Diamond Comics Distribution has just released the iot’s list of the top selling comics of 2019, with the Top 10 comics, graphic novels and publishers. While Marvel was once again the #1 publisher, DC claimed the top spots on both the periodical and graphic novel charts.
Detective Comics #1000, the star studded anthology, was the top book in unit sales, while the graphic novel chart was topped by the warhorse Watchmen, whose sales were doubtless boosted by the critically lauded HBO series.
Diamond did not release a chart of year to year comparisons but noted that annual comic book sales in the comic book specialty market increased in 2019 by nearly 4% over 2018 while graphic novel sales declined by 2%. Overall, sales for both formats were up by 2.23% over 2018.
The decline in graphic novels sales is probably partly due to comics specialty retailers ordering more and more of their books from sources outside Diamond, as sales analyst John jackson estimates that 2019 will be a billion dollar year for overall GN sales.
Marvel was more than 10 points over DC, but Image took the #3 spot, followed by IDW, Dark Horse and Boom. Marvel’s unit share was up 4 points from 2018, and Image and DC were both down, probably reflecting the announced cuts their lines.
While Detective Comics #1000 led the periodical chart – much as Action #1000 led the 2018 chart – DC had two titles the top 10, while a herd of Marvel #1’s -including HoX/PoX #1s – filled out the top 10. DCeased was the other DC book.
Over in the GN list there were 5 DC titles, 4 Image books, and 1 from Dark Horse – Umbrella Academy, another beneficiary of the streaming wars, with sales spurred by the Netflix show.
Image’s best sellers included the usual Saga and Monstess, but the first collection of Die by Kieren Gillen and Stephanie Hans was also on there – a big hit for the publisher.
DC’s best sellers included Batman: Damned and Batman: White Knight, showing that, full frontal missteps aside, the Black Label line is doing quite well in the marketplace.
John Jackson Miller has much very insightful number crunching on all of this and I’ll direct you to his post on the matter for more. But worth quoting: although a 2.23% gain is basically flat, it was still an overall year of strong gains.
The decade of the 2010s ended on a note of growth for the Direct Market when it comes to retailer orders from Diamond Comic Distributors. According to our analysis of a report released today by the firm, comics shops bought $528.1 million in comic books, graphic novels, and magazines from it in 2019, an increase of 2.23% or $11.5 million over 2018’s total of $516.6 million. We expect to have the full charts for 2019 from Diamond early next week; they’ll appear here, where you can in the meantime see our projected positions for comics through November.
Implicit in the report is that December 2019‘s performance was, as predicted here, an improvement over the moribund and holiday-shortened December 2018 showing. December 2019’s orders appear to have been around $39.5 million, up around 5% and finishing a strong quarter year-over-year. Three out of four quarters in 2019 showed improvement; that hasn’t happened since 2015, a year partially fueled by Star Wars‘ move to Marvel. The last time every quarter was up was 2013, a year supercharged by significant line growth at the middle-tier publishers; only one month that year was down.
We’ll have more when complete charts for the year are released.
2019 TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
|DARK HORSE COMICS|
|OTHER NON-TOP 10|
2019 TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS
|DETECTIVE COMICS #1000|
|BLACK CAT #1|
|ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1|
|MARVEL COMICS #1000|
|HOUSE OF X #1|
|POWERS OF X #1|
|WAR OF REALMS #1|
2019 TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS
|SAGA VOLUME 1 TP (MR)|
|UMBRELLA ACADEMY VOL. 1: APOCALYPSE SUITE TP|
|SEP108136||DARK HORSE COMICS|
|MONSTRESS VOLUME 1 TP (MR)|
|MISTER MIRACLE TP (MR)|
|DIE VOL. 1: FANTASY HEARTBREAKER TP (MR)|
|BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT TP|
|THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 31 TP (MR)|
|BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE HC|
|BATMAN: DAMNED HC (MR)|
Data for Diamond’s sales charts — which includes the 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 2019, which comprises pre-orders, advance reorders, and reorders, minus any copies that are received back from a title marked as returnable. The category tables in this press release are ranked by units sold by Diamond to its accounts for the comic books and graphic novels categories.