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More than 192,500 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.


Monday, October 21, 2019

September 2019 comics sales estimates: Spawn #300 tops 262k copies, House of X #1 reorders take it above 200k

by John Jackson Miller

The record-setting Spawn #300 led September's sales charts, as we noted on Friday, and we can now report our estimate that it sold nearly 262,300 copies into the North American comic shop market. Priced at $7.99, that puts the dollar value of the comics' orders well over $2 million — which, coincidentally, is close to what the dollar take for Spawn #1 was in May 1992. (Of course, that issue cost $1.95, and the values haven't been adjusted for inflation.) Still, it was a significant sale, enough to make it the bestselling issue of the comic in the Diamond Exclusive Era.

Click to see the full comics sales estimates for September 2019.

Spawn's performance was enough to make it the #2 comic book so far in 2019, supplanting Black Cat #1. But the interesting movement in the year-to-date charts was below the Top Five for the year. House of X #1 launched in July with more than 185,000 copies shipped; its second printing in August had an order deadline set before any copies of the first issue shipped, and it consequently didn't add much. Not so in September, as its reprints added more than 15,000 copies, bringing the title over the 200,000-copy mark.

Click to see the bestselling comics to date for 2019.

Once again, many DC titles saw their orders bifurcated between cardstock and regular versions in the charts; we included a feature in the monthly chart allowing the issues to be sorted as single entries if desired.

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Friday, October 18, 2019

Spawn #300, Spider-Man #1, X-Men reboot boost September periodical sales in $47 million month

by John Jackson Miller

In September, Spawn matched the issue count of Cerebus — and while creator Todd McFarlane did not write and draw every issue of his title, as Dave Sim did with the latter, Spawn #300 (or, more specifically, the next issue) earned the title a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records under "longest-running creator-owned super-hero comic book." It also gave publisher Image its best monthly showing of 2019 and helped produce a Direct Market month that was up 4% year-over-year, according to data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors.

We'll have the issue-by-issue sales estimates online on Monday; look for them on our September 2019 page.

Comichron calculates that comics shops in North America ordered a little over $47 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines from Diamond; it was an even comparison, calendar-wise, as the month had the same number of shipping weeks. September's performance brought third quarter orders to $139.7 million, up 2% over the same quarter last year. It's also up 9% over the third quarter of 2017, which was the slumpiest part of the last slowdown; that quarter was up against DC's Rebirth event in 2016, the second-best quarter of the decade.

As noted here all summer, the market has moved in a very narrow range relative to 2018. The year-to-date through August had been marginally in negative territory; September brought it marginally into positive territory. Nearly $390 million worth of comics, graphic novels, and magazine have been ordered in the first nine months of 2019; that's an increase of exactly one quarter of one percent, or a little less than a million dollars.

 Find this issue at TFAW
Spawn #300 led both the unit and dollar sales charts, priced as it was at $7.99. It was the first time Spawn had led the Diamond charts since Spawn #100 in July 2000. (Edit: A previous version of this post had missed that one, placing the most recent issue earlier, in 1997.)  By our count, Spawn has led Diamond's charts 21 times since Spawn #1 debuted in first place; click to see the chart from June 1992, which has just been added to Comichron.

A significant number of those bestselling months come from the 1995-96 period when no Marvel comics were available from Diamond. (Continuing along the McFarlane nostalgia thread, Spawn #300's third printing in November, seen at right, plays off his work on Amazing Spider-Man #300 in the 1980s.)

Meanwhile, the J.J. Abrams Spider-Man #1 — a relaunch, more coincidentally, sharing the name of the title that McFarlane ruled the charts with two years before Spawn — took second in both units and dollars, with the biweekly alternating House of X/Powers of X combo from Marvel taking the next four spots on the unit sales list. It's not insignificant that the fifth issues outsold the fourth issues: that means that demand was continuing to grow well after the fourth issues' order cutoffs passed.

DC got its top-ranked item in Doomsday Clock #11, and the Black Label launch Harleen #1 placed tenth in units and fourth in dollars.

 Find this issue at TFAWComics as a category saw improvements both over August and year-over-year. Retailers ordered 7.57 million copies, up 5%; the dollar value of those books was up 11%. Those gains come despite a smaller new release slate: publishers released 443 new comic books in September, a drop of 7%. Image's number of new comics releases was down significantly, from 66 to 42; its 13% year-to-year sales improvement in September looks more impressive in light of that. Marvel released the exact number of comics it did in the previous September; its dollar sales were up 1%. Marvel is up 7% year-to-date.

DC's new-comics offerings grew considerably versus the previous September, although the charts below overstate the size of the increase. As in August, at least 11 of DC's comic book releases were counted twice because they were cardstock covers priced at a dollar higher: Action Comics #1015, Aquaman #52, Batgirl #39, Batman #79, Batman/Superman #2, Catwoman #15, Event Leviathan #4, Justice League #32, Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy #1, Supergirl #34, and Young Justice #8. DC's dollar orders held steady year-over-year in September; it's down 6% year-to-date.

