May 2020 Comics Sales to Comics Shops
Projections for Comics Ordered by North American Comics Shops
from Diamond Comic Distributors and DC's Distributors
This data combines orders from all Direct Market distributors. Click to see only Diamond and DC's distributors.
In response to supply chain and retail disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Diamond Comic Distributors announced on March 23 that that no new comics and graphic novels with an on-sale date of April 1 or later would be shipped until further notice. Free Comic Book Day had already been canceled, earlier in March; Diamond's reorder charts also stopped appearing after the March 23-29 edition.
Those would resume at the beginning of May, with Diamond starting to release new comics starting beginning on May 20. In between, something momentous happened: DC announced on April 17 that a limited slate of titles would be available for late April from UCS Comics Distributors and Lunar Distribution, distribution firms that had been set up for the purpose by sister companies to the mail-order retailers Midtown Comics and DCBS (Discount Comic Book Service) respectively. Previous orders through Diamond for those comics were canceled by DC, and retailers were asked to submit new orders.
In addition to the changing volume of new offerings, many comics were made returnable or deeply discounted by their publishers during the month — all of which would have greatly complicated the chart-generation procedures Diamond has employed for decades. Traditional charting under such conditions would have been both more dificult logistically, and less likely to yield clear-cut results. As such, the distributor has yet to release monthly sales charts for May.
In their absence, Comichron has drawn upon a subset of known retail orders both to determine approximate rankings and to project the relative order volumes of comic-book releases. The subset represents a sizable number of copies, but it is not possible at present to know what portion of the overall population of store orders it represents, particularly as many stores were closed, had their accounts on hold, or had not established accounts with DC's distributors. Only periodicals were examined, and order totals are believed to be as of Final Order Cutoff. No statistical adjustments have been made for returnability and no later returns have been subtracted out.
The chart below features every new comic book released into the Direct Market in May 2020. Variant editions have been merged into single entries, following longtime industry practice. The release dates are from Diamond; note that many titles had already been released earlier by DC's distributors. (See the DC distributors' May 2020 orders in isolation here.)
The order volumes are expressed in relation to Justice League #45, which has been chosen as the order index issue this month for Diamond and DC's distributors. (There are Justice League issues without cardstock variants in the May and June lists for both Diamond and DC's distributors, so it's a good choice if you're trying to refer between charts.) For every 100 copies of Justice League #45 ordered in the subset, there were 283 copies ordered of Venom #25.
DC offered one comic book with a two cardstock variants at a different price, the chart-leading DCeased Unkillables #3; its sales have been fused by default below. You can find the component versions at the bottom of the chart, or by sorting by "Units" to see where its variants would have placed. The dollar rankings are based on the totals of the fused entries. The order index for another comic book, Flash #754, appears lower because the issue's card stock variant didn't ship until June 2.
Market shares: The market share charts, seen in the column at left, are of a variety that has long appeared on Comichron: they refer only to the top-selling comics (just the 91 new issues released in May, in this case), with no graphic novels included. Further, they resemble the charts that appeared before 2003 in that the charts look only at initial and same-month orders for new releases; reorders and reprints of previous months' comics are not included.
We project DC's unit share of the Top 91 new comics to be 45%, once orders across Diamond, UCS, and Lunar are combined; its dollar share is 46%. That nearly doubles Marvel's 24% and 25% respectively. Marvel only had five new comics releases out in the month versus DC's 34, so its performance might have been expected to be a lot worse — but three of those releases projected to be in the Top 5 overall, so it got a lot of mileage out of them. (That would not be the case in June, when DC would lead the market shares running away.)
Graphic novels are, as noted, not included in these tabulations; DC had twice the number of new GN releases in the Direct Market out in May, so its market share lead was even larger overall than it was for new comics.
To underscore, graphic novels are not included in these projected shares. Actual market shares would differ considerably.
Other things to remember: The retail order subset represents a sizable number of copies, but it is not possible at present to know what portion of the overall population of store orders it represents, particularly as many stores were closed, had their accounts on hold, or had not established accounts with DC's distributors. For example, Justice League had been seeing Diamond orders of more than 40,000 copies per issue in North America the first quarter of 2020, but we do not advise using that number to extrapolate overall sales for other titles — not until we have a better idea how the market size has changed.
