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Comix Experience 2012 Best Sellers: Comics

Brian Hibbs

The full year is now over for us, so how the hell did we do?

The overview says: overall sales up by 7.82%. It would have been much higher, but fourth quarter showed a big softening from last year — down 1.99% (that was mostly October, comparable down 11%, December was up 1.3%)

Looking just now at “comics” — these are actual sales, and don’t count anything sitting, say, in subscription boxes (even those are close-to-guaranteed sales):

First off, we sort by QUANTITY SOLD. This is the way that traditional Diamond sales charts are sorted. Before the full list, here’s what the real Top 5 looks like:

1 Quarter Book – Single
2 Back Issue
3 Dollar Book
4 SAGA #1
5 Starter Set

“Quarter Book” is literally a comic for 25 cents from the junk box, “Back Issue” is a generic category for anything bagged and boarded — we stop tracking them individually once they go into the bins. “Dollar Book” is just that, slightly more “premium” stuff I am trying to ditch; and “Starter Set” is a themed bunch of back issues (ex: “Avengers #1-12″ or “25 comics featuring women characters”) bundled together at a cheaper price, but typically a bit more than if I Dollared them out. That first one is multiple thousands, while #5 is a solidly triple digit number. People like cheap stuff, this much is true.

BUT, you don’t really want those in the chart, do you? You want the actual comical bookies. So, with 4 of the 5 deleted:

1 SAGA #1
2 SAGA #2
3 SAGA #3
4 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 (OF 12)
WALKING DEAD #100 (combined)
6 SAGA #7
7 SAGA #5
8 SAGA #4
SAGA #6
10 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2 (OF 12)
PROPHET #21
12 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 (OF 12)
13 BATMAN #13
14 WALKING DEAD #97
15 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0 (OF 12)
PROPHET #22
17 JUSTICE LEAGUE #5
JUSTICE LEAGUE #6
19 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #5 (OF 12)
BATMAN #6
21 ACTION COMICS #5
BATMAN #8
23 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #4 (OF 12)
24 ACTION COMICS #6
25 BATMAN #5
BATMAN ANNUAL #1
27 WALKING DEAD #99
28 ACTION COMICS #7
BATMAN #10
BATMAN #11
BATMAN #7
32 ACTION COMICS #9
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #7 (OF 12)
BATMAN #9
35 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6 (OF 12)
BATMAN INCORPORATED #1
FATALE #1
WALKING DEAD #98
39 BATMAN #14
EARTH 2 #1
41 ACTION COMICS #10
ACTION COMICS #8
WALKING DEAD #101
44 ACTION COMICS #11
ADVENTURE TIME #1
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #8 (OF 12)
JUSTICE LEAGUE #9
WALKING DEAD #95
49 DIAL H #1
50 BATMAN #12
JUSTICE LEAGUE #8
WALKING DEAD #94
53 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #10 (OF 12)
BATMAN #0
JUSTICE LEAGUE #11
JUSTICE LEAGUE #7
WALKING DEAD #103
58 ALL NEW X-MEN #1 NOW
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12 (OF 12)
FAIREST #1
61 FATALE #2
JUSTICE LEAGUE #10
WALKING DEAD #96
64 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #11 (OF 12)
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9 (OF 12)
BATMAN #15
BATWOMAN #5
HAPPY #1 (OF 4)
JUSTICE LEAGUE #12
PROPHET #24
SAGA #8
SECRET SERVICE #1 (OF 7)
WALKING DEAD #93
74 FATALE #3
FATALE #4
UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 NOW
77 EARTH 2 #2
JUSTICE LEAGUE #0
79 ADVENTURE TIME #2
ANIMAL MAN #5
BATMAN INCORPORATED #2
WALKING DEAD #102
WALKING DEAD #104
84 AMERICAS GOT POWERS #1 (OF 6)
BEFORE WATCHMEN MINUTEMEN #1 (OF 6)
FATALE #5
PROPHET #23
88 ACTION COMICS #12
ACTION COMICS #13
ANIMAL MAN #6
WONDER WOMAN #5
92 ACTION COMICS #14
BATWOMAN #6
SUPERCROOKS #1
95 AVX VS #1 (OF 6)
FATALE #6
97 ADVENTURE TIME MARCELINE SCREAM QUEENS #1
BATMAN INCORPORATED #3
99 ACTION COMICS #0
ADVENTURE TIME #5
AVENGERS #1 NOW
BEFORE WATCHMEN RORSCHACH #1 (OF 4)
BEFORE WATCHMEN SILK SPECTRE #1 (OF 4)
HAWKEYE #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE #13
PROPHET #25
SECRET #1
WALKING DEAD MICHONNE SPECIAL
WONDER WOMAN #9

It’s BKV and Fiona Staples’ world, we just live in it.

