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by David Carter

Greetings, sales charts fans! It’s time once again to look at Image Comics’s sales figures.

Please refer to the July 2015 column for a preamble and explanation as to why sales standards for Image books are likely to be different than those for DC or Marvel.

Image shipped 48 comics in November (a low number for them, even with it being a five-Wednesday month), compared to 55 in October and 52 in September. They shipped 62 in November 2015.

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walking-dead-160Warning: The commentary below may contain reasoned analysis, speculation (unfounded and otherwise), opinion, and/or snark. Those looking for a more straightforward analysis are directed to John Jackson Miller’s excellent Comichron analysis, posted earlier this month over at Comichron!

Please consider the fine print at the end of the column. Thanks to Milton Griepp and ICv2.com for the permission to use their figures. An overview of ICv2.com’s estimates can be found here.

(Note that the percentage comparisons are done with total orders including reorder activity, as opposed to initial orders.)

9 - THE WALKING DEAD ($2.99)
11/2006: The Walking Dead #32  --  21,189
11/2011: The Walking Dead #91  --  31,813
11/2012: The Walking Dead #104 --  57,456 
11/2013: The Walking Dead #116 --  69,913
11/2013: The Walking Dead #117 --  68,818
11/2014: The Walking Dead #134 --  68,093  [68,153] 
-----------------------------------------
11/2015: The Walking Dead #148 --  65,526 (-  2.3%)  [66,446]
12/2015: The Walking Dead #149 --  65,406 (-  1.6%) 
01/2016: The Walking Dead #150 -- 156,166 (+138.8%) 
02/2016: The Walking Dead #151 --  67,381 (- 59.6%) 
03/2016: The Walking Dead #152 --  67,258 (-  0.2%) 
04/2016: The Walking Dead #153 --  67,358 (+  0.1%) 
05/2016: The Walking Dead #154 --  68,922 (+  2.3%) 
06/2016: The Walking Dead #155 --  71,755 (+  4.1%) 
07/2016: The Walking Dead #156 --  76,355 (+  6.4%) 
08/2016: The Walking Dead #157 --  97,689 (+ 37.0%) [104,596]
09/2016: The Walking Dead #158 --  94,316 (-  9.8%) 
10/2016: The Walking Dead #159 --  91,291 (-  3.2%) 
11/2016: The Walking Dead #160 --  88,367 (-  3.2%) 
-----------------
6 months: + 28.2%
1 year  : + 33.0%
2 years : + 29.7%
5 years : +177.8%
10 years: +317.0%

“Whisper War” and the Art Adams variant covers continue.

52 - SAGA ($2.99)
11/2012: Saga #7  -- 46,971  [53,267] 
11/2013: Saga #16 -- 54,593
11/2014: --
---------------------------
11/2015: Saga #31 -- 53,980 (-  5.0%) [54,650]
12/2015: Saga #32 -- 51,850 (-  5.1%) 
01/2016: Saga #33 -- 50,415 (-  2.8%) 
02/2016: Saga #34 -- 49,363 (-  2.1%) 
03/2016: Saga #35 -- 48,845 (-  1.0%) 
04/2016: Saga #36 -- 48,957 (+  0.2%) 
05/2016: -- 
06/2016: -- 
07/2016: -- 
08/2016: Saga #37 -- 50,016 (+  2.2%) 
09/2016: Saga #38 -- 48,106 (-  3.8%) 
10/2016: Saga #39 -- 46,749 (-  2.8%) 
11/2016: Saga #40 -- 44,944 (-  3.9%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 17.8%
2 years :    n.a.

We appear to be past peak Saga, but there’s still nothing to be concerned about.

61 - REBORN ($3.99)
10/2016: Reborn #1  -- 74,967 
11/2016: Reborn #2  -- 41,484 (- 44.7%)

So many variants! There was also a 2nd print of the first issue, though it didn’t chart.

95 - A.D.: AFTER DEATH ($5.99)
11/2016: AD After Death #1 of 3 -- 41,484

New oversized book from Scott Snyder & Jeff Lemire. Good debut, especially considering the price.

