It’s time to take a look at the sales distribution charts of Image and the other independent publishers for July.
Standard disclaimers: The numbers are based on the Diamond sales charts as estimated by the very reliable John Jackson Miller. These charts are pretty accurate for U.S. Direct Market sales with the following caveats: 1) you can add ~10% for UK sales, which are not reflected in these charts; 2) everyone’s best guess is you can add ~10% for digital sale – while some titles do sell significantly better in digital (*cough* Ms. Marvel *cough*), that’s the average rule of thumb; 3) it’s not going to include reorders from subsequent months, although reorders will show up in subsequent months if they’re high enough. So if you’re a monster seller in Southampton and the it took the US audience 3 weeks to reorder, it’s probably not going to be reflected here.
What’s a sales band? It’s another way to have a higher level view of the market. The general idea is to divide the market into bands of 10K copies sold and see how many issues are in each band. How many issues sold between 90-99K copies, 80-89K copies, etc. etc. In very broad terms, the market is healthier when there are several titles selling in the 70K-100K+ range because titles that move a lot of copies give the retailers some margin of error on their ordering. When you see titles selling in the 20-29K band and especially below, there’s a pretty good chance a lot of retailers aren’t ordering those titles for the shelf (pull box/pre-order only) or minimal shelf copies at best.
For the purposes of these sales band charts, we really are looking for titles that are selling 10K and over, so only publishers with an issue that topped 10K will be listed here. There are also going to be plenty of titles/issues that didn’t make the chart, which generally means they sold under ~4435 in July, but some lower selling titles are reported and that’s not a hard and fast rule. The sad fact is, most independent comics sell under 10K and it’s when they cross that line that they really start getting noticed.
Image is down a couple books in that 20K-29K bracket from July and Walking Dead “only” sold ~68K copies according the July estimates, making it the #3 ongoing title behind Batman and Star Wars. It’s still far out ahead of the rest of the indie pack, though.
What’s out ahead for the rest of the independent publishers?
Go Go Power Rangers #1 for Boom! With an estimated ~26K, Neil Gaiman’s American Gods Shadows #5 at 23.8K for Dark Horse and Bettie Page #1 at ~21K for Dynamite. The “regular” Power Rangers was estimated at ~19K for July, so Go Go Power Rangers might hold on to a good chunk of those sales. That’s very healthy debut for Bettie Page.
The highest selling non-Image creator owned comic for July was Lady Mechanika: The Clockwork Assassin by Joe Benitez. Yes, that would be an old fashioned self-published comic. You don’t see as many of these solo efforts anymore, but Lady Mechanika seems to do pretty well when Benitez puts one out. We’ll see where #2 falls on the charts, but those #1 sales would be perfectly respectable at Image.
It’s also worth pointing out an unusual occurrence for Valiant. Secret Weapons #1 shipped in June. To the tune of just under 22K copies by the Comichron estimates. In July, there were just under 11K copies of Secret Weapons #1 shipping. Around 50% of the June orders (extra). How many copies of #2 shipped? Just under 8K. You don’t see the reorders for #1 being higher than the orders on #2, so it’ll be real interesting to see if Secret Weapons #2 shows up on the August charts.
And for market perspective, here’s what it looks like when we put all the indies on the same chart.
And that chart is why it’s Image that gets thrown in for the comparison chart with DC and Marvel.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.