It’s time to take a look at the sales distribution charts of Image and the other independent publishers for October.
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 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 ~4185 in October, 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.
Seems like a slightly slow month for Image. Walking Dead is still in rare air at a bit over 64K. Saga drops about 175 copies below the 40K mark. Only 3 titles in the 20K-29K band and 5 titles what finished between 9K and 9.9K that shift the bands down a little bit. Standard attrition strikes again?
And a somewhat similar picture with the rest of the independent publishers. Dynamite scores big with the first issue of The Shadow/Batman coming in at just under 39K. People like to buy Batman, so you expect to see those kind of numbers there. The only other title over 20K is the debut issue of IDW’s Star Wars Adventures at ~23.7K. Standard attrition finally drags Neil Gaiman’s American Gods under the 20K barrier (~19.7K) with issue #8. It’s rare to see the indies over 20K outside of a debut issue and that lasted 7 issues.
The highest creator-owned comic of the month outside of Image? Depending on your definition of TMNT (in a sense, licensed to its co-creator) at ~14.8K or Sherlock Frankenstein & The Legion of Evil #1 at Dark Horse with ~13.5K. Lady Mechanika comes in 2nd/3rd this month with ~12.5K for issue #3.
And that’s what it looks like if you group the Image titles in with the rest of the indies. On the whole, just a little quieter than previous months.
Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work? Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics