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More than 181,400 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
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, January 20, 2020

December 2019 full estimates posted; King Batman finale enters Top 5

by John Jackson Miller


We've just posted our estimates for December Top 500 comics and graphic novel orders. Tom King's Batman #85 finale issue entered the Top 5 on combined orders. Fourth quarter up 10%, best quarter in 2019 and biggest quarterly year-over-year rise since 2015.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Friday, January 17, 2020

December 2019 comics and graphic orders up 9%; House of X/Powers of X top dollar GN

by John Jackson Miller


Led by Doomsday Clock #12 and the House of X/Powers of X hardcover, comics shop orders of comic books and graphic novels from Diamond Comic Distributors closed 2019 out strongly, up 9.2% year-over-year in dollars in December. That's a better-than-expected total, due to a revision Diamond's made since its end-of-year report came out last Friday. (The distributor's December report, showing the new 2019 percentage change total, is here.)

 Find this book at TFAWWhen Diamond released its Top 500 Comics and Top 500 Graphic Novels lists earlier in the week (see our estimates for their sales here), that provided us with a partial list for December — 37 comic books released in the month made the overall charts. We temporarily posted those on our December 2019 page (where the final estimates will appear next week), but we also spotted that something was a bit amiss with a handful of those entries, as their dollar sales rankings in the overall 2019 chart suggested they hadn't made any money.

That obviously wasn't the case, and neither was there likely to have been any secret overship; rather, the fact that all the impacted books were Christmas Day releases points to an accounting issue. If those Christmas Day comics — including Venom #21, Incoming #1, Dr. Strange #1, and Spider-Ham #1 had their dollar earnings attributed to January 2020 rather than December 2019, where their units were rightfully counted, that would cover the difference in the percentage change statistics.

Diamond appears to have caught that in compiling its December charts. The units didn't change in the end-of-year statistics. It meant the addition of about one and a half million dollars to 2019's total sales overall, boosting the year-to-year increase from 2.23% to 2.54%. (End-of-year dollar market shares would also theoretically be impacted, although very slightly.)

To be clear, these aren't comics that went on sale Jan. 1 that would have been affected — they're December books, so nothing is being borrowed from 2020. And nothing else from the 2019 unit sales charts would be likely to change in this scenario: just the dollar rankings. This means that we're able to provide, below, unit sales with the Top 10 when it comes to the comics. (And the rest of the Top 37 are, again, here, to be joined next week by the rest of the month.)

(EDIT: Shortly after this post, Diamond confirmed the above undercounts of invoiced dollars during the skip weeks, and issued revised end-of-year Top Sellers and Market Shares — which, as expected, only added the missing dollar rankings and fractions of percentage points, mostly to Marvel. You can see the revised 2019 charts with our estimates here.)

The percentage changes from December, with the new, revised totals year-to-year:


DollarsUnits
December 2019 Vs. November 2019
Comics+0.18%-1.28%
Graphic Novels-11.06%-18.03%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-3.00%-2.48%
Toys+13.47%+16.61%
December 2019 Vs. December 2018
Comics+7.08%+5.36%
Graphic Novels+15.77%+2.87%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+9.20%+5.21%
Toys+166.96%+191.68%
Year 2019 Vs. Year 2018
Comics+4.33%-0.92%
Graphic Novels-2.01%-7.95%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+2.54%-1.44%
Toys+25.96%+28.65%

The market shares for December:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel37.89%45.60%
DC33.55%31.35%
Image5.91%5.93%
IDW4.34%3.51%
Boom4.03%3.66%
Dark Horse2.67%1.87%
Dynamite2.56%2.51%
Viz1.00%0.38%
Titan0.57%0.51%
Random House0.48%0.13%
Other7.00%4.54%

The top-selling comic books by units, with our estimates known from the 2019 Top 500:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHERUNITS
1Doomsday Clock #125.99DC117,926
2X-Men #3$3.99Marvel105,708
3Batman: Last Knight On Earth #3$5.99DC90,058
4Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1$5.99DC88,794
5Venom #21$3.99Marvel74,071
6Harley Quinn: Villain Of The Year #1$4.99DC73,146
7Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1$4.99Marvel71,341
8Incoming #1$9.99Marvel69,025
9Amazing Spider-Man #35$3.99Marvel67,111
10Superman #18$3.99DC66,684

The top-selling comic books by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Doomsday Clock #125.99DC
2Incoming #1$9.99Marvel
3Batman: Last Knight on Earth #3$5.99DC
4Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1$5.99DC
5Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1$4.99DC
6Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100$7.99IDW
7Harleen #3$7.99DC
8X-Men #3$3.99Marvel
9Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1$4.99Marvel
10Venom #21$3.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units are here. We know from the yearly chart that House of X/Powers of X's sale was more than 10,000 copies; Watchmen's performance was enough to vault it into first place for the year.

