State of the Industry — November 2015

December 18, 2015 Author: Jon Johnson (Sir)

Comic sales changed little in the month since October, yet so, so much. In October, an unprecedented number of fourteen titles (unprecedented by current distribution standards) sold over 100k issues each to retailers in the North American market. For November, the trend continued, dropping slightly to only a lucky thirteen titles selling over 100k. DC took the top spot this month with the release of The Dark Knight III: Master Race, while Marvel filled out the rest of the top ten. Of the top 13 this month, all were Marvel but two, which were DC titles. Six of the top ten were first issues, while a seventh, The Mighty Thor #1, took the twelfth spot. The top ten:

  1. The Dark Knight III: Master Race #1 (DC) – 440k
  2. Star Wars: Vader Down #1 (Marvel) – 385k
  3. Deadpool #1 (Marvel) – 181k
  4. Secret Wars #7 (Marvel) – 177k
  5. Extraordinary X-Men #1 (Marvel) – 134k
  6. All New All Different X-Men #1 (Marvel) – 129k
  7. Star Wars #11 (Marvel) – 127k
  8. Uncanny X-Men #600 (Marvel) – 126k
  9. Star Wars #12 (Marvel) – 123k
  10. All New Wolverine #1 (Marvel) – 120k

To reiterate a topic that haunts this list, every single one of these issues sported multiple covers, inflating the sales figures to unknown heights. The Uncanny X-Men issue was delayed months, while Secret Wars is a perpetually late series. Of the top ten from October, only Secret Wars and Star Wars remain, with Secret Wars maintaining the fourth spot, but dropping 20k copies, and Star Wars dropping to seventh and ninth on the list, from sixth. Star Wars lost between 7k and 11k copies for the two issues this month from last, typical of retailers being forced to order two issues of a series in a month. Should Star Wars bounce back up next month that would be typical as well.

The remaining titles of last month’s top ten were pushed much further down the list than might be normal, but such is the market when issue #1’s are used to draw more buyers (as opposed to readers) beyond the now-standard multiple covers. Invincible Iron Man #3 fell to 59k from the #1 spot, landing at #30. To be fair, #2 was also sold in October, with numbers of 67k. Amazing Spider-Man #3 fell to #14 for November, after taking two spots in the top ten in October. Selling 94k, it lost roughly 17k copies. Spider-Gwen on the other hand, dropped considerably. From #3 and nearly 200k copies in October, this book now sits at #25 and 62k copies. Sixty-two thousand copies at the #25 spot is an appalling number and should scare readers. Doctor Strange fell from #5 to #22, losing around 80k for his second issue. Chewbacca also had two issues sold in October so his number 3 found a spot at #23, selling just under 65k. Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens Shattered Empire completed in October, leaving just Guardians of the Galaxy falling to #39 (from #9) on the list with about 52k sold.

As in October, all of the titles in the top ten were $3.99 or more. In fact, all of the top 13 were $3.99 or more. The Dark Knight III sported a $5.99 cover price (how many did YOU buy?) and all of the Marvel first issues in the top 13 were $4.99.

The best-selling title for less than $3.99 was Image Comics’ The Walking Dead, taking the #21 spot with 66k copies. That’s up five spots from October, but around 1,000 copies less. At #100 this month was the first issue of a Boom! Comics title, Klaus, at about 26k. That’s about 3k more than the October title at #100. #200 had Ninjak #9, a Valiant title, pushing over 8500 copies. The October title was a Supergirl reprint from DC, which sold about 200 copies more. And for the bottom tier:

  1. Grimm Fairy Tales #116 (Zenescope) – 4,477
  2. Transformers: Robots in Disguise Animated (IDW) – 4,474
  3. Zombie Tramp #17 (Action Lab) – 4,337
  4. Grimm Fairy Tales 2015 Robyn Hood Holiday Special (Zenescope) – 4,319
  5. Dark Horse Presents #16 (Dark Horse) – 4,318
  6. Munchkin #11 (Boom!) – 4,246
  7. Masks 2 #8 (Dynamite Entertainment) – 4,232
  8. Onyx #3 (IDW) – 4,217
  9. Humans #9 (Image) – 4,205
  10. Captain Canuck 2015 #5 (Chapter House) – 4,197

Sales on this end of the spectrum are intimately more interesting. Grimm Fairy Tales, the Zenescope T&A book that just keeps going, held firm to the #291 spot, increasing numbers sold over fifty copies. The Transformers title drawn off the current animated series fell 18 spots and 800 copies from October to land in the bottom ten. Zombie Tramp isn’t a monthly, landing on the State of the Industry for the first time. The Grimm Fairy Tales holiday special is in roughly the same spot as the Halloween special, just with a few copies less. Dark Horse Presents also presents itself to the State of the Industry for the first time, though Munchkin falls from an October spot of #289, losing over 300 copies as well. Masks 2 drops seven spots and over 200 copes, while Onyx also shows here for the first time since the column began. Humans #9 falls four spots and over 150 copies from its previous issue, and the revamped Captain Canuck series falls two spots and over 100 copies to round out the top 300.

One series that was in the bottom ten last month did move up higher. The venerable Usagi Yojimbo moved up three spots to #289, pushing about 100 more copies for his 150th issue. You can’t keep a good bunny down.

It should also be noted that a reprint of the current Star Wars issue 1 moved 4,473 more copies, likely pushing the lower tier titles around a bit, as happens when demand must be met.

Trends are staying the same presently, with Star Wars titles, Marvel #1’s and Batman still the top of the list. Non- Marvel or DC titles were even fewer than October in the top 100, with Image representing the most. Dynamite Entertainment was the first on the list of independents that wasn’t Image, landing the first issue of the new James Bond series at #69 with 36k. Dark Horse’s best series continued to be Fight Club 2, with #7 falling sixteen spots to #76 and about 3k in sales. With DC continuing to lose market share to Marvel and some of the smaller competitors, they’ll need to do something aggressive soon to draw readers back to their ranks. In 2016, State of the Industry will take a closer look at their product.

Finally, to look at sales figures for Constantine, the Hellblazer. November has the title at #123, falling eleven spots, and losing about 1100 copies. At this rate, the title will find its way back to Vertigo in about a year.

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.

State of the Industry October 2015.

 

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