2014-07-14

DC Bombshell sales increases

For June, DC had variant covers scheduled for 21 of their books (19 of which actually came out in June) with the theme "Bombshells", modern takes on classic pin-up art. They've been doing such themed variant months for a while, with themes like "Scribblenauts" or "Robot Chicken" or "Batman 66", but previously the orders for the books were limited by retailer orders for the regular covers, usually 1 for 25 (retailers could order 1 variant for every 25 regular covers they ordered). Starting with the "Bombshells" one, they changed that to give retailers the option to order as many of the variants as they wished. This led to a massive across the board increase in sales for those 19 comics, with one interesting exception.

Sorted by percentage increase:

SUPERMAN == +119.9%
BATWOMAN == +81.6%
CATWOMAN == +67.3%
WONDER WOMAN == +57.3%
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS == +55.6%
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK == +50.8%
BATGIRL == +49.9%
HARLEY QUINN == +49.3%
GREEN LANTERN CORPS == +43.2%
AQUAMAN == +39.8%
FLASH == +37.8%
EARTH 2 == +36.9%
ACTION COMICS == +34.9%
DETECTIVE COMICS == +33.9%
BATMAN AND == +33.6%
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN == +31.1%
GREEN LANTERN == +28.7%
BATMAN == +21%
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED == -2%

Of course, SUPERMAN also had a high-profile new creative team, so it would probably have had a big increase anyway, but probably not quite as high an increase.  The only one to drop in sales was JUSTICE LEAGUE UNLIMITED, which was the second issue. In normal circumstances, that #2 would have seen at least a 20% drop, so holding at just a 2% drop is effectively a large increase in the range of the other books.

Sorted by units:

SUPERMAN == +48.6k copies
HARLEY QUINN == +30.8k copies
BATMAN == +22.6k copies
DETECTIVE COMICS == +18.5k copies
WONDER WOMAN == +17.6k copies
BATGIRL == +15.8k copies
BATWOMAN == +15.1k copies
SUPERMAN WONDER WOMAN == +14.9k copies
ACTION COMICS == +14.3k copies
BATMAN AND == +14.2k copies
CATWOMAN == +13.6k copies
FLASH == +12.9k copies
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK == +12.9k copies
AQUAMAN == +12.8k copies
EARTH 2 == +12.7k copies
GREEN LANTERN == +12.5k copies
GREEN LANTERN CORPS == +12.3k copies
RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS == +11.8k copies
JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED == -1.3k copies

Taking out the two special case extreme values, it looks like the gimmick was good for about an average of 15k copies, or a 45% increase.

The same open order variant covers continue with the themes for July ("Batman 75"), August ("Selfie") and October ("Monsters"), with September having the 3-D covers for their "Futures End" one-shots, so we'll see how the sales do with those themes. I suspect that they'll all decrease from the June numbers, but stay ahead of the May base numbers for a few months.

New Chart Day Link Roundup

June Diamond charts are up. For some reason it looks like Diamond went back to just releasing the Top 300 for the comics (plus some scattered lower entries from the Small Press / Indy charts), which is a shame. That extra information was potentially interesting, if you got a good long run of it together.

Comichron has John Jackson Miller's chart over here, and some analysis here. Miller also has some other interesting posts recently, like an overview of 54 years of Archie sales figures, and it looks like he'll have some overall market data for 2013 up soon.

ICV2 has their Comics chart here, and Graphic Novels here. Analysis here.

A few quick observations.  The Books chart is just over half backlist (144 new, 156 backlist), thanks partly to a lot of discount items from DC this time around (for example, ABSOLUTE SUPERMAN FOR TOMORROW shipped over 1800 copies at fire sale prices averaging over 80% last month, and it's a book which only shipped about 1200 copies in the first month of release back in 2009). SAGA is still king of the backlist, with the three volumes being the top three backlist items and in the Top 10 of all book items. And of course AFTERLIFE WITH ARCHIE was the biggest new release by a wide margin, a first for Archie in that format.