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1House of X/Powers of X HC$60.00Marvel
2Batman Vol 11 The Fall And The Fallen$17.99DC
3Watchmen$24.99DC
4Silver Surfer Black Treasury Edition$29.99Marvel
5Black Hammer Vol. 4 Age Of Doom Part II$19.99Dark Horse
6Boys Omnibus Vol. 6 $29.99Dynamite
7Green Lantern Vol. 1 Intergalactic Lawman$17.99DC
8Daredevil By Chip Zdarsky Vol. 2 No Devils Only God$15.99Marvel
9My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies$12.99Image
10Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol. 6 Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon$15.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1House of X/Powers of X HC$60.00Marvel
2Annihilation Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel
3Y The Last Man Omnibus HC$150.00DC
4Injustice Gods Among Us Omnibus HC Vol. 01$125.00DC
5Absolute Dark Knight III The Master Race HC$125.00DC
6Animal Man By Jeff Lemire Omnibus HC$99.99DC
7Silver Surfer Black Treasury Edition$29.99Marvel
8Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four HC Vol. 21$75.00Marvel
9Watchmen$24.99DC
10Boys Omnibus Vol. 6$29.99Dynamite

And, finally, here's what shipped in December:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic
Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel103320135
DC86321119
Image367043
IDW2813041
Boom2314037
Dark Horse229031
Dynamite144018
Kodansha013013
Titan82212
Archie9009
Other8010911200
TOTAL SHIPPED40923514658


The above completes the picture of comics released in 2019. As we can see below, the number of new comics released was down slightly, largely due to reduced lines from DC and Image; DC's cutbacks are camouflaged by the fact that Diamond counts comics at different price tags as separate releases. Around 90 cardstock books fit that description. Variants with the same cover price are not counted separately.
Here's the same chart, only with graphic novels:


Look for the full December charts here next week.

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: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy — and Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Monday, January 13, 2020

Top 500 comics, graphic novels from 2019 online; Doomsday Clock #12 led December

by John Jackson Miller
http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2019.html

With the release of the 2019 end-of-year comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors, Comichron has projected estimates for the Top 500 Comics and the Top 500 Graphic Novels sold by the company, which can be found on our page for 2019.

This year's charts have our sorting and searching features implemented, as now do our previous 28 years of annual Diamond 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. 2019 data will be added to that page when more is known.

Detective Comics #1000 led the list with nearly 575,000 copies sold, an increase of nearly 50,000 copies from its release month in March.

We can see from the end-of-year chart that Doomsday Clock #1 was the top-seller for December, with nearly 118,000 copies sold, and a number of other December items can be seen in the chart.

The rest of the month's Top 5 appears to shake out as follows:

2) X-Men #3

3) Batman: Last Knight on Earth #3

4) Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1

5) Venom #21


We've generated a partial list that shows just the 37 titles from December, and we'll of course run the full Top 500 when Diamond releases the next round of data.

Back to 2019: Almost everything in the Top 500 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.

We'll do our annual Top Thousand comparisons and extend the charts next week when the December data is released. But we have at this point finalized our Top Comics of the Decade chart for the 2010s, and we've added 2019 to the Top Comics of the Century So Far chart.

The final year of the decade added a large number of new entrants, 33, to the Top 300 for the 2010s. That's one more than the previous year, and the fourth most all decade.

The decade's bestsellers break down by year as follows:

2010: 8
2011: 23
2012: 40
2013: 27
2014: 15
2015: 55
2016: 44
2017: 24
2018: 32
2019: 33

Detective Comics #1000 was the big one, of course, placing second in both the decade and century behind 2015's Star Wars #1. The best performance by another comic was Spawn #300, which landed at 34th in the decade and 42nd in the century.

2019 overall added 17 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 21st Century.

December's report and estimates are up next, and our Top Thousand chart.


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 Star Wars: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy — and Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Comic book, graphic novel sales to comics shops up 2% in 2019; Detective #1000, Watchmen top charts

by John Jackson Miller



The decade of the 2010s ended on a note of growth for the Direct Market when it comes to retailer orders from Diamond Comic Distributors. According to our analysis of a report released today by the firm, comics shops bought $528.1 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines from it in 2019, an increase of 2.23% or $11.5 million over 2018's total of $516.6 million. We expect to have the full charts for 2019 from Diamond early next week. (UPDATE: They're online, and can be found here.)

