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

 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The 2018 Two Thousand: A look at the 1,000 top-selling comics and graphic novels ordered by comic shops

by John Jackson Miller


With the release of 2018 end-of-year comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors, Comichron has drawn upon that information to project estimates for the Top Thousand Comics and the Top Thousand Graphic Novels for 2018. The tables are on the page just beneath the image links to individual months.

This year's charts have our sorting and searching features implemented, as now do our previous 27 years of annual charts, going back to 1991. You can find the links to them, along with updated comparatives for how the market as a whole did across that time, by viewing our Yearly Comics Sales page.

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Led by Action Comics #1000, the Top Thousand Comics accounted for around 50.43 million copies; we don't yet know how many copies Diamond sold altogether. (We'll see that when the December data comes out.) This is an increase of 1.5% in units over what the Top Thousand sold in 2017.

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

2010: 45.3 million copies
2011: 47 million copies
2012: 53.43 million copies
2013: 52.21 million copies
2014: 52.07 million copies
2015: 58.59 million copies
2016: 59.8 million (minimum, probably slightly higher)
2017: 49.68 million copies
2018: 50.43 million copies

As you can see, 2018's figure comes in under 2012's — but we know that Diamond sold more comics in 2017 than in 2012, so it may have done so in 2018, too. This is a consequence of the Top Thousand representing a smaller portion of the distributor's volume. In full retail dollars, the Top Thousand Comics likely sold for $213.3 million, a big 11% leap over 2017's $190.6 million. That's a consequence of the top sellers being so much more expensive; $8 and $10 were not impediments to sales, in many cases.

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

Breaking down unit sales — and again employing our estimated minimums for 2016 — we see a rebound in the higher tiers in 2018, but declines in the midrange and lower-tier sellers, in part a consequence of so many fewer comics (not variants, but unique interiors) being released in the year. The first chart shows what's in each bracket; the second is a cumulative measure:

NUMBER OF COMIC BOOK ISSUES SELLING THIS MANY COPIES DURING YEAR


200,000+100,000+75k-100k50k-75k25k-50k10k-25k
200923980260
201002668209652
201134244257641
2012563662746971150
20136641142127381302
2014436682937941158
20152174722007991114
2016*1183111261n.a.n.a.
2017346502338341200
20181144771797631104


NUMBER OF COMIC BOOK ISSUES SELLING
AT LEAST THIS MANY COPIES DURING YEAR
200,000+100,000+75,000+50,000+25,000+10,000+
2009239119379n.a.
201002694303955
201134286343984
201256312940311002250
201366417839011282430
201444010840111952353
2015219516736711662280
2016*1194205466n.a.n.a.
20173499933211662366
2018115513231110742178

2018 actually wound up better than 2014 when it came to the number of comics moving more than 100,000 copies. But the number selling between 50,000 and 75,000 copies is the lowest it's been this decade.

(Update: I was asked about variants. Fully 870 of the 1,000 bestselling issues in 2018 had multiple covers; 464 of the top 500, and 97 out of the top 100. That's 87%, 93%, and 97%. It's not localized to any one publisher; every single one with issues in the Top 1000 had some with variants. In 2018, it was standard.)

Every year we also add a number of items to the Top Comics of the Decade and the Top Comics of the Century (So Far, in each case) lists. A large number of new entrants, this time: The year 2018 added 21 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 2010s, with Action #1000 placing fifth, behind 2015's Star Wars #1, 2014's Amazing Spider-Man #1, 2015's Secret Wars #1, and 2009's Amazing Spider-Man #583. It also added 34 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 21st Century, with Action #1000 placing fourth.


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The Top Thousand Graphic Novels, led by Infinity Gauntlet, went for $58.2 million. This is a major 20% drop from 2017's $73.19 million.