Over on the Comics side, a bit of an aberration thanks to DC's themed variant covers. Until now, the availability of those variants was limited by retailer orders of the main cover (1 for 25). Starting in June, with the "Bombshell variants", DC allowed retailers to order as many as they wished. This led to an average increase on books with the variant of about 45% (not counting SUPERMAN, which also had a high profile new creative team, and JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED which was on its second issue, and only fell 2% from sales of #1, which is effectively a 30%+ increase from expected sales). It remains to be seen if this particular variant theme was especially enticing or if the upcoming ones ("Batman 75" in July, "Selfies" in August, "Monsters" in October) deliver comparable results. I don't expect them to, but they should keep sales higher than the May base level.

Other than that, business as usual, lots of big second issue drops, averaging over 30%, a few surprisingly high launches, we'll see if any of them hold on to most of those numbers, and a few modest increases which might be sustainable content based rather than one-off gimmick based.

2014-07-11

Elsewhere: June 2014 Diamond overview

Diamond has their initial numbers release for June 2014 up now. Expect the full chart up on Monday.

No big launches this month, so no first issues in the entire Top 10 Comics list, and BATMAN tops the list again. Looks like HARLEY QUINN and DETECTIVE will post some pretty significant gains, probably due to the variant covers offered. SUPERMAN probably more than doubled sales from its recent track record thanks to a new creative team, but would have done a lot better with a new #1. On the other hand, SUPERMAN #33 probably won't have nearly the 30-40% plus drop that a #2 would have.

Here's the Top 50 in each category, ranked but not indexed. OUTCAST #1 is the top debut for the month, according to the publisher it sold about 86k, but that presumably includes sales outside NorthAm and there's some reduction for returnability, so it'll probably come in about 72k on the estimates. Also starting strongly from Image is THE WICKED AND THE DIVINE, probably in the 50k+ range. Also looks like a lot of DC books got a big boost from their "Bombshells variant" themed covers.

2014-06-25

Observations on May 2014 Comics Chart - Launches

Quick look at some of the first issues released in May.

ORIGINAL SIN (MAR) - 147k
Not a terrible launch for a Marvel event, but we already know the second issue drops to about 92k, which isn't that great. It probably won't drop much further, with the accelerated release schedule meaning the whole series is already solicited.

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 1.x (MAR) - 116.6k
For convenience, this is what I'm calling the miniseries coming out at ASM #1.1 - #1.5. The numbers it's getting are much higher than it would with the exact same contents coming out as SPIDER-MAN: AN EARLY ADVENTURE THAT DOESN'T REALLY FIT IN BETWEEN PREVIOUSLY PUBLISHED STORIES #1 - #5, it'll probably be down in the 60-70k range by the last issue, which is pretty good for Marvel in 2014.

NEW 52 FUTURES END (DC) - 70.8k
Second issue was in the same month, dropping 19%, I'm guessing the series might settle in around 40k-45k.

JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED (DC) - 64.2k
Follow-up to the JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA series that ended a few months ago, with only a small bump in sales from that. With normal drops it'll be below any issue of JLA by #3.

SUPERMAN DOOMED (DC) - 63.4k
One-shot tying in with the various Superman books, and selling much better than any of them currently do.

THANOS ANNUAL (MAR) - 47.6k
An annual without a regular series, sold about 87% of the last issue of the last THANOS mini-series, which is about normal for an annual.

CYCLOPS (MAR) - 47.5k
Around the same as another solo X-Men launch last month, NIGHTCRAWLER, so expect a similar drop to about 35k next time.

MILES MORALES ULTIMATE SPIDER-MAN (MAR) - 45.9k
Good compared to the other recent Ultimate line launches, but weak historically for Ultimate Spider-Man. Normal drops will have it down below 30k within a few issues, the lowest the title has ever been.

MPH (IMA) - 35.6k
Pretty close to the launch of STARLIGHT a few months ago, so expect a similar drop to around 20k within a few issues.