Implicit in the report is that December 2019's performance was, as predicted here, an improvement over the moribund and holiday-shortened December 2018 showing. December 2019's orders appear to have been around $39.5 million, up around 5% and finishing a strong quarter year-over-year. Three out of four quarters in 2019 showed improvement; that hasn't happened since 2015, a year partially fueled by Star Wars' move to Marvel. The last time every quarter was up was 2013, a year supercharged by significant line growth at the middle-tier publishers; only one month that year was down.

The performance for 2019 represents a return to growth for this subset of the comics shop market, joining 13 other positive years this century including 2001-2008 and 2012-2016; two of the down years, 2011 and 2018, were off by just a single percentage point. Last year eclipsed not just last year, but the year before; this century only 2014, 2015, and 2016 have seen more dollars worth of merchandise ordered. Orders in 2019 were 25% above those of 2010, 8% higher when adjusted for inflation.

Aided by Detective Comics #1000 — a rare case, along with 2015's Star Wars #1, of a first quarter release leading the year, dollar sales of periodical comic books were up nearly 4% in 2019. Graphic novel sales were down 2%. Both figures represent significant improvements over 2018, which saw comics up 2% and graphic novels down 8%. Comics shops order significant quantities of graphic novels from channels outside Diamond — and as we know the book channel was booming in 2019, it's a near-certainty that the overall market, which we track in our annual industry-wide report, will find print sales above $1 billion at full retail for the first time ever. Look for that report later in 2019.

Market shares: DC, Image line reductions make impact

The market shares finished the year very close to what we'd predicted, with Marvel topping 40% in dollar share, an upward move of nearly two percentage points. Its unit sales increased by nearly four points. The unit gains came partially at the expense of DC, which had pared back its line in the first half of the year; its unit share dropped a little more than three points. But its dollar share suffered much less, down only three-quarters of a point, indicating that the products it did put our earned more on average.

Image, which also cut back its offerings significantly in 2019, saw both its unit and dollar shares each drop by a couple of points. Dark Horse, Boom, Dynamite, and Viz saw their dollar shares increase. The only change in the order of the Top 10 in the dollar rankings came at ninth and tenth place, where Oni and Titan reversed positions.

The market shares:


PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel40.20%44.72%
DC29.29%30.74%
Image8.04%7.69%
IDW3.55%3.29%
Dark Horse3.19%2.33%
Boom2.56%2.42%
Dynamite2.16%1.88%
Viz1.45%0.55%
Oni0.61%0.43%
Titan0.60%0.49%
Other8.34%5.47%

Comics: First issues and anniversaries take the entire Top 10

Comichron's tracking all year had predicted Detective Comics #1000 would be the top-selling comic book — it's the second best-seller of the decade, after all, with more than half a million copies shipped — but we also saw that the Top 10 comics through November remained the Top 10 after December, with only one change in position. X-Men #1 edged past Black Cat #1 for third place, on the strength of December reorders.

DC's other entry in the Top 10, DCeased #1, was the only comic book in the top ten regularly priced at $3.99.

House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 held steady at eighth and ninth places. That they are no higher, despite their buzz, testifies to the surprise popularity of the event (and likely also the availability of reprints).


The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Detective Comics #1000$9.99DC
2Spawn #300$7.99Image
3X-Men #1$4.99Marvel
4Black Cat #1$4.99Marvel
5DCeased #1$3.99DC
6Absolute Carnage #1$7.99Marvel
7Marvel Comics #1000$9.99Marvel
8House of X #1$5.99Marvel
9Powers of X #1$5.99Marvel
10War of the Realms #1$5.99Marvel

It's clear that nothing from December made the Top 10 for the year overall, which means there's an upper limit on whatever that month's top seller is at 191,000 copies or so. We'll find out soon enough.



Graphic novels: "As Seen On TV"

 Find this book at TFAWOver on the bookshelves, Watchmen  fueled by its HBO series and a new trade paperback edition that makes good and sure you know about it — leapt past newer entries to become the #1 graphic novel for the year. It is the third time since 1991, when Diamond began reporting annual graphic novel sales, that it has placed #1; the other two times were 2008 and 2009, aided by the movie.

If you've been following our sales-to-date charts throughout 2019, its final showing may be a bit of a surprise; our table listed the $19.99 previous edition and the $24.99 new edition as separate entries, while Diamond followed its usual form for the end-of-year graphic novel charts by merging different prices. (Walking Dead Vol. 1 has editions at several different price points in Diamond's system; they've been merged in year-end charts for a long time.)

Watchmen's combined sales through November would have placed it #2 by units among graphic novels, so clearly the TV show fueled a late surge that pushed it past Saga Vol. 1. Television programming also played a role in Umbrella Academy Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite placing third — and of course, the performance of the final Walking Dead volume.

Die Vol. 1, in sixth, was the highest-ranking graphic novel not previously released in graphic novel form before 2019.

