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Comix Experience Best Sellers 2013: Comics

Brian Hibbs

There are those people who find this kind of thing interesting, and those who have no interest — I put it behind the jump for the benefit of the latter!

Oh, comics! The agile arbiter of zeitgeist; the enabler of cash flow; the avatar of tastemaking! How how much I treasure you!

What follow is a list of the best-selling comics, for the singular Comix Experience, as of 12/31/13, at 5:54 PM. The store is still technically open for another hour and six minutes, but I don’t think we’ll significantly change this chart in that time.

This does NOT contain the charts for Comic Outpost because a) I’ve only owned it a fortnight, and b) we had silly computer problems in week #1, so much of the sales are registered to a generic “miscellaneous comic” code, and not the specific book that specifically sold. Ah, but 2014 will allow me to present combined charts and differences, and ah! I can not wait!

I’ve also pulled out “Quarter Comics”, “Generic Back Issue”, “Dollar Comics” and “Starter Set”, which were otherwise our #1 to #4 items in the “comics” category.  We sold 22x times the number of “quarter comics” as we did of Actual Comic #1, and I still think to myself, “We’re not liquidating the cheapest crap fast enough”. Go figure! (That’s because it accumulates quickly — “death of a thousand papercuts” is the rule for most stores, I believe)

Clearly, as you can see from what follows, 2013 is Image’s year.  9 of the top 10, 13 of the top 20, 32 of the Top 50 — that’s a performance to be proud of.  The second half of the year, especially, has had hot launch after hot launch, and Image right now feels like me to be like Vertigo circa 1993.

I have at least one note — because Comix Experience (prime) is pretty much against the multiple cover as a moral stance, we treat them as distinct SKUs — except that SANDMAN OVERTURE performed very very well with BOTH covers. So the net impact is that the COMBINED value of the Dave McKean and JH Williams’ covers would actually make it our #1 book for the year, by about a 20% margin. Too bad we’re stuck until February for issue #2 with no (as far as I know) co-op or returnability cushion to help us promote that it finally came out.  In some ways, this is the absolute worst case scenario for a civilian/lapsed-driven book like OVERTURE — a lot of dollars are going to be lost because of the lack of follow-through.

1 SAGA #13
2 SAGA #14
3 SAGA #15
4 SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 (OF 6) McKean Cover
5 SAGA #11
6 SAGA #12
7 SAGA #16
8 SAGA #10
9 SAGA #9
10 JUPITERS LEGACY #1
11 SEX CRIMINALS #1
12 SAGA #17
13 EAST OF WEST #1
14 BATMAN #21
15 BATMAN #17
16 BATMAN INCORPORATED #8
SAGA #8
18 BATMAN #16
19 BATMAN #22
20 SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 (OF 6) JHW cover
21 EAST OF WEST #2
22 BATMAN #23
23 SEX CRIMINALS #2
SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #1
25 UNCANNY X-MEN #1 NOW
BATMAN #20
INFINITY #1 (OF 6)
WALKING DEAD #106
29 WALKING DEAD #109
JUPITERS LEGACY #2
VELVET #1
32 WALKING DEAD #110
WALKING DEAD #111
BLACK SCIENCE #1
WALKING DEAD #108
WALKING DEAD #112
37 BATMAN #19
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #1 NOW
HELLBOY IN HELL #2
PRETTY DEADLY #1
41 BATMAN #25
BATMAN SUPERMAN #1
HELLBOY IN HELL #3
WALKING DEAD #107
WALKING DEAD #113
WALKING DEAD #115
47 BATMAN #24
EAST OF WEST #3
WALKING DEAD #116
50 AGE OF ULTRON #1 (OF 10)
EAST OF WEST #4
JUPITERS LEGACY #3
SEX CRIMINALS #3
THE STAR WARS (LUCAS DRAFT) #1 (OF 8)
WALKING DEAD #114
56 BATMAN INCORPORATED #9
INFINITY #3 (OF 6)
OPTIC NERVE #13
59 HAWKEYE #8
EAST OF WEST #6
SAGA #7
62 HAWKEYE #10
HELLBOY IN HELL #4
64 BATMAN ANNUAL #2
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #0.1 NOW
STAR WARS ONGOING #2
WALKING DEAD #117
X-MEN #1 NOW
69 BATMAN INCORPORATED #10
STAR WARS ONGOING #1
71 LAZARUS #1
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1
BATMAN INCORPORATED #6
EAST OF WEST #5
HAWKEYE #7
HAWKEYE #9
PRETTY DEADLY #2
UNCANNY X-MEN #3 NOW
79 JUSTICE LEAGUE #22
AGE OF ULTRON #2 (OF 10)
AGE OF ULTRON #3 (OF 10)
EAST OF WEST #7
FOREVER EVIL #1 (OF 7)
84 AVENGERS #3 NOW
BATMAN INCORPORATED #7
GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #2 NOW
SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #2
TRILLIUM #1 (OF 8)
VELVET #2
90 BATMAN SUPERMAN #2
BLACK SCIENCE #2
INFINITY #2 (OF 6)
SHAOLIN COWBOY #1
TRUE LIVES O/T FABULOUS KILLJOYS #1 (OF 6)
WALKING DEAD #118
96 ACTION COMICS #16
JUSTICE LEAGUE #16
HAWKEYE #11
INFINITY #4 (OF 6)
WAKE #1 (OF 10)

