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More than 181,400 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, January 20, 2020

December 2019 full estimates posted; King Batman finale enters Top 5

by John Jackson Miller


We've just posted our estimates for December Top 500 comics and graphic novel orders. Tom King's Batman #85 finale issue entered the Top 5 on combined orders. Fourth quarter up 10%, best quarter in 2019 and biggest quarterly year-over-year rise since 2015.

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Friday, January 17, 2020

December 2019 comics and graphic orders up 9%; House of X/Powers of X top dollar GN

by John Jackson Miller


Led by Doomsday Clock #12 and the House of X/Powers of X hardcover, comics shop orders of comic books and graphic novels from Diamond Comic Distributors closed 2019 out strongly, up 9.2% year-over-year in dollars in December. That's a better-than-expected total, due to a revision Diamond's made since its end-of-year report came out last Friday. (The distributor's December report, showing the new 2019 percentage change total, is here.)

 Find this book at TFAWWhen Diamond released its Top 500 Comics and Top 500 Graphic Novels lists earlier in the week (see our estimates for their sales here), that provided us with a partial list for December — 37 comic books released in the month made the overall charts. We temporarily posted those on our December 2019 page (where the final estimates will appear next week), but we also spotted that something was a bit amiss with a handful of those entries, as their dollar sales rankings in the overall 2019 chart suggested they hadn't made any money.

That obviously wasn't the case, and neither was there likely to have been any secret overship; rather, the fact that all the impacted books were Christmas Day releases points to an accounting issue. If those Christmas Day comics — including Venom #21, Incoming #1, Dr. Strange #1, and Spider-Ham #1 had their dollar earnings attributed to January 2020 rather than December 2019, where their units were rightfully counted, that would cover the difference in the percentage change statistics.

Diamond appears to have caught that in compiling its December charts. The units didn't change in the end-of-year statistics. It meant the addition of about one and a half million dollars to 2019's total sales overall, boosting the year-to-year increase from 2.23% to 2.54%. (End-of-year dollar market shares would also theoretically be impacted, although very slightly.)

To be clear, these aren't comics that went on sale Jan. 1 that would have been affected — they're December books, so nothing is being borrowed from 2020. And nothing else from the 2019 unit sales charts would be likely to change in this scenario: just the dollar rankings. This means that we're able to provide, below, unit sales with the Top 10 when it comes to the comics. (And the rest of the Top 37 are, again, here, to be joined next week by the rest of the month.)

(EDIT: Shortly after this post, Diamond confirmed the above undercounts of invoiced dollars during the skip weeks, and issued revised end-of-year Top Sellers and Market Shares — which, as expected, only added the missing dollar rankings and fractions of percentage points, mostly to Marvel. You can see the revised 2019 charts with our estimates here.)

The percentage changes from December, with the new, revised totals year-to-year:


DollarsUnits
December 2019 Vs. November 2019
Comics+0.18%-1.28%
Graphic Novels-11.06%-18.03%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-3.00%-2.48%
Toys+13.47%+16.61%
December 2019 Vs. December 2018
Comics+7.08%+5.36%
Graphic Novels+15.77%+2.87%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+9.20%+5.21%
Toys+166.96%+191.68%
Year 2019 Vs. Year 2018
Comics+4.33%-0.92%
Graphic Novels-2.01%-7.95%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+2.54%-1.44%
Toys+25.96%+28.65%

The market shares for December:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel37.89%45.60%
DC33.55%31.35%
Image5.91%5.93%
IDW4.34%3.51%
Boom4.03%3.66%
Dark Horse2.67%1.87%
Dynamite2.56%2.51%
Viz1.00%0.38%
Titan0.57%0.51%
Random House0.48%0.13%
Other7.00%4.54%

The top-selling comic books by units, with our estimates known from the 2019 Top 500:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHERUNITS
1Doomsday Clock #125.99DC117,926
2X-Men #3$3.99Marvel105,708
3Batman: Last Knight On Earth #3$5.99DC90,058
4Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1$5.99DC88,794
5Venom #21$3.99Marvel74,071
6Harley Quinn: Villain Of The Year #1$4.99DC73,146
7Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1$4.99Marvel71,341
8Incoming #1$9.99Marvel69,025
9Amazing Spider-Man #35$3.99Marvel67,111
10Superman #18$3.99DC66,684

The top-selling comic books by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Doomsday Clock #125.99DC
2Incoming #1$9.99Marvel
3Batman: Last Knight on Earth #3$5.99DC
4Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1$5.99DC
5Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1$4.99DC
6Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100$7.99IDW
7Harleen #3$7.99DC
8X-Men #3$3.99Marvel
9Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1$4.99Marvel
10Venom #21$3.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units are here. We know from the yearly chart that House of X/Powers of X's sale was more than 10,000 copies; Watchmen's performance was enough to vault it into first place for the year.