This year there were a couple of significant “They can’t fill my reorders fast enough” that probably otherwise limited some of the specific placing of some books — There not being a (6th?) printing on SAGA #1 kept it and #2-6 probably lower than it *could* have been, and the ADVENTURE TIME back issues went weekssss between refills, so I think, in a better world, the first six issues at least, could have sold 20-40% more in the end. HAWKEYE faced the same problem towards the end of the year. MANHATTAN PROJECTS #1 just missed the “top 100″ here (well, 109) because it didn’t keep going back to press (and/or having enough up front). I also had some spot issues with AVX availability, but that was almost always well into their on-stands — like week 11, I think, for #1.  Other than that, most of these comics sold out just when I wanted them to.

But as nice as circulation figures are (and, really, they are nice), the real impact comes from the DOLLARS SOLD — you can see that more expensive books often end up making more money even when they sell fewer copies. I’ll include the MSRP here, though this is “dollars taken in”, that is, it includes discounts or things like that, when there are such things (almost never, but still worth mentioning)

 

Rank Title  MSRP
1 Back Issue  (var)
2 Starter Set  (var)
3 Quarter Book – Single  $  0.25
4 SAGA #1  $  2.99
5 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #1 (OF 12)  $  3.99
WALKING DEAD #100  $  3.99
7 Dollar Book  $  1.00
8 BATMAN ANNUAL #1  $  4.99
9 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #2 (OF 12)  $  3.99
10 SAGA #2  $  2.99
11 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #3 (OF 12)  $  3.99
12 SAGA #3  $  2.99
13 BATMAN #13  $  3.99
14 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #0 (OF 12)  $  3.99
15 JUSTICE LEAGUE #5  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #6  $  3.99
17 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #5 (OF 12)  $  3.99
18 ACTION COMICS #5  $  3.99
BATMAN #8  $  3.99
20 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #4 (OF 12)  $  3.99
21 ACTION COMICS #6  $  3.99
22 SAGA #7  $  2.99
23 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #12 (OF 12)  $  4.99
24 ACTION COMICS #7  $  3.99
BATMAN #10  $  3.99
BATMAN #11  $  3.99
27 SAGA #4  $  2.99
SAGA #5  $  2.99
SAGA #6  $  2.99
30 ACTION COMICS #9  $  3.99
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #7 (OF 12)  $  3.99
BATMAN #9  $  3.99
33 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #6 (OF 12)  $  3.99
34 PROPHET #21  $  2.99
35 BATMAN #14  $  3.99
EARTH 2 #1  $  3.99
37 ACTION COMICS #10  $  3.99
ACTION COMICS #8  $  3.99
39 ACTION COMICS #11  $  3.99
ADVENTURE TIME #1  $  3.99
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #8 (OF 12)  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #9  $  3.99
43 WALKING DEAD #97  $  2.99
44 PROPHET #22  $  2.99
45 BATMAN #12  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #8  $  3.99
47 FATALE #1  $  3.50
48 BATMAN #6  $  2.99
49 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #10 (OF 12)  $  3.99
BATMAN #0  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #11  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #7  $  3.99
53 ALL NEW X-MEN #1 NOW  $  3.99
54 JUSTICE LEAGUE #10  $  3.99
55 BATMAN #5  $  2.99
56 AVENGERS VS X-MEN #11 (OF 12)  $  3.99
AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9 (OF 12)  $  3.99
BATMAN #15  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #12  $  3.99
60 WALKING DEAD #99  $  2.99
61 UNCANNY AVENGERS #1 NOW  $  3.99
62 BATMAN #7  $  2.99
63 JUSTICE LEAGUE #0  $  3.99
64 GREEN LANTERN ANNUAL #1  $  4.99
65 ADVENTURE TIME #2  $  3.99
66 BEFORE WATCHMEN MINUTEMEN #1 (OF 6)  $  3.99
67 BATMAN INCORPORATED #1  $  2.99
WALKING DEAD #98  $  2.99
69 ANIMAL MAN ANNUAL #1  $  4.99
70 ACTION COMICS #12  $  3.99
ACTION COMICS #13  $  3.99
72 FATALE #2  $  3.50
73 ACTION COMICS #14  $  3.99
74 ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #1  $  4.99
75 WALKING DEAD #101  $  2.99
76 AVX VS #1 (OF 6)  $  3.99
77 FATALE #3  $  3.50
FATALE #4  $  3.50
79 ADVENTURE TIME MARCELINE SCREAM QUEENS #1  $  3.99
80 WALKING DEAD #95  $  2.99
81 DIAL H #1  $  2.99
82 ACTION COMICS #0  $  3.99
ADVENTURE TIME #5  $  3.99
AVENGERS #1 NOW  $  3.99
BEFORE WATCHMEN RORSCHACH #1 (OF 4)  $  3.99
BEFORE WATCHMEN SILK SPECTRE #1 (OF 4)  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #13  $  3.99
88 WALKING DEAD #94  $  2.99
89 FATALE #5  $  3.50
90 ADVENTURE TIME #6  $  3.99
BEFORE WATCHMEN OZYMANDIAS #1 (OF 6)  $  3.99
92 WALKING DEAD #103  $  2.99
93 BEFORE WATCHMEN COMEDIAN #1 (OF 6)  $  3.99
94 FAIREST #1  $  2.99
95 WALKING DEAD #96  $  2.99
96 ALL NEW X-MEN #2 NOW  $  3.99
DETECTIVE COMICS #9  $  3.99
JUSTICE LEAGUE #14  $  3.99
99 FATALE #6  $  3.50
100 DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #1  $  4.99

