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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.

 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Two thousand-plus microclimates: Why the comics market often defies diagnosis

by John Jackson Miller

A lot of data out this week about the comics business. Brian Hibbs has his fifteenth (!) annual Bookscan report at ComicsBeat, where he finds the top 750 graphic novels in the book channel stores the service surveys up 3.44% in units and down the same in dollars. The overall category sits at $302 million, up 2.97% — but possibly not, as his 2016 data set was missing some items.

Brian's definition of comics may not match mine in every single case, but it is consistent from year to year, and it does suggest that while Direct Market sales were down in 2017, the book channel's fortunes were better, although not by enough so to pull the year positive. Our year-end report with ICV2 for 2016 found the business at $1.085 billion; while the 2017 report is yet to come, it's probably a safe bet that the total will be down, but remain above $1 billion, likely above every 21st century year through 2014.

It's not correct that there are as many pieces written about the structure of the comics market as there are pieces about the comics themselves, but a down year certainly enhances that feeling. I received such pieces in the mail weekly to Comics Retailer magazine in the 1990s, and then by e-mail — and then saw them all move online. Last week's essay from Augie de Blieck is one of the latest entrants, engendering a response this morning from Heidi MacDonald which also takes in the Bookscan data. Time only occasionally permits me to comment, and almost never to blog on my own, as a look at the history here will show. But I would quickly like to make an observation about the nature of comics retailing business today, as distinct from when it began.

Mel Thompson
I used to run articles in Comics Retailer magazine from Mel Thompson, who ran the retail services firm ComTrac, and I miss the kind of street-level data he shared on comics shops because I believe, more than ever, that Direct Market shops are so variegated that only the most profound systemic shocks affect them equally. Every shop is its own microclimate, its own micro-economy.

What does that mean? In practical terms, it means for every shop's current successes or problems, you can usually throw in a contributing positive (i.e., robust back issue trade, tournament gaming destination) or negative (i.e., skyrocketing downtown rents, failure of a sideline business) factor that helps to explain them.

And I think that points to something that happened since the birth of the Direct Market, which is the collapse of the mid-1990s — a near extinction-level event that we definitely can say took down good shops and bad, new and old, regardless of extraneous factors. The shops that emerged from that period had evolved either to really zero in on a particular local clientele, or had further developed sideline categories to insulate them. They went deep, or went wide. The very earliest comics shops were highly individualized, having their origins in other kinds of businesses — but the shops that opened in the 1980s, once the model was established, were more likely to look alike. That's not so much the case in the 21st century. My local Direct Market outlet is a full service store for new comics, but also is a gaming store and, oh yes, a gourmet sandwich shop. Probably not a lot of other stores share that specific combination!

This is why I think accurate diagnoses of the business as a whole tend to be hard to make — and where looking at systemic factors and solutions tends to fall down: we know how big the Direct Market is, but we don't know to what degree stores nominally in that market are exposed to its forces. Even a possible paper tariff war, the specter of which was raised earlier this week, would be somewhat uneven in its impacts. There just aren't many facts discernible from 30,000 feet that obtain for all shops in the system.

The last Direct Market peak is less than two years old, and dates from the DC Rebirth launch. We know Marvel's sales have been off since then, and that graphic novel sales have also been off — or at least, that retailers haven't bought as many books from Diamond. We know this March is probably going to be off simply because it has one less shipping week. We also know the margin of the year-over-year losses, while certainly meaningful if your store is more impacted, does not suggest a 1990s-style epidemic of closures. We also know this might change — or that it might not. That's about all the information we can really be confident about — and it probably does not support more sweeping observations, pro or con the current arrangement, but that's my own judgment.

A quick note on the aftermarket, which I can speak about with more confidence: while de Blieck may not be finding back-issue bins much in evidence, the aftermarket is in the mix for many stores, even when the stock isn't on the floor. The back issue market — in stores, conventions, and eBay -- is in the nine figures annually, and is probably larger than digital. Chuck Rozanski reported Tuesday that Mile High Comics sales are up 68% month-to-date. Again, a unique microclimate and sample size of one; worth exactly that. But one of the strengths of periodical comics is they are double participants, in both the front- and aftermarkets; a distinction every other kind of magazine publisher would be thrilled for their products to have.

