Civil War II #1.jpgby John Jackson Miller

(Reprinted with permission from Comichron.)

Eleven comic books sold more than a hundred thousand copies to comics retailers in North America and two topped a quarter million, according to Comichron’s analysis of data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Those two copies — Marvel’s Civil War II #1and DC’s Batman #1 — both easily outsold their respective precursor launch titles from 2006 and 2011 respectively. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in June 2016.

Marvel sold more than 381,000 copies of Civil War II #1 to retailers in June, well ahead of Civil War #1 back in May 2006, which sold more than 260,000 copies in its first month. Granted, the scope of that hit was a surprise back then — the third issue outsold the first — and Marvel’s summer event last year, Secret Wars, launched with 527,000 copies. On the other hand, that issue last year was a dollar cheaper. At $5.99, Civil War II #1 brought in more than $2.28 million at full retail, more than double what the second place title made.

That title was Batman #1, which set a considerable mark on its own with more than 280,000 copies ordered. Even with its orders reduced for returnability, it outsold the corresponding Batman #1 from the September 2011 DC relaunch; that issue sold more than 188,000 copies in its first month. Eight DC comics topped 100,000 copies ordered. Among other titles of note, Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 picked up an additional 13,000 copies in reorders, adding to its 99,000 total from May.

As noted here Friday, dollar orders of comics and graphic novels in June were at their highest level in more than 20 years, $58.59 million in a five-week month. A small bit significant part of that comes from what was clearly a big month for deep discounts on hardcovers and graphic novels from Marvel: well over $1 million of the near-record $9.45 million that the Top 300 graphic novels brought in came from Marvel books that placed above 1,000th place in Diamond’s dollar volume rankings, meaning the cost of those books to retailers was greatly reduced. This is an effect we’ve seen before, however, and as it tends to happen in the last month of each quarter — perhaps as publishers seek to clear out stock or make budgets — it doesn’t muddy up the year-to-year comparisons as much as it otherwise might.

Unit sales for periodicals were up strongly as well: the Top 300 comics had orders of 8.53 million copies, the highest figure since December 1997 when the Darkness #11-infused market had preorders of 8.99 million copies. The 300th place title this month approached 5,600 copies sold. (Click to see the sales of 300th-place titles across time.)

There does remain a disparity between the Top 300 comics unit and dollar performance and that of Diamond’s overall change figures for those categories: this is at least partially due to the absence of well over a million Loot Crate copies, which affected our Comichron tabulations in the breakout categories. It is also likely that a larger share of comics are being sold outside the Top 300 this year, due to the number of releases on the market.

The aggregate changes are as follows:

June 2016: 8.53 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +42%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +22%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +56%
Q2 2016: 21.59 million copies, -10%vs. Q2 2015
YEAR TO DATE: 40.04 million copies, -10% vs. 2015, +25% vs. 2011, +2% vs. 2006, +32% vs. 2001
June 2016 versus one year ago this month: +19.75%
Q2 2016 versus Q2 2015: -7.71%
YEAR TO DATE: -8.38%


  1. ‘Eleven comic books sold more than a hundred thousand copies to comics retailers in North America and two topped a quarter million,”

    Question: Weren’t a lot of these returnable? If so how does that affect final sales?

    Good article Thank You.

  2. Historically returns are very very low — under 10% is the average reported number. The thing is that Diamond actually subtracts (what we believe to be) 10% from the sales of returnable books to account for this — so the actual sell-in numbers are a bit higher!

    Given that all of the June DC returnable books went to 2nd printing (or more), it would seem likely that returns will be well down in the single digit percentages — even IF you have extras, as a retailer, of BATMAN #1, you’re probably going to hold on to them for long-term sales.

    (this will be MUCH LESS LIKELY for #2 and beyond, however!)

    Thus, it’s actually possible (and perhaps likely) that this reports UNDERSTATES sales by some unknown, but possibly significant amount!


  3. Should be noted that the previous BATMAN #1 and CIVIL WAR #1 were before the current plague of variant covers, so they had their initial month sales almost solely of the main cover, I think both the new BATMAN #1 and CIVIL WAR II #1 offered multiple variant, including store exclusive ones (not sure what the minimums are on those, but I think each probably accounts for several thousand copies).

  4. Good point. I am also told that Civil War II #1 was also in June’s Funko Marvel Collector Corps box, though it is unclear whether those copies are being routed through Diamond. Loot Crate copies aren’t, any more.

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