Dark Knights Rising The Wild Hunt #1

Diamond just released its February sales charts, and the year-to-year comparisons were awful – although perhaps not to be taken seriously, see below. But even from January, sales dipped about 6% for combined graphic novel and periodical sales.

Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1 was the #1 periodical, while Saga Vol. 8 held up its end on the GN side.

Marvel eked out wins in units and dollars, but DC was just .3% behind in units, if you care about that kind of thing.

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Saga Volume 8.jpgDiamond has expanded the charts to include top books by both UNITS and DOLLARS. I know that dollars are how people count their profits, but units are still the top of the bragging heap. The charts are completely different for all the categories – Saga Vol. 8 sold the most units but DC’s $125 HOUSE OF SECRETS: THE BRONZE AGE OMNIBUS was the top dollar item.

Anyway, getting back to those comparative stats. Sales are down 7.81% in dollars and a horrifying $19.31% in units, from February 2017, which sounds awful but at Comichron John Jackson Millar cautions that we need pay no attention to the sales dip behind the curtain as last February had one of those 25¢ books that skews things.

An important thing to remember when looking at the February 2018 data is to ignore the comics units sales, because the year-to-year comparisons are impacted by last February‘s 25th anniversary Image event, which included a reported 750,000 copies of a 25¢ issue of Walking Dead(Walking Dead #163 will not be found in our charts for that month, because Diamond reports nothing with a cover price below $1.). Combine that with January 2017’s 10% overship on Marvel’s entire line, and the comics unit year-to-date comparisons are a total wreck. 

The 6.3 million copies shipped this February finds a nearer comparative in the last four-week month we experienced, December 2017 — and there, comics unit sales were slightly up over that month. (Granted, December was pretty bad, but how often does February outsell December? Not very.) Comics dollar sales are going to be much more representative of reality — and here they’re the bright spot, again only off 3% in February year-to-year. Had there been a Doomsday Clock issue in February, the category might have been nearer to break-even still.

I have endless respect for my colleague Miller, but around Stately Beat Manor we’re beginning to call him “Glass Half Full” Miller, as the headline “Comics dollar sales off just 3% in February” implies that a 3% drop is good news because it wasn’t 4%, 6% or 29%. Technically true, but dropping sales are still a worrying trend.

However, even Jackson can’t gloss over the double-digit drops in graphic novel sales in both units AND dollars. No wonder DC is launching a new line of hoped for perennial titles. The industry desperately needs more ADULT backlist best sellers that people come tothe store to find.  I suspect the drop is  at least partlydue to Marvel’s still foundering line and the lack of new Image hits but the ongoing GN sales drop has still not been investigated fully.

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Are we approachng a perfect storm with all these dips? Not really, but change is coming. Keep reading the Beat!

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TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER

DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

34.86%

36.94%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

31.79%

36.61%

IMAGE COMICS

10.49%

10.82%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.58%

2.63%

DARK HORSE COMICS

2.85%

1.68%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

2.40%

2.29%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.37%

2.12%

VIZ MEDIA

1.19%

0.46%

TITAN COMICS

1.01%

0.67%

ONI PRESS INC.

0.94%

0.53%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

8.54%

5.24%

 COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

DOLLARS

UNITS

FEBRUARY 2018 VS. JANUARY 2018

COMICS

-3.40%

-6.02%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-14.54%

-16.60%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-6.72%

-6.83%

TOYS

-10.48%

-13.65%

FEBRUARY 2018 VS. FEBRUARY 2017

COMICS

-3.01%

-19.67%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-18.53%

-14.13%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-7.81%

-19.31%

TOYS

-10.28%

-1.44%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2018 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2017

