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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, February 28, 2018

Black Panther commands reorder charts; Marvel has 21 of 25 advance reorder items

by John Jackson Miller

The reorder list was Black Panther's to rule last week, with seven softcover and hardcover book among the top books that comics shops reordered 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 Feb. 19-25, 2018 (in invoiced dollars)

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.

Black Panther Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, propelled by interest due to the movie's release, moved from second to first in reorders for trade paperbacks, followed by its second volume. There were seven Black Panther titles in the Top 25. Image's Saga Vol. 8 trade paperback, the top graphic novel for December, was the top reordered softcover for the six weeks running, was third.

The new edition of DC's New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2 was the top reordered hardcover and item overall by dollars. It went on sale February 21.

Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1 —we're going to have to be careful on these Dark Nights/Dark Knights spellings — was the top reordered comic book. It came out on Feb. 14.

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


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1New Teen Titans Omnibus HC Vol. 2 New Ed$75.00 DC
2Dark Knights Rising The Wild Hunt #1$4.99 DC
3Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
4Avengers Rage of Ultron OGN HC$24.99 Marvel
5Black Panther TPB Book 02 Nation Under Our Feet$15.99 Marvel
6Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
7Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
8Black Panther by Priest TPB Vol. 1 Complete Collection$34.99 Marvel
9Magnus Robot Fighter TPB Vol. 1 Flesh & Steel$17.99 Dynamite
10Star Wars Thrawn #1$4.99 Marvel
11Sideways #1 (Res)$2.99 DC
12Black Panther by Hudlin TPB Vol. 1 Complete Collection$39.99 Marvel
13End of F$$$Ing World HC$19.99 Fantagraphics
14Storm TPB Vol. 2 Bring Thunder$17.99 Marvel
15Moebius Library Inside Moebius HC Vol. 1$39.99 Dark Horse
16Robin Year One Deluxe Edition HC$34.99 DC
17Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
18Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
19Secret Loves of Geek Girls TPB$14.99 Dark Horse
20Batman & Robin by Tomasi & Gleason Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
21Black Panther Epic Collection TPB Panthers Rage$34.99 Marvel
22Amazing Spider-Man #796 Leg$3.99 Marvel
23Black Panther TPB Book 04 Avengers of New World$16.99 Marvel
24Black Panther HC Vol. 1 A Nation Under Our Feet$34.99 Marvel
25Amazing Spider-Man Annual #42 Leg$4.99 Marvel

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Feb. 19-Feb. 25, 2018 (in full retail dollars)


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.

Marvel dominated the advance reorder charts, taking 21 of 25 spots last week. The top advance-reordered comic book and top advance-reordered item overall was the Artgerm variant of Mighty Thor #705. It's expected to go on sale March 21.

The top April-shipping comic book was the C2E2 Venomized #1 variant, due on April 4. DC's Curse of the Brimstone #1 was the next highest April shipping comic; another April 4 title. 


No hardcovers on the list this week, but the top softcover is Cable Revolution. It'll ship April 25.


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

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Mighty Thor #705 Artgerm Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
2Amazing Spider-Man #796 2nd Ptg Hawthorne Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
3Weapon H #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
4Avengers #685 Leg$3.99 Marvel
5Thanos #17 Leg$3.99 Marvel
6Kick-Ass #2 Cvr C Francavilla$3.99 Image
7Thanos #17 Ward Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
8Weapon H #1 Skan Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
9Weapon H #1 Keown Hulk Homage Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
10Old Man Hawkeye #2 2nd Ptg Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
11Mighty Thor #705 Leg$3.99 Marvel
12Avengers #681 2nd Ptg Brooks Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
13Weapon H #1 Kubert Wolverine Homage Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
14C2E2 2018 Venomized Var #1 (Net)$4.99 Marvel
15Weapon H #1 Christopher Trading Card Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
16Doctor Strange Damnation #3 Tarnation Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
17Curse of the Brimstone #1$2.99 DC
18Incredible Hulk #714 Leg Ww$3.99 Marvel
19Cable Revolution TPB$39.99 Marvel
20Doctor Strange Damnation #3 Leg$3.99 Marvel
21Batman Creature of the Night #3$5.99 DC
22Amazing Spider-Man #798 Leg$3.99 Marvel
23Amazing Spider-Man #799 Leg$3.99 Marvel
24Ice Cream Man #3 Cvr A Morazzo & Ohalloran$3.99 Image
25Phoenix Resurrection Return Jean Grey TPB Artgerm Dm Var$17.99 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 February 2018 and March 2018. A page for April 2018 has also been started. Check them out for a further glance at the future.

I'll be appearing at Emerald City Comic Con this weekend; my schedule is here. Be sure to say hi!

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, February 23, 2018

History saved: Comics Buyer's Guide bound and file copies, distributor publication library preserved

by John Jackson Miller

I wanted to share the news here of a successful comics history rescue operation -- though unlike some of the others I've undertaken, this one's a bit closer to home.