 

However, I am in the business of making money, so in many ways, what is more important is not how many copies were sold, but how many dollars were generated.  If I sort the chart that way, then you can see that DC (and especially Marvel) do much much better — SANDMAN OVERTURE, in particular, exceeds SAGA #13 by more than 200%

Still, you can see the value of the $3.99+ cover price here?

1 SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 (OF 6) McKean Cover
2 SAGA #13
3 SAGA #14
4 BATMAN #24
5 SAGA #15
6 SANDMAN OVERTURE #1 (OF 6) JHW cover
7 SAGA #11
SAGA #12
9 SAGA #16
10 SAGA #10
11 SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #1
12 SAGA #9
13 INFINITY #1 (OF 6)
14 BATMAN #21
15 OPTIC NERVE #13
16 SEX CRIMINALS #1
17 BATMAN #17
18 DETECTIVE COMICS #19
19 BATMAN #16
20 BATMAN #22
21 BATMAN #25
22 EAST OF WEST #1
23 JUPITERS LEGACY #1
24 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #700
25 BATMAN #23
26 UNCANNY X-MEN #1 NOW
27 BATMAN #20
28 BATMAN ANNUAL #2
29 SAGA #17
30 INFINITY #6 (OF 6)
31 EAST OF WEST #2
32 BATMAN #18
33 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #1 NOW
BATMAN SUPERMAN #1
35 SEX CRIMINALS #2
36 BATMAN #19
37 SAGA #8
38 BATMAN INCORPORATED #8
39 AGE OF ULTRON #1 FOIL CVR (OF 10)
STAR WARS #1 (OF 8)
40 VELVET #1
41 BLACK SCIENCE #1
42 HAWKEYE ANNUAL #1
43 INFINITY #3 (OF 6)
44 PRETTY DEADLY #1
45 GREEN LANTERN #20
46 ACTION COMICS #18
47 EAST OF WEST #3
48 X-MEN #1 NOW
49 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #0.1 NOW
50 EAST OF WEST #4
51 SEX CRIMINALS #3
52 JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #1
53 WALKING DEAD #109
WALKING DEAD #106
55 JUPITERS LEGACY #2
56 JUSTICE LEAGUE #22
57 WALKING DEAD #110
WALKING DEAD #111
59 FOREVER EVIL #1 (OF 7)
60 SUPERMAN UNCHAINED #2
61 WALKING DEAD #108
WALKING DEAD #112
63 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #2 NOW
64 EAST OF WEST #6
65 BATMAN SUPERMAN #2
SHAOLIN COWBOY #1
68 AGE OF ULTRON #2 (OF 10)
69 HELLBOY IN HELL #2
70 INFINITY #2 (OF 6)
TRUE LIVES O/T FABULOUS KILLJOYS #1 (OF 6)
72 HELLBOY IN HELL #3
73 ACTION COMICS #16
JUSTICE LEAGUE #16
AGE OF ULTRON #3 (OF 10)
76 AVENGERS #3 NOW
77 UNCANNY X-MEN #3 NOW
78 WALKING DEAD #107
WALKING DEAD #113
WALKING DEAD #115
81 INFINITY #4 (OF 6)
82 WALKING DEAD #116
83 ALL NEW X-MEN #6 NOW2
84 ALL NEW X-MEN #5
85 GOD IS DEAD #1 (OF 6)
86 JUPITERS LEGACY #3
87 EAST OF WEST #5
88 DETECTIVE COMICS #18
89 PRETTY DEADLY #2
90 WALKING DEAD #114
91 EAST OF WEST #7
92 ALL NEW X-MEN #9 NOW
JUSTICE LEAGUE #23
ALL NEW X-MEN #7 NOW2
ALL NEW X-MEN #10 NOW
DETECTIVE COMICS #16
97 X-MEN BATTLE OF ATOM #1 (OF 2)
98 INFINITY #5 (OF 6)
99 BATMAN INCORPORATED #9
100 BATMAN #26

Right, so give me some comments, kids — spot a pattern I didn’t or something?

 

-B

15 Responses to “ Comix Experience Best Sellers 2013: Comics ”

  1. This is all quantity. Given you complain about the 25c comics, so you actually measure profitability by comic? Or is revenue a good enough substitute? I assume a $4 comic costs more than a $3 for the same of this argument, but I suppose if the main is the same it doesn’t matter.