COMICS

-3.67%

-15.61%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-7.77%

-4.17%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-4.88%

-14.86%

TOYS

5.11%

7.96%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL

SHIPPED

DC ENTERTAINMENT

88

33

1

122

MARVEL COMICS

81

31

0

112

IMAGE COMICS

70

12

0

82

IDW PUBLISHING

31

19

1

51

BOOM! STUDIOS

25

13

0

38

DARK HORSE COMICS

16

13

0

29

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

20

6

0

26

TITAN COMICS

12

11

1

24

VIZ MEDIA

0

20

0

20

ONI PRESS

3

5

0

8

OTHER NON-TOP 10

103

155

23

281

TOTAL

449

318

26

793

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

DARK KNIGHTS RISING: THE WILD HUNT #1

$4.99

NOV170209 DC

2

X-MEN RED #1

$4.99

DEC170785-M MAR

3

BATMAN #40

$2.99

DEC170255-M DC

4

BATMAN #41

$2.99

DEC170257-M DC

5

THE WALKING DEAD #176

$3.99

OCT178652-M IMA

6

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #5

$3.99

DEC170262-M DC

7

PETER PARKER: SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #300

$5.99

DEC170828-M MAR

8

STAR WARS #43

$3.99

DEC170930-M MAR

9

INFINITY COUNTDOWN PRIME #1

$4.99

DEC170883-M MAR

10

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #796

$3.99

DEC178082-M MAR

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

PETER PARKER: THE SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN #300

$5.99

DEC170828-M MAR

2

DARK KNIGHTS RISING: THE WILD HUNT #1

$4.99

NOV170209 DC

3

X-MEN RED #1

$4.99

DEC170785-M MAR

4

THE WALKING DEAD #176

$3.99

OCT178652-M IMA

5

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #5

$3.99

DEC170262-M DC

6

BATMAN #40

$2.99

DEC170255-M DC

7

BATMAN #41

$2.99

DEC170257-M DC

8

INFINITY COUNTDOWN PRIME #1

$4.99

DEC170883-M MAR

9

STAR WARS: THRAWN #1

$4.99

DEC170925-M MAR

10

SWAMP THING WINTER SPECIAL #1

$7.99

NOV170208 DC

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

SAGA VOLUME 8 TP (MR)

