April sales were definitely a pick-me-up for the comics industry. Even the sedate industry news site ICv2 used the blurb “Comics and Graphic Novel Sales Surge”
April was the first up month since May of last year (see “Good News for Comics Market, But…“), which in turn was the only up month in all of 2016. Things started to look better in March, which had sales fairly typical for flat comps in a five to four week comparison (see “Q1 Comic Sales Down Around 9%“). These trends reflect our reporting on comic retailer sentiment earlier this year (see “Cautious Optimism in Comic Stores“).
Year-to-date sales improved substantially as a result of the strong April. Comics and graphic novel sales through the first four months of 2018 were down 3.97%, with comics down 1.51% and graphic novels down 9.68%
Ther rest of ICV2’s sales analysis and numbers for April can be found here
Action #1000 shipped nearly 450,000 copies to North America in the month; first-week May reorders and British copies would easily bring it to DC’s reported 500,000 level. Amazing Spider-Man #798 vaulted to 233,000 copies. There were six comics above 100,000, most we’ve seen in a while.
Lastly, we find that the number of comics sold in the Top 300 in April this year exists within a very narrow range with that sold in past Aprils from 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago:
TOTAL SALES OF COMIC BOOKS IN
DIAMOND’S TOP 300
April 1998: 7.0 million copies
April 2003: 6.0 million copies
April 2008: 6.7 million copies
April 2013: 6.8 million copies
April 2017: 6.5 million copies
April 2018: 6.8 million copiesA sign of enduring stability in the category, and a counterpoint to narratives that call into question the viability of the periodical.
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.