The Walking Dead #150.jpg

There were a lot of drops in January’s sales charts — however, some of them may not have been as steep as they seem.

Marvel’s domination of DC increased in January sales figures just released by Diamond, as DC’s market share was exactly half of Marvel’s. Ouch. Holdin’ on for a Rebirth, alright.

The Walking Dead #150, a special “losin’ it” issue, was the #1 comic of the month, while Star Wars continued its domination in trades, with Darth Vader Volume 2 topping the graphic novel chart.

Marvel’s share was up to a gaudy 44/48% in dollars and units from 37/42% in December.  DC, meanwhile, shrank to 22/24% from 29/30% last month. Image was steady at roughly 10/10%. (I rounded all these figures off, but you can see the decimals below.)

The year to year figures, which show a drop of 4% in comics units and nearly 10% in graph9ic novels for an overal drop of 5.10% in dollars and 5.10% and 4.54% in units from January 2015. The January ’16 sales were way down from December ’15 but that was a five week month to January ’16’s 4 weeks

While this looks bad, January 2015 was the month of Star Wars Loot Crate so a direct comparison isn’t necessarily accurate. According to sales analyst John Jackson Miller, sales would have been UP 7% in January 2016 if you left out the 1 million copies of Star Wars #1 that were sold!

Comic shop orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines in January 2016 were off 5% versus a year before according to Diamond Comic Distributors — but if Star Wars #1 hadn’t been in the mix in January 2015, sales would have been up 7%!

In truth, the market may really be slightly down, flat, or even slightly up this month, because Star Wars #1’s sales included a lot of copies that went to Loot Crate, where Diamond was simply passing along the books; they shouldn’t really have counted toward the industry’s dollar sales, but there’s no way to easily excise them.

But we know that retailers placed orders worth approximately $41.52 million last month, off about $2.2 million — and sources suggest Loot Crate’s order could have accounted for 400,000 copies or more. Figuring at $4.99 per issue, that’s at least $2 million right there. And unit sales for comic books, off 4.09% for the month, are almost certainly up if you remove the Loot Crate Star Wars copies. So accounting for the accounting, so to speak, the message of the month is somewhat more positive than the numbers below suggest:

 

Given all the retail kvetching about periodical sales of late, it’s wise to examine any sales drops.  However, as you may recall, retailers complain about consumer sales, while Diamond’s customer are retailers. Until we get some kind of reliable sell-through metrics on periodicals, all we have to go on is word of mouth.

unit-sharedollar-share

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS 44.38% 48.17%
DC ENTERTAINMENT 22.16% 24.02%
IMAGE COMICS 9.67% 10.99%
IDW PUBLISHING 4.11% 3.48%
DARK HORSE COMICS 3.06% 2.51%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD 2.26% 0.41%
BOOM! STUDIOS 1.98% 1.89%
VIZ MEDIA 1.18% 0.45%
TITAN COMICS 1.15% 1.02%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 1.15% 0.92%
OTHER NON-TOP 10 8.89% 6.14%

 


NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL

SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS 94 37 0 131
DC ENTERTAINMENT 77 21 0 98
IMAGE COMICS 58 11 0 69
IDW PUBLISHING 37 15 0 52
DARK HORSE COMICS 34 12 0 46
VIZ MEDIA 0 40 0 40
BOOM ENTERTAINMENT 22 12 0 34
EAGLEMOSS 0 0 30 30
TITAN COMICS 14 6 3 23
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 10 5 0 15
OTHER NON-TOP 10 104 110 26 240

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

  DOLLARS UNITS
JANUARY 2016 VS. DECEMBER 2015
COMICS -25.19% -21.25%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -11.81% -6.73%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -21.52% -20.31%
JANUARY 2016 VS. JANUARY 2015
COMICS -3.86% -4.09%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -7.77% -9.65%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -5.10% -4.54%

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 THE WALKING DEAD #150 (MR) $2.99 NOV150561-M IMA
2 SECRET WARS #9 $4.99 OCT150729-M MAR
3 SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #1 $3.99 NOV150751-M MAR
4 STAR WARS #14 $3.99 OCT150945-M MAR
5 STAR WARS #15 $3.99 NOV150920-M MAR
6 OLD MAN LOGAN #1 $4.99 NOV150733-M MAR
7 STAR WARS: OBI-WAN AND ANAKIN #1 $3.99 NOV150910-M MAR
8 BATMAN #48 $3.99 NOV150219-M DC
9 DARTH VADER #15 $3.99 NOV150917-M MAR
10 UNCANNY X-MEN #1 $3.99 OCT150769-M MAR