$14.99

OCT170715 IMA

2

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA VOLUME 2 TP

$17.99

NOV171074 MAR

3

DC MEETS LOONEY TUNES TP

$19.99

NOV170365 DC

4

TEEN TITANS VOLUME 2: THE RISE OF AQUALAD TP

$14.99

NOV170355 DC

5

STAR WARS: JEDI OF THE REPUBLIC: MACE WINDU TP

$15.99

NOV171075 MAR

6

JUSTICE LEAGUE VOLUME 5: LEGACY TP

$16.99

NOV170352 DC

7

DESPICABLE DEADPOOL VOL. 1: DEADPOOL KILLS CABLE TP

$17.99

NOV171066 MAR

8

TITANS VOL. 3: A JUDAS AMONG US TP

$16.99

NOV170356 DC

9

ASTONISHING X-MEN VOLUME 1: THE LIFE OF X TP

$17.99

NOV171063 MAR

10

NEIL GAIMAN’S AMERICAN GODS VOL. 1: SHADOWS TP

$29.99

OCT170049 DAR

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

HOUSE OF SECRETS: THE BRONZE AGE OMNIBUS HC

$125.00

JUL170478 DC

2

DAREDEVIL: SHADOWLAND OMNIBUS HC

$125.00

AUG171005-M MAR

3

ABSOLUTE WONDER WOMAN BY AZZARELLO & CHIANG VOLUME 2 HC

$125.00

JUL170487 DC

4

DEADPOOL BY DANIEL WAY OMNIBUS VOLUME 1 HC

$100.00

AUG171007 MAR

5

BATMAN: SECRETS: SAM KIETH GALLERY EDITION HC

$125.00

MAR170443 DC

6

MOEBIUS LIBRARY: INSIDE MOEBIUS VOLUME 1 HC

$39.99

OCT170050 DAR

7

NEIL GAIMAN’S AMERICAN GODS VOL. 1: SHADOWS HC

$29.99

OCT170049 DAR

8

NEW TEEN TITANS OMNIBUS VOLUME 2 HC

$75.00

AUG170339 DC

9

DC MEETS LOONEY TUNES TP

$19.99

NOV170365 DC

10

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA VOLUME 2 SC

$17.99

NOV171074 MAR

TOP 10 BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

POKEMON SEEK & FIND: PIKACHU HC

$9.99

DEC171940 VIZ

2

POKEMON SEEK & FIND: KANTO HC

$9.99

DEC171939 VIZ

3

THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 126 SC

$14.95

NOV172218 SAN

4

THE LIFE & LEGEND OF WALLACE WOOD VOLUME 2 HC

$39.99

NOV171663 FAN

5

GOOD MORNING SUPERMAN BOARD BOOK

$7.99

OCT172073 CAP

6

OVERWATCH ANTHOLOGY VOLUME 1 HC

$19.99

JUN170080 DAR

7

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI: CHEWIE AND THE PORGS HC

$17.99

OCT172100 HAC

8

WORLD OF READING LEVEL 1: THIS IS BLACK PANTHER

$4.99

NOV172200 HAC

9

DR TENTH

$5.99

DEC172068 PUT

10

UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL VOL. 1: SQUIRREL MEETS WORLD

$8.99

DEC172060 HAC

TOP 10 TOYS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

OVERWATCH: MERCY “CLASSIC SKIN” NENDOROID MAY178992 GOO

2

HARLEY QUINN: RED WHITE & BLACK BY STANLEY “ARTGERM” LAU STATUE AUG170368 DC

3

MARVEL PREMIER COLLECTION: VENOM STATUE JUL172797 DST

4

DC DESIGNER SERIES: AQUAMAN & MERA BY PAT GLEASON STATUE AUG170364 DC

5

POP! HELLBOY: HELLBOY WITH EXCALIBUR PX VINYL FIGURE JUN178581 FUN

6

STITCH DS-004 D-SELECT SERIES 6-INCH STATUE APR178964 BEA

7

POP! RIDES: MARVEL: CLASSIC GHOST RIDER WITH BIKE GLOW-IN-THE-DARK VINYL FIGURE JUL178584 FUN

8

MARVEL GALLERY: SPIDER-MAN HOMECOMING: SPIDER-MAN PVC FIGURE AUG172644 DST

9

FINAL FANTASY ADVENT CHILDREN PLAY ARTS KAI: SEPHIROTH FIGURE JUN178118 SQU

10

FINAL FANTASY XV PLAY ARTS KAI: ARANEA FIGURE MAY178535 SQU

TOP 10 GAMES BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

MARVEL HEROCLIX: X-MEN: XAVIER’S SCHOOL BOOSTER BRICK OCT172984 NEC

2

DARK SOULS BOARD GAME OCT178117 STE

3

STRANGER THINGS OUIJA GAME NOV178196 HAS

4

BEARS VS. BABIES CARD GAME JUN178872 EXP

5

HASBRO GRAB & GO GAMES NOV178561 HAS

6

MUNCHKIN CCG BOOSTER DISPLAY NOV173172 PSI

7

OPERATION STAR WARS: BB-8 EDITION AUG178537 HAS

8

CLUE: RICK AND MORTY “BACK IN BLACKOUT” BOARD GAME JUL173384 USA

9

YU-GI-OH! EXTREME FORCE NOV173144 KON

10

ROAR: KING OF THE PRIDE GAME NOV170575 IDW

 

15 COMMENTS

  1. As an archivist, I consider my mission is principally to record the data and suggest how it compares with the past — but I also try to raise alerts about comparatives that are not likely to be meaningful. I mentioned December rather than January, for example, because the number of shipping weeks was the same and we know that has a major impact. The decline from January to February is simply not worth reporting without mentioning the calendar; the distortion is that significant. I also try hard to remind people that winter months are almost never determinative of the year, historically, but that rarely works because people live in the now, especially online. It’s understandable.

    To a degree, I think models for comics sales are overdetermined — it’s not so much one answer, but that each answer has knock-on effects in so many different things. The graphic novel figures in February, for example, are a cocktail that something like a soft Marvel first half to 2017 could affect in thirty different ways. Less interest in stuff being collected; less deep-discounted material due to oversaturation from previous sales; lower cash flow; lower publisher cash flow in mid-2017 leading publishers to reduce risk by putting higher profile properties out in times of the year when people can physically get to stores; lower retailer cash flow resulting in moves into other noncomics categories or to non-Diamond distributors for graphic novels. So I understand the desire for answers, but when every competing answer seems connected to another, there isn’t a simple headline.

    As to a decline still being a decline, it sure is, especially if it hits your store or magazine at the wrong time. I try to put declines in historical context industry-wide, but that doesn’t account for whether the business’s margin for error has changed.

