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


Thursday, April 5, 2018

How Action #1000's reported 500k copies, DC Nation #0's million might rank among century's top comics

by John Jackson Miller

 Find Action Comics #1000 at TFAWComicsBeat's Heidi MacDonald reports from the Diamond Comic Distributors Retail Summit at C2E2 this afternoon that DC has announced that more than 500,000 copies of Action Comics #1000 have been ordered.  The issue, with ten variant covers, celebrates the second title in North American comics to make the 1,000th copy mark, surpassed only by Dell's Four Color Comics, which was a catchall title with rotating features (See other long-running series.)

It's unclear whether that's a final figure — the Final Order Cutoff on that April 18-shipping anniversary issue was March 19, according to Diamond's retailer site — but regardless, it would rank among the top comics in unit sales this century.

Exactly where it would rank will depend partially on what portion of the orders are bound for North America. As our Top Comics of the 21st Century chart shows, ten comics since 2000 have seen more than 400,000 copies shipped — though we cannot account for multiple reprints of Ultimate Spider-Man at the beginning of the century, which happens to also be by Brian Michael Bendis, whose DC run the Action issue begins.

It will be noted that four of the top sellers had significant additional sales via Loot Crate; 2015's Star Wars #1 would likely still rank as #1 without those copies, but the other three wouldn't be in the Top 10 at all. If DC's 500,000 copies were to, say, include 50,000 for markets outside North America, it would land right at sixth place — but that would really be closer to fifth place, excising the Loot Crate books.

 Find DC Nation 0 at TFAW
The books in the chart continued to have sales, of course, via reorders, so it's likely wherever it would lad after April would not be the final destination. But those are the targets in the record books at the moment.

Perhaps more important for retailers is that the issue is priced at $7.99, which is obviously higher than anything on the list above. Something like $4 million at full retail would put it above everything but Star Wars #1 in dollar terms — and given how many of its copies went through Loot Crate for a nominal price, if anything, the Action issue might already well be past it in actual dollars realized. Comichron has an April 2018 page online already, showing other activity relating to issues shipping in the month.

MacDonald reports that DC also announced that DC had taken orders for more than 1 million copies of
DC Nation #0, a 25-cent publication available May 2.  Diamond does not report comics below $1 in its charts, and we do not consider them in our overall rankings — but those copies will absolutely be reflected in the unit sales market shares and percentage change numbers overall in May. For perspective, the 25¢ Walking Dead from last year reportedly had orders topping three-quarters of a million copies; this would clearly top that. (We have a May 2018 page online as well.)

One thing most of 2017 suffered from was a lack of prominent comics which created positive headlines; 2018 seems to be getting a few already. (Update: One of those books will be Amazing Spider-Man #800 in May; Marvel announced after DC's presentation that the issue had orders topping 300,000 copies, with time yet to go. Never before have two comics priced above $6 — much less priced near $8 — led the market, but it's quite possible. See other top sellers since 1996 here.) It'll be interesting to see how much impact they might have on the rest of the market.

Comichron founder 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 novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Overdraft: The Orion OffensiveStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

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Unknown said...

Hey man I read kenobi. That was amazing. You did good. Didn't know you liked comics. That makes you even cooler.

John Jackson Miller said...

Thanks very much! I got my start in comics -- reporting on them and the writing them. You can read my notes on Kenobi at -- there are links to the comics I've written there, too.

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