TREES (IMA) - 31.9k
According to the writer, the orders for this were about 38.5k, which makes sense when you factor in an allowance for returnability and for Diamond sales outside North America. If you assume 10% returnability reduction and 10% foreign sales, that gives you 39.4k. The print run was 50k, and we'll see some of the overprint in re-orders next month. The final orders for #2 were apparently just over 30k, I don't think it's returnable, but will still have the foreign sales to take into account, so expect about a 15% drop, smaller than average these days.

GIANT SIZE SPIDER-MAN (MAR) - 24k
In case you were wondering why they were releasing the "Learning to Crawl" miniseries as AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1.x.

NAILBITER (IMA) - 22.7k


COWL (IMA) - 20.9k


CHAOS (DE) - 19.5k


DEADLY HANDS OF KUNG FU (MAR) - 19.3k


UNITED STATES OF MURDER INC (MAR) - 18.5k
About twice what POWERS by the same creators sells these days, expect it to be down at that level within a few issues, which might take several years to come out.

STAR WARS DARTH MAUL SON OF DATHOMIR (DAR) - 17.1k


DOCTOR SPEKTOR (DE) - 16.5k
History of the Great Dynamite Gold Key launch of 2014
February 2014 - TUROK DINOSAUR HUNTER #1 - 30.7k
March 2014 - MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER #1 - 27.5k
April 2014 - SOLAR MAN O/T ATOM #1 - 22.8k
May 2014 - DOCTOR SPEKTOR #1 - 16.5k
This is the last launch for a while (and is just a mini-series), and I don't know if they have any other viable Gold Key books to relaunch. MIGHTY SAMSON and DAGAR THE INVINCIBLE won't do any better, I think. Maybe SPACE FAMILY ROBINSON...

WOODS (BOO) - 13.9k


BEE AND PUPPYCAT (BOO) - 12.2k


MADAME FRANKENSTEIN (IMA) - 9.8k


LITTLEST PET SHOP (IDW) - 8.2k


CLIVE BARKERS NIGHTBREED (BOO) - 7.8k


GFT WARLORD OF OZ (ZEN) - 7.8k


SHADOW MIDNIGHT MOSCOW (DE) - 7.8k


STAR TREK NEW VISIONS (IDW) - 7.4k


PATHFINDER CITY SECRETS (DE) - 7.1k


DEJAH OF MARS (DE) - 7.1k


BURN THE ORPHANAGE REIGN OF TERROR (IMA) - 5.4k


LAST BROADCAST (BOO) - 5.3k


MARS ATTACKS FIRST BORN (IDW) - 5.3k


AXE COP AMERICAN CHOPPERS (DAR) - 5.1k


WEIRD LOVE (IDW) - 5k


THINK TANK FUN WITH PTSD (IMA) - 3k


BRASS SUN (REB) - 2.8k


BRAIN BOY MEN FROM GESTALT (DAR) - 2.8k


ORDINARY (TIT) - 2.7k


ROGUE TROOPER CLASSICS (IDW) - 1.9k


2014-06-18

Observations on May 2014 Comics Chart - Second Issue Drops

A large number of second issues on the Diamond Top 400 Comics chart in May, all of them falling from the first issues as you'd expect. The average drop was just over 30%, but if you do a weighted average, based on the actual sales, it's closer to 47%. The 400k+ drop in copies of AMAZING SPIDER-MAN is responsible for that, not counting it and the weighted average is also about 30%.

Someone pointed out that counting re-orders of the first issue unfairly penalized books that were doing well, increasing the apparent 2nd issue drop, which might decrease as re-orders for #2 come in. Fair point, so the main number is based on first month orders only, with a note if there were re-orders for #1 on the charts as well.

Only a few comments so far, I'll update this if I come up with anything I want to say about the others.

