Sales Charts: A strong month for graphic novels in September

1
47

Return of Wolverine #1Diamond has just released its sales rankings for September 2018, and shocker, Marvel won! Again. Charles Soule and Steve McNiven’s Return of Wolverine #1 was the top periodical, followed by Heroes in Crisis #1 in units and Batman: Damned in dollars.

Graphic novels perked up with a solid 11.74% growth in dollars and 15.36% in units from September 2017, but the reason was easy to see: new volumes of Saga, Walking Dead and Monstress all hitting in the same month.

But sales are pretty flat overall. As in actually flat, as in down -0.55% year to date in dollars from 2017. Which wasn’t that hot a year to begin with. (Units comparisons are more unreliable because of overships and 25¢ comics.)

However, John Jackson Miller the glass-is-half-full to my glass-is-half-empty, sees yet another rebound in his analysis:

Last winter, my reports that the rate of decline was decreasing may have seemed like an exercise in excess optimism. That wasn’t the intention: rather, signs of what might be a market bottom were becoming detectable, and that seemed worth sharing. I tried not to overstate the possible case, as I did in 1998 when I had much less history to look back upon — but it does now appear that the change in trajectory starting last winter was real, and is continuing. The $45.18 million month of September was up $1.6 million, meaning that the year-to-year loss piled up this winter was cut in half for the third month in a row. Year-to-date sales now stand at $389 million, off just a little more than $2 million.

Saga Volume 3.jpgWhile I don’t think flat sales are a cause to break out the bubbly, it’s also clear that far from being in free fall/dying/going down the toilet, the comics market is pretty stable, at least via Diamond. I don’t think anyone is happy about their sales, and no one  in the DM is seeing huge rates of growth, but as a whole, it’s not shedding readers, either. Flat is the new down, but in case you haven’t caught on to my message here: COMICS ARE NOT DYING. Some old sales tricks that worke din the past are not working now, however.

At a panel on readership at NYCC, retailer Jen King of Space Cadets Collection in Conroe, TX said that she’s seeing growth in smaller periodical-focused comics publishers like Valiant, Vault and Aftershock.  I don’t know if she’s the outlier here, but we seem to have a shallow pool of comics readers out there who are sampling a lot of comics.

But then again, at a panel yesterday at Diversity Comic Con, we got into a lively discussion at the “Future of Comics” panel about periodicals. Too long to summarize here, but a subject for another post. just remind me. Shorter: some people really like periodicals!

dollar-shareunit-share

 

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER

DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

39.86%

43.24%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

29.06%

32.76%

IMAGE COMICS

10.13%

8.74%

DARK HORSE COMICS

3.62%

2.91%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.14%

2.84%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.12%

1.65%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.55%

1.38%

VIZ MEDIA

1.11%

0.43%

ONI PRESS

0.99%

0.69%

TITAN COMICS

0.80%

0.47%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

7.63%

4.88%

 COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

DOLLARS

UNITS

SEPTEMBER 2018 VS. AUGUST 2018

COMICS

-4.51%

-0.16%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-7.07%

-3.86%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-5.30%

-0.48%

TOYS

-29.36%

-9.02%

SEPTEMBER 2018 VS. SEPTEMBER 2017

COMICS

0.75%

-6.58%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

11.74%

15.36%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

3.84%

-5.09%

TOYS

-1.58%

11.95%

THIRD QUARTER 2018 VS. SECOND QUARTER 2018

COMICS

0.23%

-0.05%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

0.83%

1.89%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

0.40%

0.10%

TOYS

41.66%

28.44%

THIRD QUARTER 2018 VS. THIRD QUARTER 2017

COMICS

7.44%

-0.82%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

1.95%

3.85%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

5.81%

-0.47%

TOYS

9.23%

6.96%

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

COMICS

1.25%

-6.78%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-4.80%

-6.37%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-0.55%

-6.75%

TOYS

-4.74%

-6.11%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL

SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS

99

44

0

143

DC ENTERTAINMENT

66

35

0

101

IMAGE COMICS

66

27

0

93

DARK HORSE COMICS

25

21

0

46

IDW PUBLISHING

29

10

0

39

BOOM! STUDIOS

25

10

0

35

TITAN COMICS

11

7

3

21

VIZ MEDIA

0

21

0

21

ONI PRESS

9

7

0

16

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

12

3

0

15

OTHER NON-TOP 10

135

202

14

351

TOTAL

477

387

17

881

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

RETURN OF WOLVERINE #1

$4.99

JUL180952-M MAR

2

HEROES IN CRISIS #1

$3.99

JUL180592-M DC

3

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #7

$4.99

JUL180604-M DC

4

BATMAN #55

$3.99

JUL180626-M DC

5

BATMAN: DAMNED #1 (MR)