2011: $58.4 million
2012: $71.4 million
2013: $79.03 million
2014: $81.19 million
2015: $81.46 million
2016: $69.48 million (minimum, likely a good deal higher)
2017: $73.19 million
2018: $58.2 million

That brings the year down just below what it was in 2011. Accounting for the difference: a lot of money was tied up in comics this year, which beat their 2017 performance, and the Walking Dead factor appears to have faded from what it was in previous years. It's also likely many of the graphic novels are still being sold to retailers, just not necessarily by Diamond.

Overall graphic novel sales were reported by Diamond to be down only 6.6%, which tells us that the long tail is where more of the business is being done. It's just that the bestsellers of 2018 weren't as popular; more of the sales went to a wider variety of books.

Combined, the Top Thousand Comics and Top Thousand Graphic Novel lists account for more than half of all the orders by dollars Diamond received for print products in 2018, a slight increase.

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

Marvel: 535 (+33)
DC: 399 (-60)
Image: 52 (+23)
Boom: 3 (+3)
Dark Horse: 3 (unchanged)
IDW: 3 (+1)
Valiant: 2 (-1)
Archie: 1 (+1)
Dynamite: 1 (unchanged)
Oni: 1 (+1)


DC, which published many fewer comics in 2018, saw the biggest drop, with gains to Marvel and Image. Titan dropped out of the list.

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

Marvel: 312 (+8)
DC: 277 (-29)
Image: 190 (+2)
 Viz: 58 (+17)
Dark Horse: 50 (unchanged)
Boom: 30 (+8)
IDW: 14 (-4)
Oni: 14 (unchanged)

Big move for Viz, moving into fourth, with Marvel passing DC.

So that's the year that was. December data will be on the way later.


Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 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 the just-announced Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War, releasing July 30 from Gallery Books, as well as Star Wars: Kenobi and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Diamond's combined comics and graphic novel sales up slightly in 2018; Action #1000, Infinity Gauntlet top titles

by John Jackson Miller


Diamond Comic Distributors has released its annual top-sellers list for 2018, and the entries are basically as we had projected them here through November at Comichron — and our projected dollar market shares were spot-on. We also got from the data a little information about what sold in December.

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To no one's surprise, April's Action Comics #1000 was the top-selling comic book to comics specialty shops in 2018, and Infinity Gauntlet, a 1991 release, was the top-selling graphic novel. The one December entry in the comics top ten is clearly going to be the #1 comic for December: Batman Who Laughs #1.

Meanwhile, there's a split decision on annual sales: Diamond reports that annual dollar sales of comic books were up 3.3% for the year, that graphic novel dollar sales were down 6.6%, and that combined comics and graphic novel sales were up very slightly for the year, 0.6%. These figures are slightly higher than what we were able to see in tracking in the monthly reports, so it's worth remembering a couple of things about how the annual and monthly reports compare.

The first is that the sales rankings and projected sales in the annual reports (which includes the Top 1000s that will appear later this week) always differ from the numbers you'd get by adding up all the reported monthly sales for each title. They include, most significantly, sales from months in which the title did not make the charts. But they also reflect a variety of adjustments. If a title had its sales adjusted downward for being returnable in the monthly charts, that sales penalty is removed—and then the figure is reduced by the returns that came in. (Hence, Batman #50 fell behind Amazing Spider-Man #800, which it had led in the monthly charts.)

So, the annual figure for a given comic book is thus both more specific and more accurate than the what you see in the monthly reports. It's based on more information.

 Find this book at TFAW
The second thing to note is that Diamond does not always mention percentage changes for its various categories in its annual reports; that percentage-change grid you see here every month has never appeared in the press release about the year's bestsellers. Sometimes the percentages reported have just been pulled from the December monthly report, but we've also seen different, more accurate figures that take all the things mentioned in the above paragraph into account, as well as other miscellaneous sales the monthly reports don't capture. (An example: DC Nation #0's million copies weren't in the monthly totes, which is a quarter million dollars at full retail alone; Free Comic Book Day comics aren't in there either, although they are definitely part of the revenue picture.)

The monthly reports aren't incorrect when released: they just don't include everything, and they grow less accurate as time goes on, because the earlier months aren't revised as more data comes in every month, and things like the reductions for returnability are never removed from them.

