Wonder Woman #750 leads January comics sales; orders down on fewer new comic releases

Longtime readers of Comichron know that the first quarter of the year is smaller than the other three in dollar terms — and that January is second only to December when it comes to months where year-to-year comparisons have a way of getting messy. For the latter, it’s mostly for the same reason as December: the holidays impact the shipping calendar, and when New Comic Book Day falls makes a difference.

 Find this issue at TFAW

This year, for example, it’s a five-Wednesday to five-Wednesday comparison from this January to last, but one of the Wednesdays this year isn’t like the rest. New Year’s Day 2020 was a Wednesday, and publishers slated a number of high-profile issues for release by stores that chose to open that day. Yet the day was lighter on new releases than any other New Comic Book Day in the month, and it also had a third fewer releases than the first week of 2019, when New Year’s Day fell on a Tuesday.

The result this time out was a month that was down 8% or so in the number of new comic books offered to market once the DC card stock variants (which get counted twice) were weeded out, and unit sales for comics were down by a similar amount. Dollar orders for comic books and graphic novels were down less, off 3% to $43.37 million. One way to normalize the cross-calendar comparisons is to look at November through January; that grouping was up 3% in dollar orders over the same three months in 2018-19.

Graphic novels appear to have taken more of their share of the focus in January; 52 more graphic novels were offered to market in the month than in the previous January, an increase of 14%. Graphic novel units — a figure we rarely consider because of how widely pricing varies — were even from year to year, while dollars were up 6%.

Wonder Woman #750 followed in the footsteps of Action Comics #1000 and Detective Comics #1000 as a chart-topper for DC; its 80th anniversary issues haven’t missed placing first yet. It is the first time ever that an issue of Wonder Woman was the bestselling comic book in the business, although she of course appeared in many issues that were #1. Marvel had two Jan. 1 relaunches in second and third place: Thor #1 and Star Wars #1. (The latter series had previously relaunched with a million-copy seller five years earlier, in January 2015.)

 Find this book at TFAWBatman #86, beginning James Tynion IV‘s run on the title following Tom King, placed seventh, but note that the card stock copies are not included in that calculation, so it could well move higher.

To repeat: the Top Five may not necessarily remain the Top Five when our final report appears here next week. Stay tuned!

The Absolute Carnage trade paperback led graphic novels in units, while the Incredible Hulk by Peter David Omnibus Vol. 1 hardcover was the top graphic novel in dollars.

The comparative sales statistics are here:

Dollars Units
January 2020 Vs. December 2019
Comics -2.48% -1.59%
Graphic Novels +29.62% +36.99%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels +5.84% +0.73%
Toys -1.05% -4.04%
January 2020 Vs. January 2019
Comics -6.70% -8.64%
Graphic Novels +5.09% +0.00%
Total Comics/Graphic Novels -3.26% -7.99%
Toys +4.00% -16.26%

The market shares:

Publisher Dollar Share Unit Share
Marvel 39.98% 46.67%
DC 29.33% 29.73%
Image 5.60% 5.60%
IDW 4.05% 3.28%
Dark Horse 3.09% 2.28%
Boom 3.04% 3.10%
Viz 2.59% 1.04%
Dynamite 2.21% 2.08%
Random House 0.76% 0.22%
Titan 0.57% 0.41%
Other 8.77% 5.59%

The top-selling comics by units:

1 Wonder Woman #750 $9.99 DC
2 Thor #1 $4.99 Marvel
3 Star Wars #1 $4.99 Marvel
4 X-Men #4 $3.99 Marvel
5 X-Men #5 $3.99 Marvel
6 Guardians of the Galaxy #1 $4.99 Marvel
7 Batman #86 $3.99 DC
8 Amazing Spider-Man #38 $3.99 Marvel
9 Amazing Spider-Man #37 $3.99 Marvel
10 Star #1 $3.99 Marvel

The top-selling comics by dollars:

1 Wonder Woman #750 $9.99 DC
2 Thor #1 $4.99 Marvel
3 Star Wars #1 $4.99 Marvel
4 X-Men #4 $3.99 Marvel
5 Guardians of The Galaxy #1 $4.99 Marvel
6 X-Men #5 $3.99 Marvel
7 The Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #2 $5.99 DC
8 Batman: Curse of The White Knight #6 $4.99 DC
9 Iron Man 2020 #1 $4.99 Marvel
10 Venom: The End #1 $4.99 Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels by units:

1 Absolute Carnage $29.99 Marvel
2 Diana: Princess of The Amazons $9.99 DC
3 Watchmen $24.99 DC
4 League of Legends: Lux $15.99 Marvel
5 House of X/Powers of X HC $60.00 Marvel
6 Stranger Things: Zombie Boys $10.99 Dark Horse
7 My Hero Academia Volume 22 $9.99 Viz
8 Black Hammer Vol. 4: Age of Doom Part II $19.99 Dark Horse
9 Green Lantern: Legacy $9.99 DC
10 Wonder Woman: Warbringer $16.99 DC

The top-selling graphic novels by dollars:

1 Incredible Hulk By Peter David Omnibus Vol. 1 HC $125.00 Marvel
2 Conan The Barbarian: The Original Marvel Years Omnibus Vol. 3 HC $125.00 Marvel
3 House of X/Powers of X HC $60.00 Marvel
4 Absolute Carnage $29.99 Marvel
5 Daredevil By Bendis & Maleev Omnibus Vol. 1 HC $100.00 Marvel
6 Junji Ito: No Longer Human HC $34.99 Viz
7 Watchmen $24.99 DC
8 Batman: Black & White Omnibus HC $125.00 DC
9 Marvel Masterworks: Daredevil Vol. 14 HC $75.00 Marvel
10 Amazing Spider-Man Epic Collection: Maximum Carnage $39.99 Marvel

Finally, the number of new items offered. Note that DC’s total appears to have been bumped up by what we think are 18 cardstock covers; we’ll see what actually appears in the charts:

Publisher Comics
Marvel 101 56 0 157
DC 98 30 0 128
IDW 35 16 0 51
Image 43 7 0 50
Viz 0 43 0 43
Dark Horse 25 9 0 34
Boom 22 6 0 28
Source Point 16 3 0 19
Dynamite 14 4 0 18
Titan 6 2 3 11
Other 130 235 28 393
TOTAL SHIPPED 490 411 31 932

Ten of the New Year’s Day releases were from Source Point Press, which leapt onto the New Release Count charts with 16 comic books total in the month, making it the seventh most prolific publisher of comics. (The publisher’s releases included issues like Boston Metaphysical Society #6, Seance Room #1and Touching Evil #2.)

Again, check in here next week to see the estimates. It looks from the April 2020 solicitations that DC isn’t stopping its differently pried cardstock covers; we’ve said that we don’t intend to merge them indefinitely (the charts aren’t a scoreboard, anyway), so the first month we don’t have time to do it, we’ll probably stop doing it for good. Which month will it be? Check in and see…

Support research by Comichron on Patreon!