by David Carter

WD 154Greetings, sales charts fans! It’s time once again to look at Image Comics’s sales figures.

Just a reminder that I’m not doing this as a permanent gig; just filling in until Heidi finds someone to take on the indy month-to-month chart. Although that keeps looking less and less likely with each passing month, so y’all might be stuck with me for a while…

Please refer to July 2015’s column for a preamble and explanation as to why sales standards for Image books are likely to be different than those for DC or Marvel.

Image shipped only 41 comics in May, compared to 51 comics in April, 52 comics in March, 50 comics in February, 56 comics in January, 67 comics in December, 62 in November, 55 in October and 73 in September. Of those 41 comics, 17 did not place in Diamond’s Top 300, and another 11 placed below the 10K mark.

Warning: The commentary below may contain reasoned analysis, speculation (unfounded and otherwise), opinion, and/or snark. Those looking for a more straightforward analysis are directed to John Jackson Miller’s excellent Comichron analysis, posted earlier this month over at Comichron!

Please consider the fine print at the end of the column. Thanks to Milton Griepp and ICv2.com for the permission to use their figures. An overview of ICv2.com’s estimates can be found here.

(Note that the percentage comparisons are done with total orders including reorder activity, as opposed to initial orders.)


13 - THE WALKING DEAD ($2.99)
05/2006: --
05/2011: The Walking Dead #85  --  37,552 
05/2012: The Walking Dead #97  --  53,733  [60,175]
05/2012: The Walking Dead #98  --  49,974  [60,699]
05/2013: The Walking Dead #110 --  76,455 
05/2014: The Walking Dead #127 --  71,352  [84,593]
-----------------------------------------
05/2015: The Walking Dead #141 --  68,931 (+  4.5%) [69,970]
06/2015: The Walking Dead #142 --  68,221 (-  1.3%) [69,079]
06/2015: The Walking Dead #143 --  67,989 (+  0.4%) [69,325]
07/2015: The Walking Dead #144 --  79,496 (+ 15.2%) [79,882]
08/2015: The Walking Dead #145 --  82,792 (+  4.7%) [83,671]
09/2015: The Walking Dead #146 --  69,006 (- 16.6%) [69,799]
10/2015: The Walking Dead #147 --  67,056 (-  2.6%) [68,007]
11/2015: The Walking Dead #148 --  65,526 (-  2.3%) [66,446]
12/2015: The Walking Dead #149 --  65,406 (-  1.6%) 
01/2016: The Walking Dead #150 -- 156,166 (+138.8%) 
02/2016: The Walking Dead #151 --  67,381 (- 59.6%) 
03/2016: The Walking Dead #152 --  67,258 (-  0.2%) 
04/2016: The Walking Dead #153 --  67,358 (+  0.1%) 
05/2016: The Walking Dead #154 --  68,922 (+  2.3%) 
-----------------
6 months: +  3.7%
1 year  : -  1.5%
2 years : - 18.5%
5 years : + 83.5%
10 years:    n.a.

Yup, Walking Dead is still the top Image title. It rises some again in May, still within normal parameters.

86 - TOKYO GHOST ($3.99)
09/2015: Tokyo Ghost #1 -- 39,682           [44,296]
10/2015: Tokyo Ghost #2 -- 27,688 (- 32.8%) [29,770]
11/2015: Tokyo Ghost #3 -- 25,198 (- 15.4%) 
12/2015: Tokyo Ghost #4 -- 24,133 (-  4.2%) 
01/2016: Tokyo Ghost #5 -- 22,724 (-  5.8%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: Tokyo Ghost #6 -- 22,231 (-  2.2%) 
05/2016: Tokyo Ghost #7 -- 21,487 (-  3.3%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 14.7%

Saga is back on hiatus, so there’s a fairly sizable gap between Image’s #1 & #2 books. Not that Tokyo Ghost has anything to be ashamed of, as 21K is still very good by Image economics.

92 - MONSTRESS ($3.99)
11/2015: Monstress #1 -- 33,045           [36,876]
12/2015: Monstress #2 -- 23,367 (- 36.6%) 
01/2016: Monstress #3 -- 22,945 (-  1.8%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: Monstress #4 -- 22,406 (-  2.3%) 
04/2016: Monstress #5 -- 21,820 (-  2.6%) 
05/2016: Monstress #6 -- 20,850 (-  4.4%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 43.5%

Final issue of first story arc; resumes in September.

110 - EAST OF WEST ($3.50)
05/2013: --
05/2014: --
-----------------------------------
05/2015: East of West #19 -- 22,482 (-  2.6%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: -- 
08/2015: East of West #20 -- 21,778 (-  3.1%) 
09/2015: -- 
10/2015: East of West #21 -- 21,075 (-  3.2%) 
11/2015: -- 
12/2015: East of West #22 -- 19,867 (-  5.7%) 
12/2015: East of West #23 -- 19,184 (-  3.4%) 
01/2016: East of West #24 -- 18,460 (-  3.8%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: East of West #25 -- 19,297 (+  4.5%) 
05/2016: East of West #26 -- 17,645 (-  8.6%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 21.5%
2 years :    n.a.

The biggish drop is because issue #25 had a variant.

118 - THE WICKED + THE DIVINE ($3.50)
05/2015: Wicked + Divine #10 -- 20,562 (+  1.0%)
06/2015: Wicked + Divine #11 -- 20,579 (+  0.1%) 
07/2015: Wicked + Divine #12 -- 20,335 (-  1.2%) 
08/2015: Wicked + Divine #13 -- 20,161 (-  1.2%) 
09/2015: Wicked + Divine #14 -- 20,706 (+  2.7%) 
10/2015: Wicked + Divine #15 -- 20,154 (-  2.7%) 
11/2015: Wicked + Divine #16 -- 19,360 (-  3.9%) 
12/2015: Wicked + Divine #17 -- 18,479 (-  4.6%) 
01/2016: --
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: Wicked + Divine #18 -- 17,722 (-  4.1%) 
05/2016: Wicked + Divine #19 -- 16,929 (-  4.4%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 12.6%
1 year  : - 17.7%

These drops as of late are a bit of a head-scratcher. W+D held steady at 20K for so long, but as of late it’s losing a bit under 1K copies per month. Has standard attrition taken hold? Are readers converting to trades or digital? Or is something else going on?

128 - SPAWN ($2.99)
05/2006: Spawn #156      -- 27,017
05/2011: Spawn #207      -- 14,796 
05/2012: Spawn #219      -- 12,804 
05/2013: Spawn #231      -- 16,502  
05/2014: Spawn #243      -- 11,714 
----------------------------------
05/2015: Spawn #252      -- 15,904 (-  8.8%)
06/2015: Spawn #253      -- 15,993 (+  0.6%) 
07/2015: Spawn #254      -- 15,421 (-  3.6%) 
08/2015: Spawn #255      -- 15,717 (+  1.9%) 
09/2015: Spawn #256      -- 15,087 (-  4.0%) 
10/2015: Spawn #257      -- 15,266 (+  1.2%) 
11/2015: Spawn #258      -- 15,163 (-  0.7%) 
12/2015: Spawn #259      -- 16,906 (+ 11.5%) 
01/2016: -- 
02/2016: Spawn #260      -- 17,877 (+  5.7%) 
02/2016: Spawn #261      -- 16,949 (-  5.2%) 
03/2016: --
04/2016: Spawn #262      -- 18,775 (+ 10.8%) 
05/2016: Spawn #263      -- 16,109 (- 14.2%) 
-----------------
6 months: +  6.2%
1 year  : +  1.3%
2 years : + 37.5%
5 years : +  8.9%
10 years: - 40.4%

Last month’s mystery gain disappears just as mysteriously.

134 - SOUTHERN BASTARDS ($3.50)
05/2014: Southern Bastards #2  -- 25,811  [29,448] 
----------------------------------------
05/2015: --
06/2015: Southern Bastards #9  -- 18,327 (+  4.9%) 
07/2015: Southern Bastards #10 -- 25,741 (+ 40.5%) 
08/2015: --
09/2015: --
10/2015: Southern Bastards #11 -- 17,306 (- 32.8%) 
11/2015: Southern Bastards #12 -- 16,681 (-  3.6%) 
12/2015: --
01/2016: Southern Bastards #13 -- 15,627 (-  6.3%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: --
05/2016: Southern Bastards #14 -- 15,437 (-  1.2%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  7.5%
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years : - 47.8%

Returns from its three month hiatus none the worse for the wear.

144 - RENATO JONES: THE ONE % ($3.50)
05/2016: One Percent #1  -- 14,857

This seems to be the level that new Image series tend to debut at? (See also The Fix last month.) Retailers seem to be a bit more conservative in their new Image title ordering these days, unless there’s a big name attached (e.g. Vaughan, Kirkman, Millar).

