Marvel Continues to Dominate the Shrinking Comics Market
Marvel beat DC yet again… by ~10% on dollars and ~8% on unit share… but to do that, Marvel churned out 133 items to DC’s 108, over 20% more items. The overall market is shrinking: The total market was down 19.31% in dollars and 25.64% in units in July 2017 compared to July 2016. Year to date 2017 is down 8.69% in dollars and 3.41% in units compared to 2016. Marvel is on top, but on top of a shrinking market. And fan anticipation that I’ve seen has been lukewarm about Marvel Legacy…but we’ll have to see how sales do, since Marvel is doing their best to manipulate retailers into ordering big on Legacy to qualify for incentive covers. My hope is that this does not backfire on retailers who order too heavily and driver even more comic shops out of business.
Following on Marvel’s blatant attempts to manipulate sales at the retailer level (without any assurance that those sales will pass through to fans reading comics), I continue to see a decent amount of Marvel hate, balanced by DC support at numerous sites on the internet. I’m not TRYING to hang out in DC-centric places, and it is generally the case that he vocal minority complaining or praising one publisher or the other on the internet does not necessarily correlate to sales (as evidence by Marvel continuing to be the #1 publisher despite “noisy fan preference” that would tend to indicate the opposite.
Personally, I’m reading more than twice as many Marvel books as I am DC books. Maybe it’s the tendency to root for the underdog, or maybe it’s the power of Batman being greater than the lure of Star Wars and the X-Men. I’m not sure.
What I do know is that in my own experience of reading comics for over 40 years, it is more foolhardy than ever to say “Publisher X is not putting out any good books”. That means you either have a very narrow definition of what is “good” (which I guess is OK, but I feel sorry for you) OR it means you’re just not trying the right books. I got 29 of the 133 items Marvel shipped in May, which is about 22% of what they put out. That means I didn’t like 78% of what they put out. Yet I still consider Marvel to be publishing “good” stuff because I (for the most part) really liked the titles I got (probably everything other than Secret Empire). I got 16 of the 108 items DC put out, which is about 15%. I like DC less than Marvel right now, but still enjoyed the DC titles I am getting. IDW put out 53 items, I got only 8 of them but I still think IDW is a top-notch publisher, the things I get from them I would consider to be some of the best things in the industry.
My point here is to avoid making sweeping statements about everything a publisher puts out: “I don’t like Publisher X”… unless you have tried everything they do and disliked it all, it could be that they have some hidden gem that you’ve just never tried and could end up being your favorite item of the month or even the year!
– Bob Bretall (email@example.com)
Diamond’s Press Release:
(BALTIMORE, MD) — (August 11, 2017) — The mystery deepens for Batman and his allies in Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Andy Kubert, Jim Lee, and John Romita, Jr.’s Dark Days: The Casting #1 from DC Entertainment, the prelude to their Dark Nights: Metal event and the best-selling comic book of July 2017 according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics, graphic novels, and pop culture merchandise.
Marvel Comics was July’s top publisher with a 36.89% dollar share and a 39.53% unit share. DC Entertainment was second in July with a 26.94% dollar share and a 31.15% unit share. In third was Image Comics with an 11.47% dollar share and a 9.73% unit share. In fourth was IDW Publishing with a 3.83% dollar share and a 3.26% unit share, followed by Dark Horse Comics with a 3.40% dollar share and a 2.55% unit share.
DC Entertainment had three titles among the top ten. In addition to Dark Days: The Casting #1, Tom King and Mikel Janin’s Batman #26, the second chapter of “The War of Jokes and Riddles,” ranked #3 and King and Clay Mann’s Batman #27, the third chapter in the storyline, ranked #4. Marvel Comics had six titles in the top ten, led by Charles Soule and Jim Cheung’s Astonishing X-Men #1 at #2, followed by Nick Spencer and Leinil Francis Yu’s Secret Empire #6 at #5, Spencer and Andrea Sorrentino’s Secret Empire #7 at #6, Jason Aaron and Salvador Larroca’s Star Wars #33 at #7, Cullen Bunn and Dalibor Talajic’s Deadpool Kills the Marvel Universe Again #1 at #8, and Brian Michael Bendis and Sara Pichelli’s Spider-Men II #1 at #10. Image Comics rounded out the top ten with Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard’s The Walking Dead #169 at #9. Among the premier publishers, Dark Horse Comics’ Neil Gaiman’s American Gods: Shadows #5 was their top book at #94, while IDW Publishing’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Usagi Yojimbo One-Shot was the publisher’s top ranked book at #145.
