Amazing Spider-Man, Saga top 2014 bestseller lists; comics market ends year up 4%

Diamond Comic Distributors has started the rollout of its December 2014 and 2014 year-end comics sales reports, and as in past years Comichron will provide estimates and analysis as information is released. The first news was released in Wall Street Journal report announcing the Top 10s for comics and graphic novels and the market shares, but now more is out from Diamond.

Diamond said combined comics and graphic novel sales for 2014 were up 4.39%, which would amount to around $540 million total, an increase of $22 million over 2013. (That would suggest a December in the $43-44 million range, up gently from the same month last year.) That represents a cooldown from 2013’s 9.04% increase, which itself was a drop from 2012’s 14.72% boost. To a degree, this isn’t surprising — as the volumes get higher, it takes a lot more comics sold to equal the same percentage increases. The farther we get from the recession-era lows, growth is less likely to look quite as explosive as it was then.

Comics dollar sales were up 4.03% for the year and graphic novel sales were up 5.18%, but no change figures were reported for unit sales. Those figures suggest that December’s comics sales beat last December’s, while December’s graphic novel sales lagged. We should see the December data in full shortly.

As expected, Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man #1 from April topped the charts as the best-selling comic book of the year. The book had orders of more than 532,000 copies in its first month and reorders that made the charts for several months afterward, making it the most ordered comic book of the 21st century — a claim that it will keep for about a week, with Star Wars #1 reported to have sales over a million copies.

The Top Comics of 2014 chart:

Issue Price Publisher Released
1 Amazing Spider-Man #1 $5.99 Marvel Apr-14
2 The Walking Dead
$2.99 Image Oct-14
3 Rocket Raccoon #1* $3.99 Marvel Jul-14
4 Death of Wolverine #1 $4.99 Marvel Sep-14
5 Death of Wolverine #4 $4.99 Marvel Oct-14
6 Thor #1 $3.99 Marvel Oct-14
7 Original Sin #1 $4.99 Marvel May-14
8 Death of Wolverine #2 $4.99 Marvel Sep-14
9 Death of Wolverine #3 $4.99 Marvel Oct-14
10 Superior Spider-Man
$5.99 Marvel Apr-14

Nine of the entries in the list came from Marvel, and Image’s entry on the list is because of Walking Dead #132‘s massive order from Loot Crate. The same is true of Rocket Raccoon #1, which also has an asterisk. (Loot Crate is a Diamond account and is considered when Diamond makes its charts — but when an account only orders a comic book a month at most and orders more copies than all the rest of the Direct Market combined, some notation is necessary.)

Diamond said Marvel published 53 of the Top 100 comics; we’ll do the full accounting when the larger lists are released.

On the graphic novel side, it was Image that had nine entries in the Top 10, led by Saga Vol. 3. As two of the releases in the Top 10 were priced at only $9.99, the top dollar-earning list would likely be different.

It would appear that Saga Vol. 4 will wind up as the top selling graphic novel for December, once those sales figures are out.

The Top 10 graphic novels:

Title Price Publisher
1 Saga Vol. 3 $14.99 Image
2 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
3 The Walking Dead Vol.
20: All Out War, Part 1
$14.99 Image
4 Saga Vol. 2 $14.99 Image
5 The Walking Dead Vol.
1: Days Gone Bye
$14.99 Image
6 The Walking Dead Vol
21: All Out War, Part 2
$14.99 Image
7 Sex Criminals Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
8 The Walking Dead Vol.
22: A New Beginning
$14.99 Image
9 Batman Vol. 1: The
Court of Owls
$16.99 DC
10 Saga Vol. 4 $14.99 Image

The market shares for the year found Marvel atop both categories: units and dollars. Marvel picked up less than a percentage point in dollar share and Image picked up more than a point from 2013, while DC gave up a little over a point. The next three on the list, IDW, Dark Horse, and Dynamite, all dropped a fraction of a point from their 2013 dollar shares, while the final four, Boom, Eaglemoss, Avatar, and Random House, each picked up a fraction of a point.

The market shares:

Unit Share
Marvel 34.38% 36.78%
DC 28.86% 32.47%
Image 9.23% 10.41%
IDW 5.69% 4.34%
Dark Horse 5.07% 4.25%
Dynamite 2.57% 2.41%
Boom 2.23% 2.16%
Eaglemoss 1.30% 0.29%
Avatar 0.97% 0.83%
Random House 0.95% 0.30%
Other 8.75% 5.75%

Finally, Diamond released the tally of new releases for the year. This accounting includes titles invoiced for the first time in the year: variant covers at the same price point count as the same book, while variants at different prices are counted separately. DC had the most new titles out:

DC 1107 340 6 1453
Marvel 953 387 3 1343
Image 717 151 0 868
IDW 515 257 0 772
Dark Horse 432 260 0 692
Boom 354 82 0 436
Dynamite 367 57 0 424
Random House 14 203 0 217
Avatar 130 29 7 166
Eaglemoss 0 0 150 150
Total Top 10 4589 1766 166 6521

This post will be updated to include all the links to Comichron’s end-of-2014 reports going forward, including news of the December sales. Also, when the Comics of the Century pages are updated, that will be linked here, too.


The December preliminary analysis is online, as well as the December final analysis. And you cal click to see the December sales estimates.

• The Top Thousand Comics and Graphic Novels of the Year with estimates are now online.


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