106 - SEVEN TO ETERNITY ($3.99)
09/2016: Seven to Eternity #1  -- 32,790           [39,394] 
10/2016: Seven to Eternity #2  -- 27,968 (- 29.0%)
11/2016: Seven to Eternity #3  -- 26,669 (-  4.6%)

Settling in quickly.

117 - KILL OR BE KILLED ($3.99)
08/2016: Kill or Be Killed #1  -- 30,050 
09/2016: Kill or Be Killed #2  -- 23,812 (- 20.8%) 
10/2016: Kill or Be Killed #3  -- 23,883 (+  0.3%) 
11/2016: Kill or Be Killed #4  -- 22,889 (-  4.2%)

Also settling in.

128 - MOONSHINE ($2.99)
10/2016: Moonshine #1  -- 34,533           [41,012]
11/2016: Moonshine #2  -- 20,217 (- 50.7%)

Kind of a big drop off, but considering there was enough interest in a second printing of the first issue for it to chart, there may be a stronger interest than retailers may have originally thought.

134 - OUTCAST BY KIRKMAN & AZACETA ($2.99)
11/2014: Outcast #5  -- 39,967 
------------------------------
11/2015: Outcast #13 -- 24,051 (-  7.9%) 
12/2015: Outcast #14 -- 23,319 (-  3.0%) 
01/2016: Outcast #15 -- 22,195 (-  4.8%) 
02/2016: Outcast #16 -- 21,801 (-  1.8%) 
03/2016: Outcast #17 -- 21,426 (-  1.7%) 
04/2016: Outcast #18 -- 21,261 (-  0.8%) 
05/2016: -- 
06/2016: -- 
07/2016: Outcast #19 -- 22,167 (+  4.3%) 
08/2016: Outcast #20 -- 21,919 (-  1.1%) 
09/2016: Outcast #21 -- 20,886 (-  4.7%) 
10/2016: Outcast #22 -- 20,347 (-  2.6%) 
11/2016: Outcast #23 -- 19,556 (-  3.9%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 18.7%
2 years : - 51.1%

138 - SNOTGIRL ($2.99)
07/2016: Snotgirl #1  -- 37,765 
08/2016: Snotgirl #2  -- 23,830 (- 36.9%) 
09/2016: Snotgirl #3  -- 20,527 (- 13.9%) 
10/2016: -- 
11/2016: Snotgirl #4  -- 19,025 (-  7.3%)

140 - MONSTRESS ($3.99)
11/2015: Monstress #1  -- 33,045           [36,876]
12/2015: Monstress #2  -- 23,367 (- 36.6%) 
01/2016: Monstress #3  -- 22,945 (-  1.8%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: Monstress #4  -- 22,406 (-  2.3%) 
04/2016: Monstress #5  -- 21,820 (-  2.6%) 
05/2016: Monstress #6  -- 20,850 (-  4.4%) 
06/2016: --
07/2016: --
08/2016: --
09/2016: --
10/2016: Monstress #7  -- 20,799 (-  0.2%) 
11/2016: Monstress #8  -- 18,830 (-  9.5%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  9.7%
1 year  : - 48.9%

141 - THE BLACK MONDAY MURDERS ($4.99)
08/2016: Black Monday Murders #1  -- 26,696 
09/2016: Black Monday Murders #2  -- 19,749 (- 26.0%) 
10/2016: Black Monday Murders #3  -- 18,371 (-  7.0%) 
11/2016: Black Monday Murders #4  -- 17,718 (-  3.6%)