Krause Publications, which for years published both Comics Buyer's Guide and Comics Retailer,  is closing its Iola, Wis., office in March, moving the remaining personnel to a larger city. But as my fellow former employee Maggie Thompson learned last week, the file copies of most of the magazines were to be discarded, as well as a significant portion of the library materials.

For Comics Buyer's Guide — read my history of the magazine here — this took in a huge number of issues. More than 5,000 copies, between two and ten each of every issue from #482 in 1983 to #1699 in 2013. This amounted to 105 cases weighing more than two tons — all destined for destruction.

The company donated the materials to Maggie and me to place, but the caveat was that we only had 72 hours to find homes for them all — and while Maggie sent the CBG bound copies to Columbia University, the file copies were still a very large problem.

On that short notice, I reached out to Buddy Saunders, whose MyComicShop site has long been the only site I know of to stock individual CBG issues in any depth. Of anyone, I knew he could preserve such a large collection and get them back into circulation for those interested.

Buddy was as eager to save the copies from the recycling bin, and dispatched a truck. The next hours were a whirlwind, as the issues were palletized; it all made it onto the truck last Friday, with literally five minutes to spare. I'm informed all three pallets have this hour just reached him in Texas.

The issues will take some time to process, but eventually every Krause issue will be available from MyComicShop in some depth -- something which was never the case for anything but the most recent issues while the magazine was running. This is important for the history of the business, as no issues before 2002 were ever digitized, nor can digital versions of those issues be legally distributed. Rights issues prevent that.

MyComicShop also received many Comics Retailer magazines, while Krause additionally donated the entire distributor catalog library — running the gamut from Diamond and Capital to Andromeda, Big Picture, Friendly Franks, and Styx — to Comichron. I've already found things I can use in future reports.

Our thanks go to Buddy and his staff for helping to make this happen — and to Krause for working with us to save these materials. It's sad seeing the company leave Iola, as it brought both me and Maggie to the area — but I think it means something that the comics magazines will still be around. As I told one of the staffers, "Comics fans save magazines. That's what we do."

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.

Diamond's Pullbox system to help customers order comics from shops; DC gets own catalog

by John Jackson Miller


At the ComicPRO retailers organization meeting in Portland, Ore., this morning, Diamond Comic Distributors announced a number of changes to its Previews catalog, as well as an innovation long rumored to be in the works.

The innovation first; Diamond, which has long had an online version of its Previews catalog at http://www.previewsworld.com, has developed Pullbox, a system for handling what has been handled store-by-store for years: the pull-and-hold subscription folder. By offering a cloud-based software, Diamond makes it possible to computerize and centralize that process, with preorders managed online and orders fulfilled by the local shops.

The software will allow customers to Previewsworld's complete item database, placing orders with their local shops as seen in Diamond's Comic Shop Locator service. On the retail side of Diamond's site, shops will be able to set their ordering guidelines, requirements for approval of subscribers, and integrate the information with their point-of-sale software programs.

The system will launch this spring, Diamond reports, and will be demonstrated at the Diamond Retailer Summit in Chicago April 4-6. It's a critical piece of infrastructure the business has long been missing; as any visitor to a comic shop over the last thirty years knows, subscriptions are a major part of the business and key to its success, but systems were far from uniform or as streamlined as they could be. Input from retailers would have been key in making something like this work, and it sounds from the announcement that Diamond sought and received plenty of it.

On the Previews side, magazines and prose books, once kept in their own subsidiary sections, will be merged into the comics/graphic novel listings in the April edition. Comichron does not expect to see any changes in the Top Sellers charts because of this; comics, magazines, graphic novels, and books have long had their own category codes on the retailer end, and these continue to exist.

A new section for manga will be started; again, I do not expect this will result in them being broken out from graphic novels in the charts, though Diamond does monthly release a manga-only sales chart. The non-print material will all be on the other, "flip-side" of the catalog.

DC will be leaving the main catalog in the May edition, gaining its own separate catalog as Marvel has had for more than 20 years. The magazine will be free of charge to Previews purchasers, who will also continue to receive Marvel's catalog and Image's Image Plus magazine.

Finally, a digital version of the catalog through a special app will be made available in May. Read more about the changes here.

UPDATE: In later news from the event, it was announced that Dynamite would gain Premier Publisher status, moving to the front of the catalog. Dynamite had one of the better years for publishers in 2017, according to Comichron's measuring. Boom was also elevated to that status.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Marvel has top advance reordered comic, hardcover, softcover; Black Panther climbs chart

by John Jackson Miller

Last week saw the release of the Black Panther movie, and we could tell that from the reorders that comics shops placed in February with Diamond Comic Distributors. Other Marvel properties also took the top category slots among advance reorders. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Feb. 12-18, 2018 (in invoiced dollars)

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 the top reordered softcover for the sixth week in a row — and the top reordered item by dollars overall. The #2 reordered trade paperback was Black Panther Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet, propelled by interest due to the movie's release. The Black Panther by Priest Vol. 1 collection also made the Top 20. (Click to see recently posted postal circulation data on Priest's series.)

