Diamond Announces Top Sales for December 2019

Comics Growth for 2019 is Essentially Flat
Marvel/DC Split Top 10 for December with 5 each

2019 as a whole was pretty much a flat year for comics. 2019 vs 2018 saw an increase of 4.33% on dollar sales (which I’ll mostly attribute to higher priced “best seller” issues) and down a bit less than 1% on unit sales.  Not a great year, but not a terrible year either.  While no spectacular upticks occurred, there was not a crash either.  Now fans can buckle in and see how the big Publishers use the data that fans do not seem shy about buying “special” issues that are priced at $7.99 or $9.99, as well as the ongoing knowledge that they can sell multiple copies of the same comic to hard core fans as long as they slap a nifty variant cover on it.  It seems to me that sales have remained essentially flat, but readership of paper comics may be down since there are comic shop fans who are buying up multiple copies of many “best selling” issues, and that is a dangerous position to be in if those hard core fans decide to walk away because they have a multiplied negative effect when their deep pockets leave the fan base.

Overall, the battle between Marvel & DC continues to take market share from the other publishers.  Marvel/DC accounted for 77% of the unit sales in December, up about 1% from November.  As Marvel and DC blast out events, loads of variant covers, and high-priced issues there is less and less money left in the pockets of comic shop fans to dive into some diversity outside their beloved super-hero universes.  DC decreased their overall output several months ago but have been steadily increasing the number of titles shipped to try to keep pace with Marvel.

In December Marvel shipped 135 items to DC’s 119.  Think about that.  Over 250 items blasted out to comic shops from JUST the 2 super-hero publishers in 1 single month.  Many shops don’t even carry all of the items from Marvel/DC unless they are specially requested by customers.  Think about that.  The mid-list and lower titles from each of the Big 2 publishers may not even get any exposure on the rack of your local comic shop, so if you want to give something a try that has not been deemed a “hot best seller” you need to do some online research and ask for it.  Most people do not do this, so it keeps a focus on a smaller variety and gives fans who just browse the racks a skewed view of what is actually available because they are likely not seeing everything that comes out.

Something of note is the Watchmen TPB showing up as the #3 best seller, probably because of the HBO Watchmen series, but this perennial favorite has been a cash cow for DC for over 2 decades now.

Make a comment below and let me know what you liked best about 2019 and what you’re looking forward to in 2020.

– Bob Bretall (bob@comicspectrum.com)

(BALTIMORE, MD) — (January 17, 2020) — Superman’s confrontation with Dr. Manhattan changes the DC Universe forever in Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock #12 from DC, the final issue of the best-selling series and the best-selling comic book of December 2019 according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics, graphic novels, and pop culture merchandise.

Marvel Comics was December’s top publisher, with a 37.89% dollar share and a 45.60% unit share. DC was second, at 33.55% and 31.35% respectively. In third, Image Comics had a 5.91% dollar share and a 5.93% unit share, followed by IDW Publishing, BOOM! Studios, Dark Horse Comics, and Dynamite Entertainment.

dollar-shareunit-share

In addition to Doomsday Clock #12, DC had five titles in the top ten. Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Batman: Last Knight on Earth #3, the finale of their Black Label series, ranked #3; Frank Miller and Rafael Granpá’s Dark Knight Returns: The Golden Child one-shot ranked #4; Harley Quinn: Villain of the Year #1 ranked #5; and Brian Michael Bendis, Ivan Reis, and Joe Prado’s Superman #18, the landmark issue in which Superman reveals his secret identity to the world, ranked #10.

Marvel Comics also had five titles in the top ten. Jonathan Hickman, Leinil Francis Yu, and Gerry Alanguilan’s X-Men #3 ranked #2, Donny Cates and Mark Bagley’s Venom #21, the first chapter of “Venom Island,” ranked #5; Peter David and Greg Land’s Symbiote Spider-Man; Alien Reality #1 ranked #8; Incoming #1, the all-star one-shot that sets the stage for 2020, ranked #8; and Nick Spencer and Oscar Bazaldua’s Amazing Spider-Man #35 ranked #9.

Among the premier publishers, IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #100 was the publisher’s top book at #17; Mighty Morphin Power Rangers/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles #1 from BOOM! Studios ranked #29; Todd McFarlane and Jason Shawn Alexander’s Spawn #303 was Image Comics’ top book at #45; and Dynamite Entertainment’s Vampirella #6 ranked #61 for the month.

Marvel Comics’ House of X/Powers of X, a hardcover collection of the two mini-series by Jonathan Hickman, Pepe Larraz, and R.B. Silva that heralded a revitalization of Marvel’s mutant franchise, was the best-selling graphic novel of December and one of the publisher’s four titles among the top ten. DC’s Batman Volume 11: The Fall and the Fallen by Tom King and Mikel Janin led DC’s slate of three titles in top ten at #2.  Jeff Lemire, Dean Ormston, and Rich Tommasco’s Black Hammer Volume 4: Age of Doom Part 2 from Dark Horse Comics ranked #5, and Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson’s The Boys Omnibus Volume 6 from Dynamite Entertainment ranked #6.

