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Dark Horse’s Digital Wing Hits Higher Than Marvel – Comixology Vs. Print Chart for the Week of 1/24


Continuing our look at how the Comixology sales ranks relate to the Diamond print estimates, here’s how things looked last week.

The initial methodology is to compare the current issue on the Comixology top 20 chart (issues pulled the evening of 1/28) with the last issue we have print sales estimates for, usually this is from the Comichron December chart, but some of these Image titles take months off between issues.

The conventional wisdom that’s been handed down over the last few years is that the digital audience has more of less the same reading habits as the Direct Market Print audience.  I’ve had multiple publishers tell me that digital sales of new issues are roughly 10-15% of print sales and the titles more or less have the same proportional popularity in digital as in print.  Maybe a couple titles switch places on the sales ranking list, but largely the same.  The bestsellers on the newsstand were not always the same bestsellers as in the Direct Market, so it doesn’t seem like that should necessarily be the case with digital.  There will be a little bit of mismatch because these are more weekly than monthly ranks and it isn’t clear exactly how Comixology defines the reporting periods, but if you look at comics sales, you learn to live with the data available.

Yes, yes… I’ll go back and run actual numbers from the January estimates when they come out, but we need to start somewhere and broad trends should be somewhat clear.  I’ve added the Diamond sales rank from the previous issue because there were some requests for it, but take it with a grain of salt — particularly with the Image titles that haven’t been out for awhile.  The print sales are a better thing to compare by.

Note: Sex Criminals had 2 different print editions for #20, so I totaled them up and the rank is where the combined sales would fall.

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Doomsday Clock #3 158,603 1
2 Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #4 Digital First Digital First
3 Detective Comics #973 51,727 15
4 Action Comics #996 41,495 29
5 Injustice 2 #42 Digial First Digital First
6 Flash #39 46,881 23
7 Phoenix Ressurection #4 145,057 3
8 Sex Criminals #21 16,533* 132*
9 Avengers #677 33,199 45
10 Hal Jordan & the Green Lantern Corps #37 29,203 57
11 Wonder Woman #39 36,970 39
12 Amazing Spider-Man #794 53,260 13
13 The Wild Storm #11 17,599 115
14 Marvel Two-In-One #2 66,706 8
15 Teen Titans #16 38,745 31
16 X-Men Blue #20 33,283 44
17 Black Panther #169 22,492 92
18 X-Men Blue Annual #1 N/A N/A
19 Monstress #13 16,480 146
20 Southern Bastards #19 13,429 149

So what are we seeing here?  Doomsday Clock is the top seller for the week.  In other news, water is wet.

You might be wondering what Critical Role: Vox Machina Origins #4 is.  That’s a digital first comic from Dark Horse based on a Dungeons and Dragons/role-playing video podcast from Geek & Sundry.  As you might have guessed from the sales rank, it’s popular online and it follows that keeping it digital might work out.

Once again, Image seems to be proportionally a little higher with their upper tier titles, back from hiatus.  Sex Criminals, in particular, is up among titles that sell-into shops at double what it’s used to selling.  Monstress and Southern Bastards are up a bit higher than you’d expect them to be, but not as drastically as Sex Criminals.

Action and Hal Jordan are both slightly higher than you might expect and it might ask you if it’s Zod-related, given the covers.

Wild Storm is definitely higher than you’d see it on a print sales chart.

It will be interesting to see what the order numbers end up being for the weekly Avengers series, because it looks like it might have a little momentum in digital.  Likewise, you get the feeling that Phoenix Resurrection isn’t suffering a sales collapse after all the variants that come with the first issue.

The enigma in this week’s chart is how we should interpret Amazing Spider-Man.  Are the titles above it all over-performing or is Spidey under-performing in digital?  And no, we don’t know what percentage of the Spider-Man print sales are variants or completists vs. readers, which is what digital sales are ultimately a measurement of.

No YA titles in the top-20 list this week, but this doesn’t look to have been a release week for the usual suspects.

Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work?  Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics


  1. And The Wild Storm 11 seems to be selling digitally in the neighborhood with 30K print books. So a greater than typical digital following for that series?

  2. I think it’s increasingly clear that digital isn’t a reflection of comic stores, but a different kind of customer altogether. Some of them are like me, 20+ year comic veterans who switched when technology became good enough and I got tired of how much physical space they take up. But a lot of them are people who rarely or never have gone into comic stores. So, keep up this analysis, I don’t think we’ve cracked the code yet, but I think the current assumptions are wrong and this is an understanding worth doing.

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