147 - SPAWN ($2.99)
11/2006: Spawn #162      -- 25,067 
11/2011: Spawn #213      -- 13,369 
11/2012: Spawn #225      -- 26,872  
11/2013: Spawn #237      -- 14,411 
11/2014: Spawn #248      -- 11,934  
----------------------------------
11/2015: Spawn #258      -- 15,163 (-  0.7%) 
12/2015: Spawn #259      -- 16,906 (+ 11.5%) 
01/2016: -- 
02/2016: Spawn #260      -- 17,877 (+  5.7%) 
02/2016: Spawn #261      -- 16,949 (-  5.2%) 
03/2016: --
04/2016: Spawn #262      -- 18,775 (+ 10.8%) 
05/2016: Spawn #263      -- 16,109 (- 14.2%) 
06/2016: -- 
07/2016: Spawn #264      -- 17,157 (+  6.5%) 
08/2016: Spawn #265      -- 15,927 (-  7.2%) 
09/2016: -- 
10/2016: Spawn #266      -- 22,304 (+ 40.0%) 
11/2016: Spawn #267      -- 16,976 (- 23.9%) 
-----------------
6 months: +  5.4%
1 year  : + 12.0%
2 years : + 42.2%
5 years : + 27.0%
10 years: - 32.3%

Back to normal after the crossover.

162 - VIOLENT LOVE ($3.99)
11/2016: Violent Love #1  -- 15,671

Returnable, so the sales figures have been adjusted up 10% from the figures derived from Diamond’s reported sales index. (See the fine print at the end of the column for why this is done.)

New crime series from Frank J. Barbiere and Victor Santos. A second printing of the first issue dropped in early December, so again there’s a greater interest than initially anticipated.

152 - SOUTHERN BASTARDS ($3.50)
11/2014: -- 
----------------------------------------
11/2015: Southern Bastards #12 -- 16,681 (-  3.6%) 
12/2015: --
01/2016: Southern Bastards #13 -- 15,627 (-  6.3%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: --
05/2016: Southern Bastards #14 -- 15,437 (-  1.2%) 
06/2016: --
07/2016: --
08/2016: --
09/2016: --
10/2016: --
11/2016: Southern Bastards #15 -- 15,554 (+  0.8%) 
-----------------
6 months: +  0.8%
1 year  : -  6.8%
2 years :    n.a.

The big gap between #14 & #15 was a planned hiatus between story arcs, and so far the irregular schedule isn’t causing sales to go into a huge downturn.

154 - BITCH PLANET ($3.99)
11/2015: -- 
12/2015: -- 
01/2016: Bitch Planet #6  -- 18,834 (- 14.6%)
02/2016: Bitch Planet #7  -- 17,721 (-  5.9%)
03/2016: -- 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: -- 
06/2016: Bitch Planet #8  -- 18,158 (+  2.5%)
07/2016: -- 
08/2016: -- 
09/2016: -- 
10/2016: -- 
11/2016: Bitch Planet #9  -- 15,340 (- 15.7%)
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  :    n.a.

That’s a big drop for the middle of a story arc, as the irregular schedule here appears to be taking its toll.

155 - THE WICKED + THE DIVINE ($3.50)
11/2014: --
--------------------------------------
11/2015: Wicked + Divine #16 -- 19,360 (-  3.9%) 
12/2015: Wicked + Divine #17 -- 18,479 (-  4.6%) 
01/2016: --
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: Wicked + Divine #18 -- 17,722 (-  4.1%) 
05/2016: Wicked + Divine #19 -- 16,929 (-  4.4%) 
06/2016: Wicked + Divine #20 -- 17,831 (+  5.3%) 
07/2016: Wicked + Divine #21 -- 16,283 (-  8.7%) 
08/2016: Wicked + Divine #22 -- 15,969 (-  1.9%) 
09/2016: W + D 1831 one-shot -- 16,408 (+  2.7%) 
10/2016: -- 
11/2016: Wicked + Divine #23 -- 15,238 (-  7.1%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 10.0%
1 year  : - 21.3%
2 years :    n.a.

161 - THE GODDAMNED ($3.99)
11/2015: The Goddamned #1 -- 33,809           [34,703]
12/2015: The Goddamned #2 -- 20,415 (- 41.2%) 
01/2016: -- 
02/2015: The Goddamned #3 -- 17,421 (- 14.7%) 
03/2006: -- 
04/2006: -- 
05/2006: -- 
06/2015: The Goddamned #4 -- 18,071 (+  3.7%) 
07/2016: -- 
08/2016: -- 
09/2016: -- 
10/2016: -- 
11/2015: The Goddamned #5 -- 14,375 (- 20.5%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 58.6%

That’s a big drop. Gee, I wonder why that could be…?

183 - INVINCIBLE ($2.99)
11/2006: Invincible #36  -- 13,472
11/2011: Invincible #84  -- 15,067
11/2011: Invincible #85  -- 14,678
11/2012: Invincible #97  -- 14,548 
11/2013: --
11/2014: Invincible #115 -- 13,277  
----------------------------------
11/2015: Invincible #125 -- 12,561 (-  4.7%) 
12/2015: Invincible #126 -- 12,436 (-  1.0%) 
01/2016: --
02/2016: --
03/2016: --
04/2016: Invincible #127 -- 12,038 (-  3.2%) 
05/2016: Invincible #128 -- 11,982 (-  0.5%) 
06/2016: Invincible #129 -- 12,510 (+  4.4%) 
07/2016: --
08/2016: Invincible #130 -- 11,921 (-  4.7%) 
09/2016: -- 
10/2016: -- 
11/2016: Invincible #131 -- 11,579 (-  2.9%) 
-----------------
6 months: -  3.4%
1 year  : -  7.8%
2 years : - 12.8%
5 years : - 22.1%
10 years: - 14.1%

Ending with issue #144, which at this rate could take a couple of years to get to.

191 - MAYDAY ($3.99)
11/2016: Mayday #1 of 5 -- 15,671

Crime comic mini-series from Alex de Campi, Tony Parker & Blond.

198 - GREEN VALLEY ($2.99)
10/2016: Green Valley #1 of 9 -- 16,091 
11/2016: Green Valley #2 of 9 --  9,713 (- 39.6%)

201 - CANNIBAL ($3.99)
10/2016: Cannibal #1  -- 17,172 
11/2016: Cannibal #2  --  9,582 (- 44.2%)

205, 213 - DEADLY CLASS ($3.99)
11/2014: Deadly Class #9  -- 14,148  
-----------------------------------
11/2015: --
12/2015: Deadly Class #17 -- 11,035 (-  3.2%) 
01/2016: Deadly Class #18 -- 10,485 (-  5.0%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: Deadly Class #19 -- 10,440 (-  0.4%) 
04/2016: Deadly Class #20 -- 10,366 (-  0.7%) 
05/2016: -- 
06/2016: Deadly Class #21 -- 10,892 (+  5.1%) 
07/2016: -- 
08/2016: -- 
09/2016: Deadly Class #22 --  9,865 (-  9.4%) 
10/2016: -- 
11/2016: Deadly Class #23 --  9,215 (-  6.6%) 
11/2016: Deadly Class #24 --  8,757 (-  5.0%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years : - 36.5%

Two issues in November as Deadly Class plays catch-up.

221 - CHEW ($3.99)
11/2011: --
11/2012: Chew #30      -- 12,756 
11/2013: --
11/2014: Chew #44      -- 10,526  
--------------------------------
11/2015: Chew #52      --  9,056 (-  6.2%) 
12/2015: Chew #53      --  8,829 (-  2.5%) 
01/2016: Chew #54      --  8,556 (-  3.1%) 
02/2016: Chew #55      --  8,430 (-  1.5%) 
03/2016: --
04/2016: Demon Chicken -- 10,447 (+ 23.9%)
05/2016: -- 
06/2016: --
07/2016: Chew #56      --  8,469 (- 18.9%) 
08/2016: Chew #57      --  8,280 (-  2.2%) 
09/2016: Chew #58      --  7,986 (-  3.6%) 
10/2016: Chew #59      --  7,845 (-  1.8%) 
11/2016: Chew #60      --  8,719 (+ 11.1%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : -  3.7%
2 years : - 17.2%
5 years :    n.a.

A bump up for the final issue.

First month sales for issue #1 were just 5,248 (back in June 2009), but Chew quickly bucked the trend and started to rise in sales. It appeared poised to be a break-out hit, but sales peaked at around 13K a year later and then started to drift back down (excepting for the occasional stunt). But regardless, sixty issues of a creator-owned series is darn good in this day and age, and trade collections are forever(-ish).

230 - NAILBITER ($2.99)
11/2014: Nailbiter #7  -- 12,361 
--------------------------------
11/2015: Nailbiter #17 --  9,333 (-  4.0%) 
12/2015: Nailbiter #18 --  8,853 (-  5.1%) 
01/2016: Nailbiter #19 --  8,464 (-  4.4%) 
02/2016: Nailbiter #20 --  8,368 (-  1.1%) 
03/2016: -- 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Nailbiter #21 --  8,196 (-  2.1%) 
06/2016: Nailbiter #22 --  8,477 (+  3.4%) 
07/2016: Nailbiter #23 --  7,938 (-  6.4%) 
08/2016: Nailbiter #24 --  7,780 (-  2.0%) 
09/2016: Nailbiter #25 --  7,474 (-  3.9%) 
10/2016: -- 
11/2016: Nailbiter #26 --  7,239 (-  3.1%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 11.7%
1 year  : - 22.4%
2 years : - 41.4%

Issue #30 has been announced as being the final issue.

243 - ECLIPSE ($3.99)
09/2016: Eclipse #1  -- 12,375 
10/2016: Eclipse #2  --  7,764 (- 37.3%) 
11/2016: Eclipse #3  --  6,818 (- 12.2%)
245 - GLITTERBOMB ($3.99)
09/2016: Glitterbomb #1  -- 14,105 
10/2016: Glitterbomb #2  --  8,160 (- 42.1%) 
11/2016: Glitterbomb #3  --  6,742 (- 17.4%)
265 - HADRIAN'S WALL ($3.99)
09/2016: Hadrian's Wall #1  -- 10,038 
10/2016: Hadrian's Wall #2  --  6,791 (- 32.3%) 
11/2016: Hadrian's Wall #3  --  5,832 (- 14.1%)
215 - SURGEON X ($3.99)
09/2016: Surgeon X #1  -- 14,866 
10/2016: Surgeon X #2  --  8,180 (- 45.0%) 
11/2016: Surgeon X #3  --  5,347 (- 34.6%)
280 - LAKE OF FIRE ($2.99)
08/2016: Lake of Fire #1 of 5 -- 9,142 
09/2016: Lake of Fire #2 of 5 -- 6,637 (- 27.4%) 
10/2016: Lake of Fire #3 of 5 -- 5,738 (- 13.5%) 
11/2016: Lake of Fire #4 of 5 -- 5,258 (-  8.4%)

Maybe these recent series will sell better in trade?

286 - WAYWARD ($3.50)
11/2014: Wayward #4  -- 10,318 
------------------------------
11/2015: Wayward #11 --  8,024 (+  4.4%) 
12/2015: Wayward #12 --  7,015 (- 14.5%) 
01/2016: Wayward #13 --  6,589 (-  6.1%) 
02/2016: Wayward #14 --  6,397 (-  2.9%) 
03/2016: Wayward #15 --  6,089 (-  4.8%) 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: -- 
06/2016: -- 
07/2016: -- 
08/2016: -- 
09/2016: Wayward #16 --  6,165 (+  1.2%) 
10/2016: Wayward #17 --  5,431 (- 11.9%) 
11/2016: Wayward #18 --  5,109 (-  5.9%) 
-----------------
6 months:    n.a.
1 year  : - 36.3%
2 years : - 50.5%

289 - REVIVAL ($3.99)
11/2012: Revival #5  -- 14,098 
11/2013: Revival #15 -- 11,468 
11/2014: Revival #25 --  9,535  
------------------------------
11/2015: --
12/2015: Revival #35 --  6,510 (-  5.9%) 
01/2016: Revival #36 --  6,182 (-  5.0%) 
02/2016: --
03/2016: Revival #37 --  5,987 (-  3.2%) 
03/2016: Revival #38 --  5,826 (-  2.7%) 
04/2016: -- 
05/2016: Revival #39 --  5,826 (-  1.1%) 
06/2016: Revival #40 --  6,004 (+  4.2%) 
07/2016: Revival #41 --  5,527 (-  7.9%) 
08/2016: -- 
09/2016: Revival #42 --  5,434 (-  1.7%) 
10/2016: Revival #43 --  5,130 (-  5.6%) 
11/2016: Revival #44 --  5,001 (-  2.5%) 
-----------------
6 months: - 14.2%
1 year  :    n.a.
2 years : - 47.6%

The Fine Print (Disclaimers, et cetera)

The numbers above are estimates for comic-book sales in the North American direct market, as calculated by ICv2.com according to the chart and index information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors.

ICv2.com’s estimates are somewhat lower than the actual numbers, but they are consistent from month to month, so the trends they show are fairly accurate. Since it’s a “month-to-month” column, the comments, unless otherwise noted, are on the most recent month.

Bear in mind that the figures measure sales of physical comics to retailers, not customers. Also, these numbers do not include sales to bookstores, newsstands, other mass-market retail chains or the United Kingdom. Re-orders are included, so long as they either reached stores in a book’s initial calendar month of release or were strong enough to make the chart again in a subsequent month. Keep in mind that sales for some titles may include incentives to acquire variants and not every unit sold is necessarily even intended to be sold to a customer.

If additional copies of an issue did appear on the chart after a book’s initial calendar month of release, you can see the total number of copies sold in brackets behind those issues (e.g. “[36,599]”). Should more than one issue have shipped in a month which is relevant for one of the long-term comparisons, the average between them will be used.

Titles which are returnable have their numbers artificially adjusted down by Diamond. To make up for that this column increases the reported numbers for those titles by 10%. Which is likely also wrong, but it’s a different and likely less wrong kind of wrong, and experience has shown that this leads to sales figures which are more consistent.

Image is not a normal comics publisher, and the typical metrics for sales success may not apply. For many titles, collection sales tend to be a significant factor, so the numbers for those books should be taken with a grain of salt as well.

Please keep in mind that raw sales numbers do not tell us about how profitable a book is for a publisher or for the creators.

Above all, do not allow sales numbers to dictate your purchasing and enjoyment of a particular comic. If you enjoy reading a comic series then go right on buying and reading that comic, no matter what the sales figures say.

** Two asterisks after a given month in the average charts mean that one or more periodical release did not make the Top 300 chart in that month. In those cases, it’s assumed that said releases sold as many units as the No. 300 comic on the chart for that month for the purposes of the chart, although its actual sales are likely to be less than that.

Opinions expressed in this column are mine alone, and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer, Heidi MacDonald or anyone at The Comics Beat, the National Association of Community Health Centers, or my former neighbor’s dog Miles.

The author of this column does weekly snapshots of Amazon comic sales charts at http://yetanothercomicsblog.blogspot.com/ and tweets about comics and related subjects on Twitter at @davereadscomics (PM me there if you need to contact me).

As always, we welcome your comments and corrections below. Please try to keep things civilized.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. The constant long delays on Southern Bastards and Bitch Planet (as well as Sex Criminals) keep pushing those books closer and closer to getting dropped by me.
    As a comics junkie I’ve had it drilled into me over the past twenty years to support the monthly if I want it to continue, and I am sure there are solid reasons behind the delays, but is is getting out of hand and “oops, we’ll try better this time” is wearing thin.

  2. I agree with the comment above. We’re constantly told creator-owned is the most important thing to all those involved yet it doesn’t always seem to be their highest priority. I dropped Sex Criminals after the creative team got so distracted with variant cover stunts, writing Howard the Duck (which managed to maintain a monthly schedule) and TV adaptations that they stopped producing the actual thing that got them all that attention in the first place. By all means, release one issue every six months if that’s how you want to do but if I’m waiting six months between issues I may as well wait five years for when the trade comes out.

    With a series like Lazarus, I understand the delays (far as I can tell, it’s Lark’s only book) and appreciate the attempts to fix them by taking longer breaks between arcs.

Comments are closed.