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Watchmen$24.99DC
2Saga Volume 1$9.99Image
3Umbrella Academy Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite$17.99Dark Horse
4Monstress Volume 1$9.99Image
5Mister Miracle$24.99DC
6Die Vol. 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker$9.99Image
7Batman: White Knight$19.99DC
8Walking Dead Vol. 31$16.99Image
9Batman: The Killing Joke HC$17.99DC
10Batman: Damned HC$29.99DC

As noted above, the full estimates will be along next week, and if Diamond follows past practice, we'll see December's full data along some time after that. Look for it on our December page.

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: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy — and Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Comichron's Decade in Review: The 2010s, year-by-year

by John Jackson Miller


Here's a look at the Decade in Review, a year-by-year glance back at the trends shaping comics shop orders. It's mostly been a decade of growth, with downturns in 2010-11 and 2017-18.

PRICES UP, SALES DOWN. Summer new comics sales were the worst since 2001; only one issue after July topped 100,000 copies. DC reversed its increase to $3.99; it didn't help. "The most popular, least successful move we ever made," a DC rep said. See the charts.


NEW 52 TO THE RESCUE. The 2010 woes dragged into 2011, with the worst monthly top-seller ever moving just 71,517 copies in February. But DC turned it all around with its reboot, nearly turning the year positive and taking 11 of the Top 12. See the charts.


ROBUST REBOUND. The New 52 continued to rule. Marvel had Avengers in theaters and Marvel NOW on shelves in the fall, and Walking Dead's anniversary issue was the bestselling comic in three years. Comics shop sales finished up 15% over 2011. See the charts.


MIDDLE TIER GROWS. Midrange publishers continued to grow their lines; "everybody else combined" surpassed both Marvel and DC. Direct Market sales passed $500 million for the first time since 1993; they'd stay above it the rest of the decade.  See the charts.


STILL CLIMBING. Amazing Spider-Man #1 outsold anything in 19 years; many of its 48 variants were available only to specific shops or outside retailers. The "subscription box" fad hit comics, with some variants included in Diamond's sales.  See the charts.


MORE RECORDS FALL. Star Wars went from Dark Horse to Marvel in January and got the first million-copy seller, partially fueled by sales to Loot Crate, which also aided other like Bravest Warriors and Orphan Black. Overall sales grew 7%.  See the charts.


A NEW HIGH. The Star Wars-fueled 2015 was hard to beat, but 2016 did it anyway, squeaking past it thanks to DC's Rebirth and Marvel's Civil War II, whose first issue was probably the real market leader if you discount Loot Crate's copies.  See the charts.


CORRECTION TERRITORY. After several years of ever-increasing sales, 2017's slate, headed by Secret Empire, couldn't match 2016's Rebirth/Civil War II performance. Direct Market orders saw a 10% drop; overall industry losses were smaller.  See the charts.


REBUILDING YEAR. The decline in Direct Market orders ended after the winter, with special issues like Action #1000 helping to fuel two growth quarters. A prospective narrow increase became a 1% drop as DC cut back its offerings at year-end.  See the charts.



AHEAD AGAIN. Helped by the X-Men relaunch, Detective #1000, and DC bulking up its offerings again, comics sales are poised to end higher in 2019. An increase of 25% over 2010's dollar totals; adjusted for inflation, it's still up about 8%. See the charts.

Finally, here's our chart combining the bestsellers from 2010-18; we've included where Detective #1000 will likely land once 2019's data hits.


Any official rankings released from Diamond are likely differ, because this method — just looking back at the year-end charts — shortchanges issues that release late in the year.

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: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy — and Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Monday, December 9, 2019

November 2019 comics sales estimates online: New Mutants sales top 138,000 copies

by John Jackson Miller

The debut issue of New Mutants moved more than 138,000 copies to stores in North America as part of Marvel's X-Men relaunch in November. The month saw increases in both units and dollars for bot the comics and the graphic novel category.

Click to see the full comics sales estimates for November 2019.

The split covers on DC's titles for the month resulted in a number of titles improving in our charts, which again provide the option of fusing together such titles: Batman #82 entered the top five as a result.

No comics gained changed position in the Top 5 for the year so far; X-Men #1 gained some ground on Black Cat #1 but did not pass it. We'll see where it winds up after December's orders.

Click to see the bestselling comic books of 2019 so far.



Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Friday, December 6, 2019

New Mutants #1 leads good November, with increases in units, dollars for comics, graphic novels; growth year certain

by John Jackson Miller


In 2018, a recovery underway in the comic-book retail market gave out at the end of the year, with DC drastically cutting back its number of comic-book releases; ultimately, the year just missed being an improvement over the previous one. The same will not be true of 2019, as strength in Marvel's X-Men line and a return to a more normal number of DC releases yielded a November that was ahead of the same month in the previous year in every single category Comichron tracks. Retailers ordered $42.34 million worth of comic books, graphic novels, and magazines from Diamond Comic Distributors, an increase of 4.3%, or about $1.75 million.