164 - RAT QUEENS ($3.99)
05/2014: --
---------------------------------
05/2015: --
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: -- 
08/2015: Rat Queens #11 -- 14,271 (+  0.3%) 
09/2015: Rat Queens #12 -- 13,615 (-  4.6%) 
10/2015: -- 
11/2015: Rat Queens #13 -- 13,075 (-  4.0%) 
12/2015: Rat Queens #14 -- 12,468 (-  4.6%) 
01/2016: --
02/2016: --
03/2016: Rat Queens #15 -- 11,997 (-  3.8%)
04/2016: --
05/2016: Rat Queens #16 -- 12,092 (+  0.8%)
-----------------
6 months: -  7.5%
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years :    n.a.

166 - INVINCIBLE ($2.99)
05/2006: Invincible #31  -- 12,056
05/2011: -- 
05/2012: Invincible #91  -- 14,556
05/2013: -- 
05/2014: Invincible #111 -- 18,440
----------------------------------
05/2015: Invincible #120 -- 13,191 (-  2.2%)
06/2015: -- 
07/2015: Invincible #121 -- 13,075 (-  0.9%) 
08/2015: Invincible #122 -- 13,001 (-  0.6%) 
09/2015: Invincible #123 -- 12,758 (-  1.9%) 
10/2015: Invincible #124 -- 13,186 (+  3.4%) 
11/2015: Invincible #125 -- 12,561 (-  4.7%) 
12/2015: Invincible #126 -- 12,436 (-  1.0%) 
01/2016: --
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: Invincible #127 -- 12,038 (-  3.2%) 
05/2016: Invincible #128 -- 11,982 (-  0.5%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  8.7%
1 year  : - 10.8%
2 years : -  4.1%
5 years : - 22.6%
10 years: -  0.1%

177 - JUPITER'S CIRCLE ($3.50)
05/2013: --
05/2014: --
--------------------------------------
05/2015: Jupiter's Circle #2 -- 24,499 (- 24.7%)
06/2015: Jupiter's Circle #3 -- 21,287 (- 13.1%) 
07/2015: Jupiter's Circle #4 -- 19,522 (-  8.3%) 
08/2015: Jupiter's Circle #5 -- 18,889 (-  3.2%) 
09/2015: Jupiter's Circle #6 -- 18,732 (-  0.8%) 
10/2015: --
11/2015: Jupiter's Crc v2 #1 -- 18,175 (-  3.0%)
12/2015: Jupiter's Crc v2 #2 -- 15,719 (- 13.5%)
01/2016: Jupiter's Crc v2 #3 -- 14,631 (-  6.9%)
02/2016: -- 
03/2016: Jupiter's Crc v2 #4 -- 13,726 (-  6.2%)
04/2016: Jupiter's Crc v2 #5 -- 13,418 (-  2.2%)
05/2016: Jupiter's Crc v2 #6 -- 11,177 (- 16.7%)
-----------------
6 months: - 38.5%
1 year  : - 54.4%
2 years :    n.a.

JC2 #6 lost a variant cover. Not lost as in only two covers were solicited instead of three, but rather as far as I can tell three covers were solicited but any placed for the Quitely variant were just cancelled and not replaced at all. Which would totally explain the 2K drop for the final issue of volume 2.

186 - THE FIX ($3.99)
04/2016: The Fix #1  -- 14,959 
05/2016: The Fix #2  -- 10,433 (- 30.3%)

That’s a typical 2nd issue drop. However, to date there have been four printings of issue #1, three of issue #2, and two of issue #3. So overall demand is stronger than initial orders would indicate.

189 - BLACK ROAD ($3.99)
04/2016: Black Road #1  -- 16,572 
05/2016: Black Road #2  -- 10,131 (- 38.9%)

There was also a 2nd printing of the first issue here.

All of these extra printings aren’t showing up on the top 300 chart, which means that they’re coming in at under 5K. But at 3-4K each that would indicate a significant increase at this level. And unless there are many of these printings it is unlikely that they’ll grow to the near-30K threshold for the year-end chart, so we may never know exactly how many copies these titles sell.

191 - 3 FLOYDS: ALPHA KINGS ($3.99)
05/2016: 3F Alpha Kings #1  -- 10,055

New series from Nick Floyd & Simon Bisley.

194 - MANIFEST DESTINY ($2.99)
05/2014: --
---------------------------------------
05/2015: --
06/2015: Manifest Destiny #15 -- 11,389 (-  2.8%) 
07/2015: -- 
08/2015: Manifest Destiny #16 -- 10,986 (-  3.5%) 
09/2015: Manifest Destiny #17 -- 10,748 (-  2.2%) 
10/2015: Manifest Destiny #18 -- 10,503 (-  2.3%) 
11/2015: -- 
12/2015: -- 
01/2016: -- 
02/2016: -- 
03/2016: -- 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Manifest Destiny #19 --  9,900 (-  5.7%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years :    n.a.

