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Friday, February 14, 2020

Wonder Woman #750 leads January comics sales; orders down on fewer new comic releases

by John Jackson Miller


Longtime readers of Comichron know that the first quarter of the year is smaller than the other three in dollar terms — and that January is second only to December when it comes to months where year-to-year comparisons have a way of getting messy. For the latter, it's mostly for the same reason as December: the holidays impact the shipping calendar, and when New Comic Book Day falls makes a difference.

 Find this issue at TFAW
This year, for example, it's a five-Wednesday to five-Wednesday comparison from this January to last, but one of the Wednesdays this year isn't like the rest. New Year's Day 2020 was a Wednesday, and publishers slated a number of high-profile issues for release by stores that chose to open that day. Yet the day was lighter on new releases than any other New Comic Book Day in the month, and it also had a third fewer releases than the first week of 2019, when New Year's Day fell on a Tuesday.

The result this time out was a month that was down 8% or so in the number of new comic books offered to market once the DC card stock variants (which get counted twice) were weeded out, and unit sales for comics were down by a similar amount. Dollar orders for comic books and graphic novels were down less, off 3% to $43.37 million. One way to normalize the cross-calendar comparisons is to look at November through January; that grouping was up 3% in dollar orders over the same three months in 2018-19.

Graphic novels appear to have taken more of their share of the focus in January; 52 more graphic novels were offered to market in the month than in the previous January, an increase of 14%. Graphic novel units — a figure we rarely consider because of how widely pricing varies — were even from year to year, while dollars were up 6%.

Wonder Woman #750 followed in the footsteps of Action Comics #1000 and Detective Comics #1000 as a chart-topper for DC; its 80th anniversary issues haven't missed placing first yet. It is the first time ever that an issue of Wonder Woman was the bestselling comic book in the business, although she of course appeared in many issues that were #1. Marvel had two Jan. 1 relaunches in second and third place: Thor #1 and Star Wars #1. (The latter series had previously relaunched with a million-copy seller five years earlier, in January 2015.)

 Find this book at TFAWBatman #86, beginning James Tynion IV's run on the title following Tom King, placed seventh, but note that the card stock copies are not included in that calculation, so it could well move higher.

To repeat: the Top Five may not necessarily remain the Top Five when our final report appears here next week. Stay tuned!

The Absolute Carnage trade paperback led graphic novels in units, while the Incredible Hulk by Peter David Omnibus Vol. 1 hardcover was the top graphic novel in dollars.

The comparative sales statistics are here:


DollarsUnits
January 2020 Vs. December 2019
Comics-2.48%-1.59%
Graphic Novels+29.62%+36.99%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels+5.84%+0.73%
Toys-1.05%-4.04%
January 2020 Vs. January 2019
Comics-6.70%-8.64%
Graphic Novels+5.09%+0.00%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-3.26%-7.99%
Toys+4.00%-16.26%

The market shares:

PublisherDollar ShareUnit Share
Marvel39.98%46.67%
DC29.33%29.73%
Image5.60%5.60%
IDW4.05%3.28%
Dark Horse3.09%2.28%
Boom3.04%3.10%
Viz2.59%1.04%
Dynamite2.21%2.08%
Random House0.76%0.22%
Titan0.57%0.41%
Other8.77%5.59%

The top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Wonder Woman #750$9.99DC
2Thor #1$4.99Marvel
3Star Wars #1$4.99Marvel
4X-Men #4$3.99Marvel
5X-Men #5$3.99Marvel
6Guardians of the Galaxy #1$4.99Marvel
7Batman #86$3.99DC
8Amazing Spider-Man #38$3.99Marvel
9Amazing Spider-Man #37$3.99Marvel
10Star #1$3.99Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Wonder Woman #750$9.99DC
2Thor #1$4.99Marvel
3Star Wars #1$4.99Marvel
4X-Men #4$3.99Marvel
5Guardians of The Galaxy #1$4.99Marvel
6X-Men #5$3.99Marvel
7The Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2$5.99DC
8Batman: Curse of The White Knight #6$4.99DC
9Iron Man 2020 #1$4.99Marvel
10Venom: The End #1$4.99Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Absolute Carnage$29.99Marvel
2Diana: Princess of The Amazons$9.99DC
3Watchmen$24.99DC
4League of Legends: Lux$15.99Marvel
5House of X/Powers of X HC$60.00Marvel
6Stranger Things: Zombie Boys$10.99Dark Horse
7My Hero Academia Volume 22$9.99Viz
8Black Hammer Vol. 4: Age of Doom Part II$19.99Dark Horse
9Green Lantern: Legacy$9.99DC
10Wonder Woman: Warbringer$16.99DC

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars)PRICEPUBLISHER
1Incredible Hulk By Peter David Omnibus Vol. 1 HC$125.00Marvel
2Conan The Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 3 HC$125.00Marvel
3House of X/Powers of X HC$60.00Marvel
4Absolute Carnage$29.99Marvel
5Daredevil By Bendis & Maleev Omnibus Vol. 1 HC$100.00Marvel
6Junji Ito: No Longer Human HC$34.99Viz
7Watchmen$24.99DC
8Batman: Black & White Omnibus HC$125.00DC
9Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil Vol. 14 HC$75.00Marvel
10Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Maximum Carnage$39.99Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered. Note that DC's total appears to have been bumped up by what we think are 18 cardstock covers; we'll see what actually appears in the charts:

PublisherComics
shipped
Graphic
Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel101560157
DC98300128
IDW3516051
Image437050
Viz043043
Dark Horse259034
Boom226028
Source Point163019
Dynamite144018
Titan62311
Other13023528393
TOTAL SHIPPED49041131932

Ten of the New Year's Day releases were from Source Point Press, which leapt onto the New Release Count charts with 16 comic books total in the month, making it the seventh most prolific publisher of comics. (The publisher's releases included issues like Boston Metaphysical Society #6, Seance Room #1and Touching Evil #2.)

Again, check in here next week to see the estimates. It looks from the April 2020 solicitations that DC isn't stopping its differently pried cardstock covers; we've said that we don't intend to merge them indefinitely (the charts aren't a scoreboard, anyway), so the first month we don't have time to do it, we'll probably stop doing it for good. Which month will it be? Check in and see...

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 DawnStar Trek: Discovery - The Enterprise War, and his July release, Star Trek: Discovery - Die StandingRead more about them at his fiction site.

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