August's FANTASTIC FOUR Relaunch Helps Comic Book Sales Gain vs. 2017

"Fantastic Four #1" preview
Credit: Marvel Comics

The comic book industry's preeminent analyst of Direct Market sales, John Jackson Miller of Comichron, tells Newsarama summer 2017 was the worst three-month stretch of year-over-year sales declines in 20 years, with August 2017 down dramatically in particular with Marvel's Secret Empire event having concluded, several more Marvel series ending prior to "Legacy" relaunches, and DC sales down compared to "Rebirth" relaunches the previous year.

So as expected, August 2018 dollar sales were up versus 2017 and recent gains is moving the Direct Market closer to perhaps overall dollar sales gains in 2018.  

Credit: Jen Bartel (Marvel Comics)

According to figures released by Diamond Comic Distributors Friday morning, Dan Slott, Sara Pichelli, Simone Bianchi, Skottie Young, and Marte Gracia's Fantastic Four #1 was the best-selling comic book of August 2018, followed by Gerry Duggan and Mike Deodato Jr.’s Infinity Wars #1 (#2).

Overall, Marvel charted four of the Top Ten titles in August. 

DC had six titles in the Top Ten, led by Tom King and Lee Weeks’ Batman #52 at #3 and Batman #53 at #4. The Sandman Universe #1, a Vertigo one-shot special launching Neil Gaiman’s "Sandman Universe" titles written by Si Spurrier, Nalo Hopkinson, Kat Howard, and Dan Watters, ranked #6.

Image Comics' The Walking Dead #182 by Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard was the top non-Marvel-DC title at #14, although Diamond doesn't release that expanded sales charts until Monday.

Credit: Heather Campbell (Dark Horse Comics)

Dark Horse Comics' The Legend of Korra Volume 3: Turf Wars Part 3, continuing the stories of the Nickelodeon animated series, was August's best-selling graphic novel by dollars. 

Led by the FF relaunch at the top, Marvel was easily August's top publisher with a 40.87% dollar market share and a 43.12% unit market share. DC was second with a 27.51% dollar share and a 31.02% unit share. Image was third with an 8.90% dollar share and a 9.08% unit share.

Overall, comic book and graphic dollars sales in August were up 4.37% versus August 2017, although down in unit sales an almost identical 4.71%. But Comichron informs us this was due to less product being offered in the market. According to their analysis, exactly 60 less comic books were solicited to the Direct Market in August compared to last year, both five-week shipping months. Retailers were also offered slightly less graphic novels. That's 11% less product offered, against a 5% decrease in units sold. 

August's dollar gains puts 2018 just 1.10% down against 2017 in dollar sales but still down 6.95% in overall units. 

What is Comichron's overall take on August sales? Newsarama asked John Jackson Miller. 

"August was the fourth growth month out of five, and only the second month in two years in which both comics dollar sales and graphic novel dollar sales were up in the Direct Market," Miller replied. "August was the pit of the 2017 recession, and Marvel beat its performance that month handily, by 22% - this despite releasing 20 fewer comics in the month. Industrywide, 11% fewer new comics were released - perhaps an echo of publishing decisions made months earlier, in the throes of the recession; despite that lack of new material, comics units were down 5% and dollars were up 5%. The DM continues to whittle down the deficit for the year; with more weak 2017 months to compare with, the chances for the year finishing slightly ahead continue to improve."

The August 2018 Market Share, Comparative Sales Data, New Titles Shipped and Top 10 Comic Books Units and Dollars and Top 10 Graphic Novels Units and Dollars charts follow below.

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

RETAIL MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

40.87%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

27.51%

IMAGE COMICS

8.90%

IDW PUBLISHING

4.43%

DARK HORSE COMICS

3.05%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.58%

VIZ MEDIA

1.33%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.32%

TITAN COMICS

0.98%

AFTERSHOCK COMICS

0.63%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

8.40%

 

UNIT MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

43.12%

DC ENTERTAINMENT

31.02%

IMAGE COMICS

9.08%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.81%

DARK HORSE COMICS

2.37%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.30%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.12%

AFTERSHOCK COMICS

0.72%

TITAN COMICS

0.66%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT

0.64%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

5.17%


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

AUGUST 2018 VS. JULY 2018

COMICS

-1.95%

-6.19%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

33.98%

28.57%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

6.88%

-3.97%

TOYS

49.89%

32.04%

AUGUST 2018 VS. AUGUST 2017

COMICS

5.04%

-5.25%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

2.91%

1.44%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

4.37%

-4.71%

TOYS

13.76%

4.26%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2018 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2017

COMICS

1.31%

-6.80%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-6.73%

-8.83%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-1.10%

-6.95%

TOYS

-5.15%

-8.32%

 

NEW TITLES SHIPPED

PUBLISHER

COMICS
SHIPPED

GRAPHIC NOVELS
SHIPPED

MAGAZINES
SHIPPED

TOTAL
SHIPPED

MARVEL COMICS

86

45

0

131

DC ENTERTAINMENT

72

30

1

103

IMAGE COMICS

61

16

0

77

IDW PUBLISHING

39

24

0

63

DARK HORSE COMICS

23

21

0

44

BOOM! STUDIOS

27

14

0

41

TITAN COMICS

15

10

3

28

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

14

6

0

20

AFTERSHOCK COMICS

13

2

0

15

VIZ MEDIA

0

15

0

15

OTHER NON-TOP 10

114

180

31

325

TOTAL

464

363

35

862

 

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

FANTASTIC FOUR #1

$5.99

MAR

2

INFINITY WARS #1

$5.99

MAR

3

BATMAN #52

$3.99

DC

4

BATMAN #53

$3.99

DC

5

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3

$3.99

MAR

6

THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE #1 (MR)

$4.99

DC

7

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4

$3.99

MAR

8

SUPERMAN #2

$3.99

DC

9

JUSTICE LEAGUE #5

$3.99

DC

10

JUSTICE LEAGUE #6

$3.99

DC


TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

FANTASTIC FOUR #1

$5.99

MAR

2

INFINITY WARS #1

$5.99

MAR

3

THE SANDMAN UNIVERSE #1 (MR)

$4.99

DC

4

BATMAN #52

$3.99

DC

5

PUNISHER #1

$4.99

MAR

6

BATMAN #53

$3.99

DC

7

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #3

$3.99

MAR

8

INFINITY WARS #2

$4.99

MAR

9

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #4

$3.99

MAR

10

VENOM: FIRST HOST #1

$3.99

MAR


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY UNITS SHIPPED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

LEGEND OF KORRA VOLUME 3 : TURF WARS PT 3 TP

$10.99

DAR

2

DC SUPER HERO GIRLS: OUT OF THE BOTTLE TP

$9.99

DC

3

EAST OF WEST VOLUME 8 TP

$16.99

IMA

4

BLACK PANTHER BOOK 1: A NATION UNDER OUR FEET TP

$16.99

MAR

5

SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL VOL. 1: ISN'T IT BROMANTIC? TP

$17.99

MAR

6

RAT QUEENS VOL. 5: COLOSSAL MAGIC NOTHING TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

7

THE FLASH VOL. 1: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE TP

$17.99

DC

8

KILL OR BE KILLED VOLUME 4 TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

9

I HATE FAIRYLAND VOLUME 4 TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA

10

SEX CRIMINALS VOL. 5: FIVE-FINGERED DISCOUNT TP (MR)

$16.99

IMA


TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS BY DOLLARS INVOICED

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

PUNISHER MAX BY GARTH ENNIS OMNIBUS VOL. 2 HC (MR)

$100.00

MAR

2

JACK KIRBY: MARVEL HEROES & MONSTERS ARTIST EDITION

$90.00

IDW

3

X-MEN REVOLUTION BY CHRIS CLAREMONT OMNIBUS HC

$100.00

MAR

4

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN EPIC COLLECTION: VENOM TP

$39.99

MAR

5

SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL VOL. 1: ISN'T IT BROMANTIC? TP

$17.99

MAR

6

BLACK PANTHER BOOK 1: A NATION UNDER OUR FEET TP

$16.99

MAR

7

THE FLASH VOL. 1: LIGHTNING STRIKES TWICE TP

$17.99

DC

8

X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX SAGA OMNIBUS HC

$100.00

MAR

9

SEVEN SOLDIERS BY GRANT MORRISON OMNIBUS HC

$75.00

DC

10

INFINITY GAUNTLET TP

$24.99

MAR

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