Sales Charts: DC shrinks the gap as comics sales send mixed messages

Saga Volume 6.jpg

Diamond just released their June sales figures with quarter-to-quarter  comparisons as well as the regular month to month. June 2016 was up an insane amount over May, but June, brief as it is,  was a five week month as compared to May’s four. Year to year comparisons are also skewed as June 2015 was a four week month.

However, DC’s Rebirth relaunch shrank the gap with Marvel a bit, down to 11 points in dollars and 13 in units from 13 in dollars and 18 in units in May. While the Rebirth titles took 5 of the top 10 spots, Marvel has the top book with Civil War II. 

Saga Volume #6 was the top GN and doubtless helped a bit with that inaccurate but still stunning 49% rise in graphic novel units from last month. Even an extra week wouldn’t add that many sales.

More interesting are the quarter-to-quarter rankings. After a flat first quarter, sales are up, however units are still lagging. While GN sales are flat, periodical sales are down about 8% (I’m rounding here) in both year-t-date and 2Q 2015 to 2Q 2016. Dollar drops are only in the 4% range, so higher cover prices are being felt.

This isn’t the WORST sales report, but it isn’t the best either. I think we’re in a “refractory period” and it’s up to Marvel New (again) and Rebirth to make gains and shore things up. Also we need to get through the current period of comics culture wars to see where things land.

PS: DC’s first Super Hero Girls graphic novel was the #4 book for the month. IN COMICS SHOPS. How times change. Can you imagine how bad sales would be if comics were still read by only half the population?

UPDATE: Well John Jackson Miller says this is the biggest month for sales in 20 years: However, that’s in DOLLARS only not units.

The dual releases of Civil War II from Marvel and many of DC‘s Rebirth titles drove comic shop retailers to order a modern record $58.59 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in June 2016, according to Comichron‘s analysis of charts released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. The single month’s orders nearly eclipsed last June’s by nearly $10 million and nearly erased the Direct Market’s losses to date through 2016. Comics shop market orders for the year stand at about $280 million, versus $282 million in the first half of 2015.

Marvel’s Civil War II #1 led the new comics charts, and by the increase in comics unit sales this month — nearly 20% — we can expect that a large number, if not all, of the top 10 titles may wind up over 100,000 copies. By placing ahead of DC’s Batman #1 at $2.99, the $5.99 Civil War II issue is further expected to bring in more than twice the revenue.

The aggregate sales figures for the month show a 23% increase in comics dollars and a 14% increase in graphic novel dollars, netting out to a 20% increase overall:

DOLLARS UNITS
June 2016 vs. May 2016
Comics 34.90% 37.59%
Graphic Novels 25.16% 49.68%
Total Comics/GN 31.77% 38.59%
June 2016 vs. June 2015
Comics 23.06% 19.75%
Graphic Novels 14.37% 17.55%
Total Comics/GN 20.26% 19.55%
Year-To-Date 2016 vs. Year-To-Date 2015
Comics -3.84% -8.38%
Graphic Novels 6.58% 6.30%
Total Comics/GN -0.73% -7.26%
Second Quarter 2016 vs. First Quarter 2016
Comics 18.04% 18.05%
Graphic Novels 12.48% 17.06%
Total Comics/GN 16.22% 17.96%
Second Quarter 2016 vs. Second Quarter 2015
Comics -4.21% -7.71%
Graphic Novels 1.69% 0.80%
Total Comics/GN -2.42% -7.02%
http://bit.ly/CCSaga6

The first quarter of the year was slightly up; the second quarter slightly down, due to weakness in April and May. This June had five shipping weeks versus four last June, and the first half of the year had 26 Wednesdays as opposed to 25 in the first half of 2015.

But while the number of releases in June 2016 was way up — 536 new comics versus 453 last June — the number of comics shipping per week dropped 5%, so it’s not all about the volume. The second quarter of 2015 was very strong, as was last June; the third quarter last year was weaker. Leading into this year’s third quarter with momentum, thus, may bode well for the rest of 2016’s comparatives.

