top portions of the charts.

Here are the totals for the Top Thousand Comics from the past few years. Diamond did not release figures for 2016, but we calculated minimum values for the Top Thousand based on known orders and reorders from that year:

2010: 45.3 million copies
2011: 47 million copies
2012: 53.43 million copies
2013: 52.21 million copies
2014: 52.07 million copies
2015: 58.59 million copies
2016: 59.8 million (minimum, probably slightly higher)
2017: 49.68 million copies

As you can see, 2017's figure comes in under 2012's — but we already know that Diamond sold more comics in 2017 than in 2012, so this is again a consequence of the Top Thousand representing a smaller portion of the distributor's volume. In full retail dollars, the Top Thousand Comics likely sold for $190.6 million, just a smidge under the 2012 figure; the same observation applies.

Almost everything in the Top 100 had "multiple order codes" at Diamond, meaning there were variant covers or reprints combined into one entry; sometimes it's not a simultaneous variant, but rather a reprint with a different cover. Very standard, by now.

Breaking down unit sales — and again employing our estimated minimums for 2016 — we see clearly the troubles in the higher tiers in 2017. The first chart shows what's in each bracket; the second is a cumulative measure:

NUMBER OF COMIC BOOK ISSUES SELLING THIS MANY COPIES DURING YEAR


200,000+100,000+75k-100k50k-75k25k-50k10k-25k
200923980260
201002668209652
201134244257641
2012563662746971150
20136641142127381302
2014436682937941158
20152174722007991114
2016*1183111261n.a.n.a.
2017346502338341200


NUMBER OF COMIC BOOK ISSUES SELLING
AT LEAST THIS MANY COPIES DURING YEAR
200,000+100,000+75,000+50,000+25,000+10,000+
2009239119379n.a.
201002694303955
201134286343984
201256312940311002250
201366417839011282430
201444010840111952353
2015219516736711662280
2016*1194205466n.a.n.a.
20173499933211662366

The dearth of hits isn't as bad as it appears in 2017, because of Diamond's practice of listing variants with different cover prices as separate entries; in truth, there are five books above 200,000 copies when Doomsday Clock #1 and Batman #21's versions are fused. Taking the chart as is, however, just 99 comics topped 75,000 copies in 2017, less than half the sum projected as the minimum for 2016, when Marvel was doing better and when DC had its Rebirth launches.

And yet, the industry was still moving the same number of different titles, we can see: 2015 was a much better year than 2017, and yet retailers ordered at least 25,000 copies of the same number of titles, 1,166, in each year.

Every year we also add a number of items to the Top Comics of the Decade and the Top Comics of the Century (So Far, in each case) lists. As you might expect — especially in a year with no Loot Crate activity — a smaller number of new entrants made the lists, and at lower ranks. The year 2017 added 26 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 2010s, with Marvel Legacy #1 placing 20th, and 15 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 21st Century, with Marvel Legacy #1 placing 25th.

Find this book at TFAWThe Top Thousand Graphic Novels, led by Saga Vol. 7, went for $73.19 million. We again counted up all the graphic novels Diamond reported in 2016 to come up with a minimum for that year, and for this category the estimate is definitely too low, since graphic novels sell every month of the year but only a few get to chart every month. It's probably more like $80 million.

2011: $58.4 million
2012: $71.4 million
2013: $79.03 million
2014: $81.19 million
2015: $81.46 million
2016: $69.48 million (minimum, likely a good deal higher)
2017: $73.19 million

Combined, the Top Thousand Comics and Top Thousand Graphic Novel lists account for only a little over 50% of all the orders by dollars Diamond received for print products in 2017. That's again a drop, down from around 55% in 2015. As they were earlier this decade, the the top-selling books accounted for less of the pie; unlike earlier this decade, the pie didn't grow in 2017.

