Marvel Month to Month Sales Charts: October 2014 Variations on Variant Themes

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BY JASON ENRIGHT — Hello Sales Chart Analyzers! In October, there were a lot of books. So to start, let’s break down the numbers a bit. An interesting trend to look at this month is how variant numbers affect the sales. Several titles benefitted from being included in one or more of Marvel’s themed variant programs this month. In October, Marvel had 3 variant themes, the Anti-Bullying variants, Deadpool 75th anniversary variants and Hasbro toy variants. Many of these issues were in the middle of an arc and normally would have suffered standard attrition of -1 to -3%, but due to these variant programs they got a nice +3 to +5% sales boost. Variants are one of many incentive programs that companies use to boost sales. Recently Marvel and DC have been doing these themed variants across multiple books and they definitely seem to be working. Whether or not, they are actually good for comic sales in the long term is another question entirely. What do you think of variants? Let’s discuss it in the comments below. For now let’s dive into the numbers.

Indie Month-to-Month Sales Charts: September 2015

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This month has some fun new comics added to the roster headed by George Perez’s Siren from Boom! Studios. Of course Image had its fair share of new titles, with Copperhead and Roche Limit having stellar debuts.

While Marvel had a title overload last month, in September DC had a special month with special and regular editions for the N52. All that means that there were only 105 indie titles charting in the top 300, which is still a bit down from last month’s 126.

Understandably, overall indie title sales were down at 1,315,225 compared to last month’s 1,766,686 for average sales of 12,52, a slight decrease from last month’s 14,021. Overall there 12 titles went up, 72 titles went down, with the rest made up primarily of new issues and a few specials.

Must read: David Harper analyzes the changing state of the industry

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Out with the old, in with the new? As we’ve been reporting, October comics sales were pretty damn massive. It’s the culmination of a year that started a little rocky but has blossomed as new trends blew into town behind a strong trade wind. Multiversity’s David Harper has the much needed big think piece on what’s happening complete with CHARTS. First he points out that The Big Two are still the big two:

Comichron: October 2014 comics estimates online—Looking at the Loot Crate Effect

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October smashed all comics records from the last decade-plus again, with a thousand new comic books, graphic novels, and magazines hitting the market. Based on Comichron’s analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors, comics shops in North America ordered more than $56 million in printed product during the month. Seven comic books had orders of more than 100,000 copies. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in October 2014.

Highlights of the month included Diamond’s Halloween ComicFest, its fall counterpart to Free Comic Book Day — and topping the charts again, we have a comic book whose sales were greatly inflated by a single order from the pop culture subscription club, Loot Crate. Image’s Walking Dead #132 far outdistanced other comic books offered in October, with estimated orders of more than 326,000 copies.

Comichron: October comics shop orders best in 17 years

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John Jackson Miller’s preliminary October sales analysis is up and the month was a Doozy. In my earlier piece I didn’t not that sales were up substantially, and it was a five week to five week comparison. Comichron projects the comic shop market will complete the year with orders totaling around $535-540 million; the smaller […]

New world order: The Walking Dead and Ms. Marvel top October sales

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The Walking Dead #132 topped the October charts, helping Image lands a 9.77% dollar share and impressive 12.28% unit share, according to figures just released by Diamond. While the zombie book led the charts before, it was for the milestone 100th issue.  I believe this is the first time a regular issue led the charts, most likely buoyed […]

Marvel Month-to-Month Sales: September 2014: There’s life in that there death

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by Jason Enright

September is always an interesting month because DC does its big line-wide event with crazy covers and Marvel has to find a way to compete. The answer this year was Death of Wolverine, which shipped two issues this month and landed the number 1 and number 2 spots. DC still won overall market share, but Marvel still managed to make a few headlines themselves and capture those top two spots. Beyond those books, there is a lot of standard attrition this month and a lot of books ramping up for AXIS which is likely to lead into several new series and rebooted series over the next few months. Below is a breakdown of some of this month’s stats which includes a rise in the number of $4.99 books, which is very interesting.

DC Comics Month-to Month Sales: September 2014 – 3D Motion Sickness

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by David Carter

Greetings, sales charts fans! It’s time once again to look at DC’s sales figures.

As has been their wont for the past few years, DC marks the September anniversary of The New 52 with a publishing stunt. In September 2012 it was Zero Issues; in September 2013 it was Villains Month with fancy 3D covers, weird X.1 numbering, and allocations. And in September 2014 they return to the 3D cover well with Futures End one-shots.

