DC Beats Marvel for 2nd Month in a Row…but it’s really close
2017 Overall Sales Down ~10% Compared to 2016…
…but STILL 4th Largest Sales Year on Record
The sales total for the “Big Two” were very close in December, DC held the top slot on dollar sales by a narrow margin of less than 1% and lost unit sales by just over 1%. Marvel shipped 9 more items than DC (128 to 119) and DC sales were again reliant on their keystone character Batman coupled with the “Doomsday Clock”, the #1 seller, and “Metal” events. The Geoff Johns/Gary Frank DCU/Watchmen Doomsday Clock held the #1 sales spot with issue #2, and Metal held onto the #2 spot with issue #4, a testament to continued fan interest past the debut issues. Marvel snuck in with “Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #1” at the #3 spot, it will be interesting to see how this weekly shipping series does on issues #2-5 that will all hit shops in January, along with a 2nd printing of #1… Will they all manage to hit the top 10 and help Marvel take the top back from DC?
Sales response to Marvel’s “Legacy” continues to be weak in the “Events Sell” world at the top of the comics charts. Marvel’s Top 10 entries were three #1 issues; 2 mini-series “mini events” and the return of Johnny Storm & Ben Grimm in Marvel Two-in-One #1, plus Amazing Spider-Man #792 (with Spidey being Marvel’s ‘Batman’, their most popular character).
Strengthening fan interest in properties that don’t feature the #1 character and #1 team (Batman/JLA for DC and Spider-Man/Avengers for Marvel) is the puzzle that both of the Big Two are struggling to solve.
It is worth noting that though 2017 sales overall were down ~10% compared to 2016, it was still the 4th strongest year of comics sales after all-time highs in 2015 and 2016 according to Diamond, so don’t start predicting doom and gloom just yet. We’ll need to see if the downward trend continues in 2018 or if the industry is able to pull out of the slump. Personally, I’d love to see non-super-hero books pick up some of the slack and help overall comics sales to a greater degree, because there’s a LOT to love that is not wearing tights and a cape.
I’ll also make note that Taschen took slots #3, 4, 5, and 7 on the Top 10 Books chart with their “Little Books” featuring Spider-Man, Avengers, Captain America, and the Fantastic Four. While I don’t have any monetary stake in any of these, they’re all close to my heart since I loaned Taschen a bunch of comics to use for the pictures that each one is loaded with… which means that I have the unique pleasure of reading though them and thinking “Hey, that’s my copy of Amazing Spider-Man #12”, but any fan of these characters will have lots of images to geek out over, accompanied by color commentary from Roy Thomas.
– Bob Bretall (email@example.com)
Diamond’s Press Release:
(BALTIMORE, MD) — (January 12, 2018) — Ozymandias and Rorschach seek the two smartest people of the DC Universe in Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock #2 from DC Entertainment, the best-selling comic book of December 2017 according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics, graphic novels, and pop culture merchandise.
DC Entertainment was December’s top publisher in dollars with a 34.54% dollar share and a 37.65% unit share. Marvel Comics was the month’s top publisher in units with 38.81% unit share and a 33.80% dollar share. In third was Image Comics with an 8.69% dollar share and a 7.20% unit share. In fourth was IDW Publishing with a 3.92% dollar share and a 2.92% unit share, followed by Dark Horse Comics with a 2.69% dollar share and a 2.06% unit share.
DC Entertainment had six of December’s top ten best-selling comic books. In addition to Doomsday Clock #2, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Dark Nights: Metal #4 ranked #2; Tom King and Clay Mann’s Batman #36, part one of the “Superfriends” story arc, ranked #4; King and Mann’s Batman #37 ranked #5; Sean Murphy’s Batman: White Knight #3 ranked #6; and Hawkman Found #1, a tie-in to Dark Nights: Metal, ranked #10. Marvel Comics had four titles in the top ten: Matthew Rosenberg and Leinil Yu’s Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #1 ranked #3; Dan Slott, Mike Costa, and Ryan Stegman’s Amazing Spider-Man/Venom: Venom Inc. Alpha #1 ranked #7; Chip Zdarky and Jim Cheung’s Marvel Two-In-One #1, reteaming the Fantastic Four’s the Human Torch and The Thing, ranked #8; and Slott and Stegman’s Amazing Spider-Man #792 ranked #10. Among the premier publishers, Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead #174 was Image Comics’ top book in December at #12. Mike Mignola and Adam Hughes’ Christmas-themed Hellboy: Krampusnacht #1 was Dark Horse Comics’ top book at #96. Finally, IDW Publishing’s top book for the month was Star Wars Adventures #5 at #128.
Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ award-winning Saga returned to the top of the sales charts as Image Comics’ Saga Volume 8 was December’s best-selling graphic novel. Also in the top ten for Image Comics were Shirtless Bear-Fighter at #7 and Deadly Class Volume 6 at #8. DC Entertainment had three titles in the top ten: Batman Volume 4: The War of Jokes and Riddles at #2, Batman: Detective Comics Volume 4: Deus Ex Machina at #4, and Justice League vs. Suicide Squad at #6. Marvel Comics had two titles in the top ten: Star Wars Volume 6: Out Among the Stars at #3 and Venomverse at #9. Dark Horse Comics’ Black Hammer Volume 2: The Event ranked #5. Finally, Oni Press’ Rick and Morty Volume 6 ranked #10.
A collection of Strangers in Paradise writer/artist Terry Moore’s personal sketches and art commissions, Abstract Studios’ Terry Moore: 25th Anniversary Sketch book: 8,800 Days of Blondes, Brunettes and Bozos was December’s best-selling book. Dark Horse Comics’ Overwatch Anthology Volume 1, a hardcover collection of sketches, webcomics, and background material on the popular video game, ranked #2 for the month.
Based on Blizzard Entertainment’s immensely popular team shooter Overwatch, Good Smile’s Overwatch: Mei “Classic Skin” Nendoroid was December’s best-selling toy product. Diamond Select Toys had three products in the top ten: the Marvel Gallery: Thor Ragnarok: The Hulk PVC Figure, inspired by Marvel Studios’ cinematic blockbuster, ranked #2; the Marvel Select: Spider-Gwen PVC Figure ranked #3; and the Marvel Gallery: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Drax and Baby Groot PVC Figure ranked #10.
Star Trek fans beamed into action with WizKids/NECA’s Star Trek HeroClix: Away Team Original Series Booster Brick, an expansion for the miniatures game and the best-selling game product of December. Diamond Select Toys’ Back to the Future Monopoly, a custom edition of the popular board game based on the film trilogy, ranked #3. IDW Games’ Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Shadows of the Past Board Game ranked #6.
After achieving all-time highs in 2015 and 2016, the comic book specialty market took a step back in 2017 but still recorded its 4th highest year of sell-in to comic shops. Annual sales decreased -10.09% over the previous year; with comic book sales down -10.40%, while graphic novel sales were off by -9.38%. Over 89 million comic books were sold to comic book specialty stores in 2017, with over 7.4 million graphic novels units shipped.
TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
|DARK HORSE COMICS||2.69%||2.06%|
|VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC||0.96%||1.08%|
|OTHER NON-TOP 10||9.08%||5.59%|
COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS
DECEMBER 2017 VS. NOVEMBER 2017
DECEMBER 2017 VS. DECEMBER 2016
FOURTH QUARTER 2017 VS. THIRD QUARTER 2017
FOURTH QUARTER 2017 VS. FOURTH QUARTER 2016
YEAR 2017 VS. YEAR 2016
NEW TITLES SHIPPED
|PUBLISHER||COMICS SHIPPED||GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED||MAGAZINES SHIPPED||TOTAL
|DARK HORSE COMICS||19||9||0||28|
|OTHER NON-TOP 10||118||164||27||309|
TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS
|1||DOOMSDAY CLOCK #2||$4.99||OCT170204-M||DC|
|2||DARK NIGHTS: METAL #4||$3.99||SEP170248-M||DC|
|3||PHOENIX RESURRECTION: THE RETURN OF JEAN GREY #1||$4.99||OCT170824-M||MAR|
|6||BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #3||$3.99||OCT170238-M||DC|
|7||AMAZING SPIDER-MAN/VENOM: VENOM INC. ALPHA #1||$4.99||OCT170876-M||MAR|
|8||MARVEL TWO-IN-ONE #1||$3.99||OCT170834-M||MAR|
|9||HAWKMAN FOUND #1||$3.99||SEP170253-M||DC|
|10||AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #792||$3.99||OCT170879-M||MAR|
TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS
|1||SAGA VOLUME 8 TP (MR)||$14.99||OCT170715||IMA|
|2||BATMAN VOL. 4: THE WAR OF JOKES & RIDDLES TP||$19.99||SEP170400||DC|
|3||STAR WARS VOL. 6: OUT AMONG THE STARS TP||$19.99||AUG171044||MAR|
|4||BATMAN: DETECTIVE COMICS VOL. 4: DEUS EX MACHINA TP||$16.99||SEP170399||DC|
|5||BLACK HAMMER VOL. 2: THE EVENT TP||$19.99||AUG170013||DAR|