So, the annual figures for percentage changes within industry categories are thus more accurate than what you see in the monthly reports, but are less easily converted to actual dollars and units. They're based on more information, but there's not enough context provided to tell us exactly how much material is represented.

Again, we do not regularly get percentage change numbers in the annual press releases, anyway: this is the first time in three years that Diamond has included them. Diamond did not provide annual sales change figures in its release in 2017 — just the December monthly grid — and published no annual press release at all in 2016. Sometimes, as in the 2009 release, Diamond's overall sales were only characterized ("almost on a par with 2008").

Here are the market shares. Marvel's and Image's dollar shares were up slightly from 2017, DC's was stable. IDW's and Dark Horse's dollar shares declined(Update: These are corrected comparisons; a previous version of this post had accidentally compared 2018 dollars with 2017 units.)


PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel38.24%40.40%
DC30.04%33.82%
Image9.93%9.90%
IDW3.83%3.30%
Dark Horse2.92%2.10%
Boom2.24%1.90%
Dynamite1.86%1.73%
Viz1.22%0.46%
Titan0.87%0.61%
Oni0.83%0.54%
Other8.01%5.25%

Here are the top-selling comics by units sold:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Action Comics #1000$7.99DC
2Amazing Spider-Man #800$9.99Marvel
3Batman #50$4.99DC
4Fantastic Four #1$5.99Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #1$5.99Marvel
6Return of Wolverine #1$4.99Marvel
7Venom #1$4.99Marvel
8Amazing Spider-Man #798$3.99Marvel
9Batman Who Laughs #1$4.99DC
10Amazing Spider-Man #799$3.99Marvel

Here is that chart resorted to report the top-selling comics by dollars sold. The missing entries didn't make the unit Top 10, but we have good guesses at them here.

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Action Comics #1000$7.99DC
2Amazing Spider-Man #800$9.99Marvel
3Batman #50$4.99DC
4Fantastic Four #1$5.99Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #1$5.99Marvel
6Return of Wolverine #1$4.99Marvel
8Batman Who Laughs #1$4.99DC
9Venom #1$4.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man #798$3.99Marvel
13Amazing Spider-Man #799$3.99Marvel

And now the top-selling graphic novels by units sold.



Saga Volumes 1 and 8 leapfrogged Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman with December sales. Only four of the top ten were published in 2018:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Infinity Gauntlet$24.99Marvel
2Saga Vol. 9$14.99Image
3Saga Vol. 1$9.99Image
4Saga Vol. 8$14.99Image
5Action Comics 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99DC
6Walking Dead Vol 29 Lines We Cross$16.99Image
7Paper Girls Vol. 1$9.99Image
8Batman White Knight$19.99DC
9Dark Nights Metal Deluxe Ed HC$29.99DC
10Monstress Vol. 1$9.99Image

And here is that chart resorted to report the top-selling graphic novels by dollars sold. Again, the missing entries didn't make the unit Top 10, but we have good guesses at them here.

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Infinity Gauntlet$24.99Marvel
2Action Comics 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99DC
3Dark Nights Metal Deluxe Ed HC$29.99DC
4Saga Vol. 9$14.99Image
6Saga Vol. 8$14.99Image
7Batman White Knight$19.99DC
8Walking Dead Vol 29 Lines We Cross$16.99Image
19Saga Vol. 1$9.99Image
33Monstress Vol. 1$9.99Image
38Paper Girls Vol. 1$9.99Image

We'll have more material to analyze when the December data is released, but the basic read of the eleven monthly reports and the annual report is that 2018 was a mixed bag of a year where a virtuous cycle got going in the summer but started to run out of steam with fewer high-profile releases in the fourth quarter (and fewer new periodical releases in general, not counting variants). Six of the monthly performances were up year-over-year and five (through November) down.

Likely next up, this week: the Top 1000s for the year. Stay tuned!

Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 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 the just-announced Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War, releasing July 30 from Gallery Books, as well as Star Wars: Kenobi and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel.