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1House of X/Powers of X HC$60.00Marvel
2Batman Vol 11 The Fall And The Fallen$17.99DC
3Watchmen$24.99DC
4Silver Surfer Black Treasury Edition$29.99Marvel
5Black Hammer Vol. 4 Age Of Doom Part II$19.99Dark Horse
6Boys Omnibus Vol. 6 $29.99Dynamite
7Green Lantern Vol. 1 Intergalactic Lawman$17.99DC
8Daredevil By Chip Zdarsky Vol. 2 No Devils Only God$15.99Marvel
9My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies$12.99Image
10Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol. 6 Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon$15.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1House of X/Powers of X HC$60.00Marvel
2Annihilation Omnibus HC$125.00Marvel
3Y The Last Man Omnibus HC$150.00DC
4Injustice Gods Among Us Omnibus HC Vol. 01$125.00DC
5Absolute Dark Knight III The Master Race HC$125.00DC
6Animal Man By Jeff Lemire Omnibus HC$99.99DC
7Silver Surfer Black Treasury Edition$29.99Marvel
8Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four HC Vol. 21$75.00Marvel
9Watchmen$24.99DC
10Boys Omnibus Vol. 6$29.99Dynamite

And, finally, here's what shipped in December:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic
Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel103320135
DC86321119
Image367043
IDW2813041
Boom2314037
Dark Horse229031
Dynamite144018
Kodansha013013
Titan82212
Archie9009
Other8010911200
TOTAL SHIPPED40923514658


The above completes the picture of comics released in 2019. As we can see below, the number of new comics released was down slightly, largely due to reduced lines from DC and Image; DC's cutbacks are camouflaged by the fact that Diamond counts comics at different price tags as separate releases. Around 90 cardstock books fit that description. Variants with the same cover price are not counted separately.
Here's the same chart, only with graphic novels:


Look for the full December charts here next week.

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, January 13, 2020

Top 500 comics, graphic novels from 2019 online; Doomsday Clock #12 led December

by John Jackson Miller
http://www.comichron.com/monthlycomicssales/2019.html

With the release of the 2019 end-of-year comics orders from Diamond Comic Distributors, Comichron has projected estimates for the Top 500 Comics and the Top 500 Graphic Novels sold by the company, which can be found on our page for 2019.

This year's charts have our sorting and searching features implemented, as now do our previous 28 years of annual Diamond charts, going back to 1991. You can find the links to them, along with updated comparatives for how the market as a whole did across that time, by viewing our Yearly Comics Sales page. 2019 data will be added to that page when more is known.

Detective Comics #1000 led the list with nearly 575,000 copies sold, an increase of nearly 50,000 copies from its release month in March.

We can see from the end-of-year chart that Doomsday Clock #1 was the top-seller for December, with nearly 118,000 copies sold, and a number of other December items can be seen in the chart.

The rest of the month's Top 5 appears to shake out as follows:

2) X-Men #3

3) Batman: Last Knight on Earth #3

4) Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1

5) Venom #21


We've generated a partial list that shows just the 37 titles from December, and we'll of course run the full Top 500 when Diamond releases the next round of data.

Back to 2019: Almost everything in the Top 500 had "multiple order codes" at Diamond, meaning there were variant covers or reprints combined into one entry; sometimes it's not a simultaneous variant, but rather a reprint with a different cover.

We'll do our annual Top Thousand comparisons and extend the charts next week when the December data is released. But we have at this point finalized our Top Comics of the Decade chart for the 2010s, and we've added 2019 to the Top Comics of the Century So Far chart.

The final year of the decade added a large number of new entrants, 33, to the Top 300 for the 2010s. That's one more than the previous year, and the fourth most all decade.

The decade's bestsellers break down by year as follows:

2010: 8
2011: 23
2012: 40
2013: 27
2014: 15
2015: 55
2016: 44
2017: 24
2018: 32
2019: 33

Detective Comics #1000 was the big one, of course, placing second in both the decade and century behind 2015's Star Wars #1. The best performance by another comic was Spawn #300, which landed at 34th in the decade and 42nd in the century.

2019 overall added 17 comics to the 300 bestselling comics of the 21st Century.

December's report and estimates are up next, and our Top Thousand chart.


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 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!

Friday, January 10, 2020

Comic book, graphic novel sales to comics shops up 2% in 2019; Detective #1000, Watchmen top charts

by John Jackson Miller



The decade of the 2010s ended on a note of growth for the Direct Market when it comes to retailer orders from Diamond Comic Distributors. According to our analysis of a report released today by the firm, comics shops bought $528.1 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines from it in 2019, an increase of 2.23% or $11.5 million over 2018's total of $516.6 million. We expect to have the full charts for 2019 from Diamond early next week. (UPDATE: They're online, and can be found here.)

Implicit in the report is that December 2019's performance was, as predicted here, an improvement over the moribund and holiday-shortened December 2018 showing. December 2019's orders appear to have been around $39.5 million, up around 5% and finishing a strong quarter year-over-year. Three out of four quarters in 2019 showed improvement; that hasn't happened since 2015, a year partially fueled by Star Wars' move to Marvel. The last time every quarter was up was 2013, a year supercharged by significant line growth at the middle-tier publishers; only one month that year was down.