The House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus from DC was the top hardcover for the second week running. The $125 volume went on sale on Feb. 7.

The top Feburary-shipping comic book in reorders last week was the top reordered comic book overall: the Swamp Thing Winter Special, featuring the last story by the late Len Wein. A Feb. 7 release, the issue was marked as sold out at Diamond as of the report generated on Feb. 14, so it must have sold out early in the week. A second printing is planned for March 21 and was the #3 advance reordered item this week.

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
2House of Secrets The Bronze Age Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
3Swamp Thing Winter Special #1$7.99 DC
4Black Panther TPB Book 1 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
5Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
6Gene Colan Tomb of Dracula Artist Ed HC$125.00 IDW
7Absolute Wonder Woman by Azzarello & Chiang HC Vol. 2$125.00 DC
8Superman Action Comics Rebirth Dlx Coll HC Book 02$34.99 DC
9Dark Knights Rising The Wild Hunt #1$4.99 DC
10Daredevil Shadowland Omnibus HC Tan Dm Var$125.00 Marvel
11Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 1$59.99 Image
12Saga TPB Vol. 2$14.99 Image
13Flash Rebirth Dlx Coll HC Book 1$34.99 DC
14Watchmen The Absolute Edition HC$99.99 DC
15Batman by Brian K Vaughan TPB$16.99 DC
16Doomsday Clock #1 2nd Ptg$4.99 DC
17Saga TPB Vol. 7$14.99 Image
18X-Men Red #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
19Black Panther by Priest TPB Vol. 1 Complete Collection$34.99 Marvel
20Saga TPB Vol. 6$14.99 Image
21Batman White Knight #5$3.99 DC
22Walking Dead Compendium TPB Vol. 3$59.99 Image
23Uzumaki 3In1 Dlx Ed HC Junji Ito$27.99 Viz
24Batman #40$2.99 DC
25Only End of the World Again HC$19.99 Dark Horse

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Feb. 12-18, 2018, 2018 (in full retail dollars)


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.

The top advance-reordered comic book and top advance-reordered item overall was Avengers #684 by Marvel. It goes on sale March 14.

After a week with no hardcover on the list, the top advance-reordered hardcover was also Marvel's: the big Venomnibus Vol. 1, a $100 edition that ships on June 20.

And for the first time in a while we've got a softcover back on the list, and it gives Marvel the trifecta: It's the new printing of Eternals by Neil Gaiman, due out April 11. 

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

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Avengers #684 Leg Banner Hulk Returns$4.99 Marvel
2Amazing Spider-Man #795 2nd Ptg Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
3Swamp Thing Winter Special #1 2nd Ptg$7.99 DC
4Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #25 Polybag Mix$4.99 Boom
5Thanos #14 3rd Ptg Shaw Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
6New Mutants Dead Souls #1 Leg$3.99 Marvel
7Avengers #675 3rd Ptg Larraz Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
8Avengers #680 2nd Ptg Jacinto Var Leg WW$3.99 Marvel
9Avengers #684 Young Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
10Supergirl #19 Var Ed$3.99 DC
11Venomnibus HC Vol. 1$100.00 Marvel
12Infidel #1 Cvr C Virgin Cvr$3.99 Image
13Infinity Countdown Adam Warlock #1 2nd Ptg Allred Var$4.99 Marvel
14Marvel Two-In-One #2 2nd Ptg Cheung Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
15Action Comics #999 Var Ed$2.99 DC
16Marvel Two-In-One #4 Leg$3.99 Marvel
17Eternals by Neil Gaiman TPB New Ptg$24.99 Marvel
18Star Wars Darth Vader #13$3.99 Marvel
19Kick-Ass #1 2nd Ptg$3.99 Image
20Mister Miracle #7$3.99 DC
21X-Men Blue #23 Leg$3.99 Marvel
22Doctor Strange #384 2nd Ptg Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
23Amazing Spider-Man #796 2nd Ptg Hawthorne Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
24Star Wars Thrawn #2$3.99 Marvel
25Doctor Strange #387 Leg$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 February 2018 and March 2018. A page for April 2018 has also been started. Check them out for a further glance at the future.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

UPDATED: Legacy numbering to be preserved in Marvel's Fresh Start; Mad reboots after #550

by John Jackson Miller
 See IGN's article on Avengers 1
With Marvel's Legacy event, attention turned last fall to numbering on comics — and we released our updated and exhaustive legacy numbering survey, looking at the highest-numbered North American comic book series across time.

A few things have changed since then: several of those Marvel titles had already ended or have had final issues announced, and DC restored the numbering on its longest-running titles in advance of April 18's Action Comics #1000, which is also getting a hardcover companion volume, and Detective Comics #1000, which is still some time off.

