Being down $72,000 in sales in nothing to laugh about and takes some courage to admit.  As the Beat continues to look at retailers recounting their 2017 travails, we find ourselves back in San Francisco.  Mission: Comics and Art paints a frightening picture across two blog posts.

First, in a post decorated with a picture of a dumpster fire, the setting is laid out: after gains in sales every year of the store’s existence, the sales of enamel pins are up, but pretty much every other category is down, for a net of $72,000 less sales than 2016.  That’s a 17% reduction.

Then after listening to Challengers’ podcast about their own sales drop, a further breakdown of losses was posted:

  • For single issues, Marvel was down $12K, Image was down $10K, DC was down $2.5K and Dark Horse was down $1K
  • For tpbs/graphic novels, the trio of DC, Image and Marvel were all down $10K apiece and Dark Horse was down $3K.

Common Themes

Every store is going to have a slightly different audience with slightly different buying habits, but there seem to be some common themes emerging.

  • Some stores are having notable success with enamel pins.  It’s not going to be replacing Marvel’s single issues sales, but everyone seems very happy to take a win where they can get it.
  • Everyone agrees that Marvel’s single issue sales are in the tank.
  • There’s consistent commentary about Image not having a breakout hit in 2017, though the amount of drop off is varying a bit from store to store.  Mission probably has the most drastic single issue drop off for Image.
  • Relative to it’s market share, DC’s sales totals really aren’t taking much of a hit… HOWEVER, everyone has also been fairly consistent that it’s a combination of Metal / Doomsday Clock / Batman that’s keeping DC afloat when a lot of the Rebirth titles have cooled off a bit.

We keep hearing stories about shops with non-trivial revenue drops.  That’s not going to be the case with EVERY store, but the picture is troubling and next month’s ComicsPRO meeting ought to be an interesting one.  It seems like a good chunk of the retail community is done trying to paint a happy face on the market and will be wanting some answers and solid plans from publishers.

Want to learn more about how comics publishing and digital comics work?  Try Todd’s book, Economics of Digital Comics

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