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, March 28, 2018

Oblivion Song, Infinity Gauntlet lead reorders; Amazing Spider-Man, Ricanstruction lead advance reorders

by John Jackson Miller


 Find this book at TFAW
March is winding down, and while it saw rotten weather in the Northeast, there's at least one anecdotal sign of thaw: Chuck Rozanski reported yesterday that the month to date is up 63% at Mile High Comics. That's highly unlikely for the Direct Market at large in March, which is up against a month with one more shipping week; breaking even would be a considerable feat. But we can at least get a glimpse of what's going on from the latest reorders and advance reorders placed 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 Mar. 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.

See listings on eBayThe $500 Marvel Infinity Gauntlet Box Hardcover Slipcase Set repeated as both the top hardcover and top item overall in reorders. It was a March 7 item. (Possibly not next week, as it's marked as of today as out of stock at Diamond.) There were quite a lot of hardcovers in the reorder charts this time out, including Green Lantern Earth One Vol. 1, which placed second overall. It was released March 14.

Continuing the Thanos theme, the Infinity Gauntlet trade paperback was the top reordered softcover.

Oblivion Song #1 repeated as the top comic book reordered. It's had that status three weeks in a row. It arrived in stores March 7.

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


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Infinity Gauntlet Box HC Slipcase Set$500.00 Marvel
2Green Lantern Earth One HC Vol. 1$24.99 DC
3Justice League of America Bronze Age Omnibus HC Vol. 2$125.00 DC
4Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
5Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1$3.99 Image
6Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Box Set 2$49.99 DC
7Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
8Jack Kirbys Fourth World Omnibus HC$150.00 DC
9TMNT Coll HC Vol. 6$49.99 IDW
10Abe Sapien Dark & Terrible HC Vol. 2$34.99 Dark Horse
11Black Panther TPB Book 1 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
12Avengers #684 Banner Hulk Returns$4.99 Marvel
13Infinity TPB$49.99 Marvel
14Rick & Morty TPB Vol. 1$19.99 Oni
15Sheriff of Babylon Deluxe Ed HC$39.99 DC
16Infinity War TPB$29.99 Marvel
17Nailbiter HC Vol. 2 The Murder Ed$34.99 Image
18Boys TPB Vol. 1 Name of the Game$16.99 Dynamite
19Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
20Daredevil by Waid & Samnee Omnibus HC Vol. 2$100.00 Marvel
21Amazing Spider-Man #796 2nd Ptg Hawthorne Var$3.99 Marvel
22Paper Girls TPB Vol. 2$12.99 Image
23Neil Gaiman American Gods HC Vol. 1 Shadows$29.99 Dark Horse
24Thanos #17$3.99 Marvel
25300 HC$30.00 Dark Horse

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Mar. 19-25, 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.

After a week in which Action Comics #1000 advance reorders pushed much else out of the advance reorder chart, Marvel returned to take 18 out of the Top 25 spots. The regular edition of Amazing Spider-Man #799, due out April 18, was the top advance-reordered comic, followed by one of its variants and reprints of two earlier issues.


The Ricanstruction: Reminiscing and Rebuilding Puerto Rico benefit anthology from Somos Arte was the top advance-reordered trade paperback; it's expected to go on sale May 23. No hardcovers made the charts.

