Dark Knight III #3 tops comics market in another sluggish winter month

Preliminary reporting is available on comics and graphic novel sales in February 2016 from Diamond Comic Distributors, and we see in them another month that is just slightly off from the same month a year ago. But since reported sales that month were supercharged by nearly half a million copies of Orphan Black #1, the vast majority of which went to the repackager Loot Crate, the month may not have been off by that much.

Indeed, Comichron estimates that while total orders were at $41.48 million, down about $700,000 from last February, our retail total from last year was inflated by nearly $2 million by the Loot Crate book. We can also estimate that much of the drop in unit sales came from the Loot Crate issue: half a million copies would equate to about half of the reported 14.62% drop in comics unit sales. And remember that last February also had more Star Wars launches, including continued sales of the first issue from last January.

So the comparisons for the first quarter are the muddle we’d been expecting, and may not say much at all about the health of the market as 2016 began. The aggregate changes:

Dollars Units
FEBRUARY
2016 VS. JANUARY 2016
Comics 0.14% -5.26%
Graphic
Novels
-0.63% 8.21%
TOTAL
COMICS/GN
-0.10% -4.24%
FEBRUARY
2016 VS. FEBRUARY 2015
Comics -6.73% -14.62%
Graphic
Novels
12.00% 18.12%
TOTAL
COMICS/GN
-1.69% -12.54%
YEAR-TO-DATE
2016 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2015
Comics -5.32% -9.52%
Graphic
Novels
1.13% 2.92%
TOTAL
COMICS/GN
-3.43% -8.63%

January’s new comics sales suffered for the absence of a new issue of Dark Knight III, but when it did appear in February, it was the best-seller for the month. The top-selling comics:

Top-selling comic books
Title Price Publisher
1 Dark Knight III: The
Master Race #3
$5.99 DC
2 Star Wars #16 $3.99 Marvel
3 Batman #49 $3.99 DC
4 Spider-Man #1 $3.99 Marvel
5 Deadpool: The Mercs
For Money #1
$3.99 Marvel
6 Deadpool #7 $9.99 Marvel
7 Darth Vader #16 $3.99 Marvel
8 Power Man and Iron
Fist #1
$3.99 Marvel
9 Amazing Spider-Man #7 $3.99 Marvel
10 Justice League #48 $3.99 DC

Graphic novel sales were the bright spot in the month, and while the split between graphic novel unit and dollar sales suggests that the average price paid wholesale was lower, that may not be due to deep discounting, since many of the top-sellers were low-priced. The third volume of The Wicked & The Divine from Image topped the graphic novel charts:

Top-selling graphic novels
Title Price Publisher
1 The Wicked & The
Divine Vol. 3
$14.99 Image
2 Star Wars: Chewbacca $16.99 Marvel
3 Lumberjanes Vo. 3 $14.99 Boom
4 Batman: The Dark
Knight Returns
$19.99 DC
5 Batman: Harley and
Ivy Deluxe Edition HC
$24.99 DC
6 Sunstone Vol. 4 SC $14.99 Image
7 New Suicide Squad
Vol. 2: Monsters
$14.99 DC
8 The Fade-Out Vol. 3 $12.99 Image
9 Amazing Spider-Man:
Edge of Spider-Verse
$15.99 Marvel
10 Saga Vol. 5 $14.99 Image

The market shares:

Market shares
Dollar
share
Unit share
Marvel 40.78% 42.19%
DC 26.00% 29.01%
Image 9.18% 10.13%
IDW 4.78% 4.14%
Dark Horse 3.07% 2.59%
Boom 2.12% 1.94%
Dynamite 2.09% 1.68%
Oni 1.04% 0.85%
Viz 0.94% 0.38%
Titan 0.92% 0.82%
Other 9.09% 6.29%

The number of offerings by publisher grew significantly on the graphic novel side, which may have something to do with how much better graphic novels performed this month:

New titles released
New comics New graphic
novels
New magazines New items
Marvel 80 32 0 112
DC 78 28 1 107
Image 53 13 0 66
IDW 41 22 0 63
Dark
Horse
27 16 0 43
Boom 23 13 0 36
Dynamite 20 6 0 26
Titan 14 6 1 21
Oni 7 3 0 10
Viz 0 2 0 2
Other 142 134 31 307
Total 485 275 33 793

Look for the full estimates for February here on Monday.

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