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


Friday, August 7, 2015

July 2015 comics orders dip slightly on lighter new-release volume

by John Jackson Miller
Comic shop orders of comic books and graphic novels softened slightly in July, marking the first month since May 2014 in which year-over-year sales slipped. Diamond Comic Distributors' preliminary sales report for July 2015, released today, reported orders estimated by Comichron to be around $52 million, down a little less than 3%.

There are a couple of caveats, however. Last July was the second strongest sales month of last year, and while it had the same number of shipping weeks as last month (five), publishers released 34 more new comic books and 10 more new graphic novels then than they did this July. Graphic novel unit and dollar orders were up nonetheless this July.

With the full Marvel relaunch yet to come, it's clear we'll be looking more at the later months of the year as being pivotal to the year's overall outcome. Through July, orders stand at $334 million, still up double digits (if barely) at 10.25%.

The aggregate changes:

Dollars Units
JULY 2015 vs. JUNE 2015
Comics 8.35% 3.46%
Graphic Novels 3.88% 5.14%
Total Comics/GN 6.91% 3.61%
JULY 2015 vs. JULY 2014
Comics -4.67% -8.22%
Graphic Novels 1.29% 10.81%
Total Comics/GN -2.88% -6.74%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2015 vs. 2014
Comics 12.64% 12.08%
Graphic Novels 5.08% 5.18%
Total Comics/GN 10.25% 11.50%

Marvel led the market shares for the month:

Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 38.43% 41.59%
DC 23.94% 24.30%
Image 9.48% 10.72%
IDW 6.60% 5.28%
Dark Horse 3.77% 3.36%
Archie 2.28% 2.62%
Boom 1.85% 1.99%
Dynamite 1.83% 1.65%
Titan 1.26% 1.15%
Oni 1.24% 1.19%
Other 9.32% 6.13% Secret Wars #4 topping the market, Marvel took eight of the top ten comics slots in July.

The relaunched Archie placed in the Top 10, bumping the publisher up to sixth place in dollar and unit market shares. The renumbering means Walt Disney's Comics & Stories is the highest sequentially numbered series in current release (though that series' early issues were in volume-and-issue format). For a title with no significant interruptions in releases, we probably have to go all the way to Sonic the Hedgehog, another Archie title now numbered in the 270s -- depending on whether or not we count Mad, which began as a comic book. I haven't run the math, but I wouldn't be surprised to find we're at the lowest average issue number for all comics in the business since the 1930s.

The top selling comics and graphic novels:

Comic Book Price Publisher
1 Secret Wars #4 $3.99 Marvel
2 Star Wars Lando #1 $3.99 Marvel
3 Civil War #1 $4.99 Marvel
4 Star Wars #7 $3.99 Marvel
5 Batman #42 $3.99 DC
6 Darth Vader #7 $3.99 Marvel
7 Archie #1 $3.99 Archie
8 Amazing Spider-Man Renew Your Vows #2 $3.99 Marvel
9 Age of Apocalypse #1 $4.99 Marvel
10 Guardians of Knowhere #1 $3.99 Marvel

Trade paperback Price Publisher
1 Fables Vol. 22 $17.99 DC
2 Wicked & Divine Vol. 2 Fandemonium $14.99 Image
3 Hawkeye Vol. 4 Rio Bravo $17.99 Marvel
4 Red Sonja 1973 $7.99 Dynamite
5 Batman Harley Quinn $19.99 DC
6 Autumnlands Vol. 1 Tooth & Claw $9.99 Image
7 Divinity $9.99 Valiant
8 New Suicide Squad Vol. 1 Pure Insanity $16.99 DC
9 Civil War $24.99 Marvel
10 Batman Eternal Vol. 2 $39.99 DC

Again, the number of new releases was down, versus 496 new comics versus 530 last July and 302 graphic novels versus 312:
Publisher Comics shipped Graphic novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 75 36 0 111
DC 75 34 0 109
Image 74 19 0 93
IDW 45 29 0 74
Dark Horse 34 16 0 50
Boom 32 3 0 35
Dynamite 21 4 0 25
Titan 14 6 4 24
Archie 15 2 0 17
Oni 8 3 0 11
Other 103 150 49 302
Total 496 302 53 851

I'm in Hunt Valley, Maryland where I'm appearing at Shore Leave Convention -- just a few minutes from Diamond's headquarters, in fact! -- so there may be some delay in posting the final estimates next week. But if you're also in the area, be sure to drop by the convention. We've got a panel on the comics industry set for noon Sunday in Salon B. curator 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 several novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Trek: The Next Generation - Takedown, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback.

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