$6.99

JUL180597-M DC

6

BATMAN #54

$3.99

JUL180624-M DC

7

THANOS LEGACY #1

$4.99

JUL180975-M MAR

8

FANTASTIC FOUR #2

$3.99

JUL180969-M MAR

9

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6

$3.99

JUL181041-M MAR

10

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #5

$3.99

JUL181038-M MAR

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

RETURN OF WOLVERINE #1

$4.99

JUL180952-M MAR

2

BATMAN: DAMNED #1 (MR)

$6.99

JUL180597-M DC

3

DOOMSDAY CLOCK #7

$4.99

JUL180604-M DC

4

HEROES IN CRISIS #1

$3.99

JUL180592-M DC

5

THANOS LEGACY #1

$4.99

JUL180975-M MAR

6

BATMAN #55

$3.99

JUL180626-M DC

7

SPIDER-GEDDON #0

$4.99

JUL180991-M MAR

8

BATMAN #54

$3.99

JUL180624-M DC

9

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #6

$3.99

JUL181041-M MAR

10

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1

$4.99

JUL181035-M MAR

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

SAGA VOLUME 9 TP (MR)

$14.99

JUL180297 IMA

2

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 30: NEW WORLD ORDER TP (MR)

$16.99

JUL180335 IMA

3

MONSTRESS VOLUME 3 TP (MR)

$16.99

JUL180261-M IMA

4

OBLIVION SONG BY KIRKMAN & DE FELICI VOL. 1 TP (MR)

$9.99

JUL180159 IMA

5

BATMAN/CATWOMAN: THE WEDDING ALBUM HC

$17.99

JUN180572 DC

6

FRANKLIN RICHARDS: A FANTASTIC YEAR #1

$7.99

JUL180973 MAR

7

DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: THE SEARCH FOR ATLANTIS TP

$9.99

JUN180439 DC

8

DESCENDER VOLUME 6: WAR MACHINE TP

$16.99

JUL180209 IMA

9

STAR WARS: DARTH VADER VOLUME 3: BURNING SEAS TP

$19.99

JUN180982 MAR

10

ACTION COMICS #1000: THE DELUXE EDITION HC

$19.99

JUN180558 DC

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

SAGA VOLUME 9 TP (MR)

$14.99

JUL180297 IMA

2

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 30: NEW WORLD ORDER TP (MR)

$16.99

JUL180335 IMA

3

MONSTRESS VOLUME 3 TP (MR)

$16.99

JUL180261-M IMA

4

BATMAN BY JEPH LOEB AND TIM SALE OMNIBUS HC

$125.00

MAR180338 DC

5

SPIDER-MAN VS. VENOM OMNIBUS HC

$125.00

MAR180976 MAR

6

ABSOLUTE BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE HC

$49.99

JAN180393 DC

7

EARTH X TRILOGY OMNIBUS ALPHA HC

$125.00

MAR180975 MAR

8

BATMAN/CATWOMAN: THE WEDDING ALBUM HC

$17.99

JUN180572 DC

9

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE TP

$24.99

JUN180575 DC

10

MARVEL MASTERWORKS: KILLRAVEN VOLUME 1 HC

$100.00

MAR180981-M MAR

TOP 10 BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

OVERLORD LIGHT NOVEL VOLUME 8 HC

$20.00

JUL182378 YEN

2

DISNEY/PIXAR: THE INCREDIBLES LIITLE GOLDEN BOOK

$4.99

JUL181942 GOL

3

BLACK PANTHER: WARRIORS OF WAKANDA LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK

$4.99

JUL181940 GOL

4

JIM HENSON’S LABYRINTH: SHORTCUTS HC

$24.99

MAY181211 BOO

5

GRIMM FAIRY TALES ADULT COLORING BOOK 1

$12.99

OCT151871 ZEN

6

DC SUPER FRIENDS: AQUAMAN LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK HC