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

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Amazing Spider-Man #799$3.99 Marvel
2Amazing Spider-Man #799 Ramos Connecting Var$3.99 Marvel
3Amazing Spider-Man #796 Alex Ross B & W 3rd Ptg Var$3.99 Marvel
4Amazing Spider-Man #795 Alex Ross B & W 3rd Ptg Var$3.99 Marvel
5Batman #45 Var Ed$2.99 DC
6True Believers Venom Vs Spider-Man #1 2nd Ptg Var$1.00 Marvel
7Avengers #689$4.99 Marvel
8X-Men Gold #26$3.99 Marvel
9Kick-Ass #3 Cvr C Johnson$3.99 Image
10Infinity Countdown #2 Super Skrull Holds Infinity Var$4.99 Marvel
11Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #26 Main & Mix Sg$3.99 Boom
12Ricanstruction Reminiscing & Rebuilding Puerto Rico TPB$19.99 Somos Arte
13Amazing Spider-Man #799 Mcguinness Var$3.99 Marvel
14Avengers #683 Medina 2nd Ptg Var$3.99 Marvel
15Black Panther #172$3.99 Marvel
16Amazing Spider-Man #799 Alex Ross Virgin Var$3.99 Marvel
17Weapon H #2$3.99 Marvel
18Skyward #1$3.99 Image
19Venomized #3 Bagley Connecting Var$3.99 Marvel
20Daredevil #601$3.99 Marvel
21Rick & Morty Presents The Vindicators #1 (2nd Ptg)$4.99 Oni
22Weapon H #2 Mayhew Venom 30th Var$3.99 Marvel
23Venomized #3$3.99 Marvel
24John Wick #2 Cvr A Valletta$3.99 Dynamite
25True Believers Rebirth of Thanos #1$1.00 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 March 2018April 2018, and May 2018. Check them out for a further glance at the future.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Action Comics #1000 takes 10 of Top 12 advance reorder spots; Infinity Gauntlet, Rick & Morty rule reorders

by John Jackson Miller

Action Comics #1000 is one of April's bigger headlines, and the advance reorders placed by retailers from Diamond Comic Distributors last week definitely reflects that. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Mar. 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.

See listings on eBayIn second place last week, Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet Box Hardcover Slipcase Set, which at $500 is the most expensive item seen in these charts this year, was the top reordered hardcover or item of any kind, by dollars. It was a March 7 item.

Oblivion Song #1, so long the most advance-reordered comic book releasing in March, was the top comic book reordered. It also arrived in stores March 7.

Second was Oni's Rick & Morty Presents the Vindicators #1, which sold out of its March 7 release and now has a reprint set for April 11. As such, filled- and unfilled-orders for the issue caused it to make both the reorder and the advance reorder charts.

Continuing with the theme, the first Rick & Morty trade paperback from 2015 was the top reordered softcover.

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


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Infinity Gauntlet Box HC Slipcase Set$500.00 Marvel
2Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1$3.99 Image
3Rick & Morty Presents The Vindicators #1 Cvr$4.99 Oni
4Absolute Wildcats by Jim Lee HC$125.00 DC
5Rick & Morty TPB Vol. 1$19.99 Oni
6Kamandi by Jack Kirby Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
7Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
8Daredevil by Waid & Samnee Omnibus HC Vol. 2$100.00 Marvel
9Batman by Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo Box Set 1$49.99 DC
10Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
11Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
12Unquotable Trump GN$19.95 Drawn & Quarterly
13Infinity Countdown #1 Captain Marvel Holds Infinity V$4.99 Marvel
14Paper Girls TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
15Paper Girls TPB Vol. 3$12.99 Image
16Black Panther by Priest TPB Vol. 1 Complete Collection$34.99 Marvel
17Amazing Spider-Man #797$3.99 Marvel
18Avengers #684 Leg Banner Hulk Returns$4.99 Marvel
19Batman & Harley Quinn HC$24.99 DC
20Infinity War TPB$29.99 Marvel
21Walking Dead TPB Vol. 29 Lines We Cross$16.99 Image
22Saga TPB Vol. 7$14.99 Image
23Legend of Korra TPB Vol. 1 Turf Wars Pt 1$10.99 Dark Horse
24Snotgirl TPB Vol. 1 Green Hair Dont Care$9.99 Image
25Black Hammer TPB Vol. 1 Secret Origins$14.99 Dark Horse

And now on to the future...