Now, this week comes two items of significance for legacy numbering industrywide; first, Marvel began rolling out its plans for its "Fresh Start" event launching in May, essentially restarting its renumbered series yet again, starting with a new Avengers title. IGN reported that Executive Editor Tom Brevoort "did express an interest in keeping the legacy numbering around in subordinate fashion for select titles, but ultimately he favors keeping things as clear and unconfusing as possible for readers."

[UPDATE: While the IGN report was as described above, Marvel posted Tuesday afternoon that it will be providing dual numbering on its titles.] 

Shadow numbering
It's a short run for this round of renumbering, and a reminder of the different and conflicting demands on numbering in general. While the benefit from legacy numbering is one that accrues over long periods as retailers don't have to keep starting new subscriber files on titles, the greatest interest in continuous numbering comes from the aftermarket, which values ease of identification and which publishers receive benefits from less directly. Publishers see direct benefits more often from round-numbered anniversary issues — which is why we've seen publishers like Marvel and DC do restarts only to hop back for the anniversaries, as in the DC case above.

One option open to Marvel could be something like the "shadow numbering" the company did in the early 2000s, putting both figures on the cover, though perhaps in a way that the collector cognoscenti would be able to figure out, without confusing the new reader. [UPDATE: As noted in the above addendum, dual numbering appears to be what they've decided on, although as in the early 2000s case, the issue number that price guides and archivists generally refer to is whatever's in the indicia. We'll see how Diamond lists them.] 

 See Mad listings at eBayIn connected news,  somewhat surprisingly, DC sources announced that Mad would mark its move to the West Coast with a new #1, ending the previous series with #550, the April cover-dated issue. For decades, Mad's status as a magazine, selling mostly on newsstands and through subscriptions, tended to isolate it from Direct Market numbering tactics; issue numbers aren't of importance in magazine market orders, and in fact the final Ingram order form included no issue numbers at all. But with DC's pullback from the newsstand, the Direct Market's influence on the title would presumably increase.

Mad had the clearest claim to being the longest-running current series with unbroken publication and numbering; the next candidate on the list, Heavy Metal, didn't have ordinal numbering for many years, and its issue count contains a number of special editions not part of the series' regular run. So it's a race then between various Archie digests and Spawn, now in their high 200s.

Without knowing the Marvel situation — or DC's plans for its legacy titles over the next few years — it's unclear what our next five-year survey will look like in 2020. We can say that 2015's highest-numbered issue, Walt Disney Comics & Stories, just had its 741st issue come out from IDW.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Panther: The complete postal circulation data

by John Jackson Miller

Find Black Panther's first appearance on eBay
It's been a while since we added some more Title Spotlights featuring all the postal circulation data associated with a specific title — so with the movie releasing, this seemed like a good time to take a tour of Black Panther's various titles with circulation data.

Black Panther's debut in 1966's Fantastic Four #52 sold 329,000 copies, according to Marvel's first postal statement ever for that title; the 2016 series launch nearly matched that, with at least 287,000 copies sold by the end of the first year. In between, Marvel published postal circulation data in three of its Black Panther series; that and more is now online at Comichron.

You'll find it here, starting with the first series for which there were postal filings: Black Panther, Vol. 2. It's also the longest-running series to date, running from 1998-2003.

Black Panther Vol. 3 from 2005-08 and Vol. 4, published from 2009-10, finish out the data collection. The largest amount of Black Panther data on the site, of course, is in our monthly sales reports; use the search box atop any page to find more.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dark Nights Metal #5 top reorder last week; Sienkiewicz Walking Dead covers lead advance reorders for March, April

by John Jackson Miller

We're hearing about more reorders and advance reorders that comics shops placed in February with 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 Feb. 5-Feb. 11, 2018 (in invoiced 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.

The top reordered comic book was DC's Dark Nights Metal #5, which went on sale January 31. The top Feburary-shipping comic book in reorders was a Feb. 7 release, the Swamp Thing Winter Special, featuring the last story by the late Len Wein. The issue is sold out at Diamond.

The House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus from DC was the top hardcover. The $125 volume went on sale on Feb. 7.

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

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


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Dark Nights Metal #5$3.99 DC
2House of Secrets The Bronze Age Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
3Absolute Wonder Woman by Azzarello & Chiang HC Vol. 2$125.00 DC
4Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
5My Favorite Thing Is Monsters Vol. 1 (Res)$39.99 Fantagraphics
6Flash Annual #1$4.99 DC
7Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
8Doomsday Clock #3 Var Ed$4.99 DC
9Divinity Comp Trilogy Dlx Ed HC$59.99 Valiant
10Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
11Ninjak Complete Classic Omnibus HC$99.99 Valiant
12Cannon Wally Wood HC$35.00 Fantagraphics
13Batman Flash The Button Deluxe Ed HC$19.99 DC
14Vision HC$39.99 Marvel
15Saga TPB Vol. 7$14.99 Image
16Detective Comics Annual #1$4.99 DC
17Doomsday Clock #2$4.99 DC
18Daredevil Shadowland Omnibus HC Tan DM Var$125.00 Marvel
19Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
20Black Hammer TPB Vol. 2 The Event$19.99 Dark Horse
21Swamp Thing Winter Special #1$7.99 DC
22Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
23Moebius Library Inside Moebius HC Vol. 1$39.99 Dark Horse
24Silencer #1$2.99 DC
25Saga Dlx Ed HC Vol. 2$49.99 Image

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Feb. 5-Feb. 11, 2018, 2018 (in full retail dollars)

Find 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.

