Numbers Are My Life: March 2014

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Wow. That’s what I said when I was done looking over the numbers for March 2014.  March may be a turning point in the industry as Image Comics struts it’s stuff and takes a big chunk of business away from DC and Marvel.

But first, here are the top 10 comics for March 2014

The Walking Dead #124 was the top selling comic for Image in March

The Walking Dead #124 was the top selling comic for Image in March

  1. Batman #29
  2. Superman: Unchained #6
  3. Forever Evil #6
  4. Sandman Overture #2
  5. Superior Spider-Man #29
  6. Daredevil #1
  7. Superior Spider-Man #30
  8. Silver Surfer #1
  9. The Walking Dead #124
  10. Uncanny X-Men #19

As you can see, nothing has changed much in the past few months. DC has their titles that sell well, and they continue to sell well. Batman #29 was the only title for March to sell over 100K, which can be good or bad depending on whom you ask. I see it is as a good thing, as titles can STILL sell over 100K in a market that is giving them more options than before. And considering the amount of piracy online for comics, it’s even more impressive. But others will compare it to the stats of the 80’s and 90’s and say that the industry is going downhill because they can’t sell as much as they could before. To each their own.

All but one of the top 10 comics is at $3.99 (The Walking Dead being the only one).  Looking down further than the top 10, I notice that most of the comics that are selling well are at the $3.99 price point. I saw many fans complaining this past week about the price point, as Marvel upped a few books (notably Hawkeye) to the $3.99 price point.  But they must still be buying these books as they all continue to sell remarkably well.  Or they are an incredibly vocal minority. It’s hard to tell these days.

But the biggest surprise of all was Image’s percentage for the month.  Take a look at how the percentages broke down:

  1. Marvel 34.31%
  2. DC 25.94%
  3. Image 11.38%
  4. Dark Horse 6.19%
  5. IDW Publishing 5.29%
  6. Dynamite 2.61%
  7. BOOM! Studios 1.99%

Image went up over 3% between February and March.  That’s amazing. As a comic fan, I’m so happy to see more people buying Image books. While superhero books are the bread and butter of the industry, I truly see books from Image being the way of the future. Writers will write at DC or Marvel to get their foot in the door but will truly stretch their creative talents at Image.  But if you look further, you’ll see that Image didn’t seem to take any business away from Marvel, only DC. DC’s percentage went down a little under 3% from February.  Marvel’s was up .2%.  I was dumbfounded when I saw this. It’s not like DC isn’t putting out quality product, as many of their titles are fantastic. But titles have either sold a lot or a little and that seems to be biting them in the butt.  September can’t come fast enough so that DC can get everyone’s attention with the 5 year jump.  The addition of Batman: Eternal should help sales in April, although not having Forever Evil ship is going to exacerbate the problem to a degree.

Having Jupiter’s Legacy finally ship was a godsend for sales for Image.  Besides The Walking Dead, it was the only title in the top 100 for Image.  Titles like Velvet, Lazarus, and Fatale continue to sell well for Image books.  No one title had a massive jump for Image that could really explain the big sales jump, just a lot of smaller increases in titles. Even Jupiter’s Legacy sold fewer issues than its last issue.  Although there was a few month gap in between shipments so that could lead to people forgetting it was released (like me).  Image’s dominance in the trade paperback department also helped them take those percentage points from other publishers.

Marvel seems to be holding strong, but I see some trends that could mean bad things in the future. Many titles are losing small amounts of sales each month, especially titles that double ship (sans Superior Spider-Man).  The only major dip in sales is with Fantastic Four #2, which sold 42% less than #1.  The #1 continues to boost sales, and it seems to be lasting a few months afterwards.  Iron Man got a 50% boost for #23, the start of the most recent arc.  Uncanny Avengers went up 19% while Deadpool went up 18%. Other titles that had recent #1s on their cover (not legitimate #1s) aren’t bleeding readers though. There are small dips in percentage points, but nothing that would suggest that people picked up the one issue and then stopped.  Dan Slott must be happy with the numbers this month, as he alone took three of the top 10 spots.   I’m hoping that the sales numbers for Daredevil will stick around. That title deserves more attention than it’s getting.

 

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