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


Find Action 1000 at TFAWThese 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 had ruled the advance reorder charts for several weeks, but a comic book a thousand issues in the making happened along. Action Comics #1000, due out on April 18, was the top advance-reordered April issue — and all 10 of its covers made the Top 12. Domino #1 was the top Marvel title, in second. It goes on sale April 11.


Perhaps as a consequence of the Action issues, no graphic novels, hardcover or softcover, made the list at all.
This chart is ranked by full retail dollars and not units, or wholesale dollars.

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Action Comics #1000$7.99 DC
2Domino #1$3.99 Marvel
3Action Comics #1000 1960s Var Ed$7.99 DC
4Action Comics #1000 Blank Var Ed$7.99 DC
5Action Comics #1000 2000s Var Ed$7.99 DC
6Action Comics #1000 1930s Var Ed$7.99 DC
7Captain America #700$5.99 Marvel
8Action Comics #1000 1990s Var Ed$7.99 DC
9Action Comics #1000 1970s Var Ed$7.99 DC
10Action Comics #1000 1940s Var Ed$7.99 DC
11Action Comics #1000 1980s Var Ed$7.99 DC
12Action Comics #1000 1950s Var Ed$7.99 DC
13Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #2$3.99 Image
14Thanos #18$3.99 Marvel
15Spawn #284 Cvr C Mattina Virgin$2.99 Image
16Rick & Morty Presents The Vindicators #1 (2nd Ptg)$4.99 Oni
17Gideon Falls #2 Cvr A Sorrentino$3.99 Image
18Avengers #688 Leg$3.99 Marvel
19Amazing Spider-Man #799 Leg$3.99 Marvel
20Spawn #284 Cvr B Mattina B&W$2.99 Image
21Spawn #284 Cvr A Mattina$2.99 Image
22Venom #1 Scorpion Comics Var (Net)$4.99 Marvel
23True Believers Infinity Gauntlet #1$1.00 Marvel
24Thanos #18 Perkins Venom 30th Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
25Gideon Falls #2 Cvr B Chiang$3.99 Image


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 March 2018April 2018, and May 2018. Check them out for a further glance at the future.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Kamandi, Infinity Gauntlet, Terrifics lead reorders; Amazing Spider-Man, Shuri lead advance reorders

by John Jackson Miller

 Find this book at TFAW
With the February sales estimates posted earlier this week, we now have another look at March with 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 Mar.  5-11, 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.

DC's Kamandi by Jack Kirby Omnibus was the top reordered hardcover and top reordered item by dollars. It went on sale March 7. In second was Marvel's Infinity Gauntlet Box Hardcover Slipcase Set, which at $500 is the most expensive item seen in these charts this year; it was also a March 7 item.


See listings on eBay
The Infinity Gauntlet trade paperback was the top reordered softcover, which dislodged Black Panther Vol. 1: A Nation Under Our Feet from its position atop the charts.

The top reordered comic book was Terrifics #1 by DC, which shipped on February 28; it's still available through Diamond, though its inventory is currently marked as low. Oblivion Song #1 from Image was the top March-shipping comic book reordered.

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


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Kamandi by Jack Kirby Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
2Infinity Gauntlet Box HC Slipcase Set$500.00 Marvel
3Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
4Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
5Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
6Terrifics #1$2.99 DC
7To Love Ru Gn Vol. 5-6$19.99 Seven Seas
8Absolute Wildcats by Jim Lee HC$125.00 DC
9Black Panther by Priest TPB Vol. 1 Complete Collection$34.99 Marvel
10Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #300$5.99 Marvel
11Ms Marvel TPB Vol. 1 No Normal$15.99 Marvel
12Oblivion Song by Kirkman & De Felici #1$3.99 Image
13Mera Queen of Atlantis #1 Var Ed$3.99 DC
14Twilight Zone TPB Vol. 2 Way In$15.99 Dynamite
15Twilight Zone TPB Vol. 1 Way Out$15.99 Dynamite
16Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
17Green Lantern Earth One HC Vol. 1$24.99 DC
18Steven Universe TPB Vol. 1$14.99 Boom
19Justice League of America Bronze Age Omnibus HC Vol. 2$125.00 DC
20Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
21Marvels Black Panther Art of Movie Slipcase HC$50.00 Marvel
22Black Panther TPB Book 2 Nation Under Our Feet$15.99 Marvel
23Wolverine Old Man Logan TPB$29.99 Marvel
24Star Wars Darth Vader #12$3.99 Marvel
25Infinity Countdown #1$4.99 Marvel

And now on to the future...

