The Q1 (see "Comics Eke Out Small Direct Market Increase For Q1 (Sorta)") and April (see "Marvel-DC Share Spread Widens") numbers had calendar shifts that had masked the decline, but it now appears clear that the first part of 2016 has had some challenges for comic retailers.
The problems are in periodical comics, which were down 14.34% for May and 9.23% for the year-to-date. Graphic novels, on the other hand, were up 4.52% in May and up 4.80% for the year-to-date.
Marvel’s market share lead over DC closed to around 13% in May, down from 17% in April.
May 2016 Comic Channel Market Share
39.64% Marvel Comics
26.45% DC Entertainment
8.38% Image Comics
5.70% IDW Publishing
3.25% Dark Horse Comics
2.51% BOOM! Studios
1.66% Dynamite Entertainment
1.39% Titan Comics
1.09% Valiant Entertainment
0.98% Oni Press
Fueled by heavy promotional support, DC Universe: Rebirth #1 was the top comic in May, albeit at a bargain-priced $2.99. The first non-Scott-Snyder issue Batman held up fairly well at #4, and an up-priced Justice League #50 was #7.
The remaining seven titles in the Top 10 Comics were all Marvels, led by Civil War II #0, and Punisher #1. The controversial Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 was the #5 title. The second issue of the heavily publicized Black Panther by Te-Nehisi Coates held up well at #9. There were only two Star Wars titles in the Top 10, as the interregnum between movies sets in.
Top 10 Comics – May 2016
- DC Universe: Rebirth #1
- Civil War II #0
- The Punisher #1
- Batman #52
- Captain America: Steve Rogers #1
- Star Wars #19
- Justice League #50
- Darth Vader #20
- Black Panther #2
- Amazing Spider-Man #12
Alan Moore and Brian Bolland’s 28-year-old masterwork, Batