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More than 145,700 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!

Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by

John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

Just added! Our 2016 Comics and Graphic Novel Industry-wide Sales Report!

 

July 17th, 2017

June 2017 comics estimates: Average comic offered tops $4 for first time; our 250th consecutive monthly report!

by John Jackson Miller

 See current listings for this issue on eBay
The sales estimates for comics ordered by North American comics shops in June 2017 have been computed, and we have a new most-ordered comic book of the year: out in advance of the Spider-Man: Homecoming movie, Peter Parker: The Spectacular Spider-Man #1 clocked in with orders of nearly 225,000 copies. Click to see the comics sales estimates for June 2017.

The issue was a needed bright spot, in a month we first reported on Friday: after a calendar-assisted rebound in the month of May, Marvel finished the first half of 2017 off $17.8 million at full retail in the Direct Market versus its performance in the same period in 2016, accounting for 94% of the market's $19 million shortfall. Up until June, the market minus Marvel was still in positive territory for the year, but as the above figure suggests, it turned slightly negative.

Marvel's share of June's smaller month was large enough to boost its market share for all of 2017 by a third of a percentage point; look for our exclusive Year-to-Date market shares in the left column of our 2017 page, beside our aggregated Top 40 Comics for the year so far.

An important mark was crossed, for better or worse, in June: the average comic book offered in the Top 300 topped $4 for the first time, landing at $4.03 and setting a new record. Removing the Dark Knight III Master Race #9 Collector's Edition, at $12.99, subtracts only two cents from the total; the median cover price offered was $3.99.  Previously, the weighted comics average — all Top 300 comics dollars divided by units — had crossed the $4 mark several times, only to return; the weighted average in June was actually the lower of the two measures, at $4.01.

Graphic novels, led by The Wicked & The Divine Vol. 5, were off considerably, although we don't note here nearly enough that Diamond isn't the only distributor comics shops order from; while, for example, we showed $405 million in graphic novels moving through book channel distributors in our annual 2016 report, a small portion of that was sold to comics shops, augmenting what retailers bought from Diamond.

(Update: Peter Parker #1 was in the Marvel Collector Corps box for the month; we don't know how many copies that kicked in, but it's likely far fewer than Loot Crate.)  

The vitals for the month:
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July 14th, 2017

June 2017 sales down against giant Rebirth month from last year; Spectacular Spidey snags top spot

by John Jackson Miller

Last June was the biggest month in comics in 20+ years, thanks to Rebirth and Civil War II — and the fifth week giveth, the fifth week taketh away. Pick your explanation, but the totals were very definitely down in June 2017, according to a report issued this morning by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comichron's analysis puts comic shop orders of comic books, graphic novels, and magazines at $46.09 million in the four-week month, down considerably from last year's record $58.59 million in a month with one additional shipping week. The comparative was always going to be extremely hard to beat, which is why we warned you about it early.

The news isn't all dire, so let's hit the brighter spots first: Under the hood, if you divide sales by the number of weeks in the month, the individual weeks in June were the strongest all year to date. That $46.09 million divides to $11.52 million per shipping week, the highest total since October. The second quarter beat the first quarter this year by 7.84% — as it should in any kind of normal situation — and 2017's new comics units so far, though infused with overship and 25-cent Image copies, are up from the year-to-date last year by 2.56%.

On the other hand, that's the only category that's up for the year. Comics dollars are slightly off, and combined comics, graphic novels, and magazines stand at $261.18 million for the year, off from $280.16 million in the more editorially front-loaded 2016. We were off even more, though, by this time in June 2011, and DC's New 52 relaunch brought the market almost to even by the end of the year.

(Update: Looking more closely, just three issues last June — Civil War II #1, Batman #1, and Batman Rebirth #1 — accounted for $3.72 million, or nearly a third of the margin last June had over this June. Blockbusters still matter — or at least, the absence of them does.)

The big laggard this year continues to be graphic novels, possibly in part a reflection of a weaker fall and winter last year for new releases, since now is when those comics are being collected. There may also be a dynamic of retailers keeping their powder dry, as July has a heavy release slate coming. Flying Colors' Joe Field tweeted yesterday about the challenges involved with ordering for July.

The aggregate sales:

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July 12th, 2017

Comics and graphic novel sales up 5% in 2016

According to new estimate by ICV2 and Comichron

The comics and graphic novel market grew 5% in 2016, according to a new joint estimate by Comichron’s John Jackson Miller and ICv2’s Milton Griepp. Total comics and graphic novel sales to consumers in the U.S. and Canada reached $1.085 billion in 2016, a $55 million increase over sales in 2015.


“It’s gratifying to see continued growth in the audience for graphic novels,” Griepp said. “This represents growth in the broadest part of the market, where increased variety of content is being found by new audiences for comics, including kids and women.”


“Marvel’s lucrative relaunch of the Star Wars line in 2015 set a high mark for the comics shop market to beat in 2016,” Miller said. “The fact that it pulled even, thanks in part to DC’s ‘Rebirth’ event, was remarkable—and the book channel’s strength was even more so.”


Graphic novels in the book channel were the only area of growth in 2016, as sales in comic stores, through download-to-own digital channels, and in newsstands remained flat. Sales of graphic novels through the book channel grew 16% to $405 million in 2016, after growing 23% in 2015 and 16% in 2014.


As presented above and in the accompanying infographics, the analysis by Comichron and ICv2 was divided up between periodical comics (what some call “floppies” or “pamphlets”), graphic novels, and digital download-to-own sales. All print figures are calculated based on the full retail price of books sold into the market, and do not account for discounting or markup. Digital sales do not include subscription or “all you can read” services.