Who published the Top Thousand Comics this year? Here's the breakdown:

Marvel: 502
DC: 459
Image: 29
Dark Horse: 3
Valiant: 3
IDW: 2
Dynamite: 1
Titan: 1

I don't want to compare these with the provisional 2016 list, but versus 2015 diversity in the table took a huge hit, with many fewer publishers represented and Image's share cut down.

And here's the publisher breakdown of the Top Thousand Graphic Novels. Those with 10 or more entries:

DC: 306
Marvel: 304
Image: 188
Dark Horse: 50
 Viz: 41
IDW: 18
Boom: 22
Oni: 14
Archie: 10

I again don't want to compare these with the provisional 2016 list, but versus 2015 there are fewer publishers with 10 or more titles. Marvel, Image, and Viz have more entries on the list this time, with Marvel nearly catching DC.

So that's the year that was. There are a few more housekeeping things to do on the site to update it with 2017's data (and of course, I have many previous years' information that I'll be posting soon). In the meantime, on to 2018 — and hopefully better weather, sales and otherwise!


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: KenobiOverdraft: 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.

December 2017 estimates online: Diamond expands comics, graphic novel tables to Top 500

by John Jackson Miller


A big change, as the headline says, but first the news: As reported here Friday, after five consecutive years of growth following DC's "New 52" reboot, the Direct Market gave back some of those gains in 2017 — and December served as a lackluster finish to a disappointing year. Overall, Direct Market orders finished the year at $522.25 million, off 10%. Click to see our sales estimates for December 2017.

While publishers appear to have shifted into their winter crouch early, DC did slightly improve on its previous December, thanks in part to Doomsday Clock #2 and Dark Nights Metal #4. The former had shipments in the month of over 158,600 copies. But the overall direction was down. It was a straight-up comparative with December 2016, as both months had four shipping weeks. Saga Vol. 8 was the top-selling graphic novel, with the new release topping 21,100 copies ordered.

I have also just posted, as well, Comichron's Top 1000 Comics and Top 1000 Graphic Novels for 2017, along with market shares; more detailed analysis posts will follow. But first, the big change, which is to be found in data already released. In short, there's more of it — a lot more. Beginning with the December report, Diamond has increased its reporting to include the Top 500 comics and Top 500 graphic novels.

The move with regard to comics appears to have been a response to the fact that sales levels at 300th place have grown dramatically over the last decade and a half, pushing a significant number of releases of interest outside the Top 300. Comichron calculates that the extension from 300 to 500 comics brings the number of shipped comics units captured by the table in December from 91.9% to 97.4%.

Post-300th-place data had been available sporadically for comics and graphic novels over the years. Diamond had previously switched temporarily to running the top 400 in 2013-14, but that appears to have been more of an oversight, where this is known to be an intentional policy change. Because Diamond releases Top 50 charts for independent and small publisher comics and graphic novels, as well as manga, some items after 300th place have been known and published on Comichron over the past five years — but it was always scattershot. Now, we'll have more information every month, so we've used the past data to create a new page tracking 400th place items across time. All items on in the independent and small publisher charts were captured by the Top 500 list in December.

There will be material, eventually, for a 500th-place table, though the reader will see that quite a lot of reordered items appear in the lower ranks; if a figure looks low for a comic book, it's worth looking at the month before to see if there's an earlier, more highly ranked entry.

The increase in the number of graphic novels could possibly have been done to keep the chart consistent with the comics one; whatever the reason,  the move performed a service in that the table now captures a little more than half of the graphic novel units shipped.

For years, I've explained that the "overall" sales figure includes millions of dollars worth of material uncaptured by the Top 300 charts; in December, for example, the Top 300s only capture $28.67 million of the projected $38.49 million in sales overall. The additional 200 comics and graphic novels bring the total up to $31.31 million. So what's in the missing seven and a half million dollars?

