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Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Monday, 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:



TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in UNITS)    
January 2018 6 million copies  
1 Year Ago 7.03 million copies -15%
5 Years Ago 6.72 million copies -11%
10 Years Ago 6.76 million copies -11%
15 Years Ago 5.6 million copies +7%
20 Years Ago 7 million copies -14%
Top 500 Comics Shipped (Units) 6.44 million copies  
ALL Comics Shipped in Month (Units) 6.71 million copies -11%
TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)    
January 2018 $23.54 million  
1 Year Ago $26.28 million -10%
5 Years Ago $23.95 million -2%
10 Years Ago $21.03 million +12%
15 Years Ago $15.54 million +51%
20 Years Ago $16.66 million +41%
Top 500 Comics Shipped (Dollars) $25.35 million  
ALL Comics Shipped during Month (Dollars)   -4%
TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)    
January 2018 (Top 300 GNs) $5.24 million  
January 2018 (Top 100 GNs) $3.02 million  
January 2018 (Top 50 GNs) $1.83 million  
January 2018 (Top 25 GNs) $1.2 million  
Versus 1 Year Ago $5.87 million -11%
Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300) $7.31 million -28%
Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 100) $4.13 million -27%
Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 50) $2.01 million -9%
Top 500 Graphic Novel Shipped in Month (Dollars) $6.21 million  
ALL Graphic Novel Shipped in Month (Dollars)   +4%
TOP 300 COMICS plus TOP GNs SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)    
January 2018 (including Top 300 GNs) $28.78 million  
January 2018 (including Top 300 GNs) $26.56 million  
January 2018 (including Top 100 GNs) $25.37 million  
January 2018 (including Top 25 GNs) $24.74 million  
Versus 1 Year Ago $32.14 million -10%
Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300) $31.26 million -15%
Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 50) $25.16 million -6%
Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 50) $17.55 million +51%
Top 500 Comics & Top 500 GNs Shipped in Month (Dollars) $31.56 million
All Comics & GNs Shipped in Month (Dollars)   -2%
     
ALL COMICS AND GNs SHIPPED (in Dollars)    
January 2018 $39,308,000.00  
Versus 1 Year Ago $40.1 million -2%
Versus 5 Years Ago $41.03 million -4%
Versus 10 Years Ago $34.56 million +14%
     
TITLE SPECIFICS    
TOP SELLING COMIC BOOK    
Doomsday Clock #3  157,714 copies at  $4.99
     
50th PLACE COMIC BOOK    
Super Sons #12  35,068 copies at  $3.99
     
100th PLACE COMIC BOOK    
Legion #1  22,722 copies at  $3.99
     
150th PLACE COMIC BOOK    
Captain Marvel #128  12,201 copies at  $3.99
     
200th PLACE COMIC BOOK    
Go Go Power Rangers #6  8,520 copies at  $3.99
     
300th PLACE COMIC BOOK    
Spongebob Comics #76  4,246 copies at  $3.99
     
400th PLACE COMIC BOOK    
Comic Book History of Comics Comics For All #2  1,999 copies at  $3.99
     
500th PLACE COMIC BOOK    
Star Wars Shattered Empire #1  919 copies at  $3.99
     
NEW RELEASE VOLUME    
New Comics Released 478  
New Graphic Novels Released 296  
New Magazines Released 25  
Total New Print Items Released 799  
     
PRICING    
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300 $3.97  
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300, weighted by orders $3.92  
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 25 $3.83  
Median Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300 $3.99  
Most Common Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300 $3.99  

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.

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