December 2019 comics and graphic orders up 9%; House of X/Powers of X top dollar GN

Led by Doomsday Clock #12 and the House of X/Powers of X hardcover, comics shop orders of comic books and graphic novels from Diamond Comic Distributors closed 2019 out strongly, up 9.2% year-over-year in dollars in December. That’s a better-than-expected total, due to a revision Diamond’s made since its end-of-year report came out last Friday. (The distributor’s December report, showing the new 2019 percentage change total, is here.)

 Find this book at TFAWWhen Diamond released its Top 500 Comics and Top 500 Graphic Novels lists earlier in the week (see our estimates for their sales here), that provided us with a partial list for December — 37 comic books released in the month made the overall charts. We temporarily posted those on our December 2019 page (where the final estimates will appear next week), but we also spotted that something was a bit amiss with a handful of those entries, as their dollar sales rankings in the overall 2019 chart suggested they hadn’t made any money.

That obviously wasn’t the case, and neither was there likely to have been any secret overship; rather, the fact that all the impacted books were Christmas Day releases points to an accounting issue. If those Christmas Day comics — including Venom #21, Incoming #1, Dr. Strange #1, and Spider-Ham #1 had their dollar earnings attributed to January 2020 rather than December 2019, where their units were rightfully counted, that would cover the difference in the percentage change statistics.

Diamond appears to have caught that in compiling its December charts. The units didn’t change in the end-of-year statistics. It meant the addition of about one and a half million dollars to 2019’s total sales overall, boosting the year-to-year increase from 2.23% to 2.54%. (End-of-year dollar market shares would also theoretically be impacted, although very slightly.)

To be clear, these aren’t comics that went on sale Jan. 1 that would have been affected — they’re December books, so nothing is being borrowed from 2020. And nothing else from the 2019 unit sales charts would be likely to change in this scenario: just the dollar rankings. This means that we’re able to provide, below, unit sales with the Top 10 when it comes to the comics. (And the rest of the Top 37 are, again, here, to be joined next week by the rest of the month.)

(EDIT: Shortly after this post, Diamond confirmed the above undercounts of invoiced dollars during the skip weeks, and issued revised end-of-year Top Sellers and Market Shares — which, as expected, only added the missing dollar rankings and fractions of percentage points, mostly to Marvel. You can see the revised 2019 charts with our estimates here.)

The percentage changes from December, with the new, revised totals year-to-year:

Dollars Units
December 2019 Vs. November 2019
Comics +0.18% -1.28%
Graphic Novels -11.06% -18.03%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels -3.00% -2.48%
Toys +13.47% +16.61%
December 2019 Vs. December 2018
Comics +7.08% +5.36%
Graphic Novels +15.77% +2.87%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels +9.20% +5.21%
Toys +166.96% +191.68%
Year 2019 Vs. Year 2018
Comics +4.33% -0.92%
Graphic Novels -2.01% -7.95%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels +2.54% -1.44%
Toys +25.96% +28.65%

The market shares for December:

Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 37.89% 45.60%
DC 33.55% 31.35%
Image 5.91% 5.93%
IDW 4.34% 3.51%
Boom 4.03% 3.66%
Dark Horse 2.67% 1.87%
Dynamite 2.56% 2.51%
Viz 1.00% 0.38%
Titan 0.57% 0.51%
Random House 0.48% 0.13%
Other 7.00% 4.54%

The top-selling comic books by units, with our estimates known from the 2019 Top 500:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units) PRICE PUBLISHER UNITS
1 Doomsday Clock #12 5.99 DC 117,926
2 X-Men #3 $3.99 Marvel 105,708
3 Batman: Last Knight On Earth #3 $5.99 DC 90,058
4 Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1 $5.99 DC 88,794
5 Venom #21 $3.99 Marvel 74,071
6 Harley Quinn: Villain Of The Year #1 $4.99 DC 73,146
7 Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1 $4.99 Marvel 71,341
8 Incoming #1 $9.99 Marvel 69,025
9 Amazing Spider-Man #35 $3.99 Marvel 67,111
10 Superman #18 $3.99 DC 66,684

The top-selling comic books by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars) PRICE PUBLISHER
1 Doomsday Clock #12 5.99 DC
2 Incoming #1 $9.99 Marvel
3 Batman: Last Knight on Earth #3 $5.99 DC
4 Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child #1 $5.99 DC
5 Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1 $4.99 DC
6 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 $7.99 IDW
7 Harleen #3 $7.99 DC
8 X-Men #3 $3.99 Marvel
9 Symbiote Spider-Man: Alien Reality #1 $4.99 Marvel
10 Venom #21 $3.99 Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units are here. We know from the yearly chart that House of X/Powers of X‘s sale was more than 10,000 copies; Watchmen‘s performance was enough to vault it into first place for the year.

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units) PRICE PUBLISHER
1 House of X/Powers of X HC $60.00 Marvel
2 Batman Vol 11 The Fall And The Fallen $17.99 DC
3 Watchmen $24.99 DC
4 Silver Surfer Black Treasury Edition $29.99 Marvel
5 Black Hammer Vol. 4 Age Of Doom Part II $19.99 Dark Horse
6 Boys Omnibus Vol. 6 $29.99 Dynamite
7 Green Lantern Vol. 1 Intergalactic Lawman $17.99 DC
8 Daredevil By Chip Zdarsky Vol. 2 No Devils Only God $15.99 Marvel
9 My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies $12.99 Image
10 Star Wars Doctor Aphra Vol. 6 Unspeakable Rebel Superweapon $15.99 Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars) PRICE PUBLISHER
1 House of X/Powers of X HC $60.00 Marvel
2 Annihilation Omnibus HC $125.00 Marvel
3 Y The Last Man Omnibus HC $150.00 DC
4 Injustice Gods Among Us Omnibus HC Vol. 01 $125.00 DC
5 Absolute Dark Knight III The Master Race HC $125.00 DC
6 Animal Man By Jeff Lemire Omnibus HC $99.99 DC
7 Silver Surfer Black Treasury Edition $29.99 Marvel
8 Marvel Masterworks Fantastic Four HC Vol. 21 $75.00 Marvel
9 Watchmen $24.99 DC
10 Boys Omnibus Vol. 6 $29.99 Dynamite

And, finally, here’s what shipped in December:

Publisher Comics
shipped
Graphic
Novels
shipped
Magazines
shipped
Total
shipped
Marvel 103 32 0 135
DC 86 32 1 119
Image 36 7 0 43
IDW 28 13 0 41
Boom 23 14 0 37
Dark Horse 22 9 0 31
Dynamite 14 4 0 18
Kodansha 0 13 0 13
Titan 8 2 2 12
Archie 9 0 0 9
Other 80 109 11 200
TOTAL SHIPPED 409 235 14 658

The above completes the picture of comics released in 2019. As we can see below, the number of new comics released was down slightly, largely due to reduced lines from DC and Image; DC’s cutbacks are camouflaged by the fact that Diamond counts comics at different price tags as separate releases. Around 90 cardstock books fit that description. Variants with the same cover price are not counted separately.

Here’s the same chart, only with graphic novels:

Look for the full December charts here next week.

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