|6||JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD TP||$24.99||SEP170405||DC|
|7||SHIRTLESS BEAR-FIGHTER TP (MR)||$16.99||SEP170681-M||IMA|
|8||DEADLY CLASS VOLUME 6 TP (MR)||$16.99||AUG170634||IMA|
|10||RICK AND MORTY VOLUME 6 TP (MR)||$19.99||SEP171801||ONI|
TOP 10 BOOKS
|1||TERRY MOORE 25TH-ANNIVERSARY SKETCHBOOK||$16.99||OCT171030||ABS|
|2||OVERWATCH ANTHOLOGY VOLUME 1 HC||$19.99||JUN170080||DAR|
|3||LITTLE BOOK OF SPIDER-MAN FLEXICOVER||$9.99||AUG172292||TAS|
|4||LITTLE BOOK OF AVENGERS FLEXICOVER||$9.99||AUG172289||TAS|
|5||LITTLE BOOK OF CAPTAIN AMERICA FLEXICOVER||$9.99||AUG172290||TAS|
|6||THE SHADOW DOUBLE NOVEL VOLUME 124 SC||$14.95||SEP172221||SAN|
|7||LITTLE BOOK OF FANTASTIC FOUR FLEXICOVER||$9.99||AUG172291||TAS|
|8||ROBOTECH VISUAL ARCHIVE: MACROSS SAGA HC||$44.99||JUN172052||UDO|
|9||DOCTOR WHO: T IS FOR TARDIS HC||$9.99||SEP168058||PEN|
|10||THE ART OF STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI HC||$40.00||OCT172093||ABR|
TOP 10 TOYS
|1||OVERWATCH: MEI “CLASSIC SKIN” NENDOROID||FEB178956||GOO|
|2||MARVEL GALLERY: THOR RAGNAROK: THE HULK PVC FIGURE||AUG172642||DST|
|3||MARVEL SELECT: SPIDER-GWEN FIGURE||MAY172533||DST|
|4||DBZ: GOKU SUPER KAMEHAME-HA PREMIUM COLOR FIGURE||JAN178994||BAN|
|5||ONE-12 COLLECTIVE: DC COMICS: BLACK ADAM FIGURE||AUG168741||MEZ|
|6||ONE-12 COLLECTIVE: DC COMICS: SUPERMAN RED SON FIGURE||AUG168743||MEZ|
|7||BORUTO: NARUTO NEXT GENERATIONS: BORUTO FIGURE||MAY178021||BAN|
|8||DRAGONBALL Z SCULTURES: TRUNKS SHINING FIGURE||JAN178996||BAN|
|9||DRAGONBALL SUPER DRAGON STARS ACTION FIGURES||DEC168933||BAN|
|10||MARVEL GALLERY: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2: DRAX & BABY GROOT PVC FIGURE||MAY172524||DST|
TOP 10 GAMES
|1||STAR TREK HEROCLIX: AWAY TEAM: ORIGINAL SERIES BOOSTER BRICK||JUL173390||NEC|
|2||VALERIAN ALPHA MISSIONS BOARD GAME||APR178031||ULT|
|3||BACK TO THE FUTURE MONOPOLY||JUL152198||DST|
|4||DC HEROCLIX: HARLEY QUINN AND THE GOTHAM GIRLS BOOSTER BRICK||JUN173406||NEC|
|5||STARFINDER RPG CORE RULEBOOK HC||JUN173371||PAI|
|6||TMNT: SHADOWS OF THE PAST BOARD GAME||APR160482||IDW|
|7||MOUSE GUARD ROLEPLAYING GAME BOXED SET (2ND EDITION)||FEB151158||BOO|
|8||DOCTOR WHO: TIME OF THE DALEKS BOARD GAME||JUL173367||GAL|
|9||STAR TREK HEROCLIX: AWAY TEAM: ORIGINAL SERIES STARTER SET||JUL173391||NEC|
|10||YU-GI-OH!: CIRCUIT BREAK SPECIAL EDITION||OCT172955||KON|
How does Diamond calculate the charts? It all starts at the comic book shop.
Data for Diamond’s sales charts — which includes the monthly market shares and all top product charts — are compiled by Diamond Comic Distributors from sales made to thousands of comic book specialty shops located in North America and around the world. Additional sales made to online merchants and other specialty retailers may be included as well.
Unit and dollar market shares are calculated based upon orders for comic books, graphic novels, and magazines invoiced and shipped to Diamond customers during any given month, which comprises pre-orders, advance reorders, and reorders, minus any copies that are received back from a title marked as returnable. Please note that comics marked with an asterisk (*) have had their reported quantities reduced due to retailer returnability, and thus may rank lower on the charts than their actual sales would reflect.
The New Titles Count Chart includes all titles that were invoiced by Diamond to retailers for the first time during the month and is not the official solicited title count for the month. Variant edition comic books and graphic novels at the same price point count as a single SKU. Variant edition comic books, lenticular covers, digital combo packs, and graphic novels at different price points count as separate SKUs for each edition.
ABOUT DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS (DCD)—Diamond is at the nexus of comics and pop culture merchandise. Based in Baltimore, MD, DCD is the world’s largest distributor of English-language comic books and pop-culture related merchandise, servicing thousands of specialty retailers worldwide. For more information, visit Diamond on the web at www.diamondcomics.com.