This is the fourth joint market size analysis from ICv2 and Comichron; the first three were for 2013, 2014, and 2015 sales. ICV2 and Comichron also previously collaborated on revised estimates for 2011 and 2012.

Comichron is the world’s largest public repository of comic-book sales figures, featuring data from the 1930s to today about comic book and graphic novel circulation, cover prices, and market shares on its website, www.comichron.com. With data and analysis on the distant past as well as the present, Comichron serves as a trusted resource for academics studying the historical reach of the medium and for collectors seeking accurate information about how many copies of a comic book originally circulated.

ICv2 is the #1 industry source on the business of geek culture, including comics and graphic novels, hobby games, and showbiz on its Website, www.ICv2.com, and in its magazine, Internal Correspondence. For the people on the front lines of the geek culture business, staying ahead of the trends isn't something that can be left to chance-it's a basic necessity for being successful. That's why ICv2 is the #1 source of news and information for the buyers, gatekeepers, and tastemakers on the front lines. ICv2 is where trend-watching is a science.
Infographics designed by Kate Willaert.




June 19th, 2017

May 2017 comics sales estimates online; combining orders again gives Batman top slot

by John Jackson Miller

 See listings for Batman #22 on eBay
I mentioned here on Friday that, as in April, orders for DC's two "Button" issues of Batman and Flash would likely be split in reporting between the $3.99 lenticular and $2.99 standard-edition covers — and that posed the prospect that one or both of those issues would again edge past the reported top-seller, Marvel's Secret Empire, once orders were combined. That proved to be the case; click to see the comics order estimates for May 2017.

The original breakdowns are preserved in that list, but we can see that shipments of both versions of Batman #22 to comics shops in North America totaled nearly 186,900 copies (Edited: we'd initially used the numbers from #21), well over Secret Empire #1's total of more than 157,500. And Flash #22 hops up to second place, with a combined total of more than 163,700 copies. Again, the division of differently-priced variants is a long-standing practice in the charts; retailers, whom these charts are for, find knowing the breakdown of differently priced covers useful to know.

That said, Comichron has launched a running top-seller list for the year to date, combining the data from individual months; this can be found on the main 2017 page. There, we do fuse the entries, as we've done for years on our Comics of the Century and other pages.

The top dollar book on Diamond's charts, Venom #150, at nearly $6, would keep that status even if the Batman dollar orders were merged; Secret Empire #1 would remain the second-place dollar book. There's evidence of overshipping on the first two issues of All New Guardians of the Galaxy, which saw splits between their dollar and unit sales rankings. Meanwhile, the $9.99 Deadpool #30 is the seventh-highest dollar earner, while being only the 58th bestselling issue.

Spider-Man Omnibus Vol. 3 at TFAW
As noted in the preliminary report, May's orders represented an improvement over the previous year, thanks in part to a fifth shipping week — but we also see that lower tiers on the chart — 200th place and below — set some better-than-expected sales levels even for five-week months. (Be sure to check out our new sales charts for these sales levels: 1st, 50th, 100th, 150th, 200th, and 300th place.)

On the graphic novel side, Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man Omnibus Vol. 3 hardcover, at $100, was the top book in dollar terms. The dollar top-ten is populated by several other big-ticket books.

There was some deep-discounting of older hardcovers evident in the charts, but not a whole lot; enough to contribute to the ten-point split in units versus dollars on Diamond's percentage change charts for the month. Diamond shipped 14% more graphic novels this May versus last, but only earned 4% more dollars.

The vital statistics for the month:


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June 16th, 2017

Comics orders rebound in five-week May; Secret Empire tops list, Liefeld has #1 graphic novel

by John Jackson Miller

See current auctions for Secret Empire #1 on eBay
May 2017 was a win for the comic-book direct market, if a qualified one; comics shops ordered $48.16 million worth of comic books, trade paperbacks, and magazines in the month, an increase of more than 8% over the same month in the previous year. That month, however, had only four Wednesdays, while this May had five New Comic Book Days. Last May was also one of the weakest months of the year, a "holding pattern" month in advance of Civil War II and DC's Rebirth. But it's the first up month since October 2016, so we'll take it.

Marvel's performance, about which much was written this winter, improved year-over-year — although, following a pattern we've seen in 2017, the rest of the market improved by more. The overall market was up around $3.7 million; $700,000 of the addition came from Marvel and $3 million from everyone else. That said, Marvel's last year-over-year beat was back in August 2016, so positive movement is noteworthy. The market without Marvel is up 4.2% for 2017, so a few more good months for the publisher could turn the industry's year positive overall.

The challenge is going to be that, just as much of 2016 was up against big comparative months during Star Wars' launch year at Marvel, last summer was ginormous in dollar terms. June 2016 was the biggest month in the Direct Market this century, at $58.6 million; it also had an extra Wednesday. August 2016 was almost as big. More of DC's books are at $3.99 this time around, so we'll see what difference that makes.

The aggregate changes:


DollarsUnits
May 2017 Vs. April 2017
Comics16.49%17.36%
Graphic Novels17.13%19.52%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels16.69%17.53%
Toys52.15%52.94%
May 2017 Vs. May 2016
Comics10.58%16.74%
Graphic Novels3.54%13.65%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels8.31%16.49%
Toys40.46%29.34%
Year-To-Date 2017 Vs. Year-To-Date 2016
Comics0.11%8.89%
Graphic Novels-9.23%-8.72%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels-2.92%7.35%
Toys1.14%1.10%

We don't cover toys, but Diamond provides that data and they look to have bounced back by a lot.

Marvel topped both market shares categories, and improved its position in our projected annual dollar market shares, which through May are expected to wind up at Marvel 36.6%, DC 29.2%, Image 10.2%, IDW 5%, and Dark Horse 3.5%. Here's just the month of May:
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