If, like me, you thought that this series was never coming back, then, like me, you were wrong.

199 - THE BEAUTY ($3.99)
08/2015: The Beauty #1  -- 25,245
09/2015: The Beauty #2  -- 17,337 (- 31.3%)
10/2015: The Beauty #3  -- 14,935 (- 13.9%)
11/2015: The Beauty #4  -- 13,369 (- 10.5%)
12/2015: The Beauty #5  -- 11,514 (- 13.9%)
01/2016: The Beauty #6  -- 10,595 (-  8.0%)
02/2016: -- 
03/2016: -- 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: The Beauty #7  --  9,178 (- 13.4%)
-----------------
6 months: - 31.3%

201 - THE DISCIPLINE ($2.99)
03/2016: Discipline #1  -- 20,221
04/2016: Discipline #2  -- 10,288 (- 49.1%)
05/2016: Discipline #3  --  9,161 (- 11.0%)

203 - NAILBITER ($2.99)
05/2014: Nailbiter #1  -- 22,746
--------------------------------
05/2015: Nailbiter #12 -- 10,688 (- 16.9%)
06/2015: Nailbiter #13 -- 10,456 (-  2.2%) 
07/2015: Nailbiter #14 -- 10,130 (-  3.1%) 
08/2015: Nailbiter #15 --  9,934 (-  1.9%) 
09/2015: --
10/2015: Nailbiter #16 --  9,719 (-  2.2%) 
11/2015: Nailbiter #17 --  9,333 (-  4.0%) 
12/2015: Nailbiter #18 --  8,853 (-  5.1%) 
01/2016: Nailbiter #19 --  8,464 (-  4.4%) 
02/2016: Nailbiter #20 --  8,368 (-  1.1%) 
03/2016: -- 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Nailbiter #21 --  8,196 (-  2.1%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 12.2%
1 year  : - 23.3%
2 years : - 64.0%

228 - CRY HAVOC ($3.99)
01/2016: Cry Havoc #1 -- 20,677 
02/2016: Cry Havoc #2 --  9,692 (- 53.1%) 
03/2016: Cry Havoc #3 --  7,813 (- 19.4%) 
04/2016: Cry Havoc #4 --  7,771 (-  0.5%) 
04/2016: Cry Havoc #5 --  7,457 (-  4.0%)

234 - GRIZZLY SHARK ($3.99)
04/2016: Grizzly Shark #1 of 3 -- 10,221 
05/2016: Grizzly Shark #2 of 3 --  7,353 (- 28.1%)

272 - REVIVAL ($3.99)
05/2013: Revival #10 -- 16,314 
05/2014: Revival #20 -- 10,341 
------------------------------
05/2015: --
06/2015: Revival #30 --  7,545 (-  3.1%) 
07/2015: Revival #31 --  7,337 (-  2.8%) 
08/2015: Revival #32 --  7,019 (-  4.3%) 
09/2015: Revival #33 --  6,824 (-  2.8%) 
10/2015: Revival #34 --  6,921 (+  1.4%) 
11/2015: --
12/2015: Revival #35 --  6,510 (-  5.9%) 
01/2016: Revival #36 --  6,182 (-  5.0%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: Revival #37 --  5,987 (-  3.2%) 
03/2016: Revival #38 --  5,826 (-  2.7%) 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Revival #39 --  5,826 (-  1.1%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years : - 43.7%

275 - WOLF ($3.50)
07/2015: Wolf #1  -- 18,864  
08/2015: Wolf #2  -- 12,898 (- 31.6%)  
09/2015: Wolf #3  -- 10,305 (- 20.1%)  
10/2015: Wolf #4  --  8,580 (- 16.7%)  
11/2015: -- 
12/2015: -- 
01/2016: Wolf #5  --  6,752 (- 21.3%)
02/2016: Wolf #6  --  6,098 (-  9.7%)
03/2016: -- 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Wolf #7  --  5,608 (-  8.0%)
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.

277 - ISLAND ($7.99)
07/2015: Island #1  -- 16,677  
08/2015: Island #2  -- 11,092 (- 33.5%)  
09/2015: Island #3  -- 10,083 (-  9.1%)  
10/2015: Island #4  --  7,553 (- 25.1%)  
11/2015: -- 
12/2015: Island #5  --  6,422 (- 15.0%)  
01/2016: Island #6  --  5,764 (- 10.2%)  
02/2016: -- 
03/2016: -- 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Island #7  --  5,503 (-  4.5%)  
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.