The top advance-reordered comic book was the Bill Sienkiewicz variant cover to Walking Dead #177, which goes on sale March 7. The Sienkiewicz variants have appeared a lot on the reorder lists of late; the variant cover for #178 is the top advance-reordered comic book for April, due out on the 4th. Amazing Spider-Man #797 was in second place overall.


The March-slated Oblivion Song by Kirkman and De Felici Collector's Edition was third among advance-reordered comics; Diamond informed retailers this week that due to unforeseen circumstances, a portion of the copies would not be available on March 7 but would ship soon afterward.

No hardcovers or softcovers of any kind in the advance reorder list, as happens sometimes.


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

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Walking Dead #177 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
2Amazing Spider-Man #797 Leg$3.99 Marvel
3Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1 Collectors Ed$200.00 Image
4Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1$3.99 Image
5Thanos #13 3rd Ptg Shaw Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
6Avengers #683 Leg$3.99 Marvel
7Amazing Spider-Man #797 Ramos Connecting Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
8Amazing Spider-Man #797 Mcguinness Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
9Gideon Falls #1 Virgin Cvr$3.99 Image
10Avengers #679 2nd Ptg Jacinto Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
11Amazing Spider-Man #797 Crain Mighty Thor Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
12X-Men Red #2 Leg Ww$3.99 Marvel
13Realm Spec Ed HC Vol. 1$39.99 Image
14Infinity Countdown #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
15X-Men Red #1 2nd Ptg Asrar Var Leg$4.99 Marvel
16True Believers Venom Vs Spider-Man #1$1.00 Marvel
17Walking Dead #178 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
18East of West #36 Cvr B Virgin Wraparound$3.99 Image
19Doctor Strange Damnation #2 Tarnation Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
20Captain America #699 Leg$3.99 Marvel
21Venom #163 Leg$3.99 Marvel
22Mister Miracle #5 2nd Ptg$3.99 DC
23Doctor Strange Damnation #2 Leg$3.99 Marvel
24Gideon Falls #1 Cvr A Sorrentino$3.99 Image
25Infinity Countdown #1 Captain Marvel Holds Infinity V$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 February 2018 and March 2018. A page for April 2018 has also been started. Check them out for a further glance at the future.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Job cuts hit Barnes & Noble

by John Jackson Miller

Earlier this year we passed along that, according to Bookscan, the adult graphic novel category was off 5% in 2017, with the kids' graphic novel category up 1.9%. Both those figures were an improvement over the 10% loss for the year suffered by the comic book specialty shop market, which remains the largest channel for comics and graphic novel sales combined. (See the most recent size comparisons here.)

The book channel, however, sells a majority of the industry's graphic novels — and a significant player in that has announced a large number of layoffs. CNBC reports that Barnes & Noble confirmed a significant number of layoffs today. "Its 2017 holiday sales fell more than 6 percent to $953 million, when compared with the year prior. Same-store sales declined 6.4 percent for the holiday period, while online sales dropped 4.5 percent."

There's nothing in the statement or article suggesting the company may alter its purchasing strategies or product mix; we'll see what impact this has, if any, on the graphic novel business. Barnes & Noble's rivals in the book channel, Amazon and Wal-Mart, already have their graphic novel sales tracked by Bookscan.

Monday, February 12, 2018

January estimates find Doomsday Clock steady, Hawkman soaring; Comichron adds on-sale dates to comics charts

by John Jackson Miller

Normally, ongoing titles see a drop from December to January — and a much more sizable one between second and third issues. But Doomsday Clock #3 saw its orders from December decline by less than a thousand copies, shipping nearly 158,000 copies to comic shops in January. That's according to our estimates for sales of comic books and graphic novels to comics shops in January 2018, now online here.

As reported here on Friday, a fifth shipping week in January helped the month to the smallest drop in Direct Market sales to since the previous spring, just under 2%. DC had a strong opening to the year, with dollar sales up 15% over its total from the previous January — and we can now see that it had a notable success story in Hawkman Found #1, which released the last week of December with 64,600 copies shipped. The book was the top reordered comic three weeks in a row thereafter, moving more than 22,200 more copies in January and nearly cracking the Top 100 again.


 See listings for this issue on eBay
Marvel was off year-over-year, but only by high-single digits against what was a very unusual month for it: January 2017 was the month that Marvel offered free overships of its entire line, distorting that category of the charts. The publisher's sales for Avengers #678 were divided between the regular $4.99 issue in sixth place, and a $3.99 special in 282nd place; that latter edition's dollar ranking reflects that it was shipped as a free premium. If combined, the issue would have placed fifth. The series had three more weekly issues release.