Zenescope Entertainment’s Grimm Fairy Tales Adult Coloring Book Volume 1 was December’s best-selling book.

Depicting a scene from Marvel Comic’s 1991 series The Infinity Gauntlet, Funko’s POP! Marvel Heroes: Thanos “Snap” 6-Inch Deluxe Vinyl Figure, a PREVIEWS exclusive, was December’s best-selling toy. Also in the top ten from Funko, the PREVIEWS exclusive POP! Dragonball Z: Super Saiyan 2 Vegeta Vinyl Figure ranked #2. Diamond Select Toys had a strong month with six products in the top ten, led by the Marvel Select: Avengers Endgame: Hero Suit Hulk Action Figure at #3.

Green Ronin Publishing’s Critical Role: Tal’Dorei Campaign Setting, a perennial seller, returned to the top of the sales charts as December’s best-selling game product. Paizo Publishing had eight products in the top ten, and S7 Game’s My Hero Academia: The Card Game also returned to the charts at #3 for the month.

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS 37.89% 45.60%
DC COMICS 33.55% 31.35%
IMAGE COMICS 5.91% 5.93%
IDW PUBLISHING 4.34% 3.51%
BOOM! STUDIOS 4.03% 3.66%
DARK HORSE COMICS 2.67% 1.87%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 2.56% 2.51%
VIZ MEDIA 1.00% 0.38%
TITAN COMICS 0.57% 0.51%
RANDOM HOUSE 0.48% 0.13%
OTHER NON-TOP 10 7.00% 4.54%

 COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

  DOLLARS UNITS
DECEMBER 2019 VS. NOVEMBER 2019
COMICS 0.18% -1.28%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -11.06% -18.03%
TOTAL COMICS/GN -3.00% -2.48%
TOYS 13.47% 16.61%
DECEMBER 2019 VS. DECEMBER 2018
COMICS 7.08% 5.36%
GRAPHIC NOVELS 15.77% 2.87%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 9.20% 5.21%
TOYS 166.96% 191.68%
YEAR 2019 VS. YEAR 2018
COMICS 4.33% -0.92%
GRAPHIC NOVELS -2.01% -7.95%
TOTAL COMICS/GN 2.54% -1.44%
TOYS 25.96% 28.65%

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER COMICS SHIPPED GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED MAGAZINES SHIPPED TOTAL

SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS 103 32 0 135
DC COMICS 86 32 1 119
IMAGE COMICS 36 7 0 43
IDW PUBLISHING 28 13 0 41
BOOM! STUDIOS 23 14 0 37
DARK HORSE COMICS 22 9 0 31
DYNAMITE 14 4 0 18
KODANSHA COMICS 0 13 0 13
TITAN COMICS 8 2 2 12
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS 9 0 0 9
OTHER NON-TOP 10 80 109 11 200
TOTAL 409 235 14 658

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 DOOMSDAY CLOCK #12 $5.99 OCT190523-M DC
2 X-MEN #3 $3.99 OCT190903-M MAR
3 BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH #3 (MR) $5.99 SEP190478-M DC
4 DARK KNIGHT RETURNS: THE GOLDEN CHILD #1 $5.99 OCT190471-M DC
5 VENOM #21 $3.99 OCT191001-M MAR
6 HARLEY QUINN: VILLAIN OF THE YEAR #1 $4.99 OCT190466-M DC
7 SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN: ALIEN REALITY #1 $4.99 OCT190971-M MAR
8 INCOMING #1 $9.99 OCT190860-M MAR
9 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #35 $3.99 OCT190926-M MAR
10 SUPERMAN #18 $3.99 OCT190580-M DC

 TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 DOOMSDAY CLOCK #12 $5.99 OCT190523-M DC
2 INCOMING #1 $9.99 OCT190860-M MAR
3 BATMAN: LAST KNIGHT ON EARTH #3 (MR) $5.99 SEP190478-M DC
4 DARK KNIGHT RETURNS: THE GOLDEN CHILD #1 $5.99 OCT190471-M DC
5 HARLEY QUINN: VILLAIN OF THE YEAR #1 $4.99 OCT190466-M DC
6 TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES #100 $7.99 SEP190620-M IDW
7 HARLEEN #3 (MR) $7.99 SEP190494-M DC
8 X-MEN #3 $3.99 OCT190903-M MAR
9 SYMBIOTE SPIDER-MAN: ALIEN REALITY #1 $4.99 OCT190971-M MAR
10 VENOM #21 $3.99 OCT191001-M MAR