This year DC avoided last year’s allocation falderal by having retailers get their orders for the Futures End one-shots in a couple of months early, with creative teams announced only a couple of weeks before orders were due, and initial orders only (no Final Order Cutoff). (Retailers were also allowed to order up front as many 3D and standard covers that they wished for each title.) This caused no end of problems for retailers as they had to judge how many to order of these one-shots with no real clue as to how they would sell. Would there be as much demand as there was last year with the highly-publicized 3D cover shortages? How many customers would want to get the fact 3D covers, regardless of whether they were buying the regular titles? How many customers would want 3D covers over standard covers? How many customers would just sit out the one-shots all together?

The Walking Dead graphic novels sales are up again

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It’s a rite of autumn —The Walking Dead’s new season debuts on AMC, and Walking Dead graphic novels start selling like crack again. Here’s the feed from the Amazon graphic novels best seller’s list. Note that The Oatmeal has sold a gazillion copies, and Roz Chast is back in the top ten following her National Book Award shortlisting.

Per the usual pattern, Walking Dead GN sales will slow when the 8 episode season ends, and pick right back up when it returns next year. I know Robert Kirkman has made a buttload of money from the hit TV series, but he, Charlie Adlard and Tony Moore have also made a buttload from the books alone, given the Image deal.

(BTW, for long term Amazon trend analysis I refer you to Beat contributor David Carter’s weekly blog on the topic, which someday I will feature here every week. Lots of other interesting things on his site, as well.)

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Just the Facts, Ma’am: Which Graphic Novel Categories are the Biggest?

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Ever wonder what categories are the most popular in graphic novels? Think it’s all manga and superheroes? Well, as you can see on the chart to the left, it’s fairly diverse. How did I come up with these percentages? Simple… First, there’s this group called BISG.  They make sure all the standards that booksellers and […]

ICV2 2014 Conference: White Paper: The Comics Customer: Who Is Reading All Those Comics?

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While most comics fans started New York Comic Con on Thursday, the die-hard industry insiders and watchers began their “con crush” on Wednesday. ICV2.com once again hosted their annual conference at the Javits Center, choosing the theme: The New Comics Customer. As is the tradition, each conference is inaugurated with an industry white paper. Milton […]

Sales Charts: In the backlist, DC is king

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It’s been a while (5 years) since we looked at Diamond’s monthly backlist chart, and now, as then, it reveals a VERY DIFFERENT ranking for publishers. In the backlist, DC is king by a wide margin, with about 30% of the market. Marvel is only a tich above Image in units, while Image books dominate the top ten with Saga, Walking Dead, and Sex Criminals. On the manga side, Attack on Titan rules, no surprise given the way it’s single handedly revitalized the category.

Sales Charts: DC tops September and takes a victory lap

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DC enjoyed its traditional September sales bump thanks to the “Future’s End” lenticular covers event, beating Marvel by 4 points in dollars and 6 in units. While I’m told retailers went a bit lighter on this, and there was no comic shop run as there was with the scarcer villain variants last year, it was […]

Marvel Month-to-Month Sales August 2014: A Tale of Two Spiders

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This was a tough month for Marvel. Original Sin is ending and none of their other events have really started yet. They also don’t have any real high profile series launches. So there are no books that really pop. There is a lot of attrition this month. Of the 72 books that also had an issue last month, only 12 saw growth in their numbers. That leaves 60 books that dropped in sales. 39 books dropped more than 5% or what might be considered a standard attrition. Luckily there are several major events coming soon which will drive sales up and a lot of books will be relaunching after these events which always bumps up the numbers at least temporarily. It is worrying however, that there are several series that just relaunched a year or for some 6 months ago and are already in trouble again. Let’s look at a breakdown of what came out this month:

DC Comics Month-to Month Sales: August 2014 – Multiversity Selfies

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It’s month three of DC’s new variant cover ordering scheme, where retailers can order as many of the month’s themed variant covers as they want at the regular price. As previously suspected, the Selfie variants do not attract as many additional orders as the Bombshell or Batman 75th variants did. It’s hard to tell if that is because of a perceived lack of interest in the covers, or an adjustment based on the previous months, or a combination of factors. Next month DC will have round two of the 3D motion covers, hoping to recapture some of the magic of last year’s 3D cover stunt.

This was a down month for DC. Several of their top sellers did not ship in August: Justice League, Superman Unchained and Sandman Overture. Vertigo sales are particularly moribund: the average Vertigo sales of 9,082 per title is the second lowest since Diamond started reporting actual sales back in 2003. (The lowest month was November 2010, at 9,034.) With The Wake over and Sandman Overture shipping sporadically, Vertigo’s top seller this month is short-timer Fables.

Indie Month-to-Month Sales July 2014: Let’s Kill Archie

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By Chris Rice A few interesting new entries this month, headed by, of all things, The Death of Archie! That’s joined by Rick Remender’s new book Low, and a pair of new Doctor Who books become Titan’s biggest selling comics yet. Lots of books not charting this month for reasons explained below. Marvel went a […]