 

 

dollar-shareunit-share

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS 40.08% 44.17%
DC ENTERTAINMENT 29.93% 31.69%
IMAGE COMICS 7.88% 7.64%
IDW PUBLISHING 5.22% 4.15%
DARK HORSE COMICS 2.81% 1.76%
BOOM! STUDIOS 2.23% 2.18%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 1.45% 1.17%
TITAN COMICS 1.09% 1.07%
VIZ MEDIA 0.97% 0.34%
VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC 0.75% 0.84%
OTHER NON-TOP 10 7.58% 5.00%

 


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

  DOLLARS UNITS
JUNE 2016 VS. MAY 2016
COMICS 34.90% 37.59%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 25.16% 49.68%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 31.77% 38.59%
JUNE 2016 VS. JUNE 2015
COMICS 23.06% 19.75%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 14.37% 17.55%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 20.26% 19.55%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2016 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2015
COMICS -3.84% -8.38%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 6.58% 6.30%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -0.73% -7.26%
SECOND QUARTER 2016 VS. FIRST QUARTER 2016
COMICS 18.04% 18.05%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 12.48% 17.06%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 16.22% 17.96%
SECOND QUARTER 2016 VS. SECOND QUARTER 2015
COMICS -4.21% -7.71%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 1.69% 0.80%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -2.42% -7.02%

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 CIVIL WAR II #1 $5.99 MAR160703-M MAR
2 BATMAN #1 [*] $2.99 APR160286-M DC
3 BATMAN REBIRTH #1 [*] $2.99 APR160284-M DC
4 STAR WARS: HAN SOLO #1 $3.99 APR161034-M MAR
5 CIVIL WAR II #2 $4.99 APR160857-M MAR
6 DARK KNIGHT III: the MASTER RACE #5 $5.99 FEB160127-M DC
7 DARK KNIGHT RETURNS: THE LAST CRUSADE #1 $6.99 DEC150208-M DC
8 SUPERMAN REBIRTH #1 [*] $2.99 APR168695-M DC
9 WONDER WOMAN #1 [*] $2.99 APR160310-M DC
10 SUPERMAN #1 [*] $2.99 APR160278-M DC

 


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 SAGA VOLUME 6 TP (MR) $14.99 MAR160684 IMA
2 DARK NIGHT: A TRUE BATMAN STORY HC (MR) $22.99 FEB160250 DC
3 SEX CRIMINALS VOL. 3: THREE THE HARD WAY TP (MR) $14.99 OCT150608 IMA
4 DC SUPER HERO GIRLS VOL. 1: FINALS CRISIS TP $9.99 APR160322 DC
5 COLOR YOUR OWN YOUNG MARVEL BY SKOTTIE YOUNG TP $9.99 MAR160943 MAR
6 BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE SPECIAL EDITION HC $17.99 NOV070226 DC
7 PREACHER BOOK 1 TP (MR) $19.99 MAR130303 DC
8 OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA VOL. 3: LITTLE LIGHT (MR) $14.99 MAR160681 IMA
9 HARLEY QUINN VOL. 3: KISS KISS BANG STAB TP $16.99 MAR160265 DC
10 NEIL GAIMAN’S HOW TO TALK TO GIRLS AT PARTIES HC $17.99 FEB160019 DAR

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 DANGER GIRL: PERMISSION TO THRILL COLORING BOOK TP $9.99 FEB160415 IDW
2 HARLEY QUINN: WILD CARD SC $5.99 MAR161975 SCH
3 ART OF PAINTED COMICS HC $49.99 AUG120975 DYN
4 THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 107 SC $14.95 MAR162009 SAN
5 DC SUPER HEROES: NEED FRIENDS TOO BOARD BOOK $9.99 APR162230 POC
6 GHOSTBUSTERS: PROTON PACK AND WAND $12.95 APR162245 RUN
7 DC SUPER FRIENDS: HOW TO BE A HERO HANDBOOK HC $9.99 APR162229 RAN
8 ART OF DOUG SNEYD TP $19.99 FEB160040 DAR
9 TOBIN’S SPIRIT GUIDE OFFICIAL GHOSTBUSTERS EDITION HC $19.99 APR162246 PUB
10 S IS FOR SUPER HERO BOARD BOOK $12.99 APR162231 HAC

