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Monday, April 9, 2018

March 2018 comics sales estimates online: Metal #6 vaults to 187k copies

by John Jackson Miller




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Our comics sales estimates for March 2018 are now online, and they find a new comic as the bestseller of the year — at least until Action #1000 comes along in April with its reported orders exceeding 500,000-copies. Dark Nights Metal #6 wrapped up that series with orders of more than 187,500 copies, more than any issue in the year so far.

If you didn't see it last month, our year-to-date list now tabulates all comics and graphic novels reported in the year so far, fusing sales together when reorders are reported; the Top 100 for each category is listed. That chart finds January's Doomsday Clock #3 and Dark Nights Metal #5 from January in second for the year on strength of reorders — but it also shows a number of March-shipping comics ranked highly. That corroborates the finding discussed here on Friday, which is that while a lot fewer new comics came out this March versus last March (which had one more shipping week), the comics that came out sold relatively better.

The graphic novel shortfall was greater than what the smaller release slate would have predicted, however. Last March had extremely strong graphic novel orders, with both a new Saga and a new Walking Dead volume out. This March had only one of those — and the new Walking Dead Vol 29, while still the bestseller of the year so far, shipped 22% fewer copies than the March 2017 volume did. It's hard to know what portion of that comes from fewer ordering shops — whether because of closures or because they've shifted purchases outside of Diamond to other distributors — or whether the drop is related to the series itself. Twenty-two percent happens to also be the exact ratio by which graphic novel orders overall dropped in March, so at least this one data point correlates with the market's graphic novel sales overall.

The graphic novel category presents a different competitive environment, with online retailers in play, as well as discount-house retailers (like Ollie's, earlier this year) selling either remaindered or liquidated trade paperbacks. While I've observed here several times that new comic book unit sales haven't been negatively impacted by digital sales, a recent controversy raises the question of whether graphic novel sales are more vulnerable. I think that requires further research, but the fact that bound collected editions aren't much of a factor in the aftermarket suggests that at least one of the things insulating print periodicals from defections to digital isn't as much in play for graphic novel buyers.

One thing that wasn't as much in play in March: price. The average price of the Top 300 comics dropped to $3.82, the lowest it's been in several months.

The vital statistics, after the break:


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TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in UNITS)
March 2018 6.08 million copies
1 Year Ago 6.64 million copies -8%
5 Years Ago 7.2 million copies -16%
10 Years Ago 6.09 million copies 0%
15 Years Ago 5.59 million copies +9%
20 Years Ago 7.14 million copies -15%
Top 500 Comics Shipped (Units) 6.45 million copies
ALL Comics Shipped in Month (Units) 6.56 million copies -12%
Year To Date 17.83 million copies
1 Year Ago 20 million copies -11
5 Years Ago 20.93 million copies -15
10 Years Ago 19.11 million copies -7
15 Years Ago 17.05 million copies 5
ALL Comics Shipped Year to Date (Units) 19.57 million copies -15%
TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)
March 2018 $23.15 million
1 Year Ago $26.06 million -11%
5 Years Ago $25.93 million -11%
10 Years Ago $19.14 million +21%
15 Years Ago $15.69 million +48%
20 Years Ago $17.47 million +33%
Top 500 Comics Shipped (Dollars) $24.71 million
ALL Comics Shipped during Month (Dollars) -13%
Year To Date $69.38 million
1 Year Ago $75.4 million -8%
5 Years Ago $75.2 million -8%
10 Years Ago $59.79 million +16%
15 Years Ago $47.77 million +45%
ALL Comics Shipped Year to Date (Dollars) -7%
TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)
March 2018 (Top 300 GNs) $5.71 million
March 2018 (Top 100 GNs) $3.61 million
March 2018 (Top 50 GNs) $2.18 million
March 2018 (Top 25 GNs) $1.56 million
Versus 1 Year Ago $9.89 million -42%
Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300) $8.97 million -36%
Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 100) $4.33 million -17%
Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 50) $2.54 million -34%
Top 500 Graphic Novel Shipped in Month (Dollars) $6.49 million
ALL Graphic Novel Shipped in Month (Dollars) -22%
Year To Date $15.87 million
1 Year Ago $24.21 million -34%
ALL Graphic Novel Dollars Shipped Year to Date (Dollars) -13%
TOP 300 COMICS plus TOP GNs SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)
March 2018 (including Top 300 GNs) $28.86 million
March 2018 (including Top 300 GNs) $26.76 million
March 2018 (including Top 100 GNs) $25.34 million
March 2018 (including Top 25 GNs) $24.71 million
Versus 1 Year Ago $35.95 million -20%
Versus 5 Years Ago (Top 300) $34.89 million -23%
Versus 10 Years Ago (Top 50) $23.47 million -1%
Versus 15 Years Ago (Top 50) $18.23 million +48%
Top 500 Comics & Top 500 GNs Shipped in Month (Dollars) $31.2 million
All Comics & GNs Shipped in Month (Dollars) -16%
Year To Date $85.25 million
1 Year Ago $99.65 million -14%
ALL Comics & GNs Shipped Year to Date (Dollars) -9%
ALL COMICS AND GNs SHIPPED (in Dollars)
March 2018 $38,482,000.00
Versus 1 Year Ago $45.79 million -16%
Versus 5 Years Ago $41.33 million -7%
Versus 10 Years Ago $31.21 million +23%
Year To Date $114.45 million
1 Year Ago $125.67 million -9%
TITLE SPECIFICS
TOP SELLING COMIC BOOK
Dark Nights Metal #6  187,583 copies at  $4.99
50th PLACE COMIC BOOK
Invincible Iron Man #598  31,717 copies at  $3.99
100th PLACE COMIC BOOK
Hit-Girl #2  21,185 copies at  $3.99
150th PLACE COMIC BOOK
Amazing Spider-Man #795  13,047 copies at  $3.99
200th PLACE COMIC BOOK
Witchblade #4  7,971 copies at  $3.99
300th PLACE COMIC BOOK
Grass Kings #13  3,803 copies at  $3.99
400th PLACE COMIC BOOK
Doomsday Clock #3  1,675 copies at  $3.99
500th PLACE COMIC BOOK
Archie and Me Comics Digest #5  552 copies at  $3.99
NEW RELEASE VOLUME
New Comics Released 449
New Graphic Novels Released 318
New Magazines Released 26
Total New Print Items Released 793
PRICING
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300 $3.82
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300, weighted by orders $3.81
Average Cover Price of Comics in the Top 25 $3.87
Median Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300 $3.99
Most Common Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300 $3.99


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