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Year-to-date, comic-book orders stand at 61.6 million comic books, down about 2 million copies, or 3%, from the first nine months of 2018; dollar sales are up 2%.

Graphic novels continued to underperform relative to periodicals, down 20% in units and 12% in dollars against what was a strong month for them in 2018. That month had new Saga and Walking Dead edition which sold in the five figures; this month's top-seller, Batman Damned, was a $29.99 hardcover, and those help more on dollars than they do for units. Publishers sent 369 new graphic novels to market, an increase of 2%.

It's immediately noticable that Guts, Raina Telgemeier's September-debuting graphic novel, does not appear in the Top 10 at all, despite selling more than 76,000 copies in its debut week through Bookscan-reporting stores. The books in the line definitely do significant business in comics shops, but retailers tend to order Scholastic's titles outside Diamond.

The comparative sales statistics:

September 2019 Vs. August 2019
Graphic Novels+2.90%-1.98%
Total Comics/GNs+4.60%+9.12%
September 2019 Vs. September 2018
Graphic Novels-11.54%-20.44%
Total Comics/GNs+4.09%+3.13%
Year To Date 2019 Vs. Year To Date 2018
Graphic Novels-4.26%-10.04%
Total Comics/GNs+0.25%-3.79%
Third Quarter 2019 Vs. Second Quarter 2019
Graphic Novels+1.68%+3.50%
Total Comics/GNs+10.01%+7.88%
Third Quarter 2019 Vs. Third Quarter 2018
Graphic Novels-7.95%-15.17%
Total Comics/GNs+1.59%-1.16%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Dark Horse3.26%2.27%

The top-selling comics by units:

1Spawn #300$7.99Image
2Spider-Man #1$4.99Marvel
3House of X #5$4.99Marvel
4Powers of X #5$4.99Marvel
5Powers of X #4$4.99Marvel
6House of X #4$4.99Marvel
7Doomsday Clock #11$4.99DC
8Absolute Carnage #3$4.99Marvel
9Dceased: A Good Day To Die #1$4.99DC
10Harleen #1$7.99DC

The top-selling comics by dollars:

1Spawn #300$7.99Image
2Spider-Man #1$4.99Marvel
3House of X #5$4.99Marvel
4Harleen #1$7.99DC
5Powers of X #5$4.99Marvel
6Powers of X #4$4.99Marvel
7House of X #4$4.99Marvel
8Doomsday Clock #11$4.99DC
9Absolute Carnage #3$4.99Marvel
10Dceased: A Good Day To Die #1$4.99DC

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

1Batman: Damned HC$29.99DC
2Umbrella Academy Vol. 3: Hotel Oblivion$19.99Dark Horse
3Paper Girls Vol. 6$14.99Image
4Monstress Vol. 4$16.99Image
5Immortal Hulk Vol. 4: Abomination$15.99Marvel
6Heroes In Crisis HC$29.99DC
7Batman: The Killing Joke HC$17.99DC
8Batman Vol. 10: Knightmares$17.99DC
9Batman: Nightwalker: The Graphic Novel$16.99DC
10The Joker: His Greatest Jokes$19.99DC

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

1Batman: Damned HC$29.99DC
2Umbrella Academy Vol. 3: Hotel Oblivion$19.99Dark Horse
3Monstress Vol. 4 of $16.99Image
4Marvel Horror Omnibus HC$150.00Marvel
5Heroes In Crisis HC$29.99DC
6Paper Girls Vol. 6$14.99Image
7Timely's Greatest: Golden Age Sub-Mariner By Everett HC$150.00Marvel
8Umbrella Academy Library Edition Vol. 1 HC$39.99Dark Horse
9Batman Eternal Omnibus HC$125.00DC
10Spider-Man By John Byrne Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered:

Dark Horse1921040
TOTAL SHIPPED44336919831

With the Direct Market as represented by Diamond print orders essentially flat through nine months, one would be correct to imagine that the chances for a year ending very much different from that are small. Last October was the best month of 2018, but the final months of the year were weak, as DC's new-title cutbacks were really taking hold. An exactly flat fourth quarter obviously puts the year minutely ahead of 2018; perhaps a more meaningful yet reachable target would be beating 2017, which 2018 narrowly failed to do. We'd need a $132.3 million quarter for that, up about 3.6%.

So it's doable. Either way, of course, the book channel is reportedly doing very well, so comics as a medium is all but assured to see another growth year.

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: KenobiStar Wars: A New Dawn, and the Star Trek: Prey trilogy — and, releasing on July 30, Star Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War. Read more about them at his fiction site.

Be sure to follow Comichron on Twitter and Facebook, and check out our Youtube channel. You can also support us on Patreon!
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