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Monday, January 14, 2019

Diamond's combined comics and graphic novel sales up slightly in 2018; Action #1000, Infinity Gauntlet top titles

by John Jackson Miller

Diamond Comic Distributors has released its annual top-sellers list for 2018, and the entries are basically as we had projected them here through November at Comichron — and our projected dollar market shares were spot-on. We also got from the data a little information about what sold in December.

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To no one's surprise, April's Action Comics #1000 was the top-selling comic book to comics specialty shops in 2018, and Infinity Gauntlet, a 1991 release, was the top-selling graphic novel. The one December entry in the comics top ten is clearly going to be the #1 comic for December: Batman Who Laughs #1.

 Find this book at TFAWMeanwhile, there's a split decision on annual sales: Diamond reports that annual dollar sales of comic books were up 2.04%, that graphic novel dollar sales were down 8.22%, and that combined comics and graphic novel sales were down slightly for the year, 1.08%. (Update: These figures are based on corrections Diamond made to the original release on Friday, Jan. 18, and replace earlier reported figures believed to have been reflective of a broader dataset than that which appears with the monthly charts. The discussion which had originally appeared in this post about the possible distinctions between the two sets is thus superfluous.)

First up are the market shares. Marvel's and Image's dollar shares were up slightly from 2017, DC's was stable. IDW's and Dark Horse's dollar shares declined:  (Update: These are also corrected comparisons; a previous version of this post had accidentally compared 2018 dollars with 2017 units.)

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Dark Horse2.92%2.10%

Here are the top-selling comics by units sold:

1Action Comics #1000$7.99DC
2Amazing Spider-Man #800$9.99Marvel
3Batman #50$4.99DC
4Fantastic Four #1$5.99Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #1$5.99Marvel
6Return of Wolverine #1$4.99Marvel
7Venom #1$4.99Marvel
8Amazing Spider-Man #798$3.99Marvel
9Batman Who Laughs #1$4.99DC
10Amazing Spider-Man #799$3.99Marvel

Here is that chart resorted to report the top-selling comics by dollars sold. The missing entries didn't make the unit Top 10, but we have good guesses at them here.

1Action Comics #1000$7.99DC
2Amazing Spider-Man #800$9.99Marvel
3Batman #50$4.99DC
4Fantastic Four #1$5.99Marvel
5Amazing Spider-Man #1$5.99Marvel
6Return of Wolverine #1$4.99Marvel
8Batman Who Laughs #1$4.99DC
9Venom #1$4.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man #798$3.99Marvel
13Amazing Spider-Man #799$3.99Marvel

And now the top-selling graphic novels by units sold.

Saga Volumes 1 and 8 leapfrogged Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman with December sales. Only four of the top ten were published in 2018:

1Infinity Gauntlet$24.99Marvel
2Saga Vol. 9$14.99Image
3Saga Vol. 1$9.99Image
4Saga Vol. 8$14.99Image
5Action Comics 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99DC
6Walking Dead Vol 29 Lines We Cross$16.99Image
7Paper Girls Vol. 1$9.99Image
8Batman White Knight$19.99DC
9Dark Nights Metal Deluxe Ed HC$29.99DC
10Monstress Vol. 1$9.99Image

And here is that chart resorted to report the top-selling graphic novels by dollars sold. Again, the missing entries didn't make the unit Top 10, but we have good guesses at them here.

1Infinity Gauntlet$24.99Marvel
2Action Comics 80 Years of Superman HC$29.99DC
3Dark Nights Metal Deluxe Ed HC$29.99DC
4Saga Vol. 9$14.99Image
6Saga Vol. 8$14.99Image
7Batman White Knight$19.99DC
8Walking Dead Vol 29 Lines We Cross$16.99Image
19Saga Vol. 1$9.99Image
33Monstress Vol. 1$9.99Image
38Paper Girls Vol. 1$9.99Image

We'll have more material to analyze when the December data is released, but the basic read of the eleven monthly reports and the annual report is that 2018 was a mixed bag of a year where a virtuous cycle got going in the summer but started to run out of steam with fewer high-profile releases in the fourth quarter (and fewer new periodical releases in general, not counting variants). Six of the monthly performances were up year-over-year and six down.

Likely next up, this week: the Top 1000s for the year. Stay tuned!

Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 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 the just-announced Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War, releasing July 30 from Gallery Books, as well as Star Wars: Kenobi and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy. Read more about them at his fiction site.

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