We're sticking with whole numbers until we have a better handle on the margin of error. As such, note that a difference of a single point on the chart may not be meaningful, due to rounding. Projections for issues at the lower extremes are thus subject to more error due to the small quantities involved; while we rank such titles, we usually mark them with "no estimate" for that reason. Projected relative sales levels here are likely most reliable for regular series issues in the middle of the chart: orders for the highest sellers and first issues may tend to show more variation.
Rankings in these charts should also be expected to differ — often significantly — from the sales-to-consumers charts available at other outlets. Those report sell-through and not sell-in, and different retailers are sampled in each, with no known overlap in reporting stores as of the generation of the below charts.
As is the case with all data on Comichron, it is subject to revision without notice in the event more authoritative and complete information about orders becomes available.
—John Jackson Miller
This list includes all comic books released by Direct Market Distributors in the month.
The Order Index by each comic book indicates how many copies were ordered within a known subset of retailer orders for every 100 Justice League #45s that were ordered.
"Fused" combines differently priced-variants; click the "Unit" arrow to do a sort separating them.
"No est." appears beside titles where we're making no Order Index estimate, but titles are still ranked.
Distributor charts are regional commodity reports, not measures of a work's total reach. Read our FAQ.
The links lead to current listings for each item on eBay. You can also find the books at your comics shop.
|Fused||Dollar||Unit||Comic-book Title||Issue||Price||On sale||Publisher||Order Index|
|3||2||n.a.||DCeased Unkillables||3 (All)||$4.99||05/26/20||DC||224|
|6||7||5||Star Wars Doctor Aphra||1||$3.99||05/27/20||Marvel||136|
|7||5||6||Joker Harley Criminal Sanity||4||$5.99||05/26/20||DC||133|
|12||13||13||Green Lantern Season 2||3||$3.99||05/26/20||DC||92|
|15||10||16||DC Super Stars||17 Facs. Ed.||$4.99||05/19/20||DC||78|
|16||16||17||Vengeance of Vampirella||7||$3.99||05/27/20||Dynamite||76|
|21||21||22||Basketful of Heads||7||$3.99||05/19/20||DC||61|
|29||29||30||Buffy The Vampire Slayer||14||$3.99||05/20/20||Boom||49|
|30||30||31||Justice League Odyssey||20||$3.99||05/26/20||DC||47|
|32||32||33||Batman and the Outsiders||12||$3.99||05/19/20||DC||44|
|33||33||34||He Man and the Masters of the Multiverse||6||$3.99||05/26/20||DC||43|
|34||34||35||Low Low Woods||5||$3.99||05/26/20||DC||43|
|35||37||36||King of Nowhere||2||$3.99||05/20/20||Boom||41|
|36||38||37||Outer Darkness Chew||2||$3.99||05/27/20||Image||40|
|39||41||40||Go Go Power Rangers||31||$3.99||05/20/20||Boom||39|
|42||44||43||Supermans Pal Jimmy Olsen||10||$3.99||05/26/20||DC||37|
|46||47||47||Frankenstein Undone||2||$3.99||05/20/20||Dark Horse||33|
|51||53||52||Books of Magic||19||$3.99||05/19/20||DC||26|
|54||56||55||Star Wars Adventures Clone Wars||1||$3.99||05/27/20||IDW||25|
|55||57||56||Red Hood Outlaw||45||$3.99||05/26/20||DC||25|
|56||59||57||Doctor Who 13th Season Two||4||$3.99||05/27/20||Titan||24|
|57||49||58||Wonder Woman Giant||4||$4.99||05/27/20||DC||24|
|60||62||61||Butcher of Paris||5||$3.99||05/20/20||Dark Horse||22|
|61||63||62||House of Whispers||20||$3.99||05/26/20||DC||21|
|62||65||63||Jim Henson Storyteller Ghosts||2||$3.99||05/20/20||Boom||20|
|64||67||65||Marvel Action Avengers||10||$3.99||05/27/20||IDW||20|
|65||68||66||TMNT Urban Legends||23||$3.99||05/27/20||IDW||20|
|66||61||67||Our Fighting Forces Giant||1||$4.99||05/26/20||DC||18|
|68||64||69||Zombie Tramp||69||$4.99||05/20/20||Action Lab||17|
|69||70||70||Sera & Royal Stars||7||$3.99||05/27/20||Vault||16|
|72||73||73||Grimm Fairy Tales||37||$3.99||05/27/20||Zenescope||16|
|73||74||74||Marvel Action Captain Marvel||5||$3.99||05/27/20||IDW||16|
|74||75||75||Red Agent Island of Dr Moreau||4||$3.99||05/27/20||Zenescope||16|
|75||66||76||Sherlock Scandal In Belgravia||5||$4.99||05/27/20||Titan||16|
