Diamond: Comics sales up 40% from a year ago and DC sells nearly half of them

suicide-squad-1

Great scott! Diamond has been leaking word that sales in August were okay, and now we see why: Not only are they proudly announcing 10.26 million UNITS shipped  – the highest number since 1996 – but in year to year comparisons, August 2016 was up more than 40% from August 2015!  Now granted that’s five weeks vs four weeks but…it’s five GREAT weeks vs four “eh” weeks.

Sales for the year also went positive for the first time, although by a scant 0.14% in units. Unless September is a disaster though, looks like “things are trending to the positive” as the Team Mystic trainer likes to say.

Taking credit for the rebirth – well you’ve got to hand it to DC Comics. Rebirth did just that, giving DC a fantastic 44.59% unit share, led by Harley Quinn #1. Even Supergirl made the top ten. This is not your daddy’s comics industry, youngling. If there is a nagging takeaway from this it’s that all it takes is for one big two publisher to get down in the dumps for a few month to the whole thing to nearly collapse.

Marvel seems to be treading water a bit with Civil War 2 not exactly burning down barns, and a lot of characters no one really cares about leading he Marvel Now! charge. Is Marvel circling the drain? Hardly. Id ont’ think they are in any sense “down in the dumps” either. They face a few challenges but unless you think retailers suddenly hate Marvel, they’ll bounce back with Doctor Strange and the rest of their massive character library along with all those sales to theme parks, mass market retailers and book fairs.

 

Plus, Marvel is doing well in the graphic novel department for a change, with Darth Vader Vol 3 topping the charts and Black Panther Book 1: Nation Under Our Feet putting in a strong showing.

I already linked to John Jackson Miller’s commentary on the month, but I will be curious to see where sales from Image and the rest  of the publishers rank. Although DC had a huge month, I’m guessing sales below held their own or else the number of units shipped wouldn’t have been so massive.

dollar-share.png

unit-share.png

 

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

DC ENTERTAINMENT 39.27% 44.59%
MARVEL COMICS 30.78% 32.11%
IMAGE COMICS 7.66% 7.78%
IDW PUBLISHING 4.92% 3.53%
DARK HORSE COMICS 3.08% 2.28%
BOOM! STUDIOS 1.98% 1.57%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 1.57% 1.14%
TITAN COMICS 1.19% 1.09%
VIZ MEDIA 1.14% 0.41%
ONI PRESS 0.83% 0.55%
OTHER NON-TOP 10 7.58% 4.94%

 


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

  DOLLARS UNITS
AUGUST 2016 VS. JULY 2016
COMICS 13.30% 8.28%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 16.50% 19.21%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 14.13% 8.95%
AUGUST 2016 VS. AUGUST 2015
COMICS 44.58% 44.02%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 5.53% 7.15%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 31.62% 40.77%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2016 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2015
COMICS 2.66% 0.06%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 2.81% 1.10%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 2.71% 0.14%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL

SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS 93 35 0 128
DC ENTERTAINMENT 75 33 1 109
IDW PUBLISHING 53 31 0 84
IMAGE COMICS 52 11 1 64
DARK HORSE COMICS 26 16 0 42
TITAN COMICS 20 10 2 32
BOOM! STUDIOS 22 8 0 30
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 22 6 0 28
VIZ MEDIA 0 24 0 24
ONI PRESS 10 2 0 12
OTHER NON-TOP 10 144 117 24 285

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 HARLEY QUINN #1 [*] $2.99 JUN160218-M DC
2 ALL-STAR BATMAN #1 [*] $4.99 JUN160203-M DC
3 SUICIDE SQUAD #1 [*] $2.99 JUN160230-M DC
4 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #16 $3.99 JUN160844-M MAR
5 SUICIDE SQUAD REBIRTH #1 [*] $2.99 JUN160228-M DC
6 BATMAN #4 [*] $2.99 JUN160242-M DC
7 BATMAN #5 [*] $2.99 JUN160244-M DC
8 JUSTICE LEAGUE #2 [*] $2.99 JUN160266-M DC
9 HARLEY QUINN #2 [*] $2.99 JUN160220-M DC
10 SUPERGIRL REBIRTH #1 [*] $2.99 JUN160226-M DC


