Now it’s Marvel’s turn for the June sales distribution chart.
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? Its 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.
As we’ve talked about before, Marvel’s sales are oriented toward stunts and gimmicks. Event comics and #1 issues that have high numbers of variant covers with higher minimum orders and don’t really have any bearing on ongoing sales. So the following three charts are: total sales; sales of Event comics (issues with “Secret Empire” or “Venomverse) in the title) and #1s; ongoing titles without #1s (although I’ll include annuals here).
Good News: No, really – there’s good news in these charts. The best news is that in each chart, there are more issues in the 20K-29K sales band than the 10K-19K sales band. That’s progress. You’d rather see that bump in a higher band, but I think most people will take what they can get right now. When you add in the stunts, they actually fill out the top list. DC is not able to do that right now. And while it’s early, Marvel had two ongoing title launches that look like they might have some legs: Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man and Darth Vader. Star Wars (the closest thing Marvel has to Batman) is still over 70K, if only just. The top of the mid-list – that 50K-59K band, Old Man Logan and Amazing Spider-Man are outpacing Detective Comics and The Flash for that tier 2 market. It could be worse.
Bad News: You take out the stunts and those are not great numbers. Far too many titles that are going to be special order/pull list only for a lot of shops. X-Men Blue/Gold might be fading, but let’s give that another month. Secret Empire down to ~87.7K with #5, so you wonder how low it will finish: another bad pattern with Marvel Events that seems intact. We are in a historically fallow period for Marvel’s ongoing single issue sales and they’ve got a long way to go.
Next up: Image and the Independents
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.