The final comics sales estimates for April are out from Diamond Comic Distributors, and as reported here on Friday, Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3 #1
was the best-selling title in the last 15 years in the comics market
overall, and since the mid-1990s if we’re looking at just the comics
shop market. (It was definitely a high-interest issue, as Friday’s post within a day became the most-read article in this site’s history!) With the new information, Comichron estimates that Marvel sold retailers nearly
532,600 copies of the $5.99 comic book, including all its different
variant cover editions. Click to see the sales estimates for comics ordered in April 2014.
The Top Comics of the Century List won’t
be updated until year-end, but barring any further blockbusters, expect
to see this issue topping it. The sales of the previous leader, Amazing Spider-Man #583, sales reached 530,500 copies over the course of an entire calendar year in 2009; Amazing Spider-Man Vol. 3
#1’s sales already top it. Unless something happens to reduce the total
— like Diamond accepting a lot of returns because of damaged copies —
we should expect it to hold its position relative to #583.
Some have noted that to a far greater degree than many previous top entrants on the record-setter list, sales of Amazing Spider-Man
Vol. 3 #1 were largely boosted by retailers ordering many copies in
order to earn incentive special editions. That’s true, but the practice is nothing
new — and, in fact, every comic book Diamond sells retailers has a sales incentive
attached: the more copies retailers order, the higher their discount
gets. Amazing certainly lies on the extreme in its use of
incentives, but if we’re handing out asterisks based on the presence of promotions, the
historical records will be replete with them.
RECORDS: In addition to the performance of the top-selling title this month, April set some new marks, one of which is reflected on the Diamond-era records page:
• April saw the highest weighted average price for comic books ordered by retailers within the Top 300 — exactly $4 even, blowing away the previous record of $3.77. (We get this number by dividing the total dollars spent on comics in the Top 300 by the total number of Top 300 comics sold.)
This huge jump is entirely due to Amazing Spider-Man #1 and Marvel’s Deadpool #27,
which had a $9.99 cover price: excising those two titles, the average
weighted price is just $3.78. There’s not much of a case to be made for
either issue — even Deadpool, at 100 pages — to not being
included in the comics list, however: each is simply a special issue of
an ongoing series, and there have been plenty of 100-page specials
It should be noted that we’ve seen many past
occasions where a special issue bumps the average price far ahead
briefly. The first time the weighted average passed $3 was December 2001, when the $7.95 Dark Knight Strikes Again #1 distorted the pricing curve. But the average weighted price was not to go above $3 for good until more than four years later.
The average weighted price went above $2 for the first time, incidentally, sometime before 1996.
• Marvel’s dollar sales of Top 300 comics reached $14.79 million, its highest figure seen in the Diamond Exclusive Era, which began in 1997. The records page does not track these individual marks for publishers, but we do keep tabs on them internally at Comichron.
The aggregate changes:
April 2014: 6.98 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +4%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +9%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +11%
YEAR TO DATE: 25.28 million copies, -9% vs. 2013, +8% vs. 2009, +9% vs. 2004, +2 vs. 1999
ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
April 2014 versus one year ago this month: +6.96%
YEAR TO DATE: -6.91%
April 2014: $25.28 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -9%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +8%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +9%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +2%
YEAR TO DATE: $95.96 million, -4% vs. 2013, +22% vs. 2009, +44% vs. 2004, +52% vs. 1999
ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
April 2014 versus one year ago this month: +17.37%
YEAR TO DATE: -0.89%
April 2014: $7.58 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -14%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -3%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +47%
Versus 15 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +16%
YEAR TO DATE: $28.21 million, -11% vs. 2013
ALL TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
April 2014 versus one year ago this month: +16.78%
YEAR TO DATE: +5.44%
April 2014: $35.54 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +8%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +7%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +41%
Versus 15 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +85%
YEAR TO DATE: $124.18 million, -5% vs. 2013
ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK SALES
April 2014 versus one year ago this month: +17.18%
YEAR TO DATE: +1.04%
April 2014: approximately $48.17 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +17%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +15%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +80%
YEAR TO DATE: $164.77 million, +1% vs. 2013
New comic books released: 481
New graphic novels released: 299
New magazines released: 63
All new releases: 843
As noted above, the average comic book in the Top 300 cost $3.72; the average comic book
retailers ordered cost $4.00. The median and most common price for comics offered was $3.99. Click to see comics prices across time.
curiosity in the charts: sales of graphic novels in the Top 300 were
off 14% against last April, whereas Diamond reported that sales for the
category overall were up nearly 17%. There’s no disconnect here. The
first measure is calculated based on full price of everything sold,
whereas Diamond’s overall figure is based on wholesale prices, or what
it received from retailers. As last April’s report
notes, Marvel put a lot of hardcovers into the market back then at deep
discounts, which is why the Top 300 dollar value was inflated. This
April’s total more realistically reflects what was sold.
The 300th-place comic book, incidentally, sold almost exactly 1% of the units that the #1 comic book sold. That’s a spread we haven’t seen in a long time (and it’s not a bad thing, as the 300th-place book still sold over 5,000 copies).
Next month’s report will reflect any reorders from Amazing #1, as well as sales activity spurred by Free Comic Book Day. Find your local comic shop here.
Comichron founder John Jackson Miller has tracked the comics industry for more than 25 years, including a decade editing the industry’s retail trade magazine; he is the author of several guides to comics, as well as more than a hundred comic books for various franchises.
He is the author of novels including Star Wars: Kenobi, Star Wars: A New Dawn, Star Trek: Discovery – The Enterprise War, and his latest release, Star Trek: Discovery – Die Standing. Read more about them at his fiction site.
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