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

 Find this book on TFAWThese 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's command of the advance reorder charts increased this week, going from 15 of the 25 top spots to 17. The top advance-reordered comic book and top advance-reordered item overall was the regular edition of Amazing Spider-Man #798, which goes on sale April 4.

No hardcovers in the chart, but we did have the new printing of Black Panther: Shuri - Deadliest of the Species as the top advance-reordered graphic novel. Also an April 4 release.


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

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Amazing Spider-Man #798$3.99 Marvel
2Batman #44 Var Ed$2.99 DC
3Walking Dead #178 Cvr B Sienkiewicz$3.99 Image
4Amazing Spider-Man #797 2nd Ptg Ross Var$3.99 Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #798 Garron Young Guns Var$3.99 Marvel
6Venomized #1$4.99 Marvel
7Amazing Spider-Man #798 Dodson Venom 30th Var$3.99 Marvel
8Amazing Spider-Man #798 Ramos Connecting Var$3.99 Marvel
9Deathstroke #30 Var Ed$3.99 DC
10Batman #44$2.99 DC
11Amazing Spider-Man #799$3.99 Marvel
12Thanos #16 2nd Ptg Shaw Var$3.99 Marvel
13Thanos #15 3rd Ptg Shaw Var$3.99 Marvel
14Isola #1 Cvr B$3.99 Image
15Avengers #687$3.99 Marvel
16Xerxes Fall of House of Darius #1$4.99 Dark Horse
17Black Panther Shuri Deadliest of Species TPB New Ptg$14.99 Marvel
18Gideon Falls #1 2nd Ptg$3.99 Image
19Avengers #687 Campbell Venom 30th Var$3.99 Marvel
20Venomized #1 Crain Promo Var$4.99 Marvel
21Venomized #1 Bagley Connecting Var$4.99 Marvel
22Amazing Spider-Man #798 Alex Ross Virgin Var$3.99 Marvel
23Paper Girls TPB Vol. 4$14.99 Image
24Venomized #1 Young Var$4.99 Marvel
25Venomized #1 Blank Var$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 March 2018 and April 2018. A page has also been started with the first data from May 2018. Check them out for a further glance at 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.

Monday, March 12, 2018

February 2018 comics sales estimates online; Wild Hunt's 101k lowest for bestseller since 2011

by John Jackson Miller


The comics sales estimates for February 2018 based on Diamond Comic Distributors' reports are now online here, and the information adds some insights to what was already reported here on Friday.

It is, firstly, a weak February of the sort we have often seen, with few high-profile releases — particularly when it comes to graphic novels, with no new release breaking 3,000 copies, and the repeat bestseller Saga Vol. 8 not much above that level. The top seller among comics, furthermore, Dark Nights Rising: Wild Hunt #1 weighed in with more than 101,000 copies shipped in this Doomsday Clock-less month — and that's the lowest level for a bestseller since May 2011, a short while before the DC "New 52" relaunch. (Overall unit sales remain 15% higher than that month.)

That said — and I have long tried to look for contrary indicators in both up months and down ones — last February's bestseller wasn't much above that level. At the lower rankings, the 300th place beat the comic at the same level in the previous February — and this February's comics unit sales beat those of this past December, our last four-week month for comparison, achieving higher sales levels at 50th, 100th, 150th, 300th, 400th, and 500th places. Observers should want to see it beat the previous year's totals at more than just the 300th place level before thinking much of that, of course; we won't get a straight comparison in March 2018, though, as March 2017 had one more shipping week.

