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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.


Thursday, December 26, 2019

Comichron's Decade in Review: The 2010s, year-by-year

by John Jackson Miller

Here's a look at the Decade in Review, a year-by-year glance back at the trends shaping comics shop orders. It's mostly been a decade of growth, with downturns in 2010-11 and 2017-18.

PRICES UP, SALES DOWN. Summer new comics sales were the worst since 2001; only one issue after July topped 100,000 copies. DC reversed its increase to $3.99; it didn't help. "The most popular, least successful move we ever made," a DC rep said. See the charts.

NEW 52 TO THE RESCUE. The 2010 woes dragged into 2011, with the worst monthly top-seller ever moving just 71,517 copies in February. But DC turned it all around with its reboot, nearly turning the year positive and taking 11 of the Top 12. See the charts.

ROBUST REBOUND. The New 52 continued to rule. Marvel had Avengers in theaters and Marvel NOW on shelves in the fall, and Walking Dead's anniversary issue was the bestselling comic in three years. Comics shop sales finished up 15% over 2011. See the charts.

MIDDLE TIER GROWS. Midrange publishers continued to grow their lines; "everybody else combined" surpassed both Marvel and DC. Direct Market sales passed $500 million for the first time since 1993; they'd stay above it the rest of the decade.  See the charts.

STILL CLIMBING. Amazing Spider-Man #1 outsold anything in 19 years; many of its 48 variants were available only to specific shops or outside retailers. The "subscription box" fad hit comics, with some variants included in Diamond's sales.  See the charts.

MORE RECORDS FALL. Star Wars went from Dark Horse to Marvel in January and got the first million-copy seller, partially fueled by sales to Loot Crate, which also aided other like Bravest Warriors and Orphan Black. Overall sales grew 7%.  See the charts.

A NEW HIGH. The Star Wars-fueled 2015 was hard to beat, but 2016 did it anyway, squeaking past it thanks to DC's Rebirth and Marvel's Civil War II, whose first issue was probably the real market leader if you discount Loot Crate's copies.  See the charts.

CORRECTION TERRITORY. After several years of ever-increasing sales, 2017's slate, headed by Secret Empire, couldn't match 2016's Rebirth/Civil War II performance. Direct Market orders saw a 10% drop; overall industry losses were smaller.  See the charts.

REBUILDING YEAR. The decline in Direct Market orders ended after the winter, with special issues like Action #1000 helping to fuel two growth quarters. A prospective narrow increase became a 1% drop as DC cut back its offerings at year-end.  See the charts.

AHEAD AGAIN. Helped by the X-Men relaunch, Detective #1000, and DC bulking up its offerings again, comics sales are poised to end higher in 2019. An increase of 25% over 2010's dollar totals; adjusted for inflation, it's still up about 8%. See the charts.

Finally, here's our chart combining the bestsellers from 2010-18; we've included where Detective #1000 will likely land once 2019's data hits.

Any official rankings released from Diamond are likely differ, because this method — just looking back at the year-end charts — shortchanges issues that release late in the 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 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!

Monday, December 9, 2019

November 2019 comics sales estimates online: New Mutants sales top 138,000 copies

by John Jackson Miller

The debut issue of New Mutants moved more than 138,000 copies to stores in North America as part of Marvel's X-Men relaunch in November. The month saw increases in both units and dollars for bot the comics and the graphic novel category.

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

The split covers on DC's titles for the month resulted in a number of titles improving in our charts, which again provide the option of fusing together such titles: Batman #82 entered the top five as a result.

No comics gained changed position in the Top 5 for the year so far; X-Men #1 gained some ground on Black Cat #1 but did not pass it. We'll see where it winds up after December's orders.

Click to see the bestselling comic books of 2019 so far.

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

Friday, December 6, 2019

New Mutants #1 leads good November, with increases in units, dollars for comics, graphic novels; growth year certain

by John Jackson Miller

In 2018, a recovery underway in the comic-book retail market gave out at the end of the year, with DC drastically cutting back its number of comic-book releases; ultimately, the year just missed being an improvement over the previous one. The same will not be true of 2019, as strength in Marvel's X-Men line and a return to a more normal number of DC releases yielded a November that was ahead of the same month in the previous year in every single category Comichron tracks. Retailers ordered $42.34 million worth of comic books, graphic novels, and magazines from Diamond Comic Distributors, an increase of 4.3%, or about $1.75 million.

The full comics sales estimates will appear here on Monday.

 Find this issue at TFAWThe stronger November brings 2019 so far to $488.69 million, an increase of 2%, or about $10 million, over the first eleven months of 2018. While there's some question about how December will be tabulated (about more later), we believe there's no way 2019 will finish below 2018. That would make for the first growth year for the portion of Diamond sales that we track since 2016.

Comic-book orders were up about 3% in both units and dollars in November, a rare case where the two categories' performance was nearly the same. It's an indication that the mean price paid for comics overall was relatively close to the average price of all comics offered.

Retailers ordered 6.62 million comic books in the month: while a middling performance among this year's four-week months, it was still enough to beat November 2018. Fifty-one more comic books were released this November versus last November, although probably a third of that increase comes from DC's cardstock books getting multiple entries.

The number of comic books ordered from Diamond by retailers through November 30 stands at 77.06 million copies: that's down about a million copies, or nearly one and a half percent, from the same point in 2018. But 2% fewer new comic books were released so far in 2019 versus 2018, so unit sales per release are tracking better. The gap for the year will probably wind up being less than a million copies, by the time December's done.

