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


Friday, July 6, 2018

June sales off on fewer releases, but first up quarter since summer 2016; Justice League, Magic Order lead comics

by John Jackson Miller

 Find this issue at TFAW
June's comic shop orders weren't likely to turn the entire year positive, but they were enough to ensure that the second quarter was the first growth quarter, year-over-year, since the summer of 2016, during the heat of DC's Rebirth launch. According to Comichron's analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors, retailers ordered $42.11 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines, bringing the quarterly total to $137 million, up a little over 1% over the same quarter in the previous year, and the highest dollar value seen since the fourth quarter of 2016.

The sales estimates for each title will appear on this page on Monday; keep checking (or subscribe on Twitter to be alerted to when it goes online.)

The quarter brought the year to $251.45 million, down less than 4% against the first half of 2017. Second-quarter sales were up 20% over those from the first quarter, underlining how much less material is in the system in wintertime; still, the quarter was a significant improvement, even accounting for that.

Our video walkthrough of the month's sales can be found now on our YouTube channel:

 See eBay listings for this issue
Even though June 2017 was a disappointment compared to June 2016 (again in the heat of the Rebirth event), it was still the second-best month of the year, and had a couple of legitimate hits in Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 and Dark Days: The Forge #1. April and May of this year were headlined by two major anniversary issues, Action Comics #1000 and Amazing Spider-Man #800, each of which brought in about $4 million each; June 2018 lacked anything like that, and was down by — you guessed it — almost exactly $4 million. Justice League #1 was the top seller of the month. Sales comparisons were further affected by a smaller number of new comics releases: this June saw 30 fewer comics released, and IDW in particular had its smallest slate in several years, only 19 new comics.

The number two comic, Mark Millar's Netflix title, Magic Order #1, saw its own orders boosted by Image offering the title at 60% off to all retailers, no matter what their going Image discount rates were; that let the smallest shops buy at the discount level of the largest chains. Furthermore, the issue was returnable, so the numbers we see on Monday will be reduced by 10% by Diamond to account for that. (It was announced there would be no second printings of the first issue, as well; click to see current auctions for the issue on eBay.) [UPDATE: I was asked about reports of a mass external purchase of the title; if true, we'll get an idea of how large it was when the full charts release. If appears to account for more than half the circulation, it'll earn the "Loot Crate dagger" (†) in our charts, which is used to denote items whose sales were mostly to actors outside the Direct Market.]

 Find this book at TFAW
The discount effect is clearly visible now, however: Magic Order was the #2 book in units, but didn't make the Top 10 at all in dollars, as seen below. The book also appears to have contributed in part to gap between dollar sales and unit sales this month.

The reverse was the case for graphic novels, which had a good month relative to past performance, off only 2% on a raft of hardcovers, including the top-selling Dark Nights: Metal Deluxe Edition.

Units were off quite a lot more than dollars this month, which means that the graphic novels that were bought, retailers paid more for. Six percent more graphic novels were offered to market this month versus last June.

Compared to their performances last June, Marvel and DC were both off an amount exactly tracking the market overall; neither did any better or worse.

The comparative sales statistics:

June 2018 Vs. May 2018
Graphic Novels-7.44%-8.41%
Total Comics/GNs-14.13%-6.39%
June 2018 Vs. June 2017
Graphic Novels-2.15%-14.24%
Total Comics/GNs-8.62%-9.35%
Year-To-Date 2018 Vs. Year-To-Date 2017
Graphic Novels-8.12%-11.22%
Total Comics/GNs-3.72%-9.77%
Second Quarter 2018 Vs. First Quarter 2018
Graphic Novels+19.01%+19.68%
Total Comics/GNs+19.70%+13.34%
Second Quarter 2018 Vs. Second Quarter 2017
Graphic Novels-3.41%-10.32%
Total Comics/GNs+1.10%-5.28%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Dark Horse3.23%2.10%

The top-selling comics by units:

1Justice League #13.99DC
2Magic Order #1*$3.99Image
3Tony Stark: Iron Man #1$4.99Marvel
4Amazing Spider-Man #801$3.99Marvel
5Batman #49$2.99DC
6Batman #48$2.99DC
7Deadpool #1$4.99Marvel
8Thor #1$5.99Marvel
9X-Men Gold #30$4.99Marvel
10Justice League #2$3.99DC

The top-selling comics by dollars:

1Justice League #1$3.99DC
2Tony Stark: Iron Man #1$4.99Marvel
3Deadpool #1$4.99Marvel
4Thor #1$5.99Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #801$3.99Marvel
6X-Men Gold #30$4.99Marvel
7Immortal Hulk #1$4.99Marvel
8Batman #49$2.99DC
9Justice League #2$3.99DC
10Venom #2$3.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

1Dark Nights: Metal Deluxe Edition HC$29.99DC
2Dark Nights: Metal: Dark Nights Rising HC$29.99DC
3Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance$24.99DC
4Thanos Wins$19.99Marvel
5The Infinity Gauntlet$24.99Marvel
6Southern Bastards Vol. 4: Gut Check$16.99Image
7Neil Gaiman: A Study In Emerald HC$17.99Dark Horse
8The Flash Vol. 6: A Cold Day In Hell$16.99DC
9Batman: Detective Comics Vol. 6 Fall Of The Batmen$19.99DC
10Super Sons Of Tomorrow$14.99DC

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

1Dark Nights: Metal Deluxe Edition HC$29.99DC
2Dark Nights: Metal: Dark Nights Rising HC$29.99DC
3Infinite Crisis Omnibus HC$150.00DC
4Dark Nights: Metal: The Resistance$24.99DC
5The Infinity Gauntlet$24.99Marvel
6Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel
7Thanos Wins Cates$19.99Marvel
8Wonder Woman By George Perez Omnibus Vol. 3 HC$99.99DC
9Runaways By Brian K Vaughan & Adrian Alphona Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel
10Absolute Sandman Overture HC$125.00DC

Finally, the number of new items offered:

Dark Horse2015035
TOTAL SHIPPED43734021798

Nearly 6% fewer comics have been shipped to market overall in the first six months of this year.

We are able to compute midyear dollar market shares at this point: Marvel 37.5%, DC 30.7%, Image 10.2%; IDW 3.7%, Dark Horse 2.6%, Boom 2.1% and Dynamite 1.8%.

As of midyear, the Direct Market's trajectory remains more favorable than it's been in a while: two more quarters of exactly the same size would result in the market being up for 2018, erasing the winter's shortfall. That's in part an indicator of how weak the rest of 2017 was — and within the third quarter, July 2017 was the weakest month. With a new Amazing Spider-Man series and Batman #50 in the mix in July, chances are very good for a resumption of growth months; an identical showing from June would mean a July that's up 3%.

The estimates for individual titles will appear here on Monday. Be sure to check them out.

A personal aside: This is the release weekend for Ant-Man and the Wasp, and if you stay for the credits (and who doesn't, now?) you will see your Comichron archivist — as well as artist Jorge Lucas — named in the acknowledgments. The character played by Walton Goggins originated, in somewhat different fashion, during our Iron Man run years ago. Fun stuff!

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 New York Times bestselling author of novels including Star Wars: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel.
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