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


Thursday, December 10, 2015

Miller's Dark Knight returns to top of comic sales charts in November 2015

by John Jackson Miller Miller's Dark Knight returned again in November, giving DC the top slot on a new comic book chart otherwise dominated by Marvel, according to a report released today by Diamond Comic Distributors, Comichron projects the month's orders of new comics, graphic novels, and magazines amounted to $52 million, up nearly 6% over last November, which also had four shipping weeks.

In past years where sales have been up year-over-year, we've spoken of a "gravy day" — the date when the previous year's dollar sales are surpassed, making everything afterward gravy, so to speak. In one recent strong year, that date had gone back into November; this year, the day is right around today. Only $14 million in orders are needed in December for 2015 to top 2014.  Comichron projects that 2015's Direct Market sales will finish at around $570 million, up by about 6%, or $30 million.

The aggregate change statistics:

  Dollars Units
November 2015 vs. October 2015    
Comics 8.62% 4.93%
Graphic novels -11.93% -10.96%
Total Comics/Graphic novels 2.70% 3.80%
November 2015 vs. November 2014    
Comics 30.05% 18.19%
Graphic novels -17.50% -21.76%
Total Comics/Graphic novels 13.84% 14.63%
Year-to-date 2015 vs. Year-to-date 2014    
Comics 7.54% 5.45%
Graphic novels 2.24% 3.06%
Total Comics/Graphic novels 5.89% 5.26%

While periodical comics units were up more than 18%, dollars were up more than 30% over the same month a year ago. The fact that market-topper Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 was priced at nearly $6 had a lot to do with that. With eight issues scheduled, the title is expected to be a presence in the charts well into 2016. The top comic books:

  Comic Book Price Publisher
1 Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1 $5.99 DC
2 Star Wars: Vader Down #1 $4.99 Marvel
3 Deadpool #1 $4.99 Marvel
4 Secret Wars #7 $3.99 Marvel
5 Extraordinary X-Men #1 $4.99 Marvel
6 All-New All-Different Avengers #1 $4.99 Marvel
7 Star Wars #11 $3.99 Marvel
8 Uncanny X-Men #600 $5.99 Marvel
9 Star Wars #12 $3.99 Marvel
10 All New Wolverine #1 $4.99 Marvel

The first issue of Miller's previous entrant in the series, Dark Knight Strikes Again, had placed #1 in December 2001.

Dollar sales of graphic novels were down by 17.5%, but that translates to a smaller dollar amount than the increase comic books saw, and there were 20 fewer graphic novels released in November 2015 versus November 2014. Sandman Overture led the chart:

  Graphic Novel Price Publisher
1 Sandman Overture Deluxe Edition HC $24.99 DC
2 Star Wars: Journey to the Force Awakens: Shattered Empire $16.99 Marvel
3 Star Wars: Princess Leia $16.99 Marvel
4 Ms. Marvel Volume 4: Last Days $17.99 Marvel
5 Spider-Gwen Vol. 0: Most Wanted $16.99 Marvel
6 Deadpool Vs. Thanos $16.99 Marvel
7 Low Volume 2: Before The Dawn Burns Us $14.99 Image
8 Vampirella #1969 $7.99 Dynamite
9 Star Wars: Kanan Volume 1: The Last Padawan $19.99 Marvel
10 Saga Volume 5 $14.99 Image
  Having the top performers in both categories helped DC close the gap with Marvel somewhat. The market shares:

  Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 43.20% 47.65%
DC 26.35% 26.09%
Image 8.67% 10.02%
IDW 4.42% 3.50%
Dark Horse 3.17% 2.69%
Boom 1.96% 1.67%
Dynamite 1.90% 1.60%
Oni 1.06% 0.61%
Titan 0.73% 0.64%
Valiant 0.73% 0.87%
Other 7.82% 4.66%
New title volume was relatively light, with 42 fewer items released. The number of new releases by type and publisher:
  Comics shipped Graphic novels shipped Magazines shipped Total shipped
Marvel 72 39 0 111
DC 77 27 0 104
Image 61 14 0 75
IDW 42 22 0 64
Dark Horse 36 15 0 51
Boom 27 11 0 38
Dynamite 19 5 0 24
Titan 11 6 5 22
Valiant 9 5 0 14
Oni 6 6 0 12
Other 110 131 34 275
Total 470 281 39 790

The per-title estimates will be along next week. 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. New Dawn appears with a new Miller short story as part of the Rise of the Empire compendium. His Star Trek: Prey trilogy is set for late 2016 release from Pocket books.

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