291 - SNOWFALL ($3.99)
02/2016: Snowfall #1  -- 17,195 
03/2016: Snowfall #2  --  7,595 (- 55.8%) 
04/2016: Snowfall #3  --  6,144 (- 19.1%) 
05/2016: Snowfall #4  --  5,142 (- 16.3%)

299 - THE LEGACY OF LUTHER STRODE ($3.50)
05/2015: --
06/2015: Legacy #2 --  7,601 (- 31.4%)
07/2015: -- 
08/2015: -- 
09/2015: Legacy #3 --  6,919 (-  9.0%)
10/2015: -- 
11/2015: -- 
12/2015: -- 
01/2016: Legacy #4 --  5,467 (- 21.0%)
02/2016: --
03/2016: Legacy #5 --  5,290 (-  3.2%)
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Legacy #6 --  5,015 (-  5.2%)
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.

Image titles shipping but not making the Top 300 in May include: Aloha Hawaiian Dick, Circuit Breaker, Dream Police, Drifter, Elephantmen, The Empty Zone, Faster Than Light, Mirror, Pencil Head, Prophet: Earth War, Saints, Sex, Shutter, Sons of the Devil, Stray Bullets, Think Tank: Creative Destruction, The Violent.

Note that this doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them are in danger of being cancelled; there are many reasons that the creators of these books may desire to keep them going.


The Fine Print (Disclaimers, et cetera)

The numbers above are estimates for comic-book sales in the North American direct market, as calculated by ICv2.com according to the chart and index information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors.

ICv2.com’s estimates are somewhat lower than the actual numbers, but they are consistent from month to month, so the trends they show are fairly accurate. Since it’s a “month-to-month” column, the comments, unless otherwise noted, are on the most recent month.

Bear in mind that the figures measure sales of physical comics to retailers, not customers. Also, these numbers do not include sales to bookstores, newsstands, other mass-market retail chains or the United Kingdom. Re-orders are included, so long as they either reached stores in a book’s initial calendar month of release or were strong enough to make the chart again in a subsequent month. Keep in mind that sales for some titles may include incentives to acquire variants and not every unit sold is necessarily even intended to be sold to a customer.

If additional copies of an issue did appear on the chart after a book’s initial calendar month of release, you can see the total number of copies sold in brackets behind those issues (e.g. “[36,599]”). Should more than one issue have shipped in a month which is relevant for one of the long-term comparisons, the average between them will be used.

Titles which are returnable have their numbers artificially adjusted down by Diamond. To make up for that this column increases the reported numbers for those titles by 10%. Which is likely also wrong, but it’s a different and likely less wrong kind of wrong, and experience has shown that this leads to sales figures which are more consistent.

Please keep in mind that raw sales numbers do not tell us about how profitable a book is for a publisher or for the creators.

Above all, do not allow sales numbers to dictate your purchasing and enjoyment of a particular comic. If you enjoy reading a comic series then go right on buying and reading that comic, no matter what the sales figures say.

Opinions expressed in this column are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, Heidi MacDonald or anyone at The Comics Beat, the Association for Professional Basketball Research, or my former neighbor’s dog Miles.

The author of this column does weekly snapshots of Amazon comic sales charts at http://yetanothercomicsblog.blogspot.com/ and tweets about comics and related subjects on Twitter at @davereadscomics (PM me there is you need to contact me).

As always, we welcome your comments and corrections below. Please try to keep things civilized.

Comments

  1. PreacherCain says

    The Fix is one of the best comics being published today. Hilarious script, great innovative art, it’s a joy to read every month.

    I’ve gone off the Wicked and the Divine. It started off intriguing enough but it’s degenerated into a fairly typical superhero-esque story. I was hoping it would transcend it’s genre trappings rather than be engulfed by them. McKelvie’s art is lovely and all but the whole project feels a bit ‘been there, done that’ for me. I appreciate it’s inclusiveness and diversity but ultimately the story lacks any real bite. Something similar is happening with Sex Criminals too. The story is key, every thing else is just (very pretty) window dressing. Just my two cents, other opinions may differ.

    I see people still don’t understand that Stray Bullets is one of the best comics published over the last 20 years. Jump on the bandwagon, people!!

  2. Al says

    Wicked & Divine drop of really story isnt going anywhere and has become a chore to read. Revival is another book used to love but looks like has no direction. Dont know if its due to they are writing for TPBs but reading alot of Image right now in a issue format really doesnt work for me

  3. Abazas says

    @Al
    Revival will end next year. Also its artist Mike Norton has loads of work lately.

  4. Steve says

    Yeah, I was surprised (and disappointed) that there was no Quitely cover for the last issue of Jupiter’s Circle — considering I bought his variant covers for the *other 5 issues*. I wonder who dropped the ball on that one?

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