DC's METAL #1 Tops August 2017 Sales Charts, But Can't Help Win War vs. the Calendar

"Dark Nights: Metal #1" cover
Credit: Greg Capullo/Jonathan Glapion/FCO Plascencia (DC Comics)

Direct Market comic book sales were down over 20% in August versus 2016, but that comes with a major caveat - August 2016 sales were some of the strongest ever in the Diamond era. More on that in a moment. First, the basics:

Credit: Greg Capullo/Jonathan Glapion/FCO Plascencia (DC Comics)

As expected, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Dark Nights: Metal #1, the first chapter of DC's (first) 2017 event was the best-selling comic book of August according to according to figures released by Diamond Comic Distributors Friday morning. DC's Caped Crusader dominated the top of the chart, with Tom King and Mikel Janin's Batman #28 and #29 rounding out the Top 3.

If DC dominated the top of the chart,  Marvel dominated the rest, scoring the other seven Top 10 titles of the month, including their best-selling title Secret Empire #10, the finale of their summer event. Interestingly, Secret Empire #10 sold in greater numbers than Secret Empire #8 and #9, which also cracked the Top 10. Two Generations one-shots and two issues of the Star Wars ongoing rounded out the best-selling books of the month.

Credit: Cliff Chiang (DC Comics)

Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang's Paper Girls Volume 3 from Image Comics was August's best-selling graphic novel, the first of Image's five titles in that Top 10.

Marvel was August's top market share publisher with a 35.01% dollar and a 39.52% unit share. DC was second in August with a 28.18% dollar and a 31.09% unit share. Image Comics was third with a 10.06% dollar  and a 9.23% unit share. 

Comparative sales were up strongly versus July, but down in either greater volume versus August 2016, nearly 21% in dollars and 25% in units, but the backstory is important here - we'll leave that explanation up to John Jackson Miller of Comichron.

"August 2016 was a record month with more than 10 million comics shipped, and so the comparatives were fully expected; we have a period just before the beginning of two major events being compared with the heart of DC and Marvel’s events from 2016. The resulting drop is significant in historic terms; June to August was the worst three-month comparative decline since likely September to November 1997, when 'Heroes Return' was comparing with 'Heroes Reborn.'

"That said, this drop seems to have more to do with the unusual strength of the previous year’s sales than underlying structural market factors; in 1997, the distribution system was reeling and accounts were being shed at a rate we do not see at this time. The brunt of the drop this month fell on DC, naturally — but on the other hand, August wasn't a bad month for DC, volume-wise, when compared with more normal recent months; its sales were actually higher than the last five-week pre-'Rebirth' month in 2016.

"Marvel was still down, but cut its year-over year comparative losses in August to the lowest level seen all summer. Image, Dark Horse, and Dynamite are all up year-to-date."

"We don’t know if 'Legacy' and Metal will be able to completely reverse 2017’s fortunes versus 2016; the hole is a pretty big one (10.47 dollars and 6.76% units YTD). But we should start seeing a more even fight in the comparatives, and a better trajectory than we’ve seen in a while."

The August 2017 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

35.01%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

28.18%

IMAGE COMICS

10.06%

IDW PUBLISHING

4.81%

DARK HORSE COMICS

3.16%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

2.50%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.19%

TITAN COMICS

1.48%

VIZ MEDIA

1.42%

ONI PRESS INC.

1.28%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

9.91%

 

UNIT MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

39.52%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

31.09%

IMAGE COMICS

9.23%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.69%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

3.58%

DARK HORSE COMICS

2.18%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.88%

TITAN COMICS

1.25%

ONI PRESS INC.

0.82%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC

0.77%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

5.98%


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

AUGUST 2017 VS. JULY 2017

COMICS

9.56%

9.30%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

18.34%

20.46%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

12.16%

10.12%

TOYS

52.54%

32.90%

AUGUST 2017 VS. AUGUST 2016

COMICS

-25.72%

-25.91%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-6.89%

-10.02%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-20.71%

-24.84%

TOYS

-33.47%

-42.90%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2017 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2016

COMICS

-9.94%

-6.23%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-11.68%

-12.77%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-10.47%

-6.76%

TOYS

-10.99%

-16.38%

 

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS

106

40

1

147

DC ENTERTAINMENT

78

29

1

108

IMAGE COMICS

62

18

0

80

IDW PUBLISHING

56

22

0

78

DARK HORSE COMICS

20

16

0

36

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

30

6

0

36

BOOM ENTERTAINMENT

25

10

0

35

TITAN COMICS

20

13

1

34

VIZ MEDIA

0

26

0

26

ONI PRESS INC.

8

7

0

15

OTHER NON-TOP 10

119

182

32

333

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #1

$4.99

DC

2

BATMAN #28

$2.99

DC

3

BATMAN #29

$2.99

DC

4

SECRET EMPIRE #10

$4.99

MAR

5

GENERATIONS: ALL-NEW WOLVERINE/WOLVERINE #1

$4.99

MAR

6

SECRET EMPIRE #8

$4.99

MAR

7

SECRET EMPIRE #9

$4.99

MAR

8

GENERATIONS: THE MIGHTY THOR/UNWORTHY THOR #1

$4.99

MAR

9

STAR WARS #34

$3.99

MAR

10

STAR WARS #35

$3.99

MAR


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

PAPER GIRLS VOLUME 3 TP

$12.99

IMA

2

BATMAN VOLUME 3: I AM BANE TP

$16.99

DC

3

GOD COUNTRY TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

4

KILL OR BE KILLED VOLUME 2 TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

5

WONDER WOMAN VOLUME 3: THE TRUTH TP

$16.99

DC

6

X-MEN GOLD VOLUME 1: BACK TO BASICS TP

$15.99

MAR

7

REBORN HC (MR)

$24.99

IMA

8

SUPERMAN VOLUME 3: MULTIPLICITY TP

$16.99

DC

9

OLD GUARD BOOK 1: OPENING FIRE TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

10

X-MEN BLUE VOLUME 1: STRANGEST TP

$15.99

MAR


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