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 STAR WARS: DARTH VADER VOL. 3: THE SHU TORUN WAR TP $16.99 MAY160924 MAR
2 BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL EDITION HC $17.99 NOV070226 DC
3 BLACK PANTHER BOOK 1: NATION UNDER OUR FEET TP $16.99 JUN160956 MAR
4 SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL VOL. 1: ISN’T IT BROMANTIC TP $17.99 MAY160926 MAR
5 STAR WARS VOLUME 3: REBEL JAIL TP $19.99 MAY160922 MAR
6 BATMAN/TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES HC $24.99 APR160380 DC
7 SAGA VOLUME 6 TP (MR) $14.99 MAR160684 IMA
8 TEEN TITANS EARTH ONE VOLUME 2 HC $22.99 APR160323 DC
9 HARLEY QUINN BOOK AND MASK SET $34.99 APR160377 DC
10 HARLEY QUINN & THE SUICIDE SQUAD: AN ADULT COLORING BOOK TP $15.99 MAY160307 DC

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 CHILDREN OF LOVECRAFT TP $19.99 APR160081 DAR
2 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES ADULT COLORING BOOK $14.99 MAY162065 RAN
3 ODYC ADULT COLORING BOOK (MR) $14.99 MAY160682 IMA
4 MARVEL: ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW HC $19.99 JUN162060 DK
5 THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 109 SC $14.95 MAY162071 SAN
6 SENSUOUS FRAZETTA SC (MR) $24.95 MAY161913 VAN
7 THE WALKING DEAD ADULT COLORING BOOK (MR) $14.99 FEB160615 IMA
8 ART OF COLORING DISNEY VILLAINS HC $15.99 JUN162067 HAC
9 THE OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE VOL. 46 SC $29.95 APR161669-M GEM
10 YOSHITAKA AMANO: ILLUSTRATIONS SC $19.99 JUN161954 VIZ

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 SUICIDE SQUAD: HARLEY QUINN STATUE JAN160369 DC
2 SUICIDE SQUAD: THE JOKER STATUE JAN160371 DC
3 MARVEL GALLERY: SPIDER-GWEN PVC FIGURE MAR162236 DST
4 MARVEL SELECT: DEADPOOL ACTION FIGURE MAR101468 DST
5 POP! GODZILLA: ATOMIC BREATH GODZILLA 6-INCH FIGURE APR162788 FUN
6 SUICIDE SQUAD: DEADSHOT STATUE JAN160368 DC
7 BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT: HARLEY QUINN II ACTION FIGURE FEB160276 DC
8 DC ICONS: THE JOKER “A DEATH IN THE FAMILY” ACTION FIGURE NOV150323 DC
9 X-MEN LEGENDS 6-INCH ACTION FIGURES APR168678 HAS
10 DC COMICS BOMBSHELLS: POWER GIRL & SUPERMAN STATUE JAN160372 DC

 


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 MARVEL HEROCLIX: SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN BOOSTER BRICK MAY163107 NEC
2 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: ELDRITCH MOON BOOSTER PACKS MAY163104 WIZ
3 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: ELDRITCH MOON FAT PACK MAY163105 WIZ
4 FINDING DORY: DON’T WAKE GAME JUL158674 BAN
5 4D CITYSCAPE: GAME OF THRONES: WESTEROS PUZZLE AUG132098 4D
6 MARVEL HEROCLIX: SUPERIOR FOES OF SPIDER-MAN
FAST FORCES 6-PACK
MAY163109 NEC
7 MACHI KORO CARD GAME MAY142831 IDW
8 DEADPOOL BATTLE YAHTZEE JUN163093 USA
9 MUNCHKIN MARVEL UNIVERSE 2: MYSTIC MAYHEM MAY163102 PSI
10 YU-GI-OH! TCG: DARK SIDE OF DIMENSIONS MOVIE BOOSTER PACKS MAY168708 KON

 

Comments

  1. Torsten Adair says

    An interesting note about Marvel’s Civil War…
    A major character, one of the original members of the Avengers, was killed, and there was almost no reaction from regular media.

    Darth was on the New York Times bestseller week for one week, charting below “March”.

  2. Simon says

    Aren’t most of those REBIRTH issues returnable?

    And thus vastly inflating numbers shipped vs. numbers sold?

    Meaning months before hard numbers based on sell-through?

    How come this isn’t adressed in your chirpy narrative?

  3. Iain Mackenzie says

    She’s chirpy because this is how it’s done each month so it’s comparable accross time. So any overstating of numbers, if it exists, happens *every* time.

    Am I correct that Dark Horse is way down in unit sales and dollars share?