It's been a busy week for Comichron, and not just because our other report on Friday, on the end of DC's newsstand sales, quickly became one of our three most-read blog posts. In addition, we've just added something that people have been asking for for a long time. We now have included on-sale dates in the monthly charts, starting with December 2017.

There's a reason for the addition now: Diamond began reporting the Top 500 comics in December, which brought a number of reordered and liquidated comics onto the list. The dates serve as a necessary aid to identification.

An excerpt from December's updated chart.
Sorting by date is one method of isolating the new comics from the reordered ones; you can also look just at a specific shipping week, getting a sense for how titles with more weeks on the shelves benefit. Much of what is assumed is "attrition," for example, is often a function of comics simply not having as many calendar days in which to sell. Sales in the following month may make up the difference in many cases.

Some of the on-sale dates are after the original ones for the comic; that usually suggests that the issue is a later printing. We see a number of those among the liquidated comics, as supply finally exceeded demand for certain books.

I'm not ready to commit to adding the dates retroactively before December, as identification wasn't as much of a problem then — and I'm not sure how helpful they'd be for graphic novels, where multiple editions result in different on-sale dates. Plus there are a lot of other projects I'd like to get to! Let's see how this works going forward, first...

The vital statistics for the month:

Friday, February 9, 2018

End of an era: The last DC newsstand issues

by John Jackson Miller

A moment in comics history passed without any fanfare at all in the summer of 2017. It went unnoticed for several weeks — and while it's been discussed online in the months since, I was evidently the first person to ask the publisher directly about it, more than five months later. And now the confirmation is official: DC ended its newsstand editions of its comics as of the end of August 2017.

 See this issue on eBay"DC discontinued much of its newsstand distribution in late 2013 and early 2014," Vice President - Specialty Sales James Sokolowski told me today. Marvel had pulled out of newsstand distribution completely in 2013, but while DC's titles left most independent wholesalers then, the company had continued to distribute a limited slate of returnable titles through Ingram Content Group, which served Barnes & Noble, and Media Solutions, which served Books-a-Million.

Ingram, however, sold off its business to TNG, formerly The News Group, as of May 1, 2017 — and a quick look shows that TNG's catalog, while evidently not complete, has only a handful of comics, and no DCs. That's because, as "Ski" said, DC chose the summer to wind down its newsstand presence. "The comic books that would have arrived in comics shops on August 29 would have been the final titles with newsstand editions."

As mentioned here before — and in greater historical detail here — newsstand editions with different "trade dress," or cover elements, from Direct Market comic books became a necessity as the comic shop business grew in the late 1970s. Newsstand distributors and the publishers they served did not want non-returnable copies entering their return streams. With sell-throughs falling in the newsstand market, publishers focused more and more attention on comics shops — to the point where, in recent years, some aftermarket players (prominently, Chuck Rozanski of Mile High Comics) began to recognize newsstand editions as rare variants. At any moment, there's a host of newsstand variants on eBay.

 Find newsstand variants on eBay
In DC's case, its final run of newsstand comics varied little from the Direct Market versions except, first, in the wording on the UPC boxes, as seen at left and above in a copy of the last Superman newsstand issue, currently auctioning at eBay. (Update: It sold for $34.99.)

They also differed in many cases in price, as DC in recent times bumped up the cover price on several of its newsstand editions by $1 to cover the extra expense of offering the comics returnably through the channel. Ultimately, it was no longer worth it, and the era of DC newsstand availability came to an end.

Even without fanfare, it was an event of some moment, as Kirk Ticknor, the reader who asked me to look into it, pointed out. DC's publishing efforts were intertwined with the newsstand distribution business right from the start, given owner Harry Donenfeld's role as founder of Independent News, a major player in distribution from the 1930s to 1970. Ultimately, DC would stay on the newsstands about four years longer than its top rival. A handful of titles remain returnable from various publishers, including the largest grouping, Archie's digests.

So what were the final newsstand issues for DC? While Sokolowski did not provide a specific list, I took a look at Ingram's final order form, from May 2017, and found 20 titles on it. The most recent issues prior to the end of August appear below, as well as two titles that did not, Action and Aquaman, which I have confirmed had newsstand variants. All have October cover dates, and can be found in our Direct Market sales charts for August 2017.

Consulting eBay, the Grand Comics Database, and (most helpfully) Mile High Comics, I was able confirm the existence of newsstand variants all the way up to Aug. 23's Harley Quinn #26. Based on Sokolowski's Aug. 29 date (on-sale in comics shops Aug. 30), there should in theory be two later issues, Wonder Woman #29 and Justice League of America #13 with newsstand variants, but those have not come to light.


