If you were looking for signs that comics sales are getting out of their funk in 2016, April’s Diamond figures didn’t help. Black Panther #1 was the top selling comic, as expected, but a 16.19% drop in dollars and 21.49% drop in units from April 2015 was steep.
Wonder Woman Earth One was the number one graphic novel; sales on this have been a monster.
As John Jackson Miller explained, April 2015 was the biggest month of modern times, and a five week month to boot, so comparisons were bound to be bleak, but even so sales in 2016 were down. And the culprit was a drop in product of middle tier publishers including IDW, Image, Boom and Dynamite all releasing fewer books.
That is a steep drop: 23% fewer new comic books were released in April 2016 versus the year before. That figure is higher than the actual 18% drop in new comics dollar sales year-over-year, and much higher than we would expect from the usual four-to-five-week month difference. (The number of graphic novel releases was about the same.) Put another way, publishers released 30% more new comic books in April 2015 than in the following April.
You might think that the addition of a fifth week would result in an increase of 25% in new material — and a decrease of 20% when that fifth week is gone — but the numbers are usually much lower. Comics are monthlies, not every-four-weeks; publishers don’t always increase their slates just to accommodate the extra week. Offerings tend to spread out a little more. This drop in the number of comics offered is significantly higher, and points to reduced offerings by publisher design.
What’s the source of the drop? The middle-tier publishers, whose increased offerings in recent years helped bulk up the market. IDW is the biggest source of the drop, offering 43 periodicals this April versus 63 last April. Image is down from 74 to 56 titles, Dynamite 35 to 19, Boom down from 39 to 27. The middle-tier publishers are playing it more conservatively in 2016, and one result is lower overall volume.
Looks like we’ve reached the saturation point for the DM sponge, with several publishers cutting back the number of titles, as discussed at last fall’s Diamond summit.
Marvel whupped DC again, to boot. Rebirth better be good.
TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
|DARK HORSE COMICS||3.07%||2.42%|
|OTHER NON-TOP 10||8.12%||5.96%|
NEW TITLES SHIPPED
|PUBLISHER||COMICS SHIPPED||GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED||MAGAZINES SHIPPED||TOTAL
|DARK HORSE COMICS||27||19||0||46|
|ONI PRESS INC.||8||4||0||12|
|OTHER NON-TOP 10||46||139||26||211|
COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS
|APRIL 2016 VS. MARCH 2016|
|APRIL 2016 VS. APRIL 2015|
|YEAR-TO-DATE 2016 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2015|
TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS
|1||BLACK PANTHER #1||$4.99||FEB160740-M||MAR|
|2||STAR WARS: POE DAMERON #1||$4.99||FEB160747-M||MAR|
|3||DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #4||$5.99||JAN160219-M||DC|
|4||STAR WARS SPECIAL: C-3PO #1||$4.99||OCT150933||MAR|
|7||STAR WARS #18||$3.99||FEB160935-M||MAR|
|8||DARTH VADER #19||$3.99||FEB160938||MAR|
|9||HARLEY QUINN & SUICIDE SQUAD APRIL FOOL’S SPECIAL #1||$4.99||FEB160121-M||DC|
|10||AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #10||$3.99||FEB160792-M||MAR|
TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS
|1||WONDER WOMAN: EARTH ONE BOOK 1 HC||$22.99||DEC150215||DC|
|2||STAR WARS: VADER DOWN TP||$19.99||JAN160962||MAR|
|3||RAT QUEENS VOLUME 3: DEMONS TP (MR)||$14.99||JAN160696||IMA|
|4||I HATE FAIRYLAND VOL. 1: MADLY EVER AFTER TP (MR)||$9.99||JAN160644-M||IMA|
|5||THANOS: THE INFINITY FINALE OGN HC||$24.99||DEC150873||MAR|
|6||CIVIL WAR TP||$24.99||JAN072436||MAR|
|7||DEADPOOL: WORLD’S GREATEST VOLUME 1: A MILLIONAIRE WITH MOUTH TP||$15.99||JAN160939||MAR|
|8||BLACK MAGICK VOL. 1: AWAKENING PART ONE TP (MR)||$9.99||JAN160635-M||IMA|
|9||BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL EDITION HC||$17.99||NOV070226||DC|
|10||RICK & MORTY VOLUME 2 TP||$19.99||FEB161683-M||ONI|
TOP 10 BOOKS
|1||SPAWN ADULT COLORING BOOK||$14.99||FEB160614||IMA|
|2||STAR WARS LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK: THE FORCE AWAKENS||$4.99||FEB162187||RAN|
|3||THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 105 SC||$14.95||JAN161934||SAN|
|4||STAR WARS CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA UPDATED EXPANDED HC||$16.99||MAR162015||DK|
|5||FIREFLY DICTIONARY AND PHRASEBOOK HC||$21.95||JAN161711||RAN|
|6||NARUTO: SAKURA STORY SC||$10.99||MAR161867||VIZ|
|7||LEGO DC COMICS SUPER HEROES CHARACTER ENCYCLOPEDIA||$18.99||MAR161976||DK|
|8||CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO FIRST AVENGER HC||$24.99||MAR161964||DK|
|9||STAR TREK: MAD LIBS||$4.99||FEB162184||PUT|
|10||DC SUPER HEROES: MY FIRST BOOK OF GIRL POWER BOARD BOOK||$9.99||SEP148145||POC|
TOP 10 TOYS
|1||BATMAN V SUPERMAN DAWN OF JUSTICE: BATMAN STATUE||AUG150303||DC|
|2||GHOSTBUSTERS SELECT SERIES 2 ACTION FIGURES||JAN162250||DST|
|3||MOVIE REALIZATION STAR WARS: TEPPO ASHIGARU SANDTROOPER ACTION FIGURES||JUL158518||BLU|
|4||HATSUNE MIKU PLAY ARTS KAI: TETSUYA FIGURE||SEP152434||SQU|
|5||DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS: THE JOKER & HARLEY QUINN STATUE 2ND EDITION||AUG150309||DC|
|6||POP! STAR WARS: RANCOR WITH LUKE & SLAVE OOLA 3-PACK||SEP158902||FUN|
|7||MARVEL SELECT: DEADPOOL ACTION FIGURE||MAR101468||DST|
|8||MARVEL SELECT: BLACK WIDOW ACTION FIGURE||SEP118154||DST|
|9||GHOSTBUSTERS SELECT SERIES 1 ACTION FIGURES||MAY152168||DST|
|10||BATMAN PREMIUM COLLECTION: MAD LOVE HARLEY QUINN STATUE||JUL158013||DST|
TOP 10 GAMES
|1||MARVEL HEROCLIX: UNCANNY X-MEN BOOSTER BRICK||MAR162746||NEC|
|2||TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES HEROCLIX||JAN162805||NEC|
|3||SHADOWS OVER CAMELOT||FEB054009||DAY|
|5||MARVEL HEROCLIX: CAPTAIN AMERICA CIVIL WAR||FEB162982||NEC|
|6||MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: SHADOWS OVER INNISTRAD BOOSTERS||FEB162979||WIZ|
|7||DC HEROCLIX: BATMAN ARKHAM ORIGINS QUICK START KIT||JAN160053||NEC|
|9||TICKET TO RIDE||MAR043750||DOW|
|10||DC DICE MASTERS: WORLDS FINEST||JAN162799||NEC|
How does Diamond calculate the charts? It all starts at the comic book shop.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.