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Sales Charts: Comics sales “surge” in April!

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April sales were definitely a pick-me-up for the comics industry. Even the sedate industry news site ICv2 used the blurb “Comics and Graphic Novel Sales Surge”

April was the first up month since May of last year (see “Good News for Comics Market, But…“), which in turn was the only up month in all of 2016.  Things started to look better in March, which had sales fairly typical for flat comps in a five to four week comparison (see “Q1 Comic Sales Down Around 9%“).  These trends reflect our reporting on comic retailer sentiment earlier this year (see “Cautious Optimism in Comic Stores“).

Year-to-date sales improved substantially as a result of the strong April.  Comics and graphic novel sales through the first four months of 2018 were down 3.97%, with comics down 1.51% and graphic novels down 9.68%

Ther rest of ICV2’s sales analysis and numbers for April can be found here

BIG NUMBERS FOR THE ‘ACTION’ TITLES
TOP 300 COMICS–APRIL 2018
TOP 300 GRAPHIC NOVELS–APRIL 2018

John Jackson Miller also has a spring in his step regarding April’ s charts, as he lays out the huge numbers for Action #1000 and other April books. 
Action #1000 shipped nearly 450,000 copies to North America in the month; first-week May reorders and British copies would easily bring it to DC’s reported 500,000 level. Amazing Spider-Man #798 vaulted to 233,000 copies. There were six comics above 100,000, most we’ve seen in a while.
Miller, a staunch supporter of the periodical, also uses his sales data back to the 90s to prove that April sales have been consistent for 20 years:
Lastly, we find that the number of comics sold in the Top 300 in April this year exists within a very narrow range with that sold in past Aprils from 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 years ago:
 

TOTAL SALES OF COMIC BOOKS IN

DIAMOND’S TOP 300

April 1998: 7.0 million copies

April 2003: 6.0 million copies

April 2008: 6.7 million copies

April 2013: 6.8 million copies

April 2017: 6.5 million copies

April 2018: 6.8 million copies

 
A sign of enduring stability in the category, and a counterpoint to narratives that call into question the viability of the periodical.
I’d like to dig more into this, but will concede that Miller has superior knowledge of the historical charts. I don’t know now many variant covers were in the mix in previous years, although they are hardly necessary for the numbers to stay consistent – there is currently a glut of product in both formats. Jsut to be clear, I’m not anti-periodical, but I think not embracing all channels for the future sales is really dumb.
Finally, ICv2 has the Bookscan Top 20 for April and as is custom you must see it for yourself, however a couple of notes:
My Hero Academia #12 is #1 (and #1 is #12 on the chart if you follow.) This series is HUGE for Viz right now.
• The #2 book is Mari Andrews Am I There Yet?: The Loop-de-loop, Zigzagging Journey to Adulthood, yet another Instagram sensation turned profitable book. This is the new Garfield collection.
• The Action Comics 80 hardcover was #3
 • Infinity Gauntlet was the #5 seller for the month, which it didn’t take a genius to figure that out.
Black Panther Book 1 is at #10 for the month, a new backlist perennial seller.

5 COMMENTS

  1. I’m fully on board with embracing all channels — I think even back in that “Death to the Death of the Floppy” column back in CBG in ’04 my take was give people the formats they want.

    I think the contributions of the periodical (helping to get the work produced, advertising the trade paperback, and providing material for an aftermarket that does low nine figures annually) are necessary and underrated, and that the numbers behind them are not as widely understood as they could be. But the format’s not the only piece in the puzzle, for sure.

  2. And May is only going to be crazier. Lots of specials, milestones, events, and new launches this month and next. (My poor wallet)

  3. If comic sales were consistent for april imagine the numbers if the top 4 books were not so variant laden. its not a surge based on more people coming into comics but the same people buying more copies in hopes to flip them on ebay or paying for college in a number of years. No one in my social circles gives a damn about the actual stories.

  4. “its not a surge based on more people coming into comics but the same people buying more copies in hopes to flip them on ebay or paying for college in a number of years. No one in my social circles gives a damn about the actual stories.”

    It’s 1991 all over again. When the speculator bubble bursts, expect the direct market to crash even worse.

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