Black Panther came out in February, but while the blockbuster film generated significant reorder traffic, most of that will be reflected in March.

The year-to-date page will be updated soon. In the meantime, the vital statistics:

Friday, March 9, 2018

Comics dollar sales off just 3% in February, but graphic novels sag; Wild Hunt #1 leads pack

by John Jackson Miller

See eBay listings for this issue
With no new Doomsday Clock issue in the offing, February was a slow month in comics shops, according to Comichron's analysis of data released this morning by Diamond Comic Distributors. But whereas comics and graphic novels were equally responsible for 2017's overall shortfall, last month graphic novels were the main culprit, with periodicals nearly, but not quite, holding their own.

Retailers ordered $36.66 million in comics and graphic novels; comics were off 3% in dollars and graphic novels off 18.5% to land down 8% for the month.

An important thing to remember when looking at the February 2018 data is to ignore the comics units sales, because the year-to-year comparisons are impacted by last February's 25th anniversary Image event, which included a reported 750,000 copies of a 25¢ issue of Walking Dead. (Walking Dead #163 will not be found in our charts for that month, because Diamond reports nothing with a cover price below $1.). Combine that with January 2017's 10% overship on Marvel's entire line, and the comics unit year-to-date comparisons are a total wreck.

The 6.3 million copies shipped this February finds a nearer comparative in the last four-week month we experienced, December 2017 — and there, comics unit sales were slightly up over that month. (Granted, December was pretty bad, but how often does February outsell December? Not very.) Comics dollar sales are going to be much more representative of reality — and here they're the bright spot, again only off 3% in February year-to-year. Had there been a Doomsday Clock issue in February, the category might have been nearer to break-even still.

The comparatives are here; remember that January had an extra New Comics Day:


DollarsUnits
February 2018 vs. January 2018
Comics-3.40%-6.02%
Graphic Novels-14.54%-16.60%
Total Comics/GNs-6.72%-6.83%
Toys-10.48%-13.65%
February 2018 vs. February 2017
Comics-3.01%-19.67%
Graphic Novels-18.53%-14.13%
Total Comics/GNs-7.81%-19.31%
Toys-10.28%-1.44%
Year-To-Date 2018 Vs. Year-To-Date 2017
Comics-3.67%-15.61%
Graphic Novels-7.77%-4.17%
Total Comics/GNs-4.88%-14.86%
Toys5.11%7.96%

DC
 appears to have almost exactly paced the market overall, with Image and Dark Horse shipping slightly more dollars worth of material than they did a year ago. MarvelTitan, and IDW were behind their individual paces from February 2017Dynamite was significantly ahead.

Some of that plays out in the market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel34.86%36.94%
DC31.79%36.61%
Image10.49%10.82%
IDW3.58%2.63%
Dark Horse2.85%1.68%
Dynamite2.40%2.29%
Boom2.37%2.12%
Viz1.19%0.46%
Titan1.01%0.67%
Oni0.94%0.53%
Other8.54%5.24%

DC's Dark Nights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1 led comics sales in a month with the exact same number of new comics released as in the previous February; Image, Dark Horse, and Dynamite released a few more, IDW a few less. The top-selling comics by number of copies shipped:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1$4.99DC
2X-Men Red #1$4.99Marvel
3Batman #40$2.99DC
4Batman #41$2.99DC
5The Walking Dead #176$3.99Image
6Batman: White Knight #5$3.99DC
7Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #300$5.99Marvel
8Star Wars #43$3.99Marvel
9Infinity Countdown Prime #1$4.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man #796$3.99Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollar volume results in a slightly different list:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #300$5.99Marvel
2Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1$4.99DC
3X-Men Red #1$4.99Marvel
4The Walking Dead #176$3.99Image
5Batman: White Knight #5$3.99DC
6Batman #40$2.99DC
7Batman #41$2.99DC
8Infinity Countdown Prime #1$4.99Marvel
9Star Wars: Thrawn #1$4.99Marvel
10Swamp Thing Winter Special #1$7.99DC

