September 2021 Industrywide report online — with some summer comparisons

We’ve added our projections for DC comics orders to Diamond’s data for September, and a strong month got stronger. Comic books alone topped 8.78 million copies for $40 million, increases of 16% and 20% respectively over Sept. 2019. Charts:

We don’t see much inflation in new comics prices, at least not yet: the average comic retailers ordered in September 2021 was $4.54, versus $4.41 two years earlier.  Thanks to Diamond’s record month for graphic novels; we believe overall Direct Market dollars topped $60 million.

Now to the summer overall: With September, Diamond’s released four months of detailed data (like it always used to do) from which we estimate Direct Market size for that third of the year to be $230 million. That’s higher in nominal dollars than any year since our tracking began.


We don’t often adjust groupings that include graphic novels for inflation, because the product mix changes over time to include more hardcovers, so it’s not an apples-to-apples comparison. But 2021 is only behind 2016’s DC Rebirth year — and 2021’s estimate may even be a bit low.

So this gets us to the question: where will 2021 wind up? Odds are increasing we could see a $600+ million year in the Direct Market, which would be an increase of more than a third over 2020 and well beyond 2019’s pre-pandemic numbers.

It further appears that comic books — not manga (which are classified as graphic novels), but periodical comic books — could vault well past $400 million this year, an increase possibly as high as 50% over 2020.

September was the last month before Marvel left Diamond for Penguin Random House; that’ll require another change in methodology (although POSSIBLY an easier one to deal with than DC’s move did). We’ll see what October portends!

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