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Aquaman, Batman Damned #2 repeat as top reordered books

 Find this book at TFAW
In a repeat of the week before, comics shop reorders last week were led by Batman Damned #2, which shipped on Dec. 12, and, predictably given the movie release, the Geoff Johns Aquaman Omnibus hardcover.

The top advance-reordered January comic book was the Stanley "Artgerm" Lau cover for Batgirl #31.

The top reordered hardcover for the week was the first appearance of a March graphic novel that we're sure to see in more reports, Detective Comics: 80 Years of Batman Deluxe Edition. The Action Comics 80th anniversary book was one of the better sellers of 2018.

You can see the charts to date below:

December charts to date

January charts to date 

Friday, December 21, 2018

Comics Retailer: A Look Back - December 1993



My look back at Comics Retailer magazine issues I edited 25 years ago continues with my latest chapter, covering December 1993 events including the late-shipping crisis, Malibu's TV ads, and rampant retailer worries that Blockbuster would get into comics.

You can find the introductory chapter here.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Aquaman, Spider-Verse lead mid-December reorders



 Find this book at TFAWThe box office influenced comics shop reorders last week, with Aquaman by Geoff Johns Omnibus as the top hardcover and 2016's Spider-Verse collection making it into the top ten.

Batman Damned #2 was the top reordered December-shipping comic book.

January's advance reorders were led by the latest Die Die Die, with the usual catch that the book doesn't appear in Previews, so its orders wind up in the advance reorder chart.

A Batman Who Laughs #2 variant was the top comic otherwise.

See the charts for each month's data so far here:

Monday, December 10, 2018

November 2018 comics sales estimates online: Uncanny X-Men tops 176,000 copies in U.S., Canada

by John Jackson Miller




As reported here on Friday, the momentum in Direct Market stores' purchases of comics and graphic novels from Diamond Comic Distributors hit a bump in November due, in part, to significantly smaller slates from comics publishers. Click to visit our page for November 2018 comics sales estimates.


Already at a disadvantage against November 2017, which had one more shipping week, November 2018 saw 121 fewer comics released, a drop of 22% and the smallest new comics slate since April 2016, before the DC Rebirth event began. Marvel's 79 new comic books was its lowest number of new releases since October 2015 — and DC's 67 new comics were down from 95 the previous year. (Note that the number of items retailers had to choose from didn't necessarily go down; all variants are merged in these calcuations.)

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Despite the month's drop overall and its smaller slate, Marvel actually had a better month than it did the year before; its overall dollar sales were up 3%. The publisher had the top comic book in dollar and unit sales in Uncanny X-Men #1, priced at $7.99; it had North American orders topping 176,000 copies.

It was also a big month for Venom. In addition to the surprisingly strong performance of the character's film in theaters, Marvel had the top graphic novel in Venom by Donny Cates Vol. 1 and a top-three new-comics finisher in Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1; it had sales topping 104,000 copies. Amazing Spider-Man #10 did better than #9 thanks to a J. Scott Campbell variant, seen at right.

It was a much softer month for DC comparatively, year-over-year, largely because of the aforemetioned smaller slate, but also because November 2017 saw the launch of Doomsday Clock. It did have a significant launch in The Green Lantern #1, which shipped more than 113,000 copies to North America.


November's performance makes a return to a positive year saleswise in December more unlikely;
click to see some of our scenarios for 2018's final totals. 2018 will join four other years in the last decade with sales either up by less than 2% or down by less than 2%; it will be a much smaller drop than we saw in 2017, regardless.

Here are the vital statistics for the month:

Friday, December 7, 2018

November comics orders down on smallest new issue release slate since before Rebirth

by John Jackson Miller


 Find this issue at TFAW2018 is going to come down to a photo finish. We already knew that November comics orders would come in behind those of November 2017, due to that month having an extra New Comics Day, bringing the year-to-date figure back into the red and making December the deciding factor. The question was how much December would need to make up.