The full comics sales estimates will appear here on Monday.

 Find this issue at TFAWThe stronger November brings 2019 so far to $488.69 million, an increase of 2%, or about $10 million, over the first eleven months of 2018. While there's some question about how December will be tabulated (about more later), we believe there's no way 2019 will finish below 2018. That would make for the first growth year for the portion of Diamond sales that we track since 2016.

Comic-book orders were up about 3% in both units and dollars in November, a rare case where the two categories' performance was nearly the same. It's an indication that the mean price paid for comics overall was relatively close to the average price of all comics offered.

Retailers ordered 6.62 million comic books in the month: while a middling performance among this year's four-week months, it was still enough to beat November 2018. Fifty-one more comic books were released this November versus last November, although probably a third of that increase comes from DC's cardstock books getting multiple entries.

The number of comic books ordered from Diamond by retailers through November 30 stands at 77.06 million copies: that's down about a million copies, or nearly one and a half percent, from the same point in 2018. But 2% fewer new comic books were released so far in 2019 versus 2018, so unit sales per release are tracking better. The gap for the year will probably wind up being less than a million copies, by the time December's done.

Find this issue at TFAW
Marvel led in both dollar and unit market shares, thanks to New Mutants #1 and the other "Dawn of X" titles, as well as Absolute Carnage #5 and Deadpool #1; the publisher took the top seven spots. But it was DC that saw the most significant year-over-year gains, thanks in no small part to the aforementioned boost in its number of releases.

Diamond reports DC's number of new comics at 96, but we believe that a good bit of that comes from the splits between cardstock and regular covers; the true number of releases is closer to 80. Considering that DC had only 67 comics out in November 2018 — on the way down to totals in the low fifties last winter — that's an important change. The number of retail dollars paid for DC products overall appears to have grown 20% in the month, year-over-year.

Image continued to have fewer new comics releases — 40, versus 57 last November — but it did score a hit in Undiscovered Country #1, which placed eighth. The title's orders were reduced for chart purposes due to returnability, so its real ranking may or may not be higher.

 Find this book at TFAW
Aided by the Firefly: The Sting graphic novel, Boom appears to have had a strong month, with a year-to-year increase rivaling DC's and a dollar market share of 3.46%, meriting fourth place. It was Boom's highest market share since the Loot Crate title Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1 helped it hit 3.96% in May 2015. The November 2019 performance is more significant, since it came organically from Direct Market orders.

Graphic novel orders were up 4% in units and 7% in dollars, notable in that 19 fewer (or 5%) graphic novels were released in the month, year-over-year. Graphic novels are likely to finish down for the year, but only slightly — and remember, comics retailers order graphic novels from more sources than just Diamond.

 Find this set at TFAW
The hardcover collection of DCeased led the unit sales chart; Savage Sword of Conan: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 2 led the dollar chart.

Seven DC titles made the Top 10 for dollars; the Crisis on Infinite Earths Box Set (seen at left) placed second. At $500 each at full retail, it doesn't take nearly as many units to make the dollar charts!

The comparative sales statistics are here. Disregard the October-to-November comparisons, as that month had an extra Wednesday (and Halloween ComicFest to boot), making comparisons less meaningful:


DollarsUnits
November 2019 Vs. October 2019
Comics-28.87%-24.86%
Graphic Novels-12.33%-14.39%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-24.86%-24.19%
Toys-8.72%-13.86%
November 2019 Vs. November 2018
Comics+3.12%+2.91%
Graphic Novels+7.43%+3.94%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+4.30%+2.98%
Toys-1.30%+15.09%
Year To Date 2019 Vs. Year To Date 2018
Comics+4.10%-1.42%
Graphic Novels-3.21%-8.65%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+2.02%-1.96%
Toys19.15%21.54%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel37.41%42.68%
DC30.72%32.41%
Image7.90%7.87%
Boom3.46%3.07%
IDW3.42%3.04%
Dark Horse3.38%2.37%
Dynamite2.03%1.45%
Viz1.48%0.56%
Titan0.70%0.50%
Oni0.57%0.46%
Other8.93%5.59%