 


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 STAR WARS: DARTH VADER VOLUME 2: SHADOWS AND SECRETS TP $19.99 OCT150987 MAR
2 STAR WARS VOLUME 2: SHOWDOWN ON THE SMUGGLERS’ MOON TP $19.99 OCT150986 MAR
3 COLOR YOUR OWN DEADPOOL TP $9.99 NOV150950 MAR
4 DEATH OF WOLVERINE TP $19.99 JUN150829 MAR
5 STAR WARS: LANDO TP $16.99 OCT150988 MAR
6 DEADPOOL’S SECRET SECRET WARS TP $15.99 OCT150977 MAR
7 INVADER ZIM VOLUME 1 TP $19.99 OCT151564 ONI
8 THOR VOLUME 1: GODDESS OF THUNDER TP $19.99 OCT150985 MAR
9 STAR WARS: DARTH VADER VOLUME 1: VADER TP $19.99 JUL150827 MAR
10 CIVIL WAR TP $24.99 JAN072436 MAR

TOP 10 BOOKS

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 STAR WARS LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK: I AM JEDI $4.99 NOV151882 RAN
2 STAR WARS LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK: I AM DROID $4.99 NOV151881 RAN
3 STAR WARS LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK: I AM PILOT $4.99 NOV151883 RAN
4 NARUTO: SEVENTH HOKAGE SCARLET SPRING GN $9.99 NOV151741 VIZ
5 DC SUPER FRIENDS: SUPER PETS LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK $4.99 NOV151862 RAN
6 WORLDS OF COLOR: WELCOME TO OZ ADULT COLORING BOOK TP $9.99 NOV150474 IDW
7 ART OF MAGIC THE GATHERING VOLUME 1: ZENDIKAR HC $39.99 NOV151737 VIZ
8 DC SUPER FRIENDS: WONDER WOMAN TO THE RESCUE SC $4.99 NOV151863 RAN
9 THE ART OF PLOOG HC $49.00 OCT151878 FPG
10 STAR WARS LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK LIBRARY $29.94 AUG158822 RAN

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 DC COMICS ICONS: HARLEY QUINN STATUE JUL150349 DC
2 MARVEL UNIVERSE VARIANT PLAY ARTS KAI: BLACK WIDOW FIGURE JUL158279 SQU
3 MOVIE REALIZATION STAR WARS: MEISHO BOBA FETT FIGURE JUL158082 BLU
4 MARVEL UNIVERSE VARIANT PLAY ARTS KAI: VENOM FIGURE MAY158200 SQU
5 DC COMICS: RAVEN BISHOUJO STATUE APR158525 KOT
6 BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT: AZRAEL FIGURE AUG150317 DC
7 MARVEL SELECT: DEADPOOL FIGURE MAR101468 DST
8 DC: THE NEW 52: RED HOOD ARTFX+ STATUE AUG152628 KOT
9 GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: ROCKET RACCOON AND GROOT STATUE NOV142328 GEN
10 BATMAN ARKHAM KNIGHT: MAN-BAT FIGURE AUG150319 DC

 


TOP 10 GAMES

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: OATH OF THE GATEWATCH FAT PACK NOV158285 WZK
2 BACK TO THE FUTURE MONOPOLY JUL152198 DST
3 MACHI KORO CARD GAME MAY142831 IDW
4 MACHI KORO CARD GAME DELUXE EDITION JUN152743 IDW
5 JAY & SILENT BOB STRIKE BACK MONOPOLY DEC142209 DST
6 RISK: STAR WARS EDITION GAME OCT158587 HAS
7 ORPHAN BLACK CARD GAME MAY152754 IDW
8 YU-GI-OH! TCG: BREAKERS OF SHADOW BOOSTER PACKS NOV158111 KON
9 SETTLERS OF CATAN NEW EDITION NOV074603 MAY
10 STAR WARS: X-WING IMPERIAL ASSAULT: CARRIER EXPANSION PACK OCT152856 FAN

 

 

 

17 COMMENTS

  1. Things weren’t helped by DC not having an issue of Justice League (Darkseid War) and DKIII out in January, their two biggest trains are really off their scheduled ship dates.

  2. Well, the fact the DK3 issue two didn’t make the top ten in sales in January was a scary drop for a book recieving that much press. Thought it would hang in the top ten for a bit longer, anyway.

  3. Meanwhile, Kirkman continues to show the whole industry how to make comic books work but how many are paying attention. No reboots. No renumbering. No flood of variant covers. #150 issues of serialized storytelling.

    I mean, no offense to Kirkman but nobody puts him on the level of Gaiman or Moore or even Morrison, do they? It’s not like he’s reinventing the wheel. The man is just writing fundamentally sound comics that utilize a lot of the storytelling concepts that used to make comics so popular.

    Mike

  4. @Mbunge –
    I certainly like Kirkman and enjoy walking dead, but i’d say its success is owed more to consistency, both in end product quality and the creators that chip in. In many ways it’s Snyder/Capullo Batman is quite similar.

  5. Mbunge: you’re so rtight. Kirkman changed the industry and is one of the few people who still know how to make comics the good old way, with with modern storytelling. His last issue of Invincible is amazing, again, making fun of those stupid entities who pop up constantly in maintream super-heroes books to inflige on it artificial changes.

  6. If things don’t turn around by the end of the year Didio & Lee may be out on their ears.

    Heck, they may get blamed if the WB?DC movies fail.

  7. Kirkman’s consistency, storytelling skills and longevity are good lessons to take away for the industry for certain, but … maybe … a multi-million dollar nationwide pay cable franchise contributed just a hair?

  8. @Allen: I think something interesting is that the Walking Dead comic launched at #233 with about 7k in sales in October 2003, was nurtured by Image’s TPB system of releasing the trades where the next regular issue was hitting the stands at the same time, and it was allowed to run for seven years before the show came out.

    DC, for instance, would be quick to cancel a book launching under 20k, their TPBs don’t come out for about six months after the issues collected so there’s very little (if any) transfer of readers from trade to floppies, and can you imagine a DC (or Marvel) title being left alone for seven years to build an audience?

  9. @Allen – It certainly doesn’t hurt, but I can’t imagine it plays much of a role in the periodical sales. Marvel movies do insanely well but Avengers sales figure are very meh. Man of Steel made hundreds of millions of dollars in the box office and Superman still sells horribly.

  10. It’s anecdotal, but I’ve been told by a lot of retailers here in Atlanta that there’s a large swath of customers that walk in every month just to buy the latest issue of The Walking Dead to get a peek at what’s coming next on the television series. Same for trade sales. The show likely plays a significant role in its sales across the board.

  11. Walking Dead is great and all, but the reason why it outsells, say, Invincible by so much is the TV series, no doubt about it!

    Check the sales before the TV series was created. Walking Dead was doing well and sales were consistently up, but the same was true for Invincible, which was just slightly behind. After the series was aired, Walkind Dead sales shot up while Invincible (still doing well, make no mistake) lagged far behind.

    Fairly faithful TV adaptations = big sales. Manga has proved that long ago, it’s not rocket science!

  12. @ Pedro – I think there’s plenty of doubt to go around. Lots of comics have tv shows based around them. SHIELD comics still sell like ass, Supergirl didn’t even HAVE a comic until two minutes ago, Flash and Green Arrow still sell poorly, etc.

  13. Well, some would say Kirkman reboots/retreads the series with every arc.
    Group arrives at a new paradise.
    Things go bad.
    People die,
    The group is forced to move on.

    But, yes, it’s brilliant. Of note: even the trade sales are hurting, as the general public are buying the $60 omnibuses. The regular trades chart for a few weeks, then disappear.

    Also, Image and DC/Marvel have very different business models.
    If Image likes your comic, then you pay them to distribute the title. If it makes money, then you’re fortunate. If it doesn’t, you try something else. (I believe this is why creators work for Marvel and DC… they use the security of the gig to pay the bills and fund creator-owned work. Once those CO titles are vibrant, they quit DC/Marvel, or scale back the work-for-hire titles.)

    Image doesn’t care about Hollywood monies, which is why they are the new Vertigo.
    Vertigo changed their contract with the new regime, and many creators are now taking their CO work to Image, not Vertigo.

  14. Funny thing is I can’t stand anything else Kirkman writes or has written. Invincible is garbage.

    But he’s so goddamn good and, as everyone has pointed out, consistently so on Walking Dead, and has – and is still – sort of single-handedly rewritten the rules of the industry.

  15. “Well, some would say Kirkman reboots/retreads the series with every arc.
    Group arrives at a new paradise.
    Things go bad.
    People die,
    The group is forced to move on.”

    Some would say those people haven’t read the last 50 issues.

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