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 MARVEL GALLERY: LADY DEADPOOL PVC FIGURE FEB162462 DST
2 BATMAN V SUPERMAN: ARMORED BATMAN STATUE SEP150334 DC
3 DC ICONS: HARLEY QUINN FIGURE AUG150314 DC
4 BATMAN ANIMATED: MAD LOVE THE JOKER & HARLEY QUINN 2-PACK AUG150311 DC
5 MARVEL: BLACK PANTHER FINE ART STATUE OCT152484 KOT
6 DC ICONS: SUPERMAN ACTION FIGURE AUG150313 DC
7 BATMAN V SUPERMAN: SUPERMAN STATUE AUG150304 DC
8 MARVEL GALLERY: LADY THOR PVC FIGURE JAN162257 DST
9 DC ICONS: AQUAMAN ACTION FIGURE AUG150315 DC
10 FINAL FANTASY ADVENT CHILDREN PLAY ARTS KAI: CLOUD STRIFE FIGURE SEP148219 SQU

 


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 BACK TO THE FUTURE: ADVENTURES THROUGH TIME BOARD GAME JAN160391 IDW
2 THE X-FILES: THE BOARD GAME MAY142832 IDW
3 STAR TREK FRONTIERS BOARD GAME NOV152847 NEC
4 BACK TO THE FUTURE MONOPOLY JUL152198 DST
5 WIZKIDS HEROCLIX: 2016 GAMING CONVENTION PREMIUM MAP APR163155 NEC
6 WIZKIDS HEROCLIX: 2016 WIZKIDS OFFICE PREMIUM MAP APR163157 NEC
7 WIZKIDS HEROCLIX: 2016 CENTER PLAZA PREMIUM MAP APR163154 NEC
8 WIZKIDS HEROCLIX: 2016 PARKING GARAGE PREMIUM MAP APR163156 NEC
9 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: SHADOWS OVER INNISTRAD BOOSTERS FEB162979 WIZ
10 FINDING DORY: DON’T WAKE GAME JUL158674 BAN

 

Comments

  1. V wiley says

    Still, though, the big two look like they’ve got 70% of the floppie market this month. Not sure that’s a good sign.

  2. says

    Marvel and DC have been over 70% of the new periodical dollars (not dollars overall) every month since 2003. Many months they’ve been over 80%.

    The last time they combined for less than 70% of periodical dollars over a long period coincided with the worst years in the market’s history. Correlation does have something to do with causation here, because a random Marvel or DC comic book tends on average to sell more copies than a random non-Marvel or non-DC comic book.

    (…Which is not a recommendation for only Marvel and DC printing comics! — just a reflection of the fact that when the market leaders are not doing well, there’s also less money in the market for retailers to take chances on new properties. One often-cited example of the rising tide effect: X-Force #1’s 5 million copies probably allowed more retailers to take a chance on Bone #1 than otherwise would have.)

  3. royd_9 says

    So I’m guessing that if we took out the LootCrate effect from the 2015 figures, which inflated units sold by about 1,000,000 copies at least, units would also be more or less even between the two years for the year-to-date figures?

  4. says

    No, periodical units will still be behind some ways. We’re off 8.38% YTD on units, which is about 4 million copies — and Loot Crate only accounted for about 1.3 million or so copies in the first half of 2015. So that only wipes out one third of the gap if we remove it.

    That said, if those estimates are correct, I think we should expect to see the periodical unit sales for June to come in extremely high on Monday. Just not high enough to completely erase the gap.

  5. rick hood says

    The Stats comparing Marvel and DC do not make sense to me. Marvel is up by 10% in dollars and 12.5% in units, and yet they published 154 items compared with DC’s 100 items(comics and graphic novels) in June.
    Dollar volume should always be higher for Marvel, as DC has lowered the price on the superhero comics, I’m really surprised that the units number is so close, given the fact that DC had 1/3 less items to sell. It must be that DC sales numbers are going up?

  6. Glenn Simpson says

    @rick hood – yes, I believe DC sold a tremendous number of comics at that lower price point, with their Rebirth event

  7. says

    Rick, you’re partially seeing the result of many thousands of graphic novels — hardcovers and other big-ticket items — sold at deep discount during the month of June. This amounted to well over a million dollars at full retail — and there’s the reason for the disparity:

    Diamond does a straight piece count on unit sales. So Marvel’s unit share increases. But…

    …Diamond bases its dollar shares on wholesale prices, or what it charged to retailers. Since most of those hardcovers went for next to nothing, they did not help Marvel’s dollar share, and the average wholesale value of the typical Marvel sale decreased.

    So whenever you see a split like this, there is often something going on with discounting.

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