Amazing Spider-Man (MAR)
down -76.7% - 532.6k to 123.9k
-77.3 with re-orders on #1 factored in
Well, everyone saw this coming. Not a record single issue drop, but close to it in recent times, especially if you factor out special cases where the first issues had excessive variant covers or bargain $1 prices. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN had it's own special circumstances, including some order incentives and apparently a very large order from the "mystery box" company Nerd Block (that'll be an even bigger factor in the upcoming ROCKET RACCOON #1 and the larger purchase of it by Loot Crate). Anyway, a normal third issue Marvel drop will put this book at about 100k, and it might settle at 80k-90k, which would still make it the best selling on-going Marvel book. They used to cancel books at that level...

Solar Man Of The Atom (DE)
down -61% - 22.8k to 8.9k
Pretty standard for Dynamite's relaunch of the old Gold Key line, all three non-#1 issues are lightly clustered in sales between 8k and 9k and falling. Hard to believe full colour work-for-hire comics can continue for long at the levels will settle at.

Real Heroes (IMA)
down -52% - 23.7k to 11.4k
-59 with re-orders on #1 factored in
Pretty big fall, already a lot lower than you'd expect a well-established creator from Marvel to be doing with a pretty straightforward super-hero book at Image, although the earlier AMERICA'S GOT POWERS didn't do much better.

Lola XOXO (ASP)
down -45% - 9.2k to 5.1k
Actually not doing that bad for a new series from Aspen, and better than the second issues of a lot of their $1 launch books last year.

Elektra (MAR)
down -44% - 47.7k to 26.6k
A little bit low for a Marvel book on-going book on its second issue, but enough that it might get a full year to see if it catches on.

Flash Gordon (DE)
down -43% - 14.4k to 8.3k

Translucid (BOO)
down -42% - 9.5k to 5.5k

Field (IMA)
down -41% - 11.2k to 6.6k

68 Rule Of War (IMA)
down -39% - 7.5k to 4.5k

Iron Fist Living Weapon (MAR)
down -37% - 53.6k to 33.6k
-40 with re-orders on #1 factored in

Original Sin (MAR)
down -37% - 147k to 92.6k
First issue was also in May, this is kind of a low level for a Marvel event book, it's about the level of FEAR ITSELF from 2011, which is perceived as one of the less successful ones.

Shutter (IMA)
down -35% - 19k to 12.3k
-43 with re-orders on #1 factored in

Star Mage (IDW)
down -35% - 2.8k to 1.8k

Black Dynamite (IDW)
down -34% - 11k to 7.2k

V-Wars (IDW)
down -34% - 10.5k to 6.9k

All New Doop (MAR)
down -34% - 22.6k to 15k

7th Sword (IDW)
down -33% - 5k to 3.4k

Southern Bastards (IMA)
down -32% - 38k to 25.8k
-37 with re-orders on #1 factored in

Dead Letters (BOO)
down -31% - 7.6k to 5.3k

Dexter's Laboratory (IDW)
down -29% - 7.4k to 5.2k

Nightcrawler (MAR)
down -28% - 49.4k to 35.4k

Caliban (AVA)
down -28% - 13.2k to 9.5k

Inhuman (MAR)
down -28% - 58.3k to 41.8k

Ultimate FF (MAR)
down -27% - 23.3k to 17.1k
Not a bad drop these days, but it was a pretty low launch, and no surprise the series is already announced as ending with #6.

24 (IDW)
down -26% - 8.5k to 6.3k

Lumberjanes (BOO)
down -25% - 13.1k to 9.9k
-37 with re-orders on #1 factored in

Sinestro (DC)
down -25% - 46.5k to 34.6k
On track to be a sold secondary Green Lantern family title, selling in the 25k range within a few issues. Which is at least better than LARFLEEZE did.

Danger Girl Mayday (IDW)
down -23% - 9.1k to 6.9k

Aquaman And The Others (DC)
down -23% - 34.1k to 26.2k
Probably down below 20k within a few issues, which is quickly into the cancellation zone for mainline DC books.