$4.99

JUL181941 GOL

7

OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE VOLUME 48 SC

$29.95

APR181580-M GEM

8

GRIMM FAIRY TALES ADULT COLORING BOOK” THE LITTLE MERMAID

$12.99

JUN182128 ZEN

9

DOG MAN VOLUME 5: LORD OF THE FLEAS GN

$9.99

JUN181814 GRA

10

THE SORCERER’S APPRENTICE LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK

$4.99

JUL181943 GOL

TOP 10 TOYS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

MARVEL GALLERY: AVENGERS INFINITY WAR: THANOS PVC FIGURE APR182161 DST

2

MARVEL GALLERY: AVENGERS INFINITY WAR: CAPTAIN AMERICA PVC FIGURE APR182158 DST

3

DEADPOOL LEGENDS 6-INCH ACTION FIGURES JUL178752 HAS

4

MARVEL SELECT: BEAST COMIC ACTION FIGURE MAR182431 DST

5

AVENGERS LEGENDS GEAR: INFINITY GAUNTLET JUL178729 HAS

6

DC TV THE FLASH SEASON 3 ACTION FIGURE AUG170365 DC

7

FINAL FANTASY: BAHAMUT CREATURES BRING ARTS FIGURE DEC178373 SQU

8

DC CORE: BATMAN PVC STATUE MAR180390 DC

9

DC DESIGNER SERIES: THE JOKER BY BRIAN BOLLAND MINI STATUE MAR180389 DC

10

MARVEL PREMIERE: VENOM STATUE JUL172797 DST

TOP 10 GAMES BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

CREATURE CODEX HC JUL183073 PAI

2

STARFINDER RPG: ARMORY HC MAY182931 PAI

3

PATHFINDER FLIP-MAT: BASIC TERRAIN MULTI-PACK JUN132387 PAI

4

THE TOME OF BEASTS HC JUN168476 PAI

5

STARFINDER ADVENTURE PATH: THE AEON THRONE PART 1 JUN182907 PAI

6

PATHFINDER FLIP TILES: FOREST STARTER SET JUN182906 PAI

7

MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: COMMANDER 2018 APR182621 ALL

8

STARFINDER RPG: CORE RULEBOOK HC JUN173371 PAI

9

PATHFINDER RPG: CORE RULEBOOK JUN091729 PAI

10

MODERN AGE RPG: BASIC RULEBOOK HC MAR182714 GRE

How does Diamond calculate the charts? It all starts at the comic book shop.

Data for Diamond’s sales charts — which includes the monthly market shares and all top product charts — are compiled by Diamond Comic Distributors from sales made to thousands of comic book specialty shops located in North America and around the world.  Additional sales made to online merchants and other specialty retailers may be included as well.

Unit and dollar market shares are calculated based upon orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines invoiced and shipped to Diamond customers during any given month, which comprises pre-orders, advance reorders, and reorders, minus any copies that are received back from a title marked as returnable. Please note that comics marked with an asterisk (*) have had their reported quantities reduced due to retailer returnability, and thus may rank lower on the charts than their actual sales would reflect.

The New Titles Count Chart includes all titles that were invoiced by Diamond to retailers for the first time during the month and is not the official solicited title count for the month. Variant edition comic books and graphic novels at the same price point count as a single SKU. Variant edition comic books, lenticular covers, digital combo packs, and graphic novels at different price points count as separate SKUs for each edition.


Artwork for this press release, containing company logos, pie charts, and covers can be downloaded from Diamond’s website.


ABOUT DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS (DCD)—Diamond is at the nexus of comics and pop culture merchandise. Based in Baltimore, MD, DCD is the world’s largest distributor of English-language comic books and pop-culture related merchandise, servicing thousands of specialty retailers worldwide. For more information, visit Diamond on the web at www.diamondcomics.com.

© 2018 Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. All rights reserved. Diamond, the Diamond logo, Diamond Books logo, andPREVIEWS are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Diamond Comic Distributors in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective copyright owners.

1 COMMENT

  1. I think “stable” is the right word — and to a degree it’s been the goal state post-1993. Across the whole period of Diamond’s tenure as exclusive distributor, the game has been played between the 40-yard-lines: booms and collapses alike are only so big, due to the inertia built into the subscriber system and the checks preventing another credit bubble.

Comments are closed.