METAL #3 Rocks, But October Comic Book Sales More of the 2017 Same

"Dark Nights: Metal #3" cover
Credit: Greg Capullo/Jonathan Glapion/FCO Plascencia (DC Comics)

Batman continues to cast a long shadow on the comic book Direct Market, with two issues of his solo title and five issues of the Batman-centric DC event Dark Nights: Metal dominating the top 10, but overall comic sales remain on course to finish about 10% down compared to 2016, the first time sales will not grow in five years.

Credit: Jim Lee/Scott Williams/Alex Sinclair (DC Comics)

According to figures released by Diamond Comic Distributors Friday morning, Dark Nights: Metal #3 was October’s best-selling title, with Marvel’s Legacy title The Mighty Thor #700 finishing at #2. Two more Legacy titles rounded out the top 10, with the first non-Marvel/DC title, Image Comics' The Walking Dead #172 finishing way out of the top 10 at #22.

Credit: Charlie Adlard (Image Comics/Skybound)

The Walking Dead: Here's Negan, a hardcover collection of the comic serial by Robert Kirkman, Charlie Adlard, and Cliff Rathburn originally published in Image Comics' Image+ magazine, was October's best-selling graphic novel.

Despite DC’s strength in the top 10, Marvel was still October's top publisher with a 36.38% dollar and a 38.63% unit share. DC was second with a 30.58% dollar and a 35.48% unit share. Image was third with an 11.46% dollar and a 9.84% unit share.

Overall comic book sales were down 11.12% versus October 2016 (both four-week shipping months), pretty much right on pace with the year-to-date 10.12% deficit versus 2016.

For a deeper dive into the numbers, we asked John Jackson Miller of Comichron for his thoughts...

“There wasn’t much chance of last month’s orders to retailers topping those from last year, when October was the second-strongest month of the year. That month saw 52 more new comic books release, many of them DC’s double-shipped Rebirth issues; it also included on the unit side the Loot Crate Big Trouble in Little China/Escape from New York issue. On the plus side, October 2017 graphic novel sales did outpace those from a year ago, only the second time this year that that’s happened; Image’s performance last month had a lot to do with that. And thanks to Metal and Legacy, overall sales did outpace those from September 2017 by nearly 5%, even with Legacy meaning that Marvel only had 82 new comic books ship, its smallest slate since February 2016.

“While October starts the fourth quarter out behind the same period last year, last October was the market’s last peak month, in a sense; eleven out of the next twelve months would see declines. The comparatives get easier from here; there's a good chance that the overall year could end up only off in the single digits. That's not great news, but it would represent a boost over the worst point of the year, and would keep the Direct market ahead of the recession-year 10% drop seen in 2009.

“As I noted in the Off Panel podcast which released earlier this week, perspective means a great deal to interpreting the market's position; while Star Wars' return to Marvel and Rebirth posed tough comparatives for 2016 and 2017 respectively, it's worth remembering that through October, the Direct Market is up 29.2%, or nearly $100 million, over its position at the same point of 2011, the year the New 52 helped re-energize sales. Dollar volumes this September and October, in fact, roundly beat those from the first two New 52 months — and while inflation plays a role, it does not account for all of the increases.”

The October 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

36.38%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

30.58%

IMAGE COMICS

11.46%

IDW PUBLISHING

4.33%

DARK HORSE COMICS

2.82%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.99%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.96%

ONI PRESS INC.

1.08%

TITAN COMICS

1.02%

ARCHIE COMICS

0.68%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

7.70%

 

UNIT MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

38.63%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

35.48%

IMAGE COMICS

9.84%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.31%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.96%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.81%

DARK HORSE COMICS

1.74%

TITAN COMICS

0.85%

ONI PRESS INC.

0.76%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC

0.73%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

4.89%

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

OCTOBER 2017 VS. SEPTEMBER 2017

COMICS

2.84%

-1.10%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

9.60%

0.08%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

4.74%

-1.02%

TOYS

-3.64%

-7.22%

OCTOBER 2017 VS. OCTOBER 2016

COMICS

-15.74%

-21.05%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

2.37%

-8.02%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-11.12%

-20.27%

TOYS

-16.10%

-12.91%

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

COMICS

-9.93%

-7.89%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-10.55%

-12.76%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-10.12%

-8.27%

TOYS

-11.82%

-17.78%

 

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS SHIPPED

MAGAZINES SHIPPED

TOTAL SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS

81

41

0

122

DC ENTERTAINMENT

79

39

1

119

IMAGE COMICS

67

22

0

89

IDW PUBLISHING

41

36

0

77

BOOM! STUDIOS

29

7

0

36

DARK HORSE COMICS

15

18

0

33

TITAN COMICS

21

8

3

32

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

24

6

0

30

ONI PRESS

12

4

0

16

ARCHIE COMICS

11

4

0

15

OTHER NON-TOP 10

104

160

24

288

TOTAL

484

345

28

857

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

DARK NIGHTS: METAL #3

$3.99

DC

2

THE MIGHTY THOR #700

$5.99

MAR

3

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #789

$3.99

MAR

4

BATMAN #32

$2.99

DC

5

BATMAN #33

$2.99

DC

6

THE DESPICABLE DEADPOOL #287

$3.99

MAR

7

BATMAN: THE DROWNED #1

$3.99

DC

8

BATMAN: THE DAWNBREAKER #1

$3.99

DC

9

BATMAN: THE MERCILESS #1

$3.99

DC

10

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT #1

$3.99

DC

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

THE WALKING DEAD: HERE'S NEGAN HC (MR)

$19.99

IMA

2

BATMAN/THE FLASH: THE BUTTON DELUXE EDITION HC

$19.99

DC

3

SEVEN TO ETERNITY VOLUME 2 TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

4

RAT QUEENS VOLUME 4: HIGH FANTASIES TP (MR)

$14.99

IMA

5

SUPER SONS VOLUME 1: WHEN I GROW UP TP

$12.99

DC

6

I HATE FAIRYLAND VOLUME 3: GOOD GIRL TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

7

REDNECK TP VOL 01 DEEP IN THE HEART (MR)

$16.99

IMA

8

STAR WARS: THE SCREAMING CITADEL TP

$17.99

MAR

9

BATMAN: DETECTIVE COMICS VOLUME 3: LEAGUE TP

$19.99

DC

10

LOW VOL. 4: OUTER ASPECTS OF INNER ATTITUDES TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

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