Comics comeback continues as Spidey anniversary issues lead Diamond orders in $37 million month

The portion of the comics market represented by Diamond Comic Distributors continued its post-shutdown recovery in October, with the distributor shipping what Comichron projects to be nearly 5.5 million comic books, graphic novels, and magazines to North American accounts, including a little over 5.1 million comic books. Click to see the full Top 500s for October 2020.

While the 5.1 million figure is off from the number of comics Diamond shipped in October 2019 once DC is removed, it’s actually a pretty good number considering: that month was the fourth best of its decade saleswise, benefiting from one more shipping week and a bloated release schedule. October 2020’s performance was based on only 324 new comics, as opposed to 407 non-DC releases then.

Comichron further projects Diamond’s overall print sales were on the order of $37 million at full retail, graphic novels included; the same month in 2019 saw non-DC sales of $38.5 million — again, in a month that had 26% more new comic-book releases. Diamond has yet to resume releasing its Comparative Sales Statistics feature, so note that these are Comichron’s projections — but the method used to derive them has been tested and across multiple years and is believed to be both valid and reliable. We fully expect the return of official percentage change charts once more volume is back into the system.

“As we move into the fourth quarter, Diamond continues to be encouraged by the sales trends we’re seeing,” said Tim Lenaghan, Chief Purchasing officer of Geppi Family Enterprises, the parent company of Diamond.  “Over the course of the last three months we’ve seen a lot of stabilization in ordering patterns and, in many cases, these baseline numbers have exceeded our expectations.”

As with last month, Diamond authorized the release of all data at once, so as noted you can already click to see the full Top 500s. The charts will be replaced with ones including our order projections as soon as they are completed: follow Comichron on Twitter, Facebook, or Patreon to be alerted when they appear. Diamond once again did not include Order Index Numbers, for 36 years an irreplaceable tool used by Direct Market retailers to set ordering levels (particularly new stores!) and the means by which most individual comics sales are most easily estimated. We continue to believe they will be likely to return once new release volumes return to normal.

The month’s top five benefited from the curious case of consecutive anniversary issues. Marvel and Nick Spencer‘s Amazing Spider-Man #49, which is the 850th issue by Marvel’s legacy numbering (explained in more detail here), was the top seller in units and dollars, while Amazing Spider-Man #50 placed fourth. Donny Cates’ Venom #29 was the #2 seller at Diamond, with his Thor #8 ranked fourth. Todd McFarlane‘s Spawn #311 placed third, on a reported six-figure sale.

IDW‘s $8.99 TMNT: The Last Ronin #1 ranked 18th in units but fourth in dollars. Die!Namite #1 added to the growing list of “die”-named titles, ranking 23rd for Dynamite’s top finisher. Boom‘s top-ranked title was Something Is Killing the Children #11, in 29th.

All four of the aforementioned titles are returnable, meaning their true number of copies that entered circulation is higher than the rankings may reflect; 111 comics were marked as returnable in the Top 500.

Here’s Diamond’s top-selling comics by units:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by units) ISSUE PRICE RELEASE DATE PUBLISHER
1 Amazing Spider-Man 49 $9.99 10/7/20 Marvel
2 Venom 29 $3.99 10/21/20 Marvel
3 Spawn 311* $2.99 10/28/20 Image
4 Amazing Spider-Man 50 $5.99 10/14/20 Marvel
5 Thor 8 $3.99 10/7/20 Marvel
6 X-Men 13 $3.99 10/21/20 Marvel
7 Wolverine 6 $3.99 10/7/20 Marvel
8 Spider-Woman 5 $4.99 10/21/20 Marvel
9 X of Swords Stasis 1 $4.99 10/28/20 Marvel
10 Walking Dead Deluxe 1* $3.99 10/7/20 Image

Here’s the Top 10 comics by dollars:

TOP COMIC BOOKS (by dollars) ISSUE PRICE RELEASE DATE PUBLISHER
1 Amazing Spider-Man 49 $9.99 10/7/20 Marvel
2 Venom 29 $3.99 10/21/20 Marvel
3 Amazing Spider-Man 50 $5.99 10/14/20 Marvel
4 TMNT The Last Ronin 1* $8.99 10/28/20 IDW
5 Thor 8 $3.99 10/7/20 Marvel
6 Wolverine 6 $3.99 10/7/20 Marvel
7 Spider-Woman 5 $4.99 10/21/20 Marvel
8 X of Swords Stasis 1 $4.99 10/28/20 Marvel
9 Marauders 13 $4.99 10/7/20 Marvel
10 Spawn 311* $2.99 10/28/20 Image