The performance for 2019 represents a return to growth for this subset of the comics shop market, joining 13 other positive years this century including 2001-2008 and 2012-2016; two of the down years, 2011 and 2018, were off by just a single percentage point. Last year eclipsed not just last year, but the year before; this century only 2014, 2015, and 2016 have seen more dollars worth of merchandise ordered. Orders in 2019 were 25% above those of 2010, 8% higher when adjusted for inflation.

Aided by Detective Comics #1000 — a rare case, along with 2015's Star Wars #1, of a first quarter release leading the year, dollar sales of periodical comic books were up nearly 4% in 2019. Graphic novel sales were down 2%. Both figures represent significant improvements over 2018, which saw comics up 2% and graphic novels down 8%. Comics shops order significant quantities of graphic novels from channels outside Diamond — and as we know the book channel was booming in 2019, it's a near-certainty that the overall market, which we track in our annual industry-wide report, will find print sales above $1 billion at full retail for the first time ever. Look for that report later in 2019.

Market shares: DC, Image line reductions make impact

The market shares finished the year very close to what we'd predicted, with Marvel topping 40% in dollar share, an upward move of nearly two percentage points. Its unit sales increased by nearly four points. The unit gains came partially at the expense of DC, which had pared back its line in the first half of the year; its unit share dropped a little more than three points. But its dollar share suffered much less, down only three-quarters of a point, indicating that the products it did put our earned more on average.

Image, which also cut back its offerings significantly in 2019, saw both its unit and dollar shares each drop by a couple of points. Dark Horse, Boom, Dynamite, and Viz saw their dollar shares increase. The only change in the order of the Top 10 in the dollar rankings came at ninth and tenth place, where Oni and Titan reversed positions.

The market shares:


PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel40.20%44.72%
DC29.29%30.74%
Image8.04%7.69%
IDW3.55%3.29%
Dark Horse3.19%2.33%
Boom2.56%2.42%
Dynamite2.16%1.88%
Viz1.45%0.55%
Oni0.61%0.43%
Titan0.60%0.49%
Other8.34%5.47%

Comics: First issues and anniversaries take the entire Top 10

Comichron's tracking all year had predicted Detective Comics #1000 would be the top-selling comic book — it's the second best-seller of the decade, after all, with more than half a million copies shipped — but we also saw that the Top 10 comics through November remained the Top 10 after December, with only one change in position. X-Men #1 edged past Black Cat #1 for third place, on the strength of December reorders.

DC's other entry in the Top 10, DCeased #1, was the only comic book in the top ten regularly priced at $3.99.

House of X #1 and Powers of X #1 held steady at eighth and ninth places. That they are no higher, despite their buzz, testifies to the surprise popularity of the event (and likely also the availability of reprints).


The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Detective Comics #1000$9.99DC
2Spawn #300$7.99Image
3X-Men #1$4.99Marvel
4Black Cat #1$4.99Marvel
5DCeased #1$3.99DC
6Absolute Carnage #1$7.99Marvel
7Marvel Comics #1000$9.99Marvel
8House of X #1$5.99Marvel
9Powers of X #1$5.99Marvel
10War of the Realms #1$5.99Marvel

It's clear that nothing from December made the Top 10 for the year overall, which means there's an upper limit on whatever that month's top seller is at 191,000 copies or so. We'll find out soon enough.



Graphic novels: "As Seen On TV"

 Find this book at TFAWOver on the bookshelves, Watchmen  fueled by its HBO series and a new trade paperback edition that makes good and sure you know about it — leapt past newer entries to become the #1 graphic novel for the year. It is the third time since 1991, when Diamond began reporting annual graphic novel sales, that it has placed #1; the other two times were 2008 and 2009, aided by the movie.

If you've been following our sales-to-date charts throughout 2019, its final showing may be a bit of a surprise; our table listed the $19.99 previous edition and the $24.99 new edition as separate entries, while Diamond followed its usual form for the end-of-year graphic novel charts by merging different prices. (Walking Dead Vol. 1 has editions at several different price points in Diamond's system; they've been merged in year-end charts for a long time.)

Watchmen's combined sales through November would have placed it #2 by units among graphic novels, so clearly the TV show fueled a late surge that pushed it past Saga Vol. 1. Television programming also played a role in Umbrella Academy Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite placing third — and of course, the performance of the final Walking Dead volume.

Die Vol. 1, in sixth, was the highest-ranking graphic novel not previously released in graphic novel form before 2019.

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Watchmen$24.99DC
2Saga Volume 1$9.99Image
3Umbrella Academy Vol. 1: Apocalypse Suite$17.99Dark Horse
4Monstress Volume 1$9.99Image
5Mister Miracle$24.99DC
6Die Vol. 1: Fantasy Heartbreaker$9.99Image
7Batman: White Knight$19.99DC
8Walking Dead Vol. 31$16.99Image
9Batman: The Killing Joke HC$17.99DC
10Batman: Damned HC$29.99DC

As noted above, the full estimates will be along next week, and if Diamond follows past practice, we'll see December's full data along some time after that. Look for it on our December page.

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!
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