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


Friday, February 5, 2016

Walking Dead #150, Star Wars trades lead traditionally light January comics sales volume

by John Jackson Miller volumes in January tend to be lower than most months of the year, and as such, a single comic book can make a huge difference. Particularly when that comic book was the best-selling one in more than twenty years—as Star Wars #1 was, last January. Comic shop orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in January 2016 were off 5% versus a year before according to Diamond Comic Distributors — but if Star Wars #1 hadn't been in the mix in January 2015, sales would have been up 7%!

In truth, the market may really be slightly down, flat, or evenslightly up this month, because Star Wars #1's sales included a lot of copies that went to Loot Crate, where Diamond was simply passing along the books; they shouldn't really have counted toward the industry's dollar sales, but there's no way to easily excise them. But we know that retailers placed orders worth approximately $41.52 million last month, off about $2.2 million — and sources suggest Loot Crate's order could have accounted for 400,000 copies or more. Figuring at $4.99 per issue, that's at least $2 million right there.

And unit sales for comic books, off 4.09% for the month, are almost certainly up if you remove the Loot Crate Star Wars copies. So accounting for the accounting, so to speak, the message of the month is somewhat more positive than the numbers below suggest:

Comics -25.19% -21.25%
Graphic Novels -11.81% -6.73%
Total Comics/GNs -21.52% -20.31%
Comics -3.86% -4.09%
Graphic Novels -7.77% -9.65%
Total Comics/GNs -5.10% -4.54%
It's also worth noting that Dark Knight III took a break in January, to return with the third issue Feb. 24. Both this January and last January had four shipping weeks, so there's at least a direct comparison there.

Regardless, remember our usual caveat: volumes in the first quarter are lower, and a modestly off January (which this one might not have really been!) can be erased by an October that's even slightly up.

Image took the top comics slot with Walking Dead #150.

Top-sellling comic books
1 The Walking Dead #150 $2.99 Image
2 Secret Wars #9 $4.99 Marvel
3 Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 $3.99 Marvel
4 Star Wars #14 $3.99 Marvel
5 Star Wars #15 $3.99 Marvel
6 Old Man Logan #1 $4.99 Marvel
7 Star Wars: Obi-Wan and Anakin #1 $3.99 Marvel
8 Batman #48 $3.99 DC
9 Darth Vader #15 $3.99 Marvel
10 Uncanny X-Men #1 $3.99 Marvel

A pair of Star Wars graphic novels topped the book charts for the month, a list dominated by Marvel:

 Top-sellling graphic novels
1 Star Wars: Darth Vader Vol. 2: Shadows and Secrets $19.99 Marvel
2 Star Wars Vol. 2: Showdown on the Smugglers' Moon $19.99 Marvel
3 Color Your Own Deadpool $9.99 Marvel
4 Death Of Wolverine $19.99 Marvel
5 Star Wars: Lando $16.99 Marvel
6 Deadpool's Secret Secret Wars $15.99 Marvel
7 Invader Zim Volume 1 $19.99 Oni
8 Thor Volume 1: Goddess of Thunder $19.99 Marvel
9 Star Wars: Darth Vader Volume 1: Vader $19.99 Marvel
10 Civil War $24.99 Marvel

The market shares found the same top five atop both charts:

Marvel 44.38% Marvel 48.17%
DC 22.16% DC 24.02%
Image 9.67% Image 10.99%
IDW 4.11% IDW 3.48%
Dark Horse 3.06% Dark Horse 2.51%
Eaglemoss 2.26% Boom 1.89%
Boom 1.98% Titan 1.02%
Viz 1.18% Valiant 0.98%
Titan 1.15% Dynamite 0.92%
Dynamite 1.15% Oni 0.78%
Other 8.89% Other 5.24%

And, finally, the lower volume of new releases we always see in January. Full estimates out next week.

Marvel 94 37 0 131
DC 77 21 0 98
Image 58 11 0 69
IDW 37 15 0 52
Dark Horse 34 12 0 46
Viz 0 40 0 40
Boom 22 12 0 34
Eaglemoss 0 0 30 30
Titan 14 6 3 23
Dynamite 10 5 0 15
Other 104 110 26 240
TOTAL 450 269 59 778 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, now available. 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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