Monstress Volume 2, the second volume in Marjorie M. Liu and Sana Takeda’s steampunk meets kaiju series from Image Comics, was July’s best-selling graphic novel. Image Comics had three titles total among the top ten, including Curse Words Volume 1 at #4 and Black Science Volume 6 at #9. Oni Press’ Rick and Morty Volume 1 returned to the top ten at #2 for the month. Marvel Comics’ Star Wars Volume 5: Yoda’s Secret War ranked #3. DC Comics had two titles in the top ten: The Flash Volume 3: Rogues Reloaded ranked #5 and Batman/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles ranked #7. Dark Horse Comics had two titles in the top ten as well; The Legend of Korra Volume 1: Turf Wars Part 1 ranked #6 and Serenity Volume 5: No Power in the ‘Verse ranked #10. IDW Publishing’s Batman/TMNT Adventures ranked #8 for the month.
Gemstone Publishing’s The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide Volume 47, the latest edition of the venerable comic book resource, was the best-selling book of July; the softcover edition ranked #1 for the month, the hardcover edition ranked #2, and the spiral-bound Big! Big! edition ranked #8. BOOM! Studios’ Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal Tales ranked #3 for the month. Dark Horse Comics’ Lead Poisoning: The Pencil Art of Geof Darrow, an art book devoted to the work of the artist behind Hard Boiled and Big Guy and Rusty the Boy Robot, ranked #4.
A fan-favorite video game character, Princess Zelda, was brought to life by Good Smile for their Legend of Zelda: Princess Zelda Figma, the best-selling toy product of July. DC Collectibles had three products among the top ten: the Superman: The Animated Series: Superman & Lois Lane Action Figure 2-Pack ranked #3, the DC Designer Series: Wonder Woman by Adam Hughes Statue ranked #4, and the Harley Quinn: Black, White, and Red Statue by Terry Dodson ranked #7. Diamond Select Toys also had three products in the top ten: the Marvel Gallery: Gwenpool PVC Figure ranked #6, the Marvel Gallery: Classic Iron Man PVC Figure ranked #9, and the Batman 1966: Shakespeare Head Bust Bank ranked #10.
WizKids/NECA celebrated the fifteenth-anniversary of the debut of the HeroClix miniatures game with the DC HeroClix: 15th-Anniversary Elseworlds Booster Brick, the best-selling game product of July. IDW Publishing had two products in the top ten: the perennial best-selling Machi Koro Card Game at #6 and the King of Creepies Game at #9.
TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
|DARK HORSE COMICS||3.40%||2.55%|
|ONI PRESS INC.||1.63%||0.96%|
|OTHER NON-TOP 10||9.29%||7.11%|
COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS
JULY 2017 VS. JUNE 2017
JULY 2017 VS. JULY 2016
YEAR-TO-DATE 2017 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2016
NEW TITLES SHIPPED
|PUBLISHER||COMICS SHIPPED||GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED||MAGAZINES SHIPPED||TOTAL
|DARK HORSE COMICS||20||22||0||42|
|ONI PRESS INC.||8||5||0||13|
|OTHER NON-TOP 10||131||133||18||282|
TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS
|1||DARK DAYS: THE CASTING #1||$4.99||MAY170193-M||DC|
|2||ASTONISHING X-MEN #1||$4.99||MAY170806-M||MAR|
|5||SECRET EMPIRE #6||$4.99||MAY170763-M||MAR|