The top-selling comics by units are here. The asterisk by Undiscovered Country denotes it was returnable:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1New Mutants #1$4.99Marvel
2X-Men #2$3.99Marvel
3Absolute Carnage #5$4.99Marvel
4X-Force #1$4.99Marvel
5Fallen Angels #1$4.99Marvel
6Deadpool #1$4.99Marvel
7Amazing Spider-Man #33$3.99Marvel
8Undiscovered Country #1*$3.99Image
9Batman #82 Acetate Cover$3.99DC
10Amazing Spider-Man #34$3.99Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1New Mutants #1$4.99Marvel
2Absolute Carnage #5$4.99Marvel
3X-Force #1$4.99Marvel
4X-Men #2$3.99Marvel
5Deadpool #1$4.99Marvel
6Fallen Angels #1$4.99Marvel
7Undiscovered Country #1*$3.99Image
8Batman: White Knight Presents: Von Freeze #1$5.99DC
9Scream: Curse of Carnage #1$4.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man #33$3.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1DCeased HC$29.99DC
2Firefly: The Sting HC$19.99Boom
3Immortal Hulk Vol. 5: Breaker of Worlds$15.99Marvel
4November Vol. 1 HC$16.99Image
5Superman: Year One HC$29.99DC
6Legend of Korra Part 2: Ruins of Empire$10.99Dark Horse
7Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance$15.99Marvel
8League of Legends: Lux$15.99Marvel
9Savage Avengers Vol. 1: City of Sickles$15.99Marvel
10Stranger Things: Six$17.99Dark Horse

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Savage Sword of Conan: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 2 HC$125.00Marvel
2Crisis On Infinite Earths Box Set HC$500.00DC
3Absolute Swamp Thing By Alan Moore Vol. 1 HC$99.99DC
4Dceased HC$29.99DC
5Doom Patrol: The Bronze Age Omnibus HC$125.00DC
6Superman: Year One HC$29.99DC
7Firefly: The Sting HC$19.99Boom
8Batman By Snyder & Capullo Omnibus Vol. 1 HC$125.00DC
9New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 4 HC$99.00DC
10Marvel Masterworks: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 31 HC$75.00Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered. Remember, the real DC number for comics is closer to 80:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic
Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
DC96310127
Marvel84360120
Image4015055
IDW3614050
Dark Horse2222044
Boom1915034
Viz027027
Dynamite149023
Titan87116
Oni3407
Other15220024376
TOTAL SHIPPED47438025879

We haven't learned yet how Diamond intends to treat the comics shipping early in December with an on-sale date of January 1. In the past, issues straddling the New Year have sometimes been counted with December, sometimes with January. It's a limited number of releases, so its impact might not be very large. The most noticable effect of the decision would probably be on January, which will be up against a five-week month in year-to-year comparisons. 2019 itself doesn't look like it'll need January 1's books to finish ahead for the year.

A two-point increase, if it holds, would be the best year-over-year increase since 2015. A $525-530 million year, which looks likely, would represent around a 25% increase over the $418 million in sales in 2010, a decade earlier; adjusted for inflation, that’s an still an increase of about 8%.

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: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy — and, releasing on July 30, Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Remembering a great comics journalist: Tom Spurgeon

by John Jackson Miller

It was with shock and sadness I read last night about the untimely passing of Tom Spurgeon, whose The Comics Reporter website has been on our resource list here at Comichron since day one.

Tom and I were the same age, and both sort of in the second generation of staffers at the respective publications we worked at in the 1990s — him at The Comics Journal, me at Comics Buyer’s Guide. The publications had long had a tumultuous relationship for a variety of reasons, but that had seemed needless to both of us. Our staffers were all fans of Fantagraphics’ output, and my first article sale ever had been to the Journal years earlier. Tom, for his part, saw us as all serving different audiences: we were the “old school,” while Fanta was the “art crowd.”

Along with Eric Reynolds, Tom worked with us to build a channel between our offices. When a headline-craving creator tried to prank the industry with his own death, our team at CBG and Tom at the Journal worked in parallel to root out what we both suspected to be a hoax. It was a shot at all media outlets, many of which had grown too reliant on press releases and internet postings; e-mail interviews had largely replaced phone calls, opening up a lot of potential for abuse. Tom exchanged notes with us during that process, with the result that we released a joint story exposing the hoax from coming from both CBG and the Journal. Someone online responded that hell had frozen over – but the truth was that Tom felt that news was an important thing, not to be undermined; whatever wound up in print in our respective publications would impact the record forever. We completely agreed.

Tom and I stayed in contact after we left those publications; my e-mail archives are full of our discussions of comics sales over the years, some of which provided answers for his TCR posts. For my part at Comichron, linking to TCR never required a second thought; his reporting was diligent above all, and I was not surprised at all to realize last night that he was the first person I followed on Twitter. Articles appear to be continuing to autopost at his site, which shows how diligently he worked ahead.

He was a singular figure in the history of comics journalism, and a swell person to boot. He’s already missed.