Answer: the other half of the graphic novel revenue, all of the magazine revenue, and the missing fraction of comics. Thousands and thousands of different backlist books. On Friday, Diamond announced that it shipped 7.4 million graphic novels to the Direct Market in 2017; December's share of that you might figure at somewhere over 600,000 copies. How many units were sold of the Top 500 graphic novel sales for the month? Right at 350,000 copies. With those valued at $7.71 million at full retail, the other 250,000-plus would easily soak up the lion's share of the unreported dollars, with unreported comics and all the magazines covering the rest.

As will be seen in the table below, Comichron's measures, while reporting the Top 500 comics and graphic novels, will continue to use 300 items as the main benchmark, since it allows for comparisons across the largest span of Direct Market history.

The vital statistics for December:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Weak December puts 2017 comic shop orders down 10%; big drop, but from a lofty perch

by John Jackson Miller


In the 21st Century, growth — and sometimes rapid growth — in the comics Direct Market has often been the rule. Following the complete collapse of the mid- and late-1990s, retailer orders for comic books and graphic novels increased in 2001-2008 and from 2012-2016, broken up with a three-year recessionary period turned around in mid-2011 by DC's "New 52." 

That's 13 "up" years out of 16, and 2011 just barely missed. (Click to see all our yearly results.) Looking more closely, however, some of those growth years were, themselves, close-run things; it was the case in most of the first decade of the 2000s that whenever periodicals saw temporary downturns, the monumental growth of graphic novels saved the day.



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That did not happen in 2017, with graphic novels and periodicals down about equally. The absence of that moderating factor — plus the lofty level the market was at from all those growth years — combined with a weak December to send comics shop orders of comics, graphic novels, and magazines down 10% for the year, according to the December report released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. The tables are below. (Click also to see our December charts page, which will be updated as more information is processed. We also have a 2017 page with the projected best-sellers through November; our final tallies will go there.) Comichron estimates the total yearly orders to be worth $522.25 million at full retail, a $58.65 million decline. That’s the loss of more than a month’s worth of sales at the previous heated pace.

That heated pace, as mentioned above, is relevant: Diamond reports that the year was still its fourth best for sales to retailers, and my estimates corroborate that: 2014 through 2016 had orders of $540 million, $579 million, and $581 million respectively. 2017 is still up 26% from 2011, nearly $109 million. The altitude’s such that even a significant pullback — and a 10% drop is likely the worst since 1998 — still keeps the market at a higher level than it’s been at for most of the 21st Century. Comichron calculates the number of comic books ordered in 2017 to be 89.44 million, a figure confirmed in Diamond’s release; that number, while off, is better than anything from the first dozen years of the century. Add to that the likely prospects for at least a slight increase in graphic novel sales in 2017 outside the Direct Market, and the long-term positive prospects for the medium likely remain unaltered.

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It’s the current year-to-year and month-to-month that concerns the businesses involved most, of course — and there, again, the picture was not improved by December. December 2016, as I’d noted before, had been off 15%, near the start of the market’s downturn; December 2017 matched that figure. Its $38.48 million in comics and graphic novels ordered by retailers was the lowest monthly total since February 2014, and the 6.23 million comics ordered was the lowest sum since January 2012. The aggravating factor was a much decreased number of new comics offered to market: 447 new comics was the lightest new release slate since April 2016. Graphic novel releases were up, though Image only offered 10 new ones, half its July pace. Publishers appear to have shifted into their winter crouch early.

Earlier in the year, Marvel had been responsible for the full loss in 2017; as reported here when it happened, that shifted when the comparatives began to include DC’s Rebirth months from 2016. The result is that the rest of the market was down 8% for the year, and DC 9%; we still have Image up slightly for the year, and Dynamite by close to 10%, but those were the bright spots.

That said, even with the state of play, DC managed to beat its December 2016 sales, thanks to Doomsday Clock #2, Dark Nights, and the other current chart toppers that helped it to take the market share lead for the month. DC entered 2018, then, with some momentum.