GFT Godstorm Hercules Payne (ZEN)
down -23% - 4.1k to 3.2k

GFT Helsing (ZEN)
down -21% - 5.6k to 4.4k

Sandman Overture Special Edition (DC)
down -21% - 14.5k to 11.5k

Angel And Faith Season 10 (DAR)
down -20% - 17.8k to 14.2k

All New Ultimates (MAR)
down -20% - 30.3k to 24.2k

Shadowman End Times (VAL)
down -20% - 7.8k to 6.2k

New 52 Futures End (DC)
down -19% - 70.8k to 57.1k
Weekly book, and being bolstered a bit by being returnable.

Star Wars Rebel Heist (DAR)
down -18% - 24.9k to 20.4k

Secret Origins (DC)
down -15% - 38.7k to 33k
Holds the first issue sales relatively well, smartly going from Superman on #1 to the more popular Batman on #2. Might see some interesting fluctuations on this, depending on the cover subject. Green Lantern on #3 might drop a lot, Harley Quinn on #4 might recover some of that.

Conan The Avenger (DAR)
down -14% - 11.6k to 9.9k
This is the on-going series (or as "on-going" as Conan series go) that held most of its first issue sales. Conan's a pretty known quantity at this point, and sales on it have fallen pretty far from their peak.

Marvel's Guardians Of Galaxy Prelude (MAR)
down -14% - 22.7k to 19.6k
Just a quick little 2-issue mini-series to flesh out a collection before the movie

Transformers Windblade (IDW)
down -9% - 9.9k to 9k
Pretty small drop

Smallville Season 11 Lantern (DC)
down -8% - 12.4k to 11.4k
Digital first series that's now being released as a series of mini-series and specials, so pretty much treated as an on-going for orders, with just a small bump for a #1 and small drop for a #2.

2014-06-16

May 2014 Charts overview

So, let's see what we have on the May 2014 Diamond Charts...

The Top 300 Graphic Books Chart has around 163 new items and 137 backlist items, depending on which new printings and new editions you classify as new and which you classify as backlist (I'm treating the new version of WATCHMEN as a continuation of the regular edition, so backlist, but the new version of MURDER MYSTERIES as a new item, or example). Of the 137 backlist, about 100 are in the "perennial" category, I might do a post about the others later this month. Of the 163 new items, you have the usual selection from DC and Marvel making up over a third, the other "premier" publishers (IDW, Image, Dark Horse) another third and then the rest, including the major manga publishers, supplying the balance. Note that Diamond's summary has 246 "graphic novels" shipping, so that means there are a significant number of books which Diamond carried which sold less than the 384 unit threshold needed to make the Top 300. Presumably to be worth publishing a lot of those are primarily aimed at markets outside the comics direct market. I might have a list of those books later this month, too.

The Top 400 Comics Chart had 371 new entries and 29 repeat entries from earlier months (mostly re-orders and new printings, occasionally a sign of the initial order being split across two months). Note that Diamond's summary has 427 new comics. There's some duplication in that count, from variant issues at different prices (like DC's "combo packs"), but that still leaves a few dozen books published which fell below the 1671 copies needed to make the chart, a few of which appear on the extended "small press" chart. Not this month, but someday I want to do some research for a post about those books. Of the new entries that did make the chart, there are 42 second issues, which averaged a drop of over 30%, not surprisingly led by AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #2, dropping over 75% from #1. I'll have the usual post about second issue drops soon, and a post about newly launched books and how far I see them falling.

I also want to start doing a few publisher specific posts, where I look at three-to-six months of publishing activity for a particular publisher, both in periodical comics and books. If anyone has a preference on what publisher to start with, let me know, in a comment here, on twitter (@salescharts) or by e-mail (salescharts on gmail).

New Chart Day Link Roundup

It's Diamond Charts Day, the monthly holiday for numbers fans. I'll update the links as they become available.

John Jackson Miller has your fix here, with the Top 400 Comics, plus some small press books lower in the charts, and the Top 300 Trade Paperbacks. Some commentary as well, over here.

John Mayo has his version at CBR, with the added information he puts on issue-to-issue comparisons for the comics and cumulative sales on the Trades chart. His commentary here.

ICV2 has their version here (Comics, now featuring the full Top 400) and here (Graphic Novels). Commentary article here.