Diamond’s combined comics and graphic novel sales up slightly in 2018; Action #1000, Infinity Gauntlet top titles

Diamond Comic Distributors has released its annual top-sellers list for 2018, and the entries are basically as we had projected them here through November at Comichron — and our projected dollar market shares were spot-on. We also got from the data a little information about what sold in December.

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To no one’s surprise, April’s Action Comics #1000 was the top-selling comic book to comics specialty shops in 2018, and Infinity Gauntlet, a 1991 release, was the top-selling graphic novel. The one December entry in the comics top ten is clearly going to be the #1 comic for December: Batman Who Laughs #1.

 Find this book at TFAWMeanwhile, there’s a split decision on annual sales: Diamond reports that annual dollar sales of comic books were up 2.04%, that graphic novel dollar sales were down 8.22%, and that combined comics and graphic novel sales were down slightly for the year, 1.08%. (Update: These figures are based on corrections Diamond made to the original release on Friday, Jan. 18, and replace earlier reported figures believed to have been reflective of a broader dataset than that which appears with the monthly charts. The discussion which had originally appeared in this post about the possible distinctions between the two sets is thus superfluous.)

First up are the market shares. Marvel‘s and Image’s dollar shares were up slightly from 2017, DC’s was stable. IDW’s and Dark Horse’s dollar shares declined:  (Update: These are also corrected comparisons; a previous version of this post had accidentally compared 2018 dollars with 2017 units.)

Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 38.24% 40.40%
DC 30.04% 33.82%
Image 9.93% 9.90%
IDW 3.83% 3.30%
Dark Horse 2.92% 2.10%
Boom 2.24% 1.90%
Dynamite 1.86% 1.73%
Viz 1.22% 0.46%
Titan 0.87% 0.61%
Oni 0.83% 0.54%
Other 8.01% 5.25%

Here are the top-selling comics by units sold:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units) PRICE PUBLISHER
1 Action Comics #1000 $7.99 DC
2 Amazing Spider-Man #800 $9.99 Marvel
3 Batman #50 $4.99 DC
4 Fantastic Four #1 $5.99 Marvel
5 Amazing Spider-Man #1 $5.99 Marvel
6 Return of Wolverine #1 $4.99 Marvel
7 Venom #1 $4.99 Marvel
8 Amazing Spider-Man #798 $3.99 Marvel
9 Batman Who Laughs #1 $4.99 DC
10 Amazing Spider-Man #799 $3.99 Marvel

Here is that chart resorted to report the top-selling comics by dollars sold. The missing entries didn’t make the unit Top 10, but we have good guesses at them here.

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars) PRICE PUBLISHER
1 Action Comics #1000 $7.99 DC
2 Amazing Spider-Man #800 $9.99 Marvel
3 Batman #50 $4.99 DC
4 Fantastic Four #1 $5.99 Marvel
5 Amazing Spider-Man #1 $5.99 Marvel
6 Return of Wolverine #1 $4.99 Marvel
8 Batman Who Laughs #1 $4.99 DC
9 Venom #1 $4.99 Marvel
10 Amazing Spider-Man #798 $3.99 Marvel
13 Amazing Spider-Man #799 $3.99 Marvel

And now the top-selling graphic novels by units sold.

Saga Volumes 1 and 8 leapfrogged Action Comics: 80 Years of Superman with December sales. Only four of the top ten were published in 2018:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units) PRICE PUBLISHER
1 Infinity Gauntlet $24.99 Marvel
2 Saga Vol. 9 $14.99 Image
3 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
4 Saga Vol. 8 $14.99 Image
5 Action Comics 80 Years of Superman HC $29.99 DC
6 Walking Dead Vol 29 Lines We Cross $16.99 Image
7 Paper Girls Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
8 Batman White Knight $19.99 DC
9 Dark Nights Metal Deluxe Ed HC $29.99 DC
10 Monstress Vol. 1 $9.99 Image

And here is that chart resorted to report the top-selling graphic novels by dollars sold. Again, the missing entries didn’t make the unit Top 10, but we have good guesses at them here.

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars) PRICE PUBLISHER
1 Infinity Gauntlet $24.99 Marvel
2 Action Comics 80 Years of Superman HC $29.99 DC
3 Dark Nights Metal Deluxe Ed HC $29.99 DC
4 Saga Vol. 9 $14.99 Image
6 Saga Vol. 8 $14.99 Image
7 Batman White Knight $19.99 DC
8 Walking Dead Vol 29 Lines We Cross $16.99 Image
19 Saga Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
33 Monstress Vol. 1 $9.99 Image
38 Paper Girls Vol. 1 $9.99 Image

We’ll have more material to analyze when the December data is released, but the basic read of the eleven monthly reports and the annual report is that 2018 was a mixed bag of a year where a virtuous cycle got going in the summer but started to run out of steam with fewer high-profile releases in the fourth quarter (and fewer new periodical releases in general, not counting variants). Six of the monthly performances were up year-over-year and six down.

Likely next up, this week: the Top 1000s for the year. Stay tuned!

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