We project Diamond’s graphic novel shipments to North America were north of 375,000 copies, and unlike some past months, most of the Top 10 were new releases. Here’s the Top 10 graphic novels by units sold:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by units) PRICE RELEASE DATE PUBLISHER
1 Dracula Motherf—er HC $16.99 10/14/20 Image
2 Empyre $39.99 10/28/20 Marvel
3 Deadpool Classic Vol. 1 $29.99 4/23/08 Marvel
4 Silver Surfer Black $15.99 10/21/20 Marvel
5 Avatar Last Airbender Katara & Pirates Silver Vol. 0 $12.99 10/14/20 Dark Horse
6 Resistance $9.99 10/7/20 Artists Writers
7 Boys Omnibus Vol. 1 $29.99 3/20/19 Dynamite
8 Year Zero Vol. 1 $9.99 10/7/20 Artists Writers
9 Power Rangers Sins of Future $19.99 10/28/20 Boom
10 Incredible Hulk By Peter David Omnibus HC Vol. 2 $125.00 10/28/20 Marvel

Here’s the top graphic novels by invoiced dollars:

TOP GRAPHIC NOVELS (by dollars) PRICE RELEASE DATE PUBLISHER
1 Incredible Hulk By Peter David Omnibus HC Vol. 2 $125.00 10/28/20 Marvel
2 War of Realms Omnibus HC $125.00 10/14/20 Marvel
3 Infinity Gauntlet Omnibus HC $125.00 10/28/20 Marvel
4 Marvel Horror Lives Again Omnibus HC $125.00 10/14/20 Marvel
5 Empyre $39.99 10/28/20 Marvel
6 She-Hulk By Dan Slott Omnibus HC $100.00 10/28/20 Marvel
7 Boys Omnibus Vol. 1 $29.99 3/20/19 Dynamite
8 Absolute Swamp Thing By Alan Moore HC Vol. 2 $99.99 10/21/20 DC
9 Marvel Masterworks Defenders HC Vol. 7 $75.00 10/28/20 Marvel
10 Dracula Motherf—er HC $16.99 10/14/20 Image

October market shares found Marvel leading Image around 5-to-1 in dollars; that’s a smaller gap than existed between the publishers in both September 2020 and October 2019. Comichron projects that IDW, Boom, and Random House all saw increases in dollar sales over October 2019, even with one less shipping week in the mix.

Here’s the market shares:

Publisher Dollars Units
Marvel 54.14% 61.98%
Image 10.73% 11.94%
IDW 6.39% 5.57%
Boom 5.19% 5.06%
Dark Horse 4.01% 3.71%
Dynamite 3.22% 2.96%
Viz 2.38% 1.02%
DC 1.46% -1.19%
Vault 1.23% 1.44%
Random House 0.92% 0.28%
Titan 0.82% 0.81%
Oni 0.79% 0.57%
Yen 0.63% 0.23%
Aftershock 0.62% 0.69%
Artists Writers Artisans 0.56% 0.75%
Zenescope 0.48% 0.48%
St. Martins 0.45% 0.16%
Fantagraphics 0.41% 0.07%
TwoMorrows 0.30% 0.14%
Archie 0.28% 0.30%
Other 4.98% 3.03%

Here’s the breakdown of new comic book and graphic novel releases:

Publisher Comics GNs Magazines TOTAL
Marvel 77 32 0 109
Image 40 13 0 53
Boom 24 10 0 34
Dark Horse 18 12 0 30
Kodansha 0 28 0 28
Viz 0 25 0 25
IDW 17 8 0 25
Seven Seas 0 21 0 21
Oni 4 15 0 19
Dynamite 15 4 0 19
Yen 0 18 0 18
Vault 16 1 0 17
Scholastic 0 14 0 14
Source Point 13 1 0 14
PS Artbooks 0 9 2 11
Artists Writers Artisans 5 5 0 10
Titan 6 3 0 9
Archie 6 2 0 8
American Mythology 8 0 0 8
Andrews McMeel 0 7 0 7
Others 75 120 26 221
TOTAL 324 348 28 700

Again note that the numbers are still pacing behind last year’s, and not just because of the extra week; publishers are still ramping back up.

Look for our DC and overall projections soon!

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