Friday, September 14, 2018

Friday's Headlines - Comichron's Take on August 2018 Sales?

The comic book industry's preeminent analyst of Direct Market sales, John Jackson Miller of Comichron, tells Newsarama summer 2017 was the worst three-month stretch of year-over-year sales declines in 20 years, with August 2017 down dramatically in particular with Marvel's Secret Empire event having concluded, several more Marvel series ending prior to "Legacy" relaunches, and DC sales down compared to "Rebirth" relaunches the previous year.

So as expected, August 2018 dollar sales were up versus 2017 and recent gains is moving the Direct Market closer to perhaps overall dollar sales gains in 2018.

According to figures released by Diamond Comic Distributors Friday morning, Dan Slott, Sara
Pichelli, Simone Bianchi, Skottie Young, and Marte Gracia's Fantastic Four #1 was the best-selling comic book of August 2018, followed by Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato Jr.’s Infinity Wars #1 (#2).

Overall, Marvel charted four of the Top Ten titles in August.

DC had six titles in the Top Ten, led by Tom King and Lee Weeks’ Batman #52 at #3 and Batman #53 at #4. The Sandman Universe #1, a Vertigo one-shot special launching Neil Gaiman’s "Sandman Universe" titles written by Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Kat Howard, and Dan Watters, ranked #6.

Image Comics' The Walking Dead #182 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard was the top non-Marvel-DC title at #14, although Diamond doesn't release that expanded sales charts until Monday.

Dark Horse Comics' The Legend of Korra Volume 3: Turf Wars Part 3, continuing the stories of the Nickelodeon animated series, was August's best-selling graphic novel by dollars.

Led by the FF relaunch at the top, Marvel was easily August's top publisher with a 40.87% dollar market share and a 43.12% unit market share. DC was second with a 27.51% dollar share and a 31.02% unit share. Image was third with an 8.90% dollar share and a 9.08% unit share.

Overall, comic book and graphic dollars sales in August were up 4.37% versus August 2017, although down in unit sales an almost identical 4.71%. But Comichron informs us this was due to less product being offered in the market. According to their analysis, exactly 60 less comic books were solicited to the Direct Market in August compared to last year, both five-week shipping months. Retailers were also offered slightly less graphic novels. That's 11% less product offered, against a 5% decrease in units sold.

August's dollar gains puts 2018 just 1.10% down against 2017 in dollar sales but still down 6.95% in overall units.

What is Comichron's overall take on August sales? Newsarama asked John Jackson Miller.

"August was the fourth growth month out of five, and only the second month in two years in which both comics dollar sales and graphic novel dollar sales were up in the Direct Market," Miller replied. "August was the pit of the 2017 recession, and Marvel beat its performance that month handily, by 22% - this despite releasing 20 fewer comics in the month. Industrywide, 11% fewer new comics were released - perhaps an echo of publishing decisions made months earlier, in the throes of the recession; despite that lack of new material, comics units were down 5% and dollars were up 5%. The DM continues to whittle down the deficit for the year; with more weak 2017 months to compare with, the chances for the year finishing slightly ahead continue to improve."