Monday, November 11, 2019

October 2019 comics sales estimates: X-Men #1 launches near 256k copies

by John Jackson Miller

The debut of X-Men #1 moved nearly 256,000 copies to stores in North America in October, helping to propel the Direct Market to its best month in three years. Six comics sold over 100,000 copies.

Click to see the full comics sales estimates for October 2019.

Additionally, the 300th place title sold 6,699 copies, a Diamond Exclusive Era record going back 23 years; sales at several other benchmarks rose to multiyear highs as well. At the market's worst at that level, in May 2001, the 300th place comic book could only manage sales of 654 copies. So that's a tenfold increase: a sign of how comics sales are now divided between a lot more titles.

X-Men #1's performance helped it become the fourth bestselling comic book of the year so far, just behind Black Cat #1; it's highly likely to pass that issue in next month's report. Meanwhile, Spawn #300 picked up even more copies sold.

Click to see the bestselling comic books of 2019 so far.


For a fourth month in a row, DC saw its chart entries bifurcated between cardstock and regular versions; we've included functionality to fuse those entries.

We've also added little summary boxes adjacent to the charts, summarizing findings for readers who go straight to the numbers.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!

Friday, November 8, 2019

Blockbuster: X-Men relaunch powers October 2019 comics orders; $56.35 million month is fourth best in decade

by John Jackson Miller


Memories in the comics hobby are often short, a condition Comichron exists to help address. With a poor year for the comics shop market in 2017 and with much of 2018-19 spent bobbing along, neither gaining nor losing much ground, it's easy to forget that the decade of the 2010s has been a strong one for the industry, with regular and sometimes spectacular sales growth running from the DC "New 52" event in 2011 to DC's "Rebirth" event in 2016. It's not simply a story of inflation: by Thanksgiving, retailers will have ordered more new comic books in 2019 than they did in all of 2011 (and that includes that New 52 event). But apart from a few months dominated by big anniversary issues, the last three years really haven't had one of those blockbuster months like we saw in the earlier part of the decade.

 Find this issue at TFAW
With Walking Dead's 15th anniversary and the launch of the Batman: White Knight trade paperback, October 2018 was the strongest month of that year, so it was reasonable to speculate that October 2019 would have had some trouble matching up. It turned out there was no need for concern; in fact, we got the blockbuster. Where both this October and last October each had five New Comic Book Days, last month almost looks like a six-Wednesday month, as retailers ordered $56.35 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines from Diamond Comic Distributors. That's an increase of 14.09%, or nearly $7 million. Comic shop orders of comics, graphic novels, and magazines from Diamond stand at $446.25 million for the year through October, up nearly $8 million, or 2%. Our full estimates for the month will appear here on Monday.

October 2019 was the fourth best month of the decade in dollar orders, and the best month since August 2016, itself an outstanding month when retailers ordered more than 10 million comic books during the "Rebirth" event. Last month was also the first month to top $50 million in orders in exactly three years, since October 2016. Retailers ordered 8.82 million comics, an increase of 10% and likewise the most comics ordered in a single month in three years. Yet publishers actually released 1% fewer comics this October, five fewer. It was what the comic books were that mattered more.

October saw the launch of Jonathan Hickman's X-Men title, which placed first in dollars and units, and the wrap-up of Powers of X and House of X, whose finales placed third and fourth in units respectively. But it also would have seen reorders for the latter two titles becoming available in significant numbers, with more reprints in circulation —  and Marvel also benefited from Top 10 debuts from Amazing Mary Jane, Ghost Rider, and Marauders.We believe it was Marvel's best month in dollar terms since Civil War II debuted in June 2016; its year over year sales were up 32% during the month. An improved year for Marvel in 2019 is guaranteed; it will have taken in more revenue by the end of November than it did in all of 2018.

While the X-Men launch may be the most obvious factor, the industry hit on other cylinders as well. As noted several times this year in this space, DC had cut its new comics offerings deeply in 2019, to a point where we estimated that improved per-title sales weren't going to be able to help 2019 keep pace with 2018 overall. That situation has reversed. DC shipped 107 new comic books in October, a number — as in recent months — partially inflated by its cardstock covers receiving second entries at Diamond. We believe 17 comics fit that description in October, so the real number is more like 90 — but that's still a dozen more than last year, and DC's largest offering since November 2017.

 Find this book at TFAW
The larger slate mattered: DC's October dollar sales improved by 19% over the same month in 2018; it's still slightly behind year-to-date, but is at least in striking distance of flipping positive by year-end. The publisher got a big assist from Doomsday Clock Part 1 hardcover, which led graphic novels in dollars; with the Joker movie in theaters, Joker: Year of the Villain #1 was its top debut in comics, placing fifth in units.