So, yeah, there’s the raw data — I think it shows a pretty healthy and robust market with a fairly diverse bunch of products. I’m especially proud of the showing that Image put in this year.

Questions, comments, toss ‘em below!

-B

7 Responses to “ Comix Experience 2012 Best Sellers: Comics ”

  1. I always find these lists fascinating.

    Watching both Justice League and AvX slide down the list as the issue numbers go up makes me wonder if the amount of fall-off is consistent with the traditional model of “reader bleed.”

    Anyway, thanks for sharing, Hibbs!

  2. Really surprised to see Prophet ranked so high on your list (even though it’s one of my favorites). Did you do a big word of mouth push on it when #21 came out or did it gradually build over the course of the year?

  3. J_Smitty: Well, yeah, it’s called “Standard attrition” for a real reason – Marc-Oliver didn’t make it up, or something. It’s a rare book that stays steady and on course, and a rarer one that grows — but you can see at least SAGA doing it with #7, and, if WALKING DEAD #100 (and the build up to it) was so distorting, you’d also see it with that book as well. (notice how #103 sold better than #96?)

    Brock: PROPHET was a real push book for us, and we hand-sold the hell out of it at the start. Even with the current issue, it’s selling wqay better than most Marvel or DC superhero comics.

    -B

  4. Memory failing me; what was Supercrooks?

  5. Mark Millar & Leinil Yu mini-series about supercrooks leaving America (where all the heroes are) for Europe.

    -B

  6. The odds are very good that I’m losing money on most Quarter Books, Dollar Books and Starter Sets, since too much of that stock comes at wholesale rates. Back issues are also, as a rule, a proper net loss because of “carrying costs” — that is, could I have spent that same money slightly more wisely on something that would have turned faster? Probably yes.

    The name of the game, however, is cashflow (or, possibly, “Fizzbin”), so taking in SOME money on the failures is better than taking in NONE.

    But as much as the QTY chart “feels” leaning-towards-creator-owned, the $$$ chart shows you it is really the opposite — you make the most money from corporate superhero comics that costs $4. Dats De Facts, Jack.

    The thing is, correlate that to book best-sellers and you can see that all this super stuff is really just short-term gainers… they just don’t have legs.

    It’s a crazy dichotomy that drives this business.

    -B

  7. [...] Brian Hibbs runs down the best sellers in his store, including Books and Comics Spoiler; people bought [...]

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