The comparatives:


December 2017 Vs. November 2017
Comics-16.13%-14.05%
Graphic Novels-21.95%-10.88%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-18.11%-13.77%
Toys-33.23%-30.05%
December 2017 Vs. December 2016
Comics-16.54%-24.11%
Graphic Novels-10.17%-13.37%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-14.57%-23.23%
Toys-27.60%-37.11%
Fourth Quarter 2017 Vs. Third Quarter 2017
Comics-2.41%-5.19%
Graphic Novels8.49%7.61%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs0.82%-4.24%
Toys9.14%2.15%
Fourth Quarter 2017 Vs. Fourth Quarter 2016
Comics-13.90%-19.53%
Graphic Novels-1.77%-7.71%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-10.37%-18.66%
Toys-15.67%-24.40%
Year 2017 Vs. Year 2016
Comics-10.40%-9.69%
Graphic Novels-9.38%-11.86%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-10.09%-9.86%
Toys-12.55%-19.90%

It's notable that not only are comics and graphic novels off about the same, but toys were, too. Remember, also, in looking at graphic novels, that retailers can and do order a sizable amount from distributors other than Diamond, so there's activity not being captured there.

The market shares for December:

Dollar ShareUnit Share
DC34.54%37.65%
Marvel33.80%38.81%
Image8.69%7.20%
IDW3.92%2.92%
Dark Horse2.69%2.06%
Boom2.28%1.98%
Dynamite2.08%1.84%
Oni1.00%0.52%
Viz0.96%0.35%
Valiant0.96%1.08%

Based on the figures to date, we project Marvel's end of year market share to be just over 36%, followed by DC at 30%, Image at nearly 10%, IDW at 4.5%, Dark Horse at around 3%, and Boom and Dynamite clustered next around 2%.

The new shipment data for December:

PublisherComics shippedGraphic Novels shippedMagazinesTotal shipped
Marvel85430128
DC80381119
IDW3532067
Image5510065
Boom247031
Dark Horse199028
Dynamite215026
Viz016016
Valiant6208
Oni4307
Other11816427309
TOTAL SHIPPED44732928804

That puts us at 5,919 new comics for 2017, up from 5,812 — and 4,002 new graphic novels, up from 3,768. Almost the entire increase in new graphic novels in 2017 comes from publishers in that "other" column above.

Finally, the charts for December's top-selling comics...

COMIC BOOKPRICEPUBLISHER
1Doomsday Clock #24.99DC
2Dark Nights: Metal #4$3.99DC
3Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #1$4.99Marvel
4Batman #36$2.99DC
5Batman #37$2.99DC
6Batman: White Knight #3$3.99DC
7Amazing Spider-Man/Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha #1$4.99Marvel
8Marvel Two-In-One #1$3.99Marvel
9Hawkman Found #1$3.99DC
10Amazing Spider-Man #792$3.99Marvel

...and graphic novels:

GRAPHIC NOVELPRICEPUBLISHER
1Saga Volume 814.99Image
2Batman Vol. 4: The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99DC
3Star Wars Vol. 6: Out Among The Stars$19.99Marvel
4Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 4: Deus Ex Machina$16.99DC
5Black Hammer Vol. 2: The Event$19.99Dark Horse
6Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad$24.99DC
7Shirtless Bear-Fighter$16.99Image
8Deadly Class Volume 6$16.99Image
9Venomverse$15.99Marvel
10Rick And Morty Volume 6$19.99Oni

As the 2017 data rollout continues,  this page may be updated. Either way, the December estimates should be along next week.

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.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Batman: Dark Prince Charming leads advance reorders; Hawkman Found #1 repeats

by John Jackson Miller


The first full week of 2018 saw a repeat at the top of the reorder charts at Diamond Comic Distributors — and a new mix of books atop the advance reorder charts. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Jan. 2-8, 2018 (in dollars)

Find this book at TFAW These are items that have already shipped, but have been receiving additional orders from retailers. In most cases below, the items are in stock and so the orders are being filled; occasionally items are back-ordered, so their reorders will enter into the channel once they become available.