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 HOUSE OF X/POWERS OF X HC $60.00 SEP190963-M MAR
2 BATMAN TP VOL 11 THE FALL AND THE FALLEN $17.99 SEP190554 DC
3 WATCHMEN TP $24.99 JUN190614-M DC
4 SILVER SURFER BLACK TP TREASURY EDITION $29.99 SEP190990 MAR
5 BLACK HAMMER TP VOL 04 AGE OF DOOM PART II $19.99 MAY190209 DAR
6 BOYS OMNIBUS TP VOL 06 (MR) $29.99 OCT191313-M DE
7 GREEN LANTERN TP VOL 01 INTERGALACTIC LAWMAN $17.99 SEP190568 DC
8 DAREDEVIL BY CHIP ZDARSKY TP VOL 02 NO DEVILS ONLY GOD $15.99 SEP190982 MAR
9 MY HEROES HAVE ALWAYS BEEN JUNKIES TP (MR) $12.99 AUG190092 IMA
10 STAR WARS DOCTOR APHRA TP VOL 06 UNSPEAKABLE REBEL SUPERWEAP $15.99 SEP190997 MAR

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 HOUSE OF X/POWERS OF X HC $60.00 SEP190963-M MAR
2 ANNIHILATION OMNIBUS HC $125.00 JUL191087 MAR
3 Y THE LAST MAN OMNIBUS HC (MR) $150.00 APR190576 DC
4 INJUSTICE GODS AMONG US OMNIBUS HC VOL 01 $125.00 MAR190580 DC
5 ABSOLUTE DARK KNIGHT III THE MASTER RACE HC $125.00 APR190525 DC
6 ANIMAL MAN BY JEFF LEMIRE OMNIBUS HC $99.99 APR190524 DC
7 SILVER SURFER BLACK TP TREASURY EDITION $29.99 SEP190990 MAR
8 MMW FANTASTIC FOUR HC VOL 21 $75.00 JUN191034-M MAR
9 WATCHMEN TP $24.99 JUN190614-M DC
10 BOYS OMNIBUS TP VOL 06 (MR) $29.99 OCT191313-M DE

TOP 10 BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 GRIMM FAIRY TALES ADULT COLORING BOOK VOL 01 $12.99 OCT151871 ZEN
2 OVERSTREET COMIC BK PG SC VOL 49 $29.95 APR191757-M GEM
3 BLOODBORNE OFFICIAL ARTWORKS SC $44.99 MAR172148 UDO
4 DARK SOULS III DESIGN WORKS HC $49.99 JUN182173 UDO
5 MEGA MAN ZERO HC OFFICIAL COMPLETE WORKS $44.99 APR192142 UDO
6 ART OF ATARI HC $39.99 JUL161467 DYN
7 KONOSUBA LIGHT NOVEL SC VOL 10 $14.00 OCT192327 YEN
8 OKAMI OFFICIAL COMPLETE WORKS SC $39.99 MAY073783 UDO
9 DOCTOR WHO TARDIS TYPE FORTY INSTRUCTION MANUAL HC $19.99 MAY188247 PEN
10 GEARS OF WAR RETROSPECTIVE HC $49.99 MAY192131 UDO

TTOP 10 TOYS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 POP MARVEL HEROES THANOS SNAP 6IN PX DELUXE VINYL FIGURE MAY198251 FUN
2 POP ANIMATION DBZ SUPER SAIYAN 2 VEGETA PX VIN FIG JAN199073 FUN
3 MARVEL SELECT AVENGERS ENDGAME HERO SUIT HULK AF JUL192664 DST
4 MARVEL MILESTONES AVENGERS 4 ARMORED THANOS STATUE OCT188304 DST
5 MARVEL SELECT AVENGERS 4 IRON MAN MK85 AF SEP192494 DST
6 MARVEL GALLERY AVENGERS ENDGAME CAPTAIN AMERICA PVC FIG JUL192669 DST
7 GX-88 ARMORED FLEET DAIRUGGER XV SOUL OF CHOGOKIN (NET) MAY198128 BLU
8 YU GI OH YAMI YUGI NENDOROID AF DEC188202 GOO
9 IT CHAPTER 2 GALLERY PENNYWISE PVC FIGURE JUN192381 DST
10 MARVEL PREMIER GREEN GOBLIN COMIC STATUE MAR192445 DST

TOP 10 GAMES BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK DESCRIPTION ITEM CODE VENDOR
1 CRITICAL ROLE: TAL’DOREI CAMPAIGN SETTING HC JUN173357 GRE
2 PATHFINDER CORE RULEBOOK SPECIAL EDITON HC (P2) MAY193228 PAI
3 MY HERO ACADEMIA: THE CARD GAME JUL183082 S7
4 PATHFINDER ACG CORE SET MAR198499 PAI
5 PATHFINDER LOST OMENS WORLD GUIDE HC (P2) MAY193231 PAI
6 STARFINDER RPG ALIEN ARCHIVE 3 HC JUN193098 PAI
7 CREATURE CODEX HC JUL183073 PAI
8 STARFINDER RPG CORE RULEBOOK HC JUN173371 PAI
9 STARFINDER RPG CHARACTER OPERATIONS MANUAL HC SEP193078 PAI
10 PATHFINDER LOST OMENS CHARACTER GUIDE HC (P2) AUG193363 PAI

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.

Diamond-Logo

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.

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About comicspectrum

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