December DC & MARVEL Crossover Launches Help Year-End '16 Comic Book Sales Barely Increase Over '15

Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1
Credit: DC Comics
Love Is Love variant cover
Love Is Love variant cover
Credit: IDW

Perhaps inevitably because 2016 featured four on-sale weeks in December compared to December 2015's five, sales to Direct Market comic book stores were down over 6% compared to 2015, and for the year, 2016 barely eeked out an overall 0.30% increase over 2015 in dollars and just 1.10% in unit sales. 

Questions as to whether the Direct Market has reached the end of its five-year run of annual sales increases will begin being asked. 

According to sales figures released by Diamond Comic Distributors Thursday morning, DC's Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1 - the first crossover of the publisher's "Rebirth" era - was December's best-selling comic book title. The launch of Marvel's own latest crossover, Inhumans vs. X-Men #1, was the month's second best-selling release. Four DC titles starring Batman rounded out the publisher's five entries in the Top 10, while Marvel accounted for the other four. 

GERRY ALANGUILAN
GERRY ALANGUILAN
Credit: Leinil Francis Yu/Gerry Alanguilan/David Curiel (Marvel Comics)

According to Diamond, Image's The Walking Dead #161 just missed the Top 10 at #11.

IDW Publishing's Love is Love anthology, an anthology tribute to the victims of the Pulse Nightclub shooting, produced with the assistance of DC, was December's best-selling graphic novel.

Marvel was again the Market Share leaders, with a 36.73% dollar share and a 40.50% unit share. DC of course finished second with a 29.47% dollar share and a 29.04% unit share. 

For the final month of 2016, as noted the four-week shipping month finished down over 18% in comic book dollar sales and over 4% in graphic novel sales for an overall dollar decrease of nearly 15% versus the five-week December 2015. 

Fourth quarter 2016 finished down over 6% versus fourth quarter 2015, again, with 2016 sales barely holding on for a 0.30% dollar increase over the previous year. 

It may not all be doom and gloom, however, according to Comichron’s John Jackson Miller, the foremost authority of Direct Market sales.

“My main takeaway from 2016 is that we did pretty well to keep pace with and slightly beat 2015’s numbers given just how much Star Wars added to the market in 2015,” Miller told Newsarama Thursday morning. “Star Wars at Marvel added $31 million just in the Top 300s for comics and graphic novels in 2015; it was like adding a publisher with 6% market share. That line’s contribution was still pretty strong this year; Rebirth and other titles helped cover the difference between the launch and second-year, because the non-Star Wars part of the market actually grew faster in 2016 than it did in 2015. So we’re really seeing continuity this decade — single digit growth after the big DC relaunch year, with 2015 getting a big jolt from Star Wars.

“We’re not leading into the winter with momentum, for sure, though it’s again worth reminding people that even though the fourth quarter was down it was still 13% larger than the first quarter. The first quarter’s always maybe only 20-22% of the year.”

You can read more of Jackson’s in-depth analysis here.

The December 2016 Market ShareComparative Sales Data, and New Titles Shipped charts, along with Top 10 Comic Books and Top 10 Graphic Novels charts follow below.
 

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

RETAIL MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

36.73%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

29.47%

IMAGE COMICS

8.81%

IDW PUBLISHING

5.49%

DARK HORSE COMICS

3.17%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.40%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.99%

TITAN COMICS

1.16%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT

1.10%

VIZ MEDIA

1.09%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

8.59%

 

UNIT MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

40.50%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

29.04%

IMAGE COMICS

7.70%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

6.97%

IDW PUBLISHING

4.10%

DARK HORSE COMICS

2.43%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.64%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT

1.20%

TITAN COMICS

0.99%

ARCHIE COMICS

0.62%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

4.80%


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

DECEMBER 2016 VS. NOVEMBER 2016

COMICS

-9.01%

-1.79%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-11.19%

1.10%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-9.69%

-1.56%

TOYS

-12.28%

-11.75%

DECEMBER 2016 VS. DECEMBER 2015

COMICS

-18.84%

-8.39%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-4.24%

18.44%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-14.84%

-6.66%

TOYS

-36.78%

-46.07%

FOURTH QUARTER 2016 VS. THIRD QUARTER 2016

COMICS

-7.42%

-5.96%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

0.07%

1.88%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-5.36%

-5.42%

TOYS

-1.80%

-11.85%

FOURTH QUARTER 2016 VS. FOURTH QUARTER 2015

COMICS

-8.92%

-0.53%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

1.53%

12.21%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-6.11%

0.30%

TOYS

-22.29%

-30.42%

YEAR 2016 VS. YEAR 2015

COMICS

-0.11%

1.02%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

1.24%

2.10%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

0.30%

1.10%

TOYS

-9.74%

-14.18%

 

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS

89

42

0

131

DC ENTERTAINMENT

84

33

1

118

IMAGE COMICS

47

18

1

66

IDW PUBLISHING

42

17

0

59

BOOM! STUDIOS

26

12

0

38

DARK HORSE COMICS

26

10

0

36

TITAN COMICS

21

5

4

30

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

18

9

0

27

ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS

11

2

0

13

VIZ MEDIA

0

13

0

13

OTHER NON-TOP 10

114

133

25

272

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #1

$3.99

DC

2

INHUMANS VS. X-MEN #1

$5.99

MAR

3

DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #7

$5.99

DC

4

BATMAN #12

$2.99

DC

5

BATMAN #13

$2.99

DC

6

CIVIL WAR II #8

$4.99

MAR

7

STAR WARS #26

$3.99

MAR

8

STAR WARS: DOCTOR APHRA #1

$4.99

MAR

9

HULK #1

$3.99

MAR

10

ALL-STAR BATMAN #5

$4.99

DC


TOP 10 TRADE PAPERBACKS & GRAPHIC NOVELS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

LOVE IS LOVE SC

$9.99

IDW

2

BATMAN VOLUME 9: BLOOM TP

$16.99

DC

3

DESCENDER VOLUME 3: SINGULARITIES TP

$14.99

IMA

4

WOLVERINE: OLD MAN LOGAN TP

$29.99

MAR

5

I HATE FAIRYLAND VOLUME 2: FLUFF MY LIFE TP

$14.99

IMA

6

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN VOLUME 1: REBOOT TP

$17.99

MAR

7

STAR WARS: POE DAMERON VOL. 1: BLACK SQUADRON TP

$19.99

MAR

8

DOCTOR STRANGE VOLUME 1: WAY OF WEIRD TP

$19.99

MAR

9

BATMAN VOLUME 10: EPILOGUE HC

$22.99

DC

10

BLACK SCIENCE VOL. 5: TRUE ATONEMENT TP (MR)

$14.99

IMA


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