If there is one question haunting America, it is doubtless this: when will we get our comic book sales charts back? As we mentioned last week when Diamond released its first post-COVID sales charts, the old-time sale charts we used to pore over are a thing of the Before Times. Since DC has its own distributors now, Diamond’s charts are only part of the market.
However, over at Comichron, John Jackson Miller has done the number crunching as only he can, and he’s folded in his DC charts with the Diamond ones, and voila, probably the closest thing to the old style charts we’re going to get: the combined August periodical comics sales chart.
Now, these charts come with many added caveats, and minus the best part: actual sales numbers. Miller has provided an “order index” to give us some idea, but it’s just a comparative metric.
As for the rest of the caveats:
CHANGES TO THE CHARTS: Diamond released unit and dollar sales rankings for comic books and graphic novels, but did not publish overall market size data, market shares, or order index numbers for its titles. A major reason why could be found in the charts that did appear: many comics were returnable (all of Image‘s and Boom‘s) and major discounting could be found all over the charts, greatly complicating the underlying math going into market size and market share calculations.
Returnable comics, marked with asterisks in the chart below, represented 118 entries out of Diamond’s Top 500, a major chunk of the month’s output. Each usually receives a pre-chart reduction of 10% in units, so already many entries are out of place compared with what really went to market. Meanwhile, there was a lot of discounted comics and graphic novels on offer: comics dating back years made the list, including many liquidated comics from Marvel’s 2017 Legacy event. The average dollar sales ranking for an item in the Diamond Top 500 was 18 slots lower than its unit sales ranking, as compared with 10 slots in March before the shutdown.
That means no market share calculations either, and no integrated graphic novel charts, either…at least for now. As Miller notes, this is still a work in progress, and further refinements will doubtless be made down the road. However, if you have the temptation to use a sales number to calculate sales based on the index, Miller cautions that with retainability and other variables, the results are likely to be very inaccurate.
Unsurprisingly, Batman: Three Jokers, which reportedly sold 300,000+ copies, was the overall top seller for August, and the Top Ten are a mix of Marvel and DC, unlike Diamond’s All Marvel chart. DC had seven of the top 10 and Marvel three. According to Miller, this is August’s Top Ten:
- Batman Three Jokers #1 (DC)
- Batman #96 (DC)
- Batman #97 (DC)
- Dark Nights Death Metal #3 (DC)
- Detective Comics #1025 (DC)
- Venom #27 (Marvel)
- Detective Comics #1026 (DC)
- Thor #6 (Marvel)
- Harley Quinn #75 (DC)
- Maestro #1 (Marvel)
People are still thirsty for Batman, by golly! Who would have guessed?
Maestro, BTW, is a pappy version of the Hulk, with all his cranial hair migrated to his chin for added pappy-ness. Peter David and Dale Keown have returned to tell his tale.
Now, because I love Excel, I made my own little modification of Miller’s chart, showing the TOP SELLING comic book for each publisher, as ranked by order index — with the caveat that down at the bottom of the chart, the index can’t be estimated because the ratio isn’t fine enough, alas.
This chart does not show anything like market share, but it does give you a little idea of what retailers are hot on. For instance, Titan came in at a surprising #22 with Horizon Zero Dawn #1. Why this particular video game spin-off should be so popular, I have no idea, except that the game itself was very, very popular in August, coming in as one of the top games on Steam.
I made this chart as much for my own education as for anyone else’s and stopped at the #300 spot, mirroring the long-ago tradition of the Top 300. I was interested to see that Vault came in with a book in the top 100, ahead of IDW and Dark Horse. This company has really grown on both retailers and readers.
AWA, the newish company from Bill Jemas and Axel Alonso, had 6 of its 8 titles in the top 300, a stronger showing than might have been expected. And to the joy of many, Knights of the Dinner Table makes its presence triumphantly known at #294 from Kenzer. Now up to issue #275!
The rest of the chart is a reminder of the many smaller companies out there plugging away with comics periodicals against all odds, from Zenescope to Scout to Keenspot to Aspen. But even here there is always movement, as Scout just announced a distribution deal with Simon & Schuster for their trade paperbacks. Several companies on the list have really shifted their focus to publishing books, like Oni, Udon, and even Dark Horse.
So once again, this chart doesn’t represent who is succeeding or failing…it’s just a snapshot. Think of it as a little conversation starter as we open back up.
#1 Periodical for each Publisher, August 2020
|Rank||Comic-book Title||Issue||Publisher||Order Index|
|1||Batman Three Jokers||1||DC||656|
|22||Horizon Zero Dawn||1||Titan||104|
|46||Seven Secrets||1 (All)||Boom||83|
|94||Vampire The Masquerade||1*||Vault||49|
|102||Locke & Key In Pale Battalions Go||1*||IDW||46|
|126||Alien Original Screenplay||1*||Dark Horse||32|
|165||Rick & Morty Presents Birdperson||1||Oni||26|
|197||Street Fighter 2020 Swimsuit Special||1||Udon||no est.|
|203||Dead Day||2||Aftershock||no est.|
|221||Zombie Tramp||71||Action Lab||no est.|
|228||Zombie Tramp||72||Action Lab||no est.|
|238||Grimm Fairy Tales||40||Zenescope||no est.|
|267||Ninjas & Robots||1||Keenspot||no est.|
|276||Atlantis Wasn’t Built For Tourists||1||Scout||no est.|
|279||Billionaire Island||4||Ahoy||no est.|
|294||Knights of the Dinner Table||275||Kenzer||no est.|
|296||Lola XOXO Vol. 3||6||Aspen||no est.|
|299||Archie & Friends Endless Summer||1||Archie||no est.|