  2. John, as alluded to above you are stellar and wise and you do work I could never touch. I hope you accept my gentle rib as collegial kidding around. Comichron is one of the most valuable industry resources for all kinds of sales data and I recommend it without reservation.

  3. Oh, it’s all good! I’ve been a solo act with this for enough years it helps to remind me to check myself to make sure I’m not saying more than the data will support.

    Sorry I missed running into you at ECCC — it was pretty crazy there!

  4. I think that you need a fix here:

    horrifying $19.31% in units, from February 2017

    The dollar sign conflicts with the percent sign in meaning. I assume it should 19.31% which makes sense in terms of the narrative you’re telling.

  5. Hopefully the industry continues in its delusion of why customers are deserting in droves. Any industry tht treats its customers with the contempt of Marvel creators(sic) deserves to crash and burn.

  6. The main point for me is that the vast majority of sales are two companies pumping out near identical content. As long as comics=superheroes in America, the industry will be in decline there. Until comics are a medium capable of any genre in the eyes of the public, this will be the case.

    Sites that cover comics need to increase the coverage of non-Marvel/DC even if they don’t get the clicks. It’s good for the long term.

  7. Bottom line for me is the 3.99 and 4.99 are too expensive right now. Plus marvel worked hard at alienating older readers like me, so I don’t really mind if the company never publishes again and DC has rebooted so often I barely recognize the characters anymore. At 1.99 or 2.99 I might give it a shot, but 3.99 and up for regular size issues just isn’t worth it with the stories being produced now.

  8. As an addendum to the above I was in Newbury comics this morning. Secret Empire and Rebirth were in the dollar bins. There’s no point in buying a 3.99 to 4.99 book when it’s going to be in the dollar bin so soon and the story contained in it will probably be retconned away in a year or two anyway.

  9. Stores dependant exclusively on interest generated in the Big Two and on books distributed by Diamond have been through a hard time. But we’re seeing more publishers coming to the business rather than leaving. What could it be? Sure, brand fatigue might be in order, but is that the only thing?

    JJM’s listed data in the comments could most likely be spot on. Where are fans of movies and TV shows based in comics going for their fixes? Amazon, and chain bookstores. The BookScan numbers for graphic novels shown here the end of every year seem to point this way. I’ve been seeing talk over Twitter that some [or a lot of] reorders are not being fulfiiled…

    Maybe the old audience is moving to new nuying habits, in other formats from other vendors, and the new potential audience is not even trying to understand the now arcaic system of preordering. No wonder Diamond release the much-awaited app for pulling books at your LCS.

    Whoever connects these dots might reach interesting conclusions.

  10. “Where are fans of movies and TV shows based in comics going for their fixes? Amazon, and chain bookstores. The BookScan numbers for graphic novels shown here the end of every year seem to point this way.”

    Wait…. how?

    (He said as the guy who does the BookScan reports)

    -B

  11. “Any industry tht treats its customers with the contempt of Marvel creators(sic) deserves to crash and burn.”

    The butthurt, it is real.

  12. Generally speaking, isn’t January through March considered the”dead months of retail”? That’s why I wouldn’t worry too much myself over this though the overall trend is not good. Also, the declining sales means that rates for artists/writers/etc to draw comics will be getting lower and lower. Why kill yourself over a drawing board for 10 hours or more when you could do something else for normal hours and more money? The publishers will always cite book sales in the blaming.

  13. The thing of it is in my opinion is that if you loose the comic book stores you loose a connection to the comics that were. It’s the difference between a used book store and Amazon, you can browse both but there is a physical presence in the book store and more of a chance you’ll spot a book out of the corner of your eye than there is just browsing the screen. I don’t think marvel or dc want comic book stores to close, but I think in marvels case there was just so much arrogance that they didn’t care if a few stores closed. People were always going to buy marvel because of the events, the events mattered more than the stories and as long as they could play games with the sales numbers they were safe. DC kept floundering with reboot after reboot and in the end you had two companies who were completely indifferent to comic book retailers.

  14. >The butthurt, it is real.

    So is the dead industry, which you and yours conveniently don’t seem very concerned about.

Comments are closed.