  2. Am i missing it, or did none of the fancy-schmancy lenticular covers from villains’ month make the list? I thought the sell-through on some of those was pretty high compared to regular issues.

  3. @Oliver Townshend: I don’t understand your questions? The first chart is qty, the 2nd chart is dollars.

    I’ve never “complained” about 25c comics — but virtually every sale for 25c books represents $1.25+ loss.

    The margin (discount) on a $3 and a $4 comic is the same.

    @Bad Wolf: None of those lenticular covers sold enough copies to make my top 100 in qty or dollars. Sell through WAS 100%, but sell-in wasn’t any kind of record-setting numbers for us.

    -B

  4. So SAGA #13 was where everyone who missed the boat finally caught up in trades and started the monthly?

    Interesting how money splits into smaller groups. No idea if that means that two books selling 100 copies each might as well both be $3.99, or if the higher priced book might jump to 150 if priced lower. Any thoughts?

    (Multiplication? Really? You are asking a lot of your readers…)

  5. […] | Retailer and CBR columnist Brian Hibbs reveals 2013′s bestselling comics and books at his San Francisco store Comix Experience. Saga is the big hit: The only other title in […]

  6. @Hibbs–okay, i just checked your Tilting at Windmills postmortem in which you said:”Because I gamed my orders, my personal results showed me that the 52 3-D covers in September grossed me a 43% increase in revenue over the 49 “New 52″ books that I show that DC shipped in August, on a 31% increase in pieces.”

    If that doesn’t translate to increased sales per unit, then what does it mean? Or are sales of regular Saga and Batman just that much higher?

  7. “So SAGA #13 was where everyone who missed the boat finally caught up in trades and started the monthly?”

    I’m certainly one of those.

  8. @bad wolf: So I sold 31% more pieces of the SUM of DC’s books for the months, but that doesn’t mean that INDIVIDUAL titles necessarily increased by that amount (or any amount) — BATMAN is (as you can see) our best-selling DC book, but we received something along the lines of HALF as many copies of JOKER and RIDDLER than we do of BATMAN.

    The thing to understand about looking at sales LINE WIDE is that Lines usually do pretty badly at the bottom — we were tripling and quadrupling (or more) sales of JLD or KATANA or whatever with the 3-d books, which accounts of much of that 1/3 rise in line-wide pieces.

    If this list went out to 200 titles, you’d start seeing the 3d books show up.

    Does that make sense?

  9. @Hibbs–yes, that clarifies things. Overall good sales but no stand-outs, and trading low-tier titles for mid-tier ones. Thanks!

  10. Speaking of #2…

    “Indy” books EAST OF WEST, JUPITER’S LEGACY, and SEX CRIMINALS all started above “Corporate” SUPERMAN UNCHAINED and BATMAN SUPERMAN. And they seemed to hold on to their numbers much better in the subsequent issues.

    So, is this a trend, or are they the exception to the rule, and most books, of any type, look pretty much the same from #1 to #2? (Specifically I am looking at BLACK SCIENCE which tracked BATMAN SUPERMAN almost perfectly.)

    (Or it could just be BS…)

  11. Pretty much “trend”

    The problem with the “corporate” books is that because they’ve lost the midlist as a break-even proposition, they’re trying to force through more product on their best-known “brands”, which in turns dilutes their impact when new titles get released. If you like BATMAN, you have 12 other choices each month, so BATMAN SUPERMAN is not inherently more compelling than a different “Batman” comic.

    But if you like BLACK SCIENCE, there’s only one way you can buy it.

    -B

  12. So is the BATMAN brand strong enough to pull up the mid-list? Does L’IL GOTHAM beat out TINY TITANS? Or is the new Mid-list “BATMAN AND”?

  13. What the heck is up with Infinity’s sales numbers? By quantity, issues 1-4 rank respectively 25, 90, 56, and 96. By price 1-6 ranks 13, 70, 43, 81, 98 and 30. Why the crazy up and down? Did you really have that many customers who only bought every other issue?

  14. @Dasbender,

    Brian can and probably will speak for himself, but, speaking as another retailer, event books like this are a bitch to order. We did well on this one – #2 was the only one where we had a bunch leftover, and sold through on #3-5, with a mere handful of #1 and #6 bookending things. So yeah, quantities can swing more on projects like this than on your typical series or mini-series.

    As for the dollar results, everyone should remember that different issues had different prices.

    As always, thanks for sharing the info, Brian. I look forward to comparing it to our results here in upstate New York.

    @David Oakes,

    By “DC midlist,” I believe Brian means the second- to third-tier DC heroes – your AQUAMAN, FLASH, and NIGHTWING, for example – which (without checking) I think are selling somewhere between 25K and 35K these days.

  15. I believe the death of the midlist is something prose is well familiar with. Sad to see it infecting super-hero comics. Those midlist books have often been some of the most interesting stuff out there.

    Mike

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