As has been pointed out, it’s probably a little better to compare Comixology’s weekly sales ranks with the Diamond sales estimates for print.  While looking at the previous week’s Comixology ranking vs. the previous month’s Diamond numbers can give us an idea of the immediate market and interesting trends in new titles (without the variant covers involved), it’s ultimately better to compare the weekly estimates with the same month’s sales estimates… it just takes a little longer to be able to do that.

With that in mind, here is Comixology’s Top 20 comics for the week of January 17th (measured on 1/21) compared with the January sales estimates for print.

Standard disclaimers apply: it’s not 100% clear what time period Comixology’s top sellers list covers, but it changes over weekly and reflects the new releases.  It’s not exactly the same as monthly sales, but it’s the measurement we have available to us.  One of the things that’s important to look at is whether the digital audience has slightly different buying habits than the print (Direct Market) audience.  When Comixology launched, the sales ranks were thought to be largely the same and many publishers have said that digital sales are 10-15% of print.  But is that still the case?

Comixology Rank Issue Previous Issue Print Sales Est. Previous Issue Diamond Rank
1 Batman #39 94,325 4
2 Super Sons #12 35,068 50
3 The Mighty Thor #703 42,116 32
4 Superman #39 44,402 29
5 Justice League #37 45,313 26
6 Star Wars #42 53,710 12
7 Injustice 2 #41 Digital First Digital First
8 Avengers #676 39,094 36
9 Nightwing #37 28,873 68
10 X-Men Gold #20 36,471 47
11 Trinity #17 24,530 93
12 Doctor Strange #384 25,652 85
13 Aquaman #32 25,232 89
14 Damage #1 37,001 44
15 Green Lanterns #39 25,551 86
16 All-New Wolverine #29 25,330 88
17 Champions #16 19,804 110
18 Kill or Be Killed #15 16,545 126
19 Amazing Spider-Man Venom, Inc. Omega #1 – Venom, Inc. Alpha #1 63,322 8
20 Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #299 28,512 72

Here we see Batman as the top seller for the week, which should surprise no one.

Super Sons at #2 for the week has that title leap frogging some better sellers in print.  The Mighty Thor is also higher than you’d expect if you were going by print sales.  There is a long standing theory that YA titles and with female leads do proportionally better in digital, so perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising.

The question is whether Star Wars is proportionally less popular in digital, benefits strongly from variants in print or Superman and Justice League are stronger sellers in digital.  Superman and Justice League had similar sales number in print for January, so those two flopping places in the order isn’t necessarily that odd, but being above Star Wars might be.

In a similar question, one wonders if Nightwing is seriously over-performing in digital or X-Men Gold is selling less.

Our next significant eye-brow raiser is Damage #1.  Retailer orders on a new character will involve a certain amount of guesswork and Damage sold smack dab in the middle of a block of mid-25K titles.  Now, maybe the print audience was more interested in it or maybe we’re going to see significantly lower print orders for #2 after retailers adjust.  It’s still a bit early to tell, but that doesn’t have to look of a promising launch on the digital side.

And from here on down, the list gets interesting.  Champions, with a cast of YA heroes is selling a bit better in digital than you might expect.  Kill or Be Killed appears to be over-performing.  In the same-week estimates, we’ve been seeing the Image A-list performing at a higher percentage of print sales than the rank and file at DC and Marvel.  That seems to be the case here and we’ll likely see more of that.

Venom, Inc. Omega is massively lower than on the print chart.  Now, some of that could be a difference in buying habits and interest between print and digital audience, but a lot of it is likely just want happens when you cut all those variant covers out and end up with readers instead of collectors.

Finally, Peter Parker seems to be selling a little bit below where you’d expect it, based on print sales.  Not anything like the difference with Venom, but enough to ask some questions.

Actually, the Marvel titles are the ones with the most variance from where you’d expect to see them based on print sales.  Doctor Strange and All-New Wolverine are roughly where you’d expect to see them in relation to the other titles that week.  Everything else is either higher or lower.  Does that mean anything?  Let’s get a couple months of data together before making conclusions about that.  One week doesn’t prove a trend.

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


  1. Actually, the Marvel titles are the ones with the most variance from where you’d expect to see them based on print sales.

    Wait 6 months and you can get it on Marvel Unlimited. If you can wait, then you wait. With that in mind it’s actually somewhat surprising that Doctor Strange and All-New Wolverine end up in roughly the “right” place in the list – it suggests that while their fanbase might not be huge it is dedicated and need to read the book when it drops rather than waiting.

    Same holds true for Star Wars and it’s anomalous position that you noted – you’ve got the people who need to read it now, and the folks who can wait 6 months. For Star Wars there looks to be a larger pool of people who need to “read it now” than for the other Marvel titles, but it’s still there. (Though as you suggest it might be variant covers boosting the print numbers – I don’t know how many of those Star Wars is getting at this point).

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