These are ranked by invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already applied to the totals before ranking.

DC's Hawkman Found #1, a "Dark Nights" tie-in that went on sale Dec. 27, repeated as the top reordered comic book of the week.

Repeating yet again, Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet was the top reordered softcover.

And DC's Batman & Robin by Tomasi and Gleason Omnibus was the top reordered hardcover. It shipped back on Nov. 8.

The links in the table go to the Diamond information pages for each book.


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Hawkman Found #1$3.99 DC
2Doomsday Clock #2$4.99 DC
3X-Men Grand Design #1$5.99 Marvel
4Batman & Robin by Tomasi & Gleason Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
5Doomsday Clock #2 Var Ed$4.99 DC
6Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
7Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey LH #1$4.99 Marvel
8Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
9Dark Nights Metal #4$3.99 DC
10Batman TPB Vol. 4 The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99 DC
11Batman White Knight #4$3.99 DC
12Rick & Morty TPB Vol. 1$19.99 Oni
13Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel
14Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
15Doomsday Clock #1 2nd Ptg$4.99 DC
16Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
17Star Wars Darth Vader TPB Vol. 1 Vader$19.99 Marvel
18Batman Flash The Button Deluxe Ed HC$19.99 DC
19Batman TPB Vol. 1 I Am Gotham$16.99 DC
20Batman #37$2.99 DC
21Batman Hush Complete TPB$24.99 DC
22Shiver HC Junji Ito$22.99 Viz
23Uncanny X-Men Omnibus HC Vol. 1 New Ptg$99.99 Marvel
24Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
25Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 1$59.99 Image

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS  for Jan. 2-8, 2018 (in dollars)

Preorder this book on TFAWLet's turn now to the future. These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. These reorders, if books are available to fill them, may or may not land in the same shipping month as the books' release weeks, so a book's presence on this chart can mean that an item might make a repeat appearance in Diamond's monthly top-seller charts.

Topping the list overall was the second printing of the top advance-reordered hardcover, Batman: The Dark Prince Charming Book 1, a $12.99 book slated for Valentine's Day release. The Action Comics #1000: 80 Years of Superman book, first among hardcovers last week, placed second.

The top advance-reordered comic book was Flash Annual #1, a $4.99 edition set to go on sale on January 31. Missing the Top 25 altogether this week after topping the past two weekly lists is Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition from Image. It's expected to go on sale March 7.

The leading trade paperback was X-Men: Grand Design from Marvel. It's an April 4 title.

Remember, this is ranked by invoiced dollars and not units.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Batman The Dark Prince Charming HC Book 1 2nd Ptg$12.99 DC
2Action Comics #1000 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99 DC
3Flash Annual #1$4.99 DC
4X-Men Grand Design TPB$29.99 Marvel
5Thanos #13 2nd Ptg Shaw Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
6Green Lantern Earth One HC Vol. 1$24.99 DC
7Dark Days The Road To Metal HC$29.99 DC
8Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5 Lee Jean Grey$4.99 Marvel
9Detective Comics Annual #1$4.99 DC
10JLA Doom Patrol Special #1$4.99 DC
11Batman & Harley Quinn HC$24.99 DC
12Sideways #1 (Res)$2.99 DC
13Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey #5 Leg$4.99 Marvel
14Ex Machina The Complete Series Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
15Walking Dead #176 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
16Marvel Two-In-One #1 2nd Ptg Cheung Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
17Young Monsters In Love #1$9.99 DC
18Dark Nights Metal #6$4.99 DC
19Supergirl #18 Var Ed$3.99 DC
20Wonder Woman by George Perez Omnibus HC Vol. 3$99.99 DC
21Doomsday Clock #4$4.99 DC
22X-Men Red #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
23Star Wars Last Jedi DJ #1$4.99 Marvel
24Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
25Legion of Super Heroes Silver Age Omnibus HC Vol. 2$75.00 DC

We've seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for December 2017 and January 2018; check them out for a further glance at the future.

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