Newsstand titleProjected last issueShip dateCover priceLast confirmed issue
Action9868/23/17$3.99 985
Aquaman278/16/17$4.99 27
Batgirl148/23/17$4.99 13
Batman298/16/17$3.99 29
Detective Comics9638/23/17$3.99 962
Flash298/23/17$3.99 28
Green Arrow298/16/17$3.99 29
Green Lanterns298/16/17$3.99 29
Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps278/23/17$4.99 26
Harley Quinn268/23/17$3.99 26
Justice League278/16/17$3.99 27
Justice League of America138/30/17$3.99 12
Nightwing278/16/17$3.99 27
Scooby Doo Where Are You848/9/17$2.99 84
Scooby Doo Team Up298/23/17$2.99 28
Suicide Squad248/23/17$3.99 23
Super Sons78/16/17$4.99 7
Superman298/16/17$3.99 29
Teen Titans118/23/17$4.99 10
Teen Titans Go!238/16/17$2.99 23
Trinity128/16/17$4.99 12
Wonder Woman298/30/17$3.99 28

As noted, several of these are on Mile High Comics or on eBay (or both, like Teen Titans Go! #23). If you have seen later issues, please let us know in the comments section or e-mail at the contact address at left. (Update: Kirk Ticknor also has a thread on the CGC boards tracking these; I've just added his latest finds to the chart and will continue to do so. It's beginning to look as though the Aug. 16 comics might indeed be the cutoff week; Harley Quinn #26 did go on sale in comics shops on Aug. 23, but a consultation of Diamond's shipping updates says that it was originally slated for Aug. 16, and was delayed. If no further 8/23 books are found, we have our cutoff date.)

One Books-a-Million's final DC selection, via Michael Horne
(Update #2: Reader Michael Horne submitted a group of photos from Nov. 13, 2017 showing the final DC selection available in his local Books-a-Million; close-ups demonstrate that they are all returnable newsstand copies, none of which the store was evidently able to return. Of 18 identifiable DC comics, every one was already confirmed, further suggesting that no newsstand variants for issues that reached comic shops after Aug. 16 — besides the aforementioned Harley Quinn #26 — exist. The bagged comics probably came from Diamond.)

While it may look from the above chart as if DC's newsstand slate was dominated by comics from the end of the calendar month, that is in part illusory, as many of the series above were two-a-month titles, so the latter issue is being captured in the list. Biweekly issues would seem to be a less than perfect fit for the newsstand market in any case, as customers there are less regular in their shopping habits; that's probably just one more way in which the modern comics market doesn't sync up with the newsstand.

Postal subscriptions for comics continue, if much reduced, so all the channels of the past haven't gone away. And Books-a-Million was at one point getting some comics non-returnably through Diamond, so that's a different matter. But today's returnable newsstands are just as likely to be embedded within a bookstore, and while comics remain a huge presence in those places, it's just in a different part of the store; with spines rather than staples.

Readers looking for more information about newsstand editions should definitely read Rozanski's detailed discussion from a few years back. My own calculations about newsstand edition ratios, based on internal publisher documentation from the 1980s and 1990s, differ in some small respects; I hope to get that research online here in the future.

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.

Fifth week helps January comics sales arrest slide; Doomsday Clock #3 leads big month for DC

by John Jackson Miller


See eBay listings for this issue
A fifth shipping week in January helped reduce the year-to-year drop in Direct Market sales to the smallest dropoff we've seen since last spring, just under 2%, according to information released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. We've been reporting reorders and advance reorders for January comics at Comichron for weeks now; now, we finally have a look at how those reorders relate to overall sales.

The quick line on the month is that DC had a strong opening to the year; the internal math suggests DC's dollar sales were up 15% over its total for January 2017, aided by the chart-topping Doomsday Clock #3 and Dark Nights Metal #5. Marvel was off, but high-single digits against what was a very unusual month for it last year.

And that's an important matter: It's critical, first off, to ignore out of hand the unit sales drop, because January 2017 was the month that Marvel offered free overships of its entire line, distorting that category of the charts. Diamond shipped 6.71 million comic books to retailers in the month; to find a comparable figure without the overships we need to go back to January 2016, in which a little over 7 million comics were shipped.

Second, five-week Januaries are actually more rare than the calendar would suggest, because often the January 2 ship day has been counted as part of December. We have to go back to 2008, ten years earlier, for another January where Diamond counted all five New Comics Days as being part of the month. (January 2018's sales were up 14% over January 2008.)

 Find this volume at TFAW
But the fifth week does not appear to have added much at all in terms of new comics releases; they were just up 5%, and at 478 new comic books that's the lowest number of new comics out per week since before 2015. Marvel only put out one more comic book in January than December, which had one less week. Dark Horse's 10 new comics for the month appears to be a 21st century low (though it had the top graphic novel by units in The Legend of Korra: Turf Wars Part 2, as we'll see below).

Graphic novels, meanwhile, were where publishers shifted their attention for the month, with 23% more new titles shipping this January versus last. The result was a better month for graphic novels relative to comics, about with 560,000 copies shipping versus 527,000 last January. In dollar terms, graphic novels were up 4%.

