Marvel wins again in January as Spider-Man and Fables top the charts

Diamond has released their preliminary top 10 and comparative charts for January, and it was another good month for Marvel and comics overall. Although periodical sales were down a bit from last month, GNs were up quite a bit — perhaps oddly given the Christmas sales season. Both periodical and graphic novels were up in strong doubles digits from January 2012, however, showing that the comic book recovery is well under way, no matter what you think of ongoing creative shuffles.SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN led the comics chart, with Batman and JL holding their own for DC. The new FABLES GN beat out the first SAGA collection for top graphic novel, with THE WALKING DEAD shuffling behind. Charts and graphs below:

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TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

RETAIL MARKET SHARE
PUBLISHER SHARE
MARVEL COMICS 34.82%
DC COMICS 31.61%
IMAGE COMICS 8.19%
IDW PUBLISHING 6.30%
DARK HORSE COMICS 4.55%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 2.20%
BOOM! STUDIOS 1.45%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS 1.22%
AVATAR PRESS 0.87%
VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT 0.86%
OTHER NON-TOP 10 7.92%
 
UNIT MARKET SHARE
PUBLISHER SHARE
MARVEL COMICS 40.23%
DC COMICS 35.41%
IMAGE COMICS 7.45%
IDW PUBLISHING 3.92%
DARK HORSE COMICS 3.62%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 2.13%
BOOM! STUDIOS 1.55%
VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT 0.93%
AVATAR PRESS 0.73%
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS 0.58%
OTHER NON-TOP 10 3.45%

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

DOLLARS UNITS
JANUARY 2013 VS. DECEMBER 2012
COMICS -4.44% -3.34%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 21.64% 16.63%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 3.01% -2.03%
JANUARY 2013 VS. JANUARY 2012
COMICS 22.32% 19.86%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 37.89% 30.73%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 27.16% 20.65%

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE   VENDOR
1 SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #1 $3.99   MAR
2 BATMAN #16 $3.99   DC
3 JUSTICE LEAGUE #16 $3.99   DC
4 NEW AVENGERS #1 $3.99   MAR
5 SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #2 $3.99   MAR
6 SAVAGE WOLVERINE #1 $3.99   MAR
7 UNCANNY AVENGERS #3 $3.99   MAR
8 DETECTIVE COMICS #16 $3.99   DC
9 AVENGERS #3 $3.99   MAR
10 UNCANNY X-FORCE #1 $3.99   MAR

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE   VENDOR
1 FABLES VOLUME 18: CUBS IN TOYLAND TP (MR) $16.99   DC
2 SAGA VOLUME 1 TP $9.99   IMA
3 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 1: DAYS GONE BYE $9.99   IMA
4 SILVER SURFER BY STAN LEE AND MOEBIUS $7.99   MAR
5 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 2: MILES BEHIND US $14.99   IMA
6 JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL. 2: THE VILLAIN’S JOURNEY HC $24.99   DC
7 JUSTICE LEAGUE VOL. 1: ORIGIN TP $16.99   DC
8 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 3: SAFETY BEHIND BARS $14.99   IMA
9 THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 17: SOMETHING TO FEAR $14.99   IMA
10 ANIMAL MAN VOL. 2: ANIMAL VS. MAN TP $16.99   DC

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE   VENDOR
1 LEGEND OF ZELDA: HYRULE HISTORIA HC $34.99   DAR
2 FRANK CHO: WOMEN BOOK 2 HC (MR) $24.99   IMA
3 NEIL GAIMAN: CHU’S DAY HC $17.99   HAR
4 DC SUPER HEROES: THE DARK KNIGHT: THE JOKER VIRUS TP $5.95   CAP
5 DC SUPER HEROES: THE DARK KNIGHT: CAT COMMANDER TP $5.95   CAP
6 BEHIND THE SOFA: CELEBRITY MEMORIES OF DOCTOR WHO HC $24.99   DIA
7 DC SUPER HEROES: THE DARK KNIGHT: THE SCARECROW’S FLOCK OF FEAR TP $5.95   CAP
8 DC SUPER HEROES: BATMAN: FIVE RIDDLES FOR ROBIN TP $4.95   CAP
9 DC SUPER HEROES: BATMAN: FUN HOUSE OF EVIL $4.95   CAP
10 DC SUPER HEROES: THE DARK KNIGHT: KILLER CROC OF DOOM TP $5.95   CAP

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY — HARLEY QUINN STATUE OCT120311 DC
2 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY PLAY ARTS ~KAI~: CATWOMAN JUN128138 SQU
3 BATMAN: ARKHAM CITY PLAY ARTS ~KAI~: BATMAN JUN128137 SQU
4 DEADPOOL ACTION STATUE JUL121853 BOW
5 STAR TREK: USS ENTERPRISE NCC-1701-B SHIP AUG121760 DST
6 THE DARK KNIGHT: BATMAN HD MASTERPIECE AUG128067 ENT
7 DC COMICS: HUNTRESS BISHOUJO STATUE AUG121880 KOT
8 DC COMICS: SUPERMAN “THE NEW 52″ ARTFX+ STATUE AUG121878 KOT
9 DOCTOR WHO TITANS MINI-FIGURES AUG121925 TIT
10 THE DARK KNIGHT: THE JOKER HD MASTERPIECE AUG128068 ENT


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 MARVEL HEROCLIX AMAZING SPIDER-MAN NOV122066 NEC
2 DC HEROCLIX: BATMAN BOOSTER BRICK AUG122142 NEC
3 PATHFINDER BATTLES: SHATTERED STAR BOOSTER BRICK NOV122069 NEC
4 STAR TREK TACTICS HEROCLIX SERIES II OCT128372 NEC
5 DC HEROCLIX: BATMAN STREETS OF GOTHAM SEP122103 NEC
6 THE WALKING DEAD COMIC BOARD GAME JUL112185 ALL
7 STAR WARS LCG CORE SET NOV122044 FAN
8 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: RETURN TO RAVNICA BOOSTERS AUG122136 WIZ
9 STAR TREK TACTICS HEROCLIX SERIES II STARTER SET OCT128373 NEC
10 MARVEL HEROCLIX: WOLVERINE & THE X-MEN JUL128140 NEC

Comments

  1. I talk about the rarity of the January-to-December beat a bit on my post:
    http://blog.comichron.com/2013/02/january-2013-comics-sales-beat-december.html

    It’s happened before, during CIVIL WAR — just not this big. Graphic novels were the big driver, this time. But then December’s record has been mixed. Some years, November does much better because retailers are ordering for Black Friday. And then some years, we’ve seen December balloon because the major publishers were hitting the market with stuff that needed to get into the fiscal year. The real feat will be if 1Q 2013 beats 4Q 2012, I think.

  2. Etcgl says:

    As I stated from the start of this ndcu a short term gimmick will not keep sales nor fans. Sales for DC are still heading down and at some point DC must admit it was not the hit they had hoped for. If DC tried to write stories in the old DCU as hard as they have been pushing the dcu 52 they might have done better in the long haul.
    At some point DC will have to have the return of the real DCU because the ndcu is sinking every month.

  3. Just a note of caution on the numbers, I noticed that most of the books that were on-sale January 2, which retailers got in late December due to the holidays, were included on the December charts, except for the Marvel books. So if those are the numbers Diamond uses for its market share breakdowns, Marvel was at a disadvantage in December, with one fewer shipping week, and at an advantage in January, with an extra shipping week compared to other publishers.

  4. As Ryu would say, “SHORYUKEN!”
    Good news YoY for the direct market.

  5. royd_9 says:

    Well, with Marvel in full swing on Marvel NOW and DC having no big launches, I expected the market share gap to be higher between the big two. Also, it seems that Marvel will be unable to release a new ongoing monthly that competes with Batman and JL. All-New X-Men, Avengers, Uncanny Avengers and now Superior Spider-Man have all fallen below DC’s two hit titles by their second issue, which is king of surprising, I think.

  6. @royd_9 i think it’s still too early to make the call on huge market shares gaps yet between Marvel and others. as i look at the business for Marvel–what makes me happy is the health of our business and what looks like reasonable growth and sell-through on the retailer level: direct market and book market. as always the digital business continues to be a significant driver of both revenue and info on purchasing habits. so all in all, whether we (Marvel Comics) grow a market share lead…the real great story is better signs of health amongst all retailers.

  7. It’s amazing to me that a New Avengers #1 sells fewer copies than the 16th issues of Batman and Justice League.

  8. giuliano says:

    With overall number this low (the best selling not #1 not event related book selling 110k on average) it’s easy to see big bump or drop (when speaking in percentage).

    I am all for an healthy market but it seems to me that most of those last 2 years improvement are due to new 52 launch, marvel now launch, before watchmen and AvsX. All were special events, not replicable in a short time span.

    There is no new 52 II or Marvel Now II on the horizon (obviously), and you can’t make special events every month or the stop to be special (and probably effective). This is why I don’t see numbers to be as good as now in 6 months, but maybe I am wrong.

    An actually healthy market (healthy in the long run) would be one where Marvel is able to sell 170k of their Avengers and X-Men flagship title without cross–overing them and DC 150k of their Batman and Justice League flagship books without special events; otherwise we are just looking at inflated numbers.

  9. Doesn’t seems odd to me that Marvel can’t get a title selling like Batman or Justice League. While the Batman franchising is quite extended most of its books are about other characters than Batman himself, so 125k readers buy batman than choose some other books from the franchise. If you take X-Men you got All New X-Men (twice a month), Uncanny X-Men (also twice a month?), X-Men, Uncanny Avengers PLUS “family” books like X-Force (2 different books), X-Factor, Wolverine (again 2 books), X-Men Legacy, and probably some more book I ignore the existence of. Readership is obviously fragmented. The same holds true for Avengers; with Avengers and News Avengers both out twice a month (plus Secret Avengers, Dark Avengers, Weekend Avengers and so on). They probably only care about numbers as a whole.

  10. @giuliano if books are selling through on both distributor and retailer level, regardless of variants, incentives, format, and trade practices…that’s not inflated numbers…that’s actual sales. I find it funny that people talk about the health of the market then start talking about a single metric which is title (_______) by DC or Marvel is a measure of health in this marketplace. I’d say it’s several different metrics other than individual title sales. Look at the numbers of other publishers, sales of other products into retail, velocity of different products, etc. Now if you’re just a fan (not someone in the industry), then you’re not going to have access to that type of information, but trust that if the publishers are doing their job…we’re making decision to grow those numbers not hedge against them. Health is not just determined solely by single issue comics. DC, Marvel, and a whole host of other publishers have done a great job of bringing in short term & long-term product and practices to sustain and grow retail.

  11. giuliano says:

    @Ruwan Jayatilleke

    Yes I am just a reader (don’t like the word fan :). A sui generis one, too, because I live in Europe and only buy collections (not single issues) on Amazon (I couldn’t do otherwise, I prefer to read english comics in their original language and I don’t live in UK).

    I know that other publishers are doing well (mainstream comics I mostly buy from Image and DH) and I am happy that comics are doing well.

    Probably, due to my poor usage of english language, I misused the word “inflated”. I’ve just meant that I see, from Marvel and DC, lot of line wide relaunches and one-time products (events, crossovers and before watchmen) and I was just wondering how the market would do without them.

    My only critic is that I would read more Big Two comics (in the past years I’ve enjoyed some like Deadpool MAX, Future Foundation, Uncanny X-Force, Batman) but to me it seems like they are too much marketing and less love for stories. And my idea (probably a naive one) is that if we had less books based on the usual franchising, probably reader would read and support more of the less “important” characters that I like and we don’t see anymore because unable to survive in the market. (Defenders, Dr. Strange, Moon Knight and so on).

  12. @giuliano If we did away with “events” that would be like saying let’s see how the movie industry does without $200-$300 million budget action films. Yes, the movie industry would survive but at what cost. But your position is not about bettering the industry but to benefit lesser known characters. While that’s understandable and noble, the business of comics is a business…so “events” will continue until they don’t.

  13. I am surprised Justice League continues to do so well. I continue to collect it, for now, but to be honest, it’s been pretty mediocre. I guess everyone is just happy to see the top heroes back in the book, but I wonder how long that will last.

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