by John Jackson Miller [Originally posted at Comichron and reprinted with permission.] February appears to be returning to form. The release ofDiamond Comic Distributors‘ data for the month was delayed by snow days and other scheduling issues, and the unusually harsh winter appears to have cast a chill on comics sales. Comics shops in North America […]
A lot of people pointed out that Marvel and DC failed to chart in ICv2’s monthly BookScan chart for February. Instead Image and Manga crushed it with mega franchises The Walking Dead, Saga, Bleach, Naruto and Attack on Titan. Locke and Key and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children also appeared, along with Dark Horse and Boom’s perennials, Adventure Time and Avatar: The Last Airbender.
By Jason Enright
Hi everyone! My name is Jason Enright and I am going to be analyzing the Marvel sales charts for you. I have a background as a comic book retailer and now a comic book marketing specialist. As we go along I’ll be adding in my thoughts as to why we may be seeing these numbers and what they tell me as a fan, retailer, and marketing guy.
A few things to keep in mind about these charts:
1. The direct market (comic book shops that order through Diamond) does not track sell-through. So these numbers don’t represent what actually sold, but instead represent what retailers ordered. A book can get high orders and sit on the shelf (which often leads to lower orders in later months) and a book can be under-ordered and sell out (see Black Widow further down this chart). These numbers are what retailers estimated would sell in their shops.
2. We currently don’t have any digital sales data so this is only a look at what is selling in stores. Until we somehow convince Marvel and all the other publishers to release their digital sales numbers, we have no clue how well most of these books are really doing, as digital is a very quickly growing marketplace which sees a lot of new first-time comic readers.
Hi everyone! New guy, Dave Carter, here with the first DC sales charts of 2014. I have an introductory write-up down at the end of this column, but since you’re all really here for the sales numbers, commentary and snark, let’s get to it:
On the surface DC seemingly does well to start off the year, with their two premier Batman-starring titles in the #1 & #2 slots, and five of the top ten. But once you start looking a little deeper there is much to cause concern…
Three of DC’s top selling titles, Forever Evil, Superman Unchained, and Sandman Overture, did not ship this month, contributing to the overall sales decline.
My sincerest apologies for both the lateness and the brevity of this month’s column. I’m in the middle of a move to a new city, and have just started a new job, so time has been especially scarce this month. I’ve not been able to comment on many of the titles towards the lower end of the chart, and I suspect next month will be very similar. Things should be back to normal by the February chart though!
It was a relatively quiet December, Bill Willingham’s Legenderry the highest charting new entry amongst the usual bumper-selling Image titles, a couple of Star Wars books and My Little Pony. Elsewhere, it’s a very downward trending chart, with only 11 titles going up in sales and a colossal 123 going down, with the rest made up of new entries and specials.
It’s that time of year! SF retailer Brian Hibbs has released his annual analysis of the Bookscan 2013 sales charts. This chart is subscriber only, so technically this is a leak, so if you want to download your own version of the top selling 750 graphic novels of the year, go here.
Now, as we all know, Bookscan IS NOT 100% of GN sales, even in bookstores. The numbers do not includes comics shop sales, and are billed as 85% of books sold in regular bookstore outlets. While Walmart has been added to the outlets reporting, I’d hazard a guess that those numbers are still low, as they do not include library sales, book clubs and so on.
However, as I always say, these numbers do provide a metric. These are the books that sold in the stores that report to Bookscan, and while they should not be taken as final totals, they do provide a glimpse.
The month of December was dripping with excitement at DC Comics, as the publisher’s comic-book line shivered on the brink of a new year of bold opportunities and potential tours de force. DC’s œuvre held strong and even grew slightly in total unit sales versus November, as the publisher thrust into an already booming direct market with stiff opposition its new DC Universe title JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000.
The Vertigo imprint, alas, which added DEAD BOY DETECTIVES to its arousing line-up in December, continued its refractory period in-between new issues of THE SANDMAN, the second and next of which shall find release no sooner than February.
By Paul O’Brien
[Editor’s Note: As noted this is Paul’s last column for now. He’s been an incredible collaborator and commentator, and I think we all owe him a big round of applause! And yes I know these are late — we’ll have the new guys in place VERY shortly! Thanks again, Paul.]
And so the end of an era is upon us. No, I do not speak of the latest cancellation of DEFENDERS, nor even of the final OZ miniseries. As Heidi explained a little while back, this will be my final sales column, after over a decade of writing these things. Good luck to whoever takes over for this; I’ll be reading with interest, and with a sense of relief that I didn’t have to do the number crunching.
So. One last time!
December sees a barrage of Inhumanity tie-ins, all building to the launch of the new series that’s since been delayed. We also have the start of ORIGIN II, and the first of the Marvel Now Wave 2 titles.
As per usual, Marvel had the largest share of the North American direct market, leading DC by 37% to 31% in unit terms, and 35% to 28% in dollars.
Thanks as always to ICV2.com for permission to use these figures.
1. ORIGIN II 12/13 Origin II #1 of 5 - 131,724
Books set in the past and with no direct impact on present day continuity generally seem to be a tough sell. But ORIGIN II is the top seller of the month, presumably because Marvel have successfully portrayed it as an event – in the sense of a book fans will be talking about.
About a month ago I took a “Snapshot” look at the best selling Amazon graphic novels. I look at this list every night about the same time, and it’s usually pretty similar to the list I published in January. However tonight, MANY CHANGES, and the usual backlist perennials are not in the top ten. Just […]
January was the cruelest month for comics sales, as the ICv2 headline starkly puts it: Only One Comic Above 100K. The one book was Batman #27 which sold 115,492 copies, according to ICv2. The site noes, perhaps ominously, that the last time we had a month with only one book over 100K copies was August […]
After an unusual couple of months things are pretty much back to normal this month, with the usual suspects of Walking Dead, Saga, Star Wars and My Little Pony joined by a few new Image titles and Valiant’s best-seller yet. At the bottom end of the charts we finally see a few titles returning, although possibly quite briefly in some cases.
150 indie titles charted in the top 300, up on last month’s 135. The indie chart sold approximately 1,820,321 comics, a bit down on last month’s 2,031,509. That’s all due to the increased numbers that Walking Dead added last month. It also means that the average sales this month are 12,153, down on last month’s 15,048. Out of the 150 books, only 20 went up in sales and 112 went down, with the rest made up of one-shots and debuts.
Event season rolled on in November, as INFINITY reached its climax, while the Ultimate imprint’s CATACLYSM got under way. Meanwhile, ASTONISHING X-MEN was relaunched as AMAZING X-MEN, and the MARVEL KNIGHTS X-MEN and LONGSHOT SAVES THE MARVEL UNIVERSE minis kick off.
Though DC had four books in the top five – BATMAN, HARLEY QUINN, SUPERMAN UNCHAINED and FOREVER EVIL – Marvel still edged them in their share of the North American direct market, leading by 34% to 32% in unit terms, and 30% to 29% in dollars. As has already been pointed out on The Beat, this means Marvel and DC’s combined dollar share dips below 60% – something that hasn’t happened in a decade.