Dark Nights Metal ships 262k copies, most of 2017, beating Rebirth #1’s first month: August comics sales estimates


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While comics shop orders during the month of August 2017 were down in all categories versus last August’s blockbuster, we’ve finally found a book that’s been able to top a mark set in that summer of DC Rebirth launches. And it’s another DC book: Comichron estimates that Diamond Comic Distributors shipped almost exactly 262,000 copies of Dark Nights: Metal #1, the kickoff point for this fall’s Metal event, to North American retailers in the month — quite a few more copies than the 235,800 shipped of DC Universe Rebirth #1, the corresponding launch book, in its first month. Click to see the full estimates for comics sold in August 2017. 

After that first month, of course, Rebirth #1 would go on to multiple printings and top 300,000 copies in North America — but Dark Nights‘ second printing reached shops last week, and there’s something else of note: Dark Nights cost $2 more, at $4.99. It’s also marked by Diamond as the number one dollar title of the month, and if all copies sold at cover price, it’s not just the top-selling comic book of the year in units, but also dollars, eclipsing the $10 Amazing Spider-Man #25 earlier this year. Click to see our running track of top sellers in 2017, along with our market shares for the year to date.

The internal benchmarks also showed something positive: the 300th place comic book, Jimmy’s Bastards #3 from Aftershock, moved 5,621 copies in North America, which is more than any book in that position in a five-week month since December 2015. While it may not be particularly meaningful as wins go, it’s surprising that any position on the chart could be higher against last August, a month in which far more comics moved overall.

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On the graphic novel side, we find that the top-dollar book for the month is quite a ways further down the unit sales list: IDW’s Jack Kirby Fantastic Four Worlds Greatest Artist Edition hardcover, a $150 book on the shelves in advance of the King’s 100th birthday.

The larger picture of this August versus last August has been previously elaborated here; the market year-to-date is off 10%. But 2017 has big events yet on the slate with Metal and Legacy yet to come, and while there remain strong comparative months to come, the potential for a changed dynamic is there. Sometimes retailer money’s on the sidelines, waiting for the right event; sometimes it just isn’t there. This fall should tell us which is the case.

The data sheet for the month follow at the bottom of this post, but before that, I would like to remember Len Wein, comics writer and editor, who passed away on Sunday. Len is a large part of the success comics found in the Direct Market era, from his reboot of the X-Men and his introduction of Wolverine to his hand in developing comics for more sophisticated audiences with Swamp Thing.

I had the good fortune to spend some time with him at a convention several years ago and he was generous with his knowledge and his advice. His works were and are a big part of so many comics readers’ lives, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to know him. He is already missed.


The stats for the month:

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TOP 300
COMICS SHIPPED (in UNITS)
August 2017 6.59 million copies
1 Year Ago 9.36 million copies -30%
5 Years Ago 7.1 million copies -7%
10 Years Ago 7.69 million copies -14%
15 Years Ago 6.61 million copies 0%
20 Years Ago 8.3 million copies -21%
ALL Comics
Shipped in Month (Units)
7.6 million copies -26%
Year To Date 53.62 million copies
1 Year Ago 57.98 million copies  (8.0)
5 Years Ago 52.32 million copies 2
10 Years Ago 57.46 million copies -7
15 Years Ago 46.24 million copies 16
ALL Comics
Shipped Year to Date (Units)
60.65 million copies -6%
TOP 300 COMICS SHIPPED (in
DOLLARS)
August 2017 $25.52 million
1 Year Ago $34.16 million -25%
5 Years Ago $25.53 million 0%
10 Years Ago $24.62 million +4%
15 Years Ago $18.21 million +40%
20 Years Ago $20.8 million +23%
ALL Comics
Shipped during Month (Dollars)
-26%
Year To Date $206.24 million
1 Year Ago $224.9 million -8%
5 Years Ago $184.01 million +12%
10 Years Ago $181.22 million +14%
15 Years Ago $130.21 million +58%
ALL Comics
Shipped Year to Date (Dollars)
-10%
TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED (in
DOLLARS)
August 2017 (Top 300 GNs) $6.69 million
August 2017
(Top 100 GNs)
$3.84 million
August 2017
(Top 50 GNs)
$2.36 million
August 2017
(Top 25 GNs)
$1.58 million
Versus 1 Year
Ago
$7.55 million -11%
Versus 5 Years
Ago (Top 300)
$7.71 million -13%
Versus 10
Years Ago (Top 100)
$4.63 million -17%
Versus 15
Years Ago (Top 50)
$2.53 million -7%
ALL Graphic
Novel Shipped in Month (Dollars)
-7%
Year To Date $57.7 million
1 Year Ago $63.5 million -9%
ALL Graphic
Novel Dollars Shipped Year to Date (Dollars)
-12%
TOP 300 COMICS plus TOP GNs
SHIPPED (in DOLLARS)
August 2017 (including Top 300
GNs)
$32.21 million
August 2017
(including Top 300 GNs)
$29.36 million
August 2017
(including Top 100 GNs)
$27.88 million
August 2017
(including Top 25 GNs)
$27.1 million
Versus 1 Year
Ago
$41.71 million -23%
Versus 5 Years
Ago (Top 300)
$33.23 million -12%
Versus 10
Years Ago (Top 50)
$29.26 million -13%
Versus 15
Years Ago (Top 50)
$20.74 million +40%
All Comics
& GNs Shipped in Month (Dollars)
-21%
Year To Date $263.97 million
1 Year Ago $287.78 million -8%
ALL Comics
& GNs Shipped Year to Date (Dollars)
-10%
ALL COMICS AND GNs SHIPPED (in
Dollars)
August 2017 $45.72 million
Versus 1 Year
Ago
$57.66 million -21%
Versus 5 Years
Ago
$44.59 million +3%
Versus 10
Years Ago
$39.18 million +17%
Year To Date $347.67 million
1 Year Ago $388.35 million -10%
TITLE SPECIFICS
TOP SELLING COMIC BOOK
Dark Nights Metal #1  261,997 copies at $4.99
50th PLACE
COMIC BOOK
Star Wars Doctor Aphra #11 36,472 copies at $3.99
100th PLACE
COMIC BOOK
Jessica Jones
#11
 22,774 copies at $3.99
150th PLACE
COMIC BOOK
Iceman #4  14,056 copies at $3.99
200th PLACE
COMIC BOOK
Low #19  10,196 copies at $3.99
300th PLACE
COMIC BOOK
Jimmys
Bastards #3
 5,621 copies at $3.99
NEW RELEASE
VOLUME
New Comics
Released
524
New Graphic
Novels Released
369
New Magazines
Released
35
Total New
Print Items Released
928
PRICING
Average Cover Price of Comics
in the Top 300
$3.85
Average Cover
Price of Comics in the Top 300, weighted by orders
$3.87
Average Cover
Price of Comics in the Top 25
$3.99
Median Cover
Price of Comics in the Top 300
$3.99
Most Common
Cover Price of Comics in the Top 300
$3.99

This completes 21 consecutive years of my monthly reports; thank you for reading. On to year 22.

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