Find this issue at TFAW
Marvel led in both dollar and unit market shares, thanks to New Mutants #1 and the other "Dawn of X" titles, as well as Absolute Carnage #5 and Deadpool #1; the publisher took the top seven spots. But it was DC that saw the most significant year-over-year gains, thanks in no small part to the aforementioned boost in its number of releases.

Diamond reports DC's number of new comics at 96, but we believe that a good bit of that comes from the splits between cardstock and regular covers; the true number of releases is closer to 80. Considering that DC had only 67 comics out in November 2018 — on the way down to totals in the low fifties last winter — that's an important change. The number of retail dollars paid for DC products overall appears to have grown 20% in the month, year-over-year.

Image continued to have fewer new comics releases — 40, versus 57 last November — but it did score a hit in Undiscovered Country #1, which placed eighth. The title's orders were reduced for chart purposes due to returnability, so its real ranking may or may not be higher.

 Find this book at TFAW
Aided by the Firefly: The Sting graphic novel, Boom appears to have had a strong month, with a year-to-year increase rivaling DC's and a dollar market share of 3.46%, meriting fourth place. It was Boom's highest market share since the Loot Crate title Bravest Warriors: Tales from the Holo John #1 helped it hit 3.96% in May 2015. The November 2019 performance is more significant, since it came organically from Direct Market orders.

Graphic novel orders were up 4% in units and 7% in dollars, notable in that 19 fewer (or 5%) graphic novels were released in the month, year-over-year. Graphic novels are likely to finish down for the year, but only slightly — and remember, comics retailers order graphic novels from more sources than just Diamond.

 Find this set at TFAW
The hardcover collection of DCeased led the unit sales chart; Savage Sword of Conan: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 2 led the dollar chart.

Seven DC titles made the Top 10 for dollars; the Crisis on Infinite Earths Box Set (seen at left) placed second. At $500 each at full retail, it doesn't take nearly as many units to make the dollar charts!

The comparative sales statistics are here. Disregard the October-to-November comparisons, as that month had an extra Wednesday (and Halloween ComicFest to boot), making comparisons less meaningful:

November 2019 Vs. October 2019
Graphic Novels-12.33%-14.39%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-24.86%-24.19%
November 2019 Vs. November 2018
Graphic Novels+7.43%+3.94%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+4.30%+2.98%
Year To Date 2019 Vs. Year To Date 2018
Graphic Novels-3.21%-8.65%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+2.02%-1.96%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Dark Horse3.38%2.37%

The top-selling comics by units are here. The asterisk by Undiscovered Country denotes it was returnable:

1New Mutants #1$4.99Marvel
2X-Men #2$3.99Marvel
3Absolute Carnage #5$4.99Marvel
4X-Force #1$4.99Marvel
5Fallen Angels #1$4.99Marvel
6Deadpool #1$4.99Marvel
7Amazing Spider-Man #33$3.99Marvel
8Undiscovered Country #1*$3.99Image
9Batman #82 Acetate Cover$3.99DC
10Amazing Spider-Man #34$3.99Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollars:

1New Mutants #1$4.99Marvel
2Absolute Carnage #5$4.99Marvel
3X-Force #1$4.99Marvel
4X-Men #2$3.99Marvel
5Deadpool #1$4.99Marvel
6Fallen Angels #1$4.99Marvel
7Undiscovered Country #1*$3.99Image
8Batman: White Knight Presents: Von Freeze #1$5.99DC
9Scream: Curse of Carnage #1$4.99Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man #33$3.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

1DCeased HC$29.99DC
2Firefly: The Sting HC$19.99Boom
3Immortal Hulk Vol. 5: Breaker of Worlds$15.99Marvel
4November Vol. 1 HC$16.99Image
5Superman: Year One HC$29.99DC
6Legend of Korra Part 2: Ruins of Empire$10.99Dark Horse
7Journey to Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker: Allegiance$15.99Marvel
8League of Legends: Lux$15.99Marvel
9Savage Avengers Vol. 1: City of Sickles$15.99Marvel
10Stranger Things: Six$17.99Dark Horse

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

1Savage Sword of Conan: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 2 HC$125.00Marvel
2Crisis On Infinite Earths Box Set HC$500.00DC
3Absolute Swamp Thing By Alan Moore Vol. 1 HC$99.99DC
4Dceased HC$29.99DC
5Doom Patrol: The Bronze Age Omnibus HC$125.00DC
6Superman: Year One HC$29.99DC
7Firefly: The Sting HC$19.99Boom
8Batman By Snyder & Capullo Omnibus Vol. 1 HC$125.00DC
9New Teen Titans Omnibus Vol. 4 HC$99.00DC
10Marvel Masterworks: Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 31 HC$75.00Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered. Remember, the real DC number for comics is closer to 80:

Dark Horse2222044
TOTAL SHIPPED47438025879

We haven't learned yet how Diamond intends to treat the comics shipping early in December with an on-sale date of January 1. In the past, issues straddling the New Year have sometimes been counted with December, sometimes with January. It's a limited number of releases, so its impact might not be very large. The most noticable effect of the decision would probably be on January, which will be up against a five-week month in year-to-year comparisons. 2019 itself doesn't look like it'll need January 1's books to finish ahead for the year.

A two-point increase, if it holds, would be the best year-over-year increase since 2015. A $525-530 million year, which looks likely, would represent around a 25% increase over the $418 million in sales in 2010, a decade earlier; adjusted for inflation, that’s an still an increase of about 8%.

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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