|77||77||78||Dungeons & Dragons Infernal Tides||3||$3.99||05/27/20||IDW||13|
|78||78||79||Belle Oath of Thorns||6||$3.99||05/27/20||Zenescope||12|
|79||79||80||Ghosted In L.A.||10||$3.99||05/20/20||Boom||12|
|80||80||81||Kill Whitey Donovan||5||$3.99||05/20/20||Dark Horse||11|
|81||81||82||Blackwood Mourning After||3||$3.99||05/20/20||Dark Horse||10|
|82||82||83||Green Dante Green Virgil One-Shot||$4.00||05/20/20||Aardvark-Vanaheim||10|
|83||85||84||Cat Sh*t Vol. 1||2||$3.99||05/20/20||Antarctic||8|
|84||86||85||Cosmo Mighty Martian||5||$3.99||05/20/20||Archie||7|
|87||88||88||Storm Kids Monica Bleue Werewolf Story||5||$3.99||05/27/20||Storm King||5|
|88||84||89||Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest||282||$7.99||05/20/20||Archie||no est.|
|89||89||90||Gold Digger||272||$3.99||05/20/20||Antarctic||no est.|
|90||90||91||Killswitch||4||$3.99||05/20/20||Action Lab||no est.|
|91||91||92||V Card||4||$3.99||05/20/20||Antarctic||no est.|
|n.a.||n.a.||7||DCeased Unkillables||3 Card Stock||$5.99||05/26/20||DC||no est.|
May 2020 Graphic Novel Sales to Comics Shops
Diamond did not release monthly totals of its graphic novel sales, but it is known that the number of graphic novels released to the Direct Market grew significantly in May. At least 132 new graphic novels were released, which was well over number of new comic books released. That disjoint would grow further in June; book distributors had not paused during the initial Coronavirus outbreak, leading to a bottleneck of graphic novels shipping to the Direct Market during the spring.
The Batman: Last Knight on Earth hardcover, released May 20 at Diamond, is a good bet to have been the top ordered new graphic novel in https://shrsl.com/2gef5units.
Some information about Diamond's graphic novel sales can be found in its reorders, below.
May 2020 Comics Reorders
Comics and Graphic Novels Reordered by North American Comics Shops
Based on Reports from Diamond Comic Distributors
After items have been released by Diamond, retailers continue to place and receive reorders — often for many years after the the publication date. This section records the weekly reorder charts Diamond released during the month. Click to see the archived advance reorders, which are for books that had not yet shipped at time of the order.
Note that the listings mix hardcovers, softcovers, and comics together, and that they also rank items by dollars rather than units. Note, too, that these are invoiced dollars, so retailers' discounts have already been applied.
Reorders placed between May 4-10, 2020• Top reordered comic book:
Batman #90 2nd Printing (DC)
• Top reordered softcover graphic novel:
Locke & Key Vol. 1: Welcome to Lovecraft (IDW)
• Top reordered hardcover graphic novel:
House of X Powers of X (Marvel)
The first comic book to turn up in the restarted reorder charts was one we saw leading the advance reorder charts at the end of February, Batman #90's second printing.
Reorders placed between May 11-17, 2020• Top reordered softcover graphic novel:
Marvel Monograph Art of Chris Bachalo (Marvel)
• Top reordered hardcover graphic novel:
Frank Miller's Big Damn Sin City (Dark Horse)
In advance of Diamond's return to shipping new comics on May 20, graphic novels again took every slot on the reorder charts, as they had in every week since the charts returned.
Reorders placed between May 18-24, 2020• Top reordered May-shipping comic book:
Disaster Inc. #1 Cvr A Clarke (Aftershock)
• Top reordered softcover graphic novel:
Star Wars Legends Epic Collection Legacy Vol. 1 (Marvel)
• Top reordered hardcover graphic novel:
Daredevil by Bendis & Maleev Omnibus Vol. 2 (Marvel)
A comic book released since the pandemic shutdown led reordered comics for the first time, though Disaster Inc. #1's presence was unusual in that it hadn't gone on sale when the reorder chart, ostensibly for already-shipped product, came out. Meanwhile, the first new DC item with a Tuesday on-sale date also made the list in Joker/Harley: Criminal Sanity #4.
Diamond did not release reorder charts for the last week in May.