  4. Nick says

    Simon, Iain is exactly right. Diamond always reports returnable comic issues in a reduced account and note the issue with an asterisk on their full monthly rundown. John Jackson Miller and other industry analysts estimate this reduction of reported sales to comic stores about 10 to 20 percent of sales. Miller recently posted some research on this site which showed that many returnable books actually sell around the full number of shipped issues one the year’s numbers are finalized. This is because retailers with extras sell them over time, trade with stores who need extra copies, or because returned copies are offset by 2nd or more printings. So there is good reason to believe that the Rebirth orders by comic shops will be sold to readers the same as any other comic would. As to why DC offered so many books as returnable, they had to in order to get retailers to take a risk on ordering their books again. Many retailers have reported that they were hardly selling any DC books this last year. Presumably standard sales attrition will occur to the DC titles over time as readers move to other titles or figure out which books they don’t like, but DC used returnability to encourage a risk free expansion of their market share and to reach more potential readers. Even with returns, Rebirth is undoubtedly a better sales expansion for DC than the New 52 was. The market for comic books is much better than 5 years ago. Thankfully all publishers are benefiting from the expanding market.

    As to other marketing gimmicks and strategies, publishers have many at their disposal (returnability, retailer incentive variants, Loot Crate inclusion, price incentives). Marvel for example uses variant covers to boost sales to retailers especially on first or key issues, with no way of accounting for how many of those issues were sold to readers either. What can be said though, is that retailers have businesses to run and bills to pay. They are not in the habit of wasting money, and any books they buy with the expectation they’ll be able to sell them through to readers. Anything less is wasted money.

  5. Iain Mackenzie says

    Thanks Nick.

    If y’all think the comics industry as regards sales can be depressing, consider the classical music industry. So far in 2016, not a single new music release in the States has sold a hundred copies, physical and downloaded combined. That’s why many of the classical music powerhouses such as ECM are developing all you can hear streaming services.

    (I’m beta testing several of them but for obvious reasons I can’t say which.)

    so I consider the sales for both DC and Marvel to healthy as even ten thousand units is more than enough to cover all their costs if their piece of the pie is roughly the same as the book and music corporations.. Though to be honest, neither needs to be profitable unlike say Dark Horse as they exist in part to mine for video, film and series, and gaming content.

  6. Simon says

    Nick, that “Ignore the asterisks” from Miller was interesting. Makes one wonder why they don’t leverage returnability more, though.

    I think Heidi’s articles could have used something to the tune of, “These numbers include a lot of returnable Rebirth comics, but considering that “Most returnable comics improve on their reported monthly sales figures” (link), one could be cautiously optimistic.”

    Mainstream readers reject Disney-Warner comics because of such impenetrable continuity. Isn’t it meta-amusing that even articles about them could exhibit some of it too? (Mandelbrot would love it!)

    More seriously, isn’t it Hibbs who used to include a boilerplate list of such caveats in his statfests, so that each one could be someone’s first? (Shooter would love it!)

  7. Saber Tooth Tiger Mike says

    There’s no money in being truthful or honest. Heidi, like any industry insider has a vested interest to make things look better than they are, otherwise she’s out of a job, and you, out of a comics blog.

  8. Iain MacKenzie says

    Mike says ‘There’s no money in being truthful or honest.’

    It isn’t that not being truthful or honest, it’s that their success isn’t measured on whether they’re profitable or not, but how well their intellectual content has been used by other divisions of the parent company.

    Somewhere I read that Warner Animation didn’t do a third season of the Young Justice series because the action figure license wasn’t renewed by the company doing those figures and that license fee paid for the costs of producing another season.

    Please note that Cartoon Network is a wholly owned fivision of the Warner Brothers which is where Young Justice aired.

  9. says

    Simon: Where is this” Rebirth was returnable so these numbers are bogus?” narrative coming from?

    DC You was returnable. Convergence was returnable. New 52 was returnable.

    Diamond always UNDERREPORTS numbers on returnable books.

    BUT thanks for the mansplain.

  10. says

    Also, Saber Tooth Tiger MIke, I’ve just about had it with your trolling that’s wasting the time of people who have actual facts at their disposal.

    BTW, talking to ACTUAL PEOPLE in the ACTUAL COMICS INDUSTRY including ACTUAL CREATORS and there are a lot of problems in this business. They are not the ones STTM is talking about!

  11. says

    Saber Tooth Tiger Mike is now officially on a time out. Not because he disagreed with me but because his fact-free postings are clearly designed to troll.

  12. Simon says

    “BUT thanks for the mansplain.”

    Heidi, if you disagree with a frank comment made by one person to another person, do you need to use this word? And isn’t it going to sound like a reverse-sexist personal attack? Whether it’s as a shield or a sword, playing the gender card isn’t helpful.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *