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John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.


Friday, June 12, 2015

Secret Wars #1 tops May 2015 comics sales; Loot Crate-powered Bravest Warriors takes second

by John Jackson Miller
Marvel's Secret Wars first topped the comics charts more than 30 years ago — and did so again in May 2015, according to preliminary sales reports released this morning by Diamond Comic Distributors.

The event — along with Free Comic Book Day, attention from the second Avengers movie, and a boost from a repackager contributed to nearly $49 million in orders for new comic books, graphic novels, and magazines by North American comics shops in the month.

Periodical comic book unit sales were up 20% year-over-year against last May, while graphic novel sales were flat; the result was that overall sales were up 13.5%. (That makes sense, because periodicals are about two-thirds of Diamond's combined print comics sales, while graphic novels make up the other third.)

The aggregate changes:

MAY 2015 VS. APRIL 2015
Comics -10.58% -9.60%
Graphic Novels -21.11% -19.41%
Total Comics & GNs -13.81% -10.38%
MAY 2015 VS. MAY 2014
Comics 19.94% 19.53%
Graphic Novels -0.29% 9.90%
Total Comics & GNs 13.49% 18.78%
Comics 16.48% 16.90%
Graphic Novels 3.41% -1.13%
Total Comics & GNs 12.31% 15.35%
There weren't any anomalous readings high on the charts due to Loot Crate or other repackagers last month, but that changed in a big way in May.

Boom Studios has been publishing Bravest Warriors comics, based on the cartoon series, for several years; insertion in the May Loot Crate vaulted the Bravest Warriors one-shot Tales from the Holo John up to second place, topping Secret Wars #2.

Loot Crate subscriptions were already climbing toward 400,000 earlier in the year and could be higher now; we ought to get a good idea from the final numbers what the figure is.

Top Comic Books
Title Price Vendor
1 Secret Wars #1 $4.99 Marvel
2 Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1† $4.99 Boom
3 Secret Wars #2 $4.99 Marvel
4 Star Wars #5 $3.99 Marvel
5 Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars #1 $4.99 Marvel
6 A-Force #1 $3.99 Marvel
7 Old Man Logan #1 $4.99 Marvel
8 Darth Vader #5 $3.99 Marvel
9 Convergence #5* $3.99 DC
10 Convergence #6* $3.99 DC
Comics with asterisks — here, Convergence — had their reported orders reduced slightly by Diamond owing to returnability. And the dagger stands for the Loot Crate entry. (Click to read more about the role of repackagers in the "asterisk era of sales charts.")

DC's Convergence issues placed ninth and tenth, whereas the debuts of A-Force and Old Man Logan placed sixth and seventh respectively. Star Wars kept two slots in the Top 10.

The Batman: Earth One Vol. 2 hardcover was the top graphic novel for the month:

Top Graphic Novels
Title Price Vendor
1 Batman: Earth-One Volume 2 HC $24.99 DC
2 Night Nurse $7.99 Marvel
3 Rat Queens Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles Of N'Rygoth $14.99 Image
4 Southern Bastards Volume 2: Gridiron $9.99 Image
5 Civil War $24.99 Marvel
6 Saga Vol. 4 $14.99 Image
7 Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past $19.99 Viz
8 Deadpool Vol. 8: All Good Things $24.99 Marvel
9 The Valiant $9.99 Valiant
10 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image

The market shares saw a big impact from Secret Wars, with Marvel topping 40% in dollar share — but again that Loot Crate inclusion had effects as well, putting Boom in the Top 5. It's the publisher's highest ranking ever.

Market Shares
Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 40.17% 41.11%
DC 25.43% 26.04%
Image 8.89% 10.28%
IDW 5.06% 3.82%
Boom 3.96% 7.16%
Dark Horse 3.83% 3.43%
Dynamite 2.22% 1.82%
Eaglemoss 1.16% 0.27%
Viz 1.01% 0.33%
Valiant 0.85% 0.92%
Other 7.43% 4.81%

The number of new releases was roughly comparable to that for last May, but the breakdown differed: there were more new graphic novels last year, perhaps helping to explain why graphic novel dollar sales made no gains this time out.

New releases by publishers
Comics shipped Graphic Novels Shipped Magazines Shipped Total Shipped
Marvel 71 35 0 106
DC 74 25 0 99
Image 58 10 0 68
IDW 42 21 0 63
Dark Horse 33 17 0 50
Boom 28 6 0 34
Dynamite 26 2 0 28
Eaglemos 0 0 27 27
Viz 0 19 0 19
Archie 11 2 0 13
Other 93 91 17 201
Total 436 228 44 708

The detailed estimates for the month will be along next week. 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 several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. See him at Superman Celebration Saturday, June 13 in Metropolis, Ill.

Visit his fiction site at And be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!
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