Graphic novels, for their part, lacked any kind of real hit in February; when an already-released graphic novel beats anything new, that becomes pretty obvious. Image's Saga Vol. 8 was the most reordered graphic novel for almost the entire month, and those reorders combined to give it the top slot. More than 460,000 graphic novels were shipped overall. The top graphic novels by units shipped:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Saga Vol. 8$14.99Image
2Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 2$17.99Marvel
3DC Meets Looney Tunes$19.99DC
4Teen Titans Vol. 2: The Rise of Aqualad$14.99DC
5Star Wars: Jedi of the Republic: Mace Windu$15.99Marvel
6Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy$16.99DC
7Despicable Deadpool Vol. 1: Deadpool Kills Cable$17.99Marvel
8Titans Vol. 3: A Judas Among Us$16.99DC
9Astonishing X-Men Vol. 1: The Life of X$17.99Marvel
10Neil Gaiman'S American Gods Vol. 1: Shadows$29.99Dark Horse

And the top graphic novels by dollar volume:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1House of Secrets: The Bronze Age Omnibus HC$125.00DC
2Daredevil: Shadowland Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel
3Absolute Wonder Woman By Azzarello & Chiang Vol. 2 HC$125.00DC
4Deadpool By Daniel Way Omnibus Vol. 1 HC$100.00Marvel
5Batman: Secrets: Sam Kieth Gallery Edition HC$125.00DC
6Moebius Library: Inside Moebius Vol. 1 HC$39.99Dark Horse
7Neil Gaiman'S American Gods Vol. 1: Shadows HC$29.99Dark Horse
8New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 2 HC$75.00DC
9Dc Meets Looney Tunes$19.99DC
10Star Wars: Doctor Aphra Vol. 2 SC$17.99Marvel

While new comics offerings were exactly the same in quantity from year to year, the top four publishers released 10% fewer new graphic novels, although other publishers made up the gap, meaning that 7% more new graphic novels were released this February versus last February. The new release volume:

PublisherComics shippedGraphic Novels shippedMagazinesTotal shipped
DC88331122
Marvel81310112
Image7012082
IDW3119151
Boom2513038
Dark Horse1613029
Dynamite206026
Titan1211124
Viz020020
Oni3508
Other10315523281
TOTAL SHIPPED44931826793

We've also seen enough reorders and advance from the past few weeks from Diamond Comic Distributors to be able to collate some information onto pages for March 2018 and April 2018.

Winter, as I have often said, is not where most turnarounds have historically begun in the Direct Market; while we know a few things already about this March, the first quarter of 2018 is almost certain to end down given that last March had an extra sales week. Recent years haven't really gotten rolling until Free Comic Book Day, so keep watching. In the meantime, look here early next week for the final estimates for the month.

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, March 7, 2018

Black Panther continues reorder chart domination; Spidey rules advance reorders

by John Jackson Miller

Black Panther's command of the reorder lists only increased last week, with nine softcover and hardcover books among the top books that comics shops reordered from Diamond Comic Distributors. That's up from seven the week before. Let's look first at how the books already in stores fared, and move on to the future:

TOP REORDERED ITEMS for Feb. 26-Mar. 4, 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, continuing to be propelled by interest due to the movie's release, repeated as the top item and top trade paperback.

Image
's Saga Vol. 8 trade paperback, third last week, moved back to second.

Marvel's Vision was the top reordered hardcover; it had held that honor one week back in January.

The top reordered comic book was Marvel's Infinity Countdown Prime #1, which led advance reorders in late January. The issue released on February 21.

