State of the Industry – February 2016

March 19, 2016 Author: Jon Johnson (Sir)

Mar19
February sales in the comic book market are traditionally slow, with 2016 continuing that (trend) as numbers dipped to lows not seen in nearly a year. Only three titles topped 100k for the month, though a fourth came so close it may as well be considered an even 100 thousand. Marvel dominated the top ten again with seven titles; DC coming in second with three. Pushing that domination further, Marvel took 18 of the top 25 spots, DC took 5 and Image two. Let’s get right into it:
Dark Knight III: The Master Race #3 (DC) – 146k
Star Wars #16 (Marvel) – 110k
Batman #49 (DC) – 103k
Spider-Man #1 (Marvel) – 100k
Deadpool and the Mercs for Money #1 (Marvel) – 90k
Deadpool #7 (Marvel) – 88k
Darth Vader #16 (Marvel) – 81k
Power Man and Iron Fist #1 (Marvel) – 79k
Amazing Spider-Man #7 (Marvel) – 75k
Justice League #48 (DC) – 73k

Dark Knight III skipped a month and rose back up to the top spot, but lost 12k in sales since last charting in December. Star Wars only got one solicitation for February, jumping three spots but shedding an average of three thousand issues from the previous month. DC’s top selling monthly, Batman, rose up again after a slight drop, adding 2k in numbers and five spots. Deadpool made the largest leap, adding 28k copies to its sales for the month, rising ten spots from #6, the second of two issues released in January. Deadpool struck hard and fast for retailers, with the movie release and his 25th anniversary shaking the merchandise tree to excite consumers. Darth Vader slipped back some, losing 17k yet rising two spots from January.
Amazing Spider-Man held fast, losing only 1000 copies and rising two spots as well. Justice League has not been seen on this list since December, with shifting numbers to match the gap in solicitation. Issue 47 last charted at the #11 spot and had 12k more in sales.

None of the titles in the top ten were under $3.99, though all of the new Marvel titles listed were also not more than $3.99, an unusual notation. They probably felt compelled to keep things under a more comfortable price point, with the 80 page Deadpool #7 running a criminally high $9.99! The best-selling title for under four bucks was the ever-present Walking Dead, charting at #13 with 67k in sales, 89k less than January’s list-topping solicitation.

Continuing the trend of hefty drops between the first and second issues of a series, the four titles from Marvel that charted in the top ten last month dropped significantly for February. Spider-Man/Deadpool dropped 13 spots and 63k in sales, Old Man Logan lost 9 spots and 40k, Obi-Wan and Anakin shed 10 spots and 45k and Uncanny X-Men continued to shrink, dropping to #22 and losing another 5k in sales.

As figures dropped throughout the list, lower tier titles rose and fell akin to waves on the sea. Charting at #100 was the DC title We are Robin #9, with 21k copies sold. Something fun must be happening with that title as sales jumped from 12k on January’s chart and it moved up 65 spots. Image’s Outcast held this spot last month with it moving up to #95 for February and maintaining sales of 22k. IDW’s Star Trek ongoing title landed at #200 with 8400 in sales for its 54th issue, gaining about 200 copies from January, though dropping 8 spots on the chart. Issue #224 of IDW’s G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero was January’s listing at 200, with it gaining 5 spots and about 1200 in sales for February’s 225th issue. Although, G.I. Joe did have two issues solicited for the first month of 2016, likely causing the notable figure difference. With numbers like these, who can keep track of that one oddball title solicitation that just screams MARKETING? Well, The State of the Industry can. Harley’s Little Black Book cropped up again, with issue #2 getting less than half the sales of its preceding release in December, landing way down the list at #31. But hey, enough of the drudgery, let’s look at the fun stuff.

291. Zodiac Starforce #4 (Dark Horse) – 4,047
292. New Romancer #3 (DC) – 3,999
293. Grant Morrison’s 18 Days #8 (Graphic India/Dynamite) – 3,969
294. Badger #1 (Devil’s Due) – 3,937
295. Snow Blind #3 (Boom!) 3,879
296. Crossed: Badlands #93 (Avatar) – 3,845
297. Shutter #18 (Image) – 3,827
298. Crossed: Badlands #94 (Avatar) – 3,773
299. Last Gang in Town #3 (DC) – 3,772
300. Dirk Gently: A Spoon too Short #1 (IDW) – 3,744

Of the titles that charted in January: New Romancer fell from #246 and lost around 1500 in sales; Grant Morrison’s 18 Days dropped from #289 and lost around 400 in sales; Snow Blind fell from #288, losing 500 in sales; and Last Gang in Town dropped from #275 and 850 in sales.

Last month’s titles on the Final Ten of the Top 300 jumped all over the place, as per usual with fluctuating numbers. Usagi Yojimbo moved up ten spots to #282 and maintained sales, for the most part. The ever-present on this portion of the list Grimm Fairy Tales jumped up to #290 though it lost around 200 in sales. The rest either weren’t solicited for February or didn’t chart.

With the coming “DC Rebirth”, the sales charts will once again be thrown into flux. Titles from the venerable company will be given a lower price point, rebranded, renumbered and in some cases, boosted to twice monthly. Will it affect their overall sales or will it just send them into a deeper tailspin? Will retailers give over to another retitled reboot? Will the customers even care? If nothing else it’ll give this column a lot to report on. But, while I feel like sticking the knife in deeper, Constantine: The Hellblazer fell three spots to #130 this month, all while losing another 700 in sales. Vertigo is calling, Johnny. See you next month.

The legal proprieties must be followed! All sales numbers are extrapolated from the ICv2 website, which can be found at www.icv2.com. They themselves get the list from Diamond Comics Distributors, Inc., which must have credit for the information, understandably. It should be made clear that these figures are only for Diamond sales for North America and does not include sales through Diamond UK or copies purchased by Diamond for their own inventory. Some companies also self-distribute as well as through Diamond. Self-distributed copies are not unaccounted for on this list. Diamond has its own website which you can find HERE.

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