|6||SECRET EMPIRE #7||$3.99||MAY170769-M||MAR|
|7||STAR WARS #33||$3.99||MAY170924-M||MAR|
|8||DEADPOOL KILLS MARVEL UNIVERSE AGAIN #1||$3.99||MAY170819-M||MAR|
|9||THE WALKING DEAD #169 (MR)||$2.99||MAY170730||IMA|
|10||SPIDER-MEN II #1||$3.99||MAY170813-M||MAR|
TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS
|1||MONSTRESS VOLUME 2 TP (MR)||$16.99||APR170834-M||IMA|
|2||RICK AND MORTY VOLUME 1 TP||$19.99||JUL151482-M||ONI|
|3||STAR WARS VOLUME 5: YODA’S SECRET WAR TP||$17.99||MAR171131||MAR|
|4||CURSE WORDS VOLUME 1 TP (MR)||$9.99||MAY170612-M||IMA|
|5||THE FLASH VOLUME 3: ROGUES RELOADED TP||$16.99||APR170413||DC|
|6||THE LEGEND OF KORRA VOL. 1: TURF WARS PT 1 TP||$10.99||FEB170063||DAR|
|8||BATMAN/TMNT ADVENTURES TP||$19.99||APR170539-M||IDW|
|9||BLACK SCIENCE VOLUME 6 TP (MR)||$16.99||MAY170662||IMA|
|10||SERENITY VOLUME 5: NO POWER IN THE ‘VERSE HC||$19.99||MAR170077||DAR|
TOP 10 BOOKS
|1||OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE VOL. 47 SC||$29.95||APR171765-M||GEM|
|2||OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE VOL. 47 HC||$35.00||APR171766-M||GEM|
|3||JIM HENSON’S THE DARK CRYSTAL TALES HC||$16.99||MAR171409||BOO|
|4||LEAD POISONING: THE PENCIL ART OF GEOF DARROW HC||$34.99||MAR170037||DAR|
|5||BE A STAR WONDER WOMAN PICTURE BOOK||$15.95||MAY172129||CAP|
|6||BEDTIME FOR BATMAN BOARD BOOK||$7.99||MAY172130||CAP|
|7||SPIDER MAN: NIGHT OF VULTURE LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK||$4.99||MAY172147||RAN|
|8||BIG! BIG! OVERSTREET COMIC BOOK PRICE GUIDE VOL 47||$47.50||MAY171625||GEM|
|9||MIGHTY THOR: THUNDER STRIKE LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK||$4.99||MAY172146||RAN|
|10||STAR WARS: JEDI ACADEMY VOL. 5: FORCE OVERSLEEPS HC||$12.99||MAY172182||SCH|
TOP 10 TOYS
|1||LEGEND OF ZELA: TWILIGHT PRINCESS: ZELDA FIGMA||AUG168805||GOO|
|2||DRAGONBALL SUPER: DRAGON STARS ACTION FIGURES||DEC168377||BAN|
|3||SUPERMAN ANIMATED: SUPERMAN & LOIS LANE FIGURE 2-PACK||JAN170424||DC|
|4||DC DESIGNER SERIES: WONDER WOMAN BY ADAM HUGHES STATUE||JAN170426||DC|
|5||MARVEL: SQUIRREL GIRL BISHOUJO STATUE||DEC162884||KOT|
|6||MARVEL GALLERY: GWENPOOL PVC FIGURE||DEC162562||DST|
|7||HARLEY QUINN: RED WHITE & BLACK STATUE BY TERRY DODSON||JAN170429||DC|
|8||MARVEL UNIVERSE VARIANT PLAY ARTS KAI: WOLVERINE FIGURE||DEC168151||SQU|
|9||MARVEL GALLERY: CLASSIC IRON MAN PVC FIGURE||JAN172648||DST|
|10||BATMAN 1966: SHAKESPEARE HEAD BUST BANK||JUN162388||DST|
TOP 10 GAMES
|1||DC HEROCLIX: 15TH-ANNIVERSARY ELSEWORLDS BOOSTER BRICK||MAR173391||NEC|
|2||MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: AETHER REVOLT BOOSTER PACKS||NOV162988||WIZ|
|3||RICK AND MORTY: ANATOMY PARK BOARD GAME||MAY173183||CRY|
|4||D&D: ICONS OF THE REALM MINIATURE BOOSTER BRICK||MAR173387||NEC|
|5||MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: HOUR OF DEVESTATION BOOSTER PACKS||APR173295||WIZ|
|6||MACHI KORO CARD GAME||MAY142831||IDW|
|7||DRINKING FLUXX CARD GAME||APR173273||LOO|
|8||DC HEROCLIX: 15TH-ANNIVERSARY ELSEWORLDS STARTER SET||MAR173392||NEC|
|9||KING OF CREEPIES GAME||APR170672||IDW|
|10||MARVEL HEROCLIX: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOL. 2||OCT168616||NEC|
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.