According to preliminary figures released today by Diamond Comic Distributors, the November loss came in on higher end of our estimated range for two major reasons: even with the shortened calendar, comics publishers did not commit nearly as many titles to the month — and increasingly, much of the holiday graphic novel business has moved to October. Click to visit our page for November 2018 comics sales estimates; the figures will be posted there on Monday.

Fully 121 fewer new comics were released versus the same month in 2017, a drop of 22%; that's the smallest new comics slate since April 2016, before the DC Rebirth event began. Marvel's 79 new comic books was its lowest number of new releases since October 2015 — and DC's 67 new comics were down from 95 the previous year. Through the end of November, publishers have released 5,155 comic books in 2018, versus 5,472 in 2017. The year is not going to catch up; it's like 2017 had a few extra weeks of comics. 2018 has seen 6% fewer new periodical releases.

 Find this book at TFAWThat figure exactly matches the comics unit sales drop for the year — and is, in fact, evidence that comics periodicals are doing better, per release, than they were in 2017. Comics dollar sales this year are up close to 1.5% on those 6% fewer releases — and we know 2017's units were padded by many overships and 25¢ issues, so the true unit performance is probably a couple of points better than that 6%. So the "sales per issue" performance is better.

Graphic novel slates were 12% smaller this November than in the previous November, but the 840-title October-November slate this year was actually 5% larger than 2017's total number of offerings. With Halloween being a New Comics Day, a big chunk of releases in advance of the holidays landed in October, instead. Dollar and unit sales changes for graphic novels are in a narrow range, so it doesn't appear that deep-discounting played a larger-than-usual role in the month.
 Find this book at TFAW
Despite the month's drop overall and its smaller slate, Marvel actually had a better month than it did the year before; its overall dollar sales were up 3%. The publisher had the top comic book in dollar and unit sales in Uncanny X-Men #1, priced at $7.99. The top dollar graphic novel was X-Men: Mutant Massacre, priced at $100. It was also a big month for Venom. In addition to the surprising strong performance of the character's film in theaters, Marvel had the top graphic novel in Venom by Donny Cates Vol. 1 and a top-three new-comics finisher in Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1.

DC benefited from a new Green Lantern #1, placing second. Overall, it was a much softer month for DC comparatively, year-over-year, largely because of the aforemetioned smaller slate; DC also had timing issues in play, as November had no new releases from Doomsday Clock or the bimonthly Batman Damned. Both those get new issues in December.  Image was off single-digits year-to-year after a big graphic novel month, and Dark Horse was up substantially.

The charts are below, as are some scenarios for 2018's final totals. We also have our explanatory video online:


Be sure to subscribe on Youtube to get all the videos as they release.

The comparative sales statistics:


DollarsUnits
November 2018 Vs. October 2018
Comics-16.49%-19.71%
Graphic Novels-21.10%-23.49%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-17.81%-19.99%
Toys+6.76%-23.81%
November 2018 Vs. November 2017
Comics-4.98%-11.24%
Graphic Novels-30.36%-31.11%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-13.61%-13.02%
Toys-10.88%-19.52%
Year-To-Date 2018 Vs. Year-To-Date 2017
Comics+1.48%-6.06%
Graphic Novels-6.67%-7.25%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-0.98%-6.15%
Toys-3.25%-3.25%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel40.80%43.75%
DC26.74%29.51%
Image8.57%8.50%
IDW3.62%3.39%
Dark Horse3.37%2.58%
Boom2.95%2.49%
Dynamite2.24%2.11%
Viz1.26%0.48%
Titan1.20%0.80%
Oni0.97%0.80%
Other8.28%5.58%

On the unit charts, we see that Amazing Spider-Man #10 beat #9 — there was a J. Scott Campbell variant available based on orders received for #10. (Thanks to Ryan Higgins for the heads-up!) The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Uncanny X-Men #1$7.99Marvel
2Green Lantern #1$4.99DC
3Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1$4.99Marvel
4Amazing Spider-Man #10$3.99Marvel
5Batman #58$3.99DC
6Batman #59$3.99DC
7Amazing Spider-Man #9$3.99Marvel
8Heroes In Crisis #3$3.99DC
9Avengers #10$5.99Marvel
10Venom #8$3.99Marvel

