2016 turns positive with strong March: Walking Dead Vol. 25, Batman, Power Rangers lead lists

http://amzn.to/1qceFJEA slow start to 2016 was erased with a March that saw extremely strong graphic novel sales, thanks to a much-larger-than-usual new release slate led by Walking Dead Vol. 25.

The preliminary report on the month from Diamond Comic Distributors, released today, found that North American comics shops ordered approximately $46.58 million in comics, graphic novels, and magazines in March, as compared to $41.95 million last March.

The resulting 11.04% year-over-year dollar increase was enough to erase the shortfall during the first two months of the year; the first quarter ended up 1.32%, with the graphic novel portion up 12.67%. In March alone, graphic novel dollar sales were up 36.36%.

The aggregate statistics:

DOLLARS UNITS
March 2016 vs.
February 2016
Comics 3.62% 2.59%
Graphic Novels 31.90% 26.24%
Total
Comics/GNs
12.29% 4.61%
March 2016 vs.
March 2015
Comics 0.53% -8.45%
Graphic Novels 36.36% 34.78%
Total
Comics/GNs
11.04% -5.31%
Year-To-Date
2016 vs. Year-To-Date 2015
Comics -3.40% -9.16%
Graphic Novels 12.67% 13.56%
Total
Comics/GNs
1.32% -7.53%


Caveat department: This March had five shipping weeks versus four shipping weeks last year, and in a circumstance made more likely by this being a leap year, the first quarter of 2016 had 13 New Comics Days versus 12 in 2015. So the March increase is sort of in line with what we’d expect from an additional week in a month, but normally we’d expect the year to be doing just a little better to date for the additional week.

Also, periodical unit sales were down 8.45% for the month year-over-year, even though there was no Loot Crate comic book distorting the statistics in March 2015.

While comics units were down, comics dollars were up, thanks in part to the category-leading Batman #50 and its $5.99 price, releasing the same month that the Batman/Superman movie came out. Also noteworthy is the performance of Boom‘s Mighty Morphin Power Rangers #1, which debuted at a startling second place. Rankingwise, that’s far better than the title’s performance during its 1994-96 incarnations.

Top selling comic books
Comic Book Price Publisher
1 Batman #50 $5.99 DC
2 Mighty Morphin Power
Rangers #1
$3.99 Boom
3 Star Wars #17 $3.99 Marvel
4 Superman #50 $4.99 DC
5 Amazing Spider-Man #9 $3.99 Marvel
6 Darth Vader #17 $3.99 Marvel
7 Darth Vader #18 $3.99 Marvel
8 Deadpool #8 $3.99 Marvel
9 International Iron
Man #1
$3.99 Marvel
10 Avengers Standoff:
Assault On Pleasant Hill Alpha #1
$4.99 Marvel

The graphic novel side, as noted, was led by Walking Dead Vol. 25. The Paper Girls Vol. 1 trade paperback launched strongly — and noteworthy was the top-ten placement of the $50 Secret Wars hardcover.

Top selling graphic novels
Graphic Novel Price Publisher
1 The Walking Dead Volume 25: No Turning Back $14.99 Image
2 Paper Girls Volume 1 $9.99 Image
3 Civil War $24.99 Marvel
4 Tokyo Ghost Volume 1:
Atomic Garden
$9.99 Image
5 Batman Volume 7:
Endgame
$16.99 DC
6 Beauty Volume 1 $9.99 Image
7 East Of West Volume
5: All These Secrets
$14.99 Image
8 Secret Wars HC $50.00 Marvel
9 Batman Volume 8:
Superheavy HC
$24.99 DC
10 Avatar The Last
Airbender Volume 12: Smoke & Shadow Part 3
$10.99 Dark Horse

The market shares found Marvel leading both categories, with Boom leaping to fifth thanks to the Power Rangers offering:

Market shares
Dollar
Share
Unit Share
Marvel 37.39% 42.71%
DC 26.32% 25.94%
Image 8.73% 8.63%
IDW 5.82% 4.41%
Boom 3.26% 4.07%
Dark Horse 2.82% 2.47%
Dynamite 1.69% 1.56%
Viz 1.45% 0.63%
Titan 1.42% 1.48%
Eaglemoss 1.21% 0.34%
Other 9.88% 7.77%

If you missed it earlier this week, be sure to examine our 25-year track of market shares.

Finally, we see that the number of offerings was significantly up over last March, largely due to the extra week in the month:

Comics shipped Graphic Novels
shipped
Magazines shipped Total
shipped
Marvel 84 44 0 128
DC 77 40 0 117
IDW 50 32 0 82
Image 54 19 0 73
Eaglemoss 0 0 47 47
Viz 0 43 0 43
Dark
Horse
23 16 0 39
Titan 19 11 5 35
Boom 23 11 0 34
Dynamite 18 2 0 20
Other 140 153 29 322
TOTAL 488 371 81 940

While the 2016 list for March only includes 33 additional comic books, the graphic novel slate was much larger, with 113 additional graphic novels offered. That’s a big addition. Also noteworthy is the sheer number of action-figure magazines that Eaglemoss put out: 47 is likely the largest number we’ve seen in this category.

Final estimates for March will appear here next week.

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