Image's record-breaking Spawn got a second shot of sales; Spawn #301, which officially passed Cerebus in issue count, placed second, down one slot from September. The publisher also got the top graphic novel by dollars in the Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 4. Image's new release count, however, remains much lower than in 2018; it sent 50 new comics to market versus 78 last October.

Dark Horse got a new graphic novel franchise rolling (no pun intended) with Critical Role Vol. 1: Vox Machina Origins, which placed eighth among graphic novels in units. The book also was the top product reordered last week, so it'll see action stretching into the November charts.

The number of new graphic novels offered to market dropped 5% year-over-year to 417. (EDIT: A previous transcription error on our part had stated a number much higher.) Marvel had 50 releases, its most in that six year period.

The comparative sales statistics:


DollarsUnits
October 2019 Vs. September 2019
Comics+22.22%+16.49%
Graphic Novels+12.88%+15.87%
Total Comics/GNs+19.82%+16.45%
Toys+24.94%+51.89%
October 2019 Vs. October 2018
Comics+21.05%+9.95%
Graphic Novels-3.32%-7.10%
Total Comics/GNs+14.09%+8.68%
Toys+15.44%+1.80%
Year To Date 2019 Vs. Year To Date 2018
Comics+4.19%-1.81%
Graphic Novels-4.16%-9.71%
Total Comics/GNs+1.81%-2.40%
Toys+21.81%+22.21%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel39.51%45.20%
DC31.67%32.02%
Image7.59%7.18%
IDW3.42%3.16%
Dark Horse2.93%2.11%
Boom2.32%2.21%
Dynamite2.21%1.67%
Viz1.33%0.51%
Oni0.56%0.33%
Titan0.48%0.42%
Other7.98%5.19%

The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1X-Men #14.99Marvel
2Spawn #301$4.99Image
3Powers of X #6$5.99Marvel
4House of X #6$4.99Marvel
5The Joker: Year of The Villain #1$4.99DC
6Amazing Mary Jane #1$3.99Marvel
7Absolute Carnage #4$4.99Marvel
8Ghost Rider #1$4.99Marvel
9Immortal Hulk #25$5.99Marvel
10Marauders #1$4.99Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1X-Men #14.99Marvel
2Spawn #301$4.99Image
3Powers of X #6$5.99Marvel
4The Joker: Year of The Villain #1$4.99DC
5House of X #6$4.99Marvel
6Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #1*$5.99DC
7Harleen #2$7.99DC
8Immortal Hulk #25$5.99Marvel
9Absolute Carnage #4$4.99Marvel
10Amazing Mary Jane #1$3.99Marvel

Criminal Sanity has the asterisk because it was returnable; its orders were reduced slightly for the charts to compensate.

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Doomsday Clock Part 1 HC$24.99DC
2The Wicked & The Divine Vol. 9$17.99Image
3Spider-Man: Life Story$24.99Marvel
4Thanos: The Infinity Ending HC$24.99Marvel
5Ascender Volume 1$9.99Image
6DC Super Hero Girls At Metropolis High$9.99DC
7The Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 4$59.99Image
8Critical Role Vol. 1: Vox Machina Origins$19.99Dark Horse
9My Hero Academia Vol. 1$9.99Viz
10Gideon Falls Vol. 3: Stations of The Cross$16.99Image

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Walking Dead Compendium Vol. 459.99Image
2Doomsday Clock Part 1 HC$24.99DC
3John Byrne's Marvel Classics Artifact Edition HC$75.00IDW
4Namor Sub-Mariner By Byrne And Jae Lee Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel
5Spider-Man: Life Story$24.99Marvel
6Thanos: The Infinity Ending HC$24.99Marvel
7Batman By Snyder & Capullo Omnibus Vol. 1 HC$125.00DC
8Immortal Hulk Vol. 1 HC$34.99Marvel
9Boys Omnibus Vol. 1$29.99Dynamite
10Marvel Masterworks: Ghost Rider Volume 1 HC$75.00Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic
Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel110500160
DC107301138
Image5012062
IDW3916055
Dark Horse2621047
Boom1815033
Dynamite159024
Viz022022
Oni39012
Titan64212
Other14722930406
TOTAL52141733971

The Direct Market as expressed through Diamond orders entered November $8 million to the good, meaning that prospects for a positive year are excellent. Last November and December were weak months, marked by large cuts to DC's line; even flat months for the rest of 2019 would result in a year up 1.5%. Two months with increases similar to October's, however, could push the year-over-year increase closer 3 or 4% — numbers that would look quite in line with the growth years earlier in the decade.

FLASHBACKS: Check out our charts from 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years ago!

October 1989 •  •  •  October 1999 •  •  • October 2004
October 2009 •  •  • October 2014


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: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy — and, releasing on July 30, Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!
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