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


Friday, October 14, 2016

Batman, Walking Dead lead strong September 2016 for comics sales; plus our new weekly sales breakdown

by John Jackson Miller

While this September had one fewer shipping weeks than last September, comics sales nonetheless bested their performance from a year ago, according to a preliminary report issued this morning from Diamond Comic Distributors.

Comichron estimates that comics ships in North America ordered $46.33 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in the month of September, up more than 2% over the same month last year. That figure includes 8.15 million comic books, an increase of nearly 16% over last September's figure of 7.04 million copies. As reported here last month, we're now able to track overall comic book sales both into the future and all the way back to the start of 2011. were off from the blockbuster August — although not by much at all once you consider August's fifth shipping week. Retailers ordered 2.05 million comics per shipping week in August versus 2.04 million comics per week in September. Compare that with last September, when retailers ordered 1.41 million comics per shipping week, and you have a month — led by DC's Batman #6 — that looks pretty good on the comics side.

And while graphic novels — led by Image's Walking Dead Vol. 26 — When we're looking at dollars, September was actually stronger per week than August was: retailers ordered $11.58 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines per shipping week in September, versus $11.53 million per week in August. All this is encapsulated in our new, Comichron-exclusive weekly sales breakdown, which breaks down each month by the number of "New Comics Days":

September 2015August 2016September 2016
Comics ordered in month7,046,70010,260,0008,145,400
Total value of comics, GNs, and
magazines ordered in month
$45,330,000 $57,660,000 $46,334,000
New Comics Days in month554
Comics ordered PER SHIP WEEK
in month
Total value of comics, GNs, magazines
ordered PER SHIP WEEK in month
$9,066,000.00 $11,532,000.00 $11,583,500.00

The weekly breakdown above is an imperfect measure for a number of reasons — the number of new monthly comics released does not increase by 25% when you add a fifth shipping week to a month, so a four-week month should look a little stronger than a five-week one when controlling for the number of New Comics Days. But adding the measure should serve as a reminder of the calendar’s role.

The aggregate changes over time:

September 2016 vs. August 2016
Graphic Novels-8.25%-8.37%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs-19.65%-19.79%
September 2016 vs. September 2015
Graphic Novels-10.94%-14.46%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs2.20%12.57%
3rd Quarter 2016 vs. 2nd Quarter 2016
Graphic Novels-10.41%-12.89%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs2.60%12.16%
3rd Quarter 2016 vs. 3rd Quarter 2015
Graphic Novels-8.66%-13.19%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs9.40%19.79%
Year-to-Date 2016 Vs. Year-to-Date 2015
Graphic Novels1.15%-0.82%
TOTAL COMICS/GNs2.65%1.39%

The market shares found DC again at the top of both categories:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Dark Horse3.23%2.43%

Batman #6 was, as noted, the top-ordered comic book of the month. The issue is not marked with an asterisk, and thus did not have its orders reduced for returnability. Same for issue #7, which placed third.

Comic BookPricePublisher
1Batman #6$2.99DC
2All-Star Batman #2*$4.99DC
3Batman #7$2.99DC
4Civil War II #5$4.99Marvel
5Justice League #4*$2.99DC
6The Walking Dead #158$2.99Image
7Trinity #1*$2.99DC
8Supergirl #1*$2.99DC
9Suicide Squad #2*$2.99DC
10Justice League #5*$2.99DC

As noted, a new Walking Dead volume led the Top 10 Graphic novels for the month:

Graphic NovelPricePublisher
1The Walking Dead Vol. 26: Call To Arms Tp (Mr)$14.99Image
2Wonder Woman: The True Amazon HC$22.99DC
3Batman Vol. 8: Superheavy$16.99DC
4Batman Vol. 9: Bloom HC$24.99DC
5The Fix Vol. 1$9.99Image
6Avatar: The Last Airbender Vol. 13: North And South Part 1$10.99Dark Horse
7Secret Wars$34.99Marvel
8Batman: The Killing Joke Special Edition HC$17.99DC
9Justice League Vol. 7: The Darkseid War Part 1$16.99DC
10Harley Quinn Vol. 4: A Call To Arms$16.99DC

And here's how many new books and comics came out from publishers in the month:

Dark Horse2618044

We'll be back on Monday with not just the final estimates — but our first twenty-year sales tracks on the Top 300 comics, both in terms of comics and dollars.

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, Overdraft: The Orion Offensive, and Star Wars: A New Dawn, now available in paperback. His trilogy for 2016, Star Trek: Prey, ships in consecutive months in September, October, and November.

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