We see that in the dollar rankings, Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1 passed Green Lantern #1, which was ahead of it on the unit charts. How could that be, when they both cost the same? Simple: the dollar charts are based on invoiced dollars, or what retailers paid Diamond. The mix of retailers ordering Green Lantern must have gotten a slightly better discount from DC than the mix ordering Venom got from Marvel comics. Every retailer's discount is calculated individually based on their order volumes.

The The top-selling comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Uncanny X-Men #1$7.99Marvel
2Web of Venom: Carnage Born #1$4.99Marvel
3Green Lantern #1$4.99DC
4Avengers #10$5.99Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #10$3.99Marvel
6Batman #58$3.99DC
7Batman #59$3.99DC
8Amazing Spider-Man #9$3.99Marvel
9Heroes In Crisis #3$3.99DC
10Venom #8$3.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Venom by Donny Cates Vol. 1: Rex$17.99Marvel
2Thanos: The Infinity Conflict HC$24.99Marvel
3Justice League Vol. 1: The Totality$17.99DC
4Black Eyed Peas Presents: Masters Of The Sun: The  Zombie Chronicles$24.99Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man By Nick Spencer Vol. 1: Back To Basics$15.99Marvel
6The Immortal Hulk Vol. 1: Or Is He Both?$15.99Marvel
7Batman: White Knight$19.99DC
8Unnatural Vol. 1: Awakening$9.99Image
9Star Wars: Lando: Double or Nothing$15.99Marvel
10Domino Vol. 1: Killer Instinct$17.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1X-Men Mutant: Massacre Omnibus HC$100.00Marvel
2Thanos: The Infinity Conflict HC$24.99Marvel
3Absolute Transmetropolitan Vol. 3 HC$125.00DC
4Silver Surfer By Slott And Allred Omnibus HC$75.00Marvel
5Black Eyed Peas Presents: Masters Of The Sun: The Zombie Chronicles$24.99Marvel
6Venom by Donny Cates Vol. 1: Rex$17.99Marvel
7Firefly: Big Damn Heroes Box Set$150.00Boom
8Wonder Woman: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 3 HC$125.00DC
9Marvel Masterworks: The Mighty Thor Vol. 17 HC$75.00Marvel
10Justice League Vol. 1: The Totality$17.99DC


Finally, the number of new items offered:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel79390118
DC67400107
Image5718075
IDW3314047
Boom2316039
Dark Horse1619035
Titan1013528
Viz026026
Dynamite174021
Oni84012
Other11320617336
TOTAL SHIPPED42339922844

Which brings us back to December's role in how 2018 finishes. As the autumn has progressed, I've been tending to think that the market would finish slightly ahead for one reason: that December 2017 was such a low target to beat. Its orders of $38.49 million made it the weakest month of 2017, worse than any winter month earlier in the year. The size of November's slate reduction, however, has increased the difficulty.

There are a number of scenarios for 2018 overall:

• If December orders are down by no more than 13% (a $33.54 million month):
The second half of 2018 will finish ahead of the second half of 2017.

• If December orders are flat year-over-year ($38.49 million): 
2018 will finish at $519.57 million, down 0.5%.

• If December orders are up at least 7% ($41.07 million):
The 4th Quarter of 2018 will finish positive, resulting in three up quarters in a row.

• If December orders are up at least 12% ($43.27 million):
2018 will finish above $522.24 million, ahead of 2017.

(Remember, the above totals are only for orders placed through Diamond; retailers order graphic novels from other distributors, as well, and of course book channel performance is a separate thing.)

So looking at the above, a second-half beat is very likely; that's because the weak part of 2018 was last winter. As to whether the other targets can be beaten, what is likely to matter most is how much material publishers bring to market. Advance reorders for December 2018 showed good results for Batman Who Laughs #1 and Batman Damned #2, as well as the Aquaman Omnibus, timed for the new movie.