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


Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Black Panther TPB Book 01 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
2Saga TPB Vol. 8$14.99 Image
3Black Panther by Priest TPB Vol. 1 Complete Collection$34.99 Marvel
4Infinity Gauntlet TPB$24.99 Marvel
5Black Panther Epic Collection TPB Panthers Rage$34.99 Marvel
6Black Panther TPB Book 02 Nation Under Our Feet$15.99 Marvel
7Black Panther by Hudlin TPB Vol. 1 Complete Collection$39.99 Marvel
8Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
9Brave & The Bold Batman & Wonder Woman #1$3.99 DC
10Vision HC$39.99 Marvel
11Black Panther HC Vol. 1 A Nation Under Our Feet$34.99 Marvel
12Kamandi by Jack Kirby Omnibus HC$125.00 DC
13Saga TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image
14Batman #41$2.99 DC
15Amazing Spider-Man #796 Leg$3.99 Marvel
16Black Panther TPB Book 03 Nation Under Our Feet$16.99 Marvel
17Black Panther Annual #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
18Doctor Strange Damnation #1 Leg$4.99 Marvel
19Star Wars Darth Vader Dark Lord Sith TPB Vol. 1 Imperial Mach$17.99 Marvel
20Thanos #16 Leg$3.99 Marvel
21Batman TPB Vol. 4 The War of Jokes & Riddles$19.99 DC
22Tomb Raider Library Edition HC Vol. 1$49.99 Dark Horse
23Watchmen TPB New Ed$19.99 DC
24Black Panther World of Wakanda TPB Vol. 1$17.99 Marvel
25Monstress TPB Vol. 1$9.99 Image

And now on to the future...

TOP ADVANCE REORDERED ITEMS 
 for Feb. 26-Mar. 4, 2018 (in full retail dollars)


These are items that have not yet shipped, but for which the Final Order Deadlines have passed. 


 Find this issue on TFAW!
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's command of the advance reorder charts lessened this week, going from 21 of the 25 top spots to 15. The top advance-reordered comic book and top advance-reordered item overall was the Stuart Immonen third printing variant of Amazing Spider-Man #794. It's expected to go on sale March 28.

The top April-shipping comic book was the second printing Alex Ross cover of Amazing Spider-Man #797. That issue is expected to become available April 4.

And we have our first May-shipping title in the advance reorder charts: It's — there's a theme here — Amazing Spider-Man #800, a $9.99 96-page issue due out May 30 wrapping up Dan Slott's ten-year run.


No hardcovers or softcovers on the advance reorder list this week at all, though that 96-pager would qualify if not for its issue number!


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

Item and Diamond Catalog LinkPricePublisher
1Amazing Spider-Man #794 Immonen 3rd Ptg Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
2Daredevil #600 Leg$5.99 Marvel
3Saga #50 Cvr B Virgin Cvr$2.99 Image
4Doomsday Clock #4 Var Ed$4.99 DC
5Doomsday Clock #1 3rd Ptg$4.99 DC
6Avengers #686 Leg$3.99 Marvel
7Hit-Girl #2 Cvr C Nguyen$3.99 Image
8Avengers #682 Izaakse 2nd Ptg Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
9Damnation Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1 Leg$3.99 Marvel
10Black Panther #171 Leg$3.99 Marvel
11Amazing Spider-Man #797 2nd Ptg Ross Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
12Mera Queen of Atlantis #2$3.99 DC
13Terrifics #2$2.99 DC
14Peter Parker Spectacular Spider-Man #302 Leg$3.99 Marvel
15Amazing Spider-Man #800 Leg$9.99 Marvel
16Infinity Countdown Prime #1 Leg 2nd Ptg Deodato Var$4.99 Marvel
17Spawn #284 Cvr A Alexander$2.99 Image
18Shadowman (2018) #1 Cvr A Zonjic (Net)$3.99 Valiant
19Immortal Men #1 (Res)$2.99 DC
20Spawn #284 Cvr C Virgin Wraparound$2.99 Image
21Invincible Iron Man #598 Leg Ww$3.99 Marvel
22Marvel Two-In-One #3 Schiti 2nd Ptg Var Leg Ww$3.99 Marvel
23Daredevil #600 Blank Var Leg$5.99 Marvel
24Thanos #16 2nd Ptg Shaw Var Leg$3.99 Marvel
25Black Panther #171 Bradshaw Mighty Thor Var 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.

I'll be appearing at Midsouthcon in Memphis this weekend. 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.
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