While the "dead quarter" pattern has been subverted in recent years, the first quarter of the year has generally seen fewer new high-profile offerings than in other times of the year; sales volumes are simply lower, and trends seen now — positive or negative — will have less effect on the year overall. The fact that DC has entered the year with momentum, however, does distinguish this year from last, and the fact that a new Robert Kirkman series is slated to debut in March could change the picture further.

Here's the comparative sales stats:


DollarsUnits
January 2018 Vs. December 2017
Comics6.08%7.60%
Graphic Novels-6.09%-11.86%
Total Comics/GNs2.13%5.79%
Toys5.72%12.29%
January 2018 Vs. January 2017
Comics-4.29%-11.40%
Graphic Novels3.96%6.09%
Total Comics/GNs-1.97%-10.26%
Toys24.19%17.66%

The market shares, below, were revised by Diamond after an erroneous table released.

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel34.30%36.69%
DC33.80%38.94%
Image9.48%8.23%
IDW4.42%3.51%
Dark Horse2.50%1.27%
Boom2.13%1.74%
Dynamite1.61%2.25%
Viz1.29%0.44%
Titan0.96%0.74%
Oni0.89%0.48%
Other8.63%5.71%

The number of titles released, as discussed above:

Publisher Comics
shipped
Graphic Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total shipped
Marvel86410127
DC89280117
Image6218080
IDW4325068
Boom2412036
Titan1810331
Dark Horse1014024
Viz018018
Dynamite133016
Oni5409
Other12812322273
TOTAL SHIPPED47829625799

And now onto the sales rankings. Diamond did something new this month, using its initial release to put forward not just the usual Top 10 by units, as seen below...

COMIC BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPEDPRICEPUBLISHER
1Doomsday Clock #3$4.99DC
2Dark Nights Metal #5$3.99DC
3Batman #38$2.99DC
4Batman #39$2.99DC
5Walking Dead #175$3.99Image
6Avengers #675$4.99Marvel
7Batman: White Knight #4$3.99DC
8Amazing Spider-Man/Venom: Venom Inc. Omega #1$4.99Marvel
9Batman And The Signal #1$3.99DC
10Old Man Hawkeye #1$3.99Marvel

...but also the Top 10 by Dollars Invoiced, or received from retailers. Marvel does a bit better here because of its higher prices relative to DC.

COMIC BOOKS BY DOLLARS RETAILERS PAIDPRICEPUBLISHER
1Doomsday Clock #3$4.99DC
2Dark Nights Metal #5$3.99DC
3Avengers #675$4.99Marvel
4The Walking Dead #175$3.99Image
5Amazing Spider-Man/Venom: Venom Inc. Omega #1$4.99Marvel
6Batman #38$2.99DC
7Batman: White Knight #4$3.99DC
8Batman #39$2.99DC
9Batman And The Signal #1$3.99DC
10Old Man Hawkeye #1$3.99Marvel

Then we have the graphic novels by units, as reported in the traditional way. As mentioned above, Dark Horse's Legend of Korra Vol. 2 led the chart:

GRAPHIC NOVELS BY UNITS SHIPPEDPRICEPUBLISHER
1Legend of Korra Volume 2: Turf Wars Pt 2$10.99Dark Horse
2The Wicked & The Divine Volume 6: Imperial Phase Part 2$16.99Image
3DC Super Hero Girls: Date With Disaster$9.99DC
4Descender Volume 5: Rise Of The Robots$16.99Image
5Kill Or Be Killed Volume 3$16.99Image
6Saga Volume 8$14.99Image
7Wolverine: Old Man Logan Vol. 6: Days Of Anger$17.99Marvel
8Vision HC$39.99Marvel
9Saga Volume 1$9.99Image
10Harley Quinn Volume 4: Surprise, Surprise$16.99DC

And now the graphic novels by dollars paid in. The Vision hardcover led reorders for hardcovers one week in January, and did so overall in dollars:

GRAPHIC NOVELS BY DOLLARS RETAILERS PAIDPRICEPUBLISHER
1Vision HC$39.99Marvel
2The Wicked & The Divine Volume 6: Imperial Phase Part 2$16.99Image
3Gene Colan's Tomb Of Dracula Artist Edition HC$125.00IDW
4Superman: The Golden Age Omnibus Volume 5 HC$125.00DC
5Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil Volume 12 HC$75.00Marvel
6Marvel Masterworks: Sub-Mariner Volume 8 HC$75.00Marvel
7Legend Of Korra Volume 2: Turf Wars Pt 2$10.99Dark Horse
8Descender Volume 5: Rise Of The Robots$16.99Image
9Kill or Be Killed Volume 3$16.99Image
10Deadpool & Co. Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel

Remember, you can sort any chart in Comichron's monthly sales section by either dollars or units.

Take a look also, for comparison, at ICV2's new list of top Bookscan graphic novels for January. The book channel's tastes don't always have much in common with the Direct Market's, but the comparisons are interesting.

The full data should be along on Monday. Enjoy the Olympics!

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.
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