So stay tuned — and drop back Monday when we'll have the individual title sales estimates for November.


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, including Star Wars, Star Trek, Halo, Mass Effect, and Battlestar Galactica.

He is also the author of novels including Star Wars: KenobiStar 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, and check out our Youtube channel.

Friday, November 23, 2018

New series: A journey through comics history with Comics Retailer magazine

by John Jackson Miller

Read the first chapter now!
Twenty-five years ago Friday, my comic industry career began with my first day editing Comics Retailer magazine, the trade publication for the comics industry through the 1990s and 2000s. (It would later be known as Comics & Games Retailer, after the makeup of the readership changed.)

Today, I begin a new article series on the site: a monthly look back on that magazine and the comics market in those tumultuous times, starting with...what else? An origin story, discussing both the origins of the comics retail market, the demand for the magazine, publisher Krause Publications' intentions for it, and some of the issues facing the market in 1992, when the publication was launched.

This installment closes with my arrival in the CR offices in November 1993, and the challenges the market was facing at the time. The plan (at least roughly) is for a continuing series, hopefully monthly, looking back at individual months as the 1993 boom went bust.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Green Lantern, mutants lead final pre-Black Friday reorder report

by John Jackson Miller

 Find this book at TFAW
Green Lantern and mutants led the last round of reorder reports from Diamond Comic Distributors before the Black Friday weekend.

Among comic books, Green Lantern #1 led retail reorders for the last week before Thanksgiving; Uncanny X-Men #1 (which had one less week on the shelves) second. The X-Men Mutant Massacre Omnibus hardcover led the list in overall dollars. Click to see the charts for November 2018.

Advance reorders found the Greg Capullo Batman Who Laughs #1 variant as the top-reordered December book, regular version second, an Infinity Wars #6 variant third. Click to see the charts for December 2018.

Finally, we've established landing pages for all the months of 2019. We note when the calendar will favor or disfavor specific months, note some known comics and movie events, and mention year-to-year comparatives. See them starting (naturally!) with January; or go to our 2019 master page.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel.

Monday, November 12, 2018

October 2018 comics sales estimates online: Strong month for the midlist

by John Jackson Miller

 Click to see the estimates for October 2018

As reported last week, comics and graphic novel orders through Diamond Comics Distributors ended October ahead for the year-to-date, thanks to one additional New Comic Book Day during the month. We also know the month benefited from particularly strong sales of middle-tier titles, thanks to Comichron estimates, just posted: click to see the comics sales estimates for October 2018.

October was generally without the major launches that previous months saw; the major event for the month (besides the Venom movie) was Walking Dead Day on Oct. 13, which saw 15 different "blind bag" editions of previous issues (along with new variant covers) on offer. Batman #56, with its foil edition, finished first in units and dollars among comic books, with Walking Dead #1's 15th anniversary edition in second. The issues landed around 107,500 and 106,100 copies shipped respectively in North America.

But as noted, the performance of titles in the midsection of the charts was strong. The 150th place title shipped 17,305 copies, the third largest amount at that level in 20 years. The 200th place title sold 12,184 copies, the fourth highest amount in two decades. The 50th, 100th, 400th, and 500th place titles all hit one-year highs.

While in part due to more releases on offer after a year in which publishers had cut their slates back, it appears that, in the absence of a blockbuster title for the month, retailers may have spread their ordering dollars around to other issues. October's total comics shipment of 8 million copies was the largest since May 2017, which had the 25¢ Saga #43 padding the totals.

The Batman: White Knight trade paperback topped 12,000 copies shipped in October. It's now also nearly certain that Infinity Gauntlet will be the top-ordered graphic novel from Diamond in 2018; this would be the first time Marvel led that list since Civil War in 2007, after a five-year run with Saga volumes in the lead. Click to see sales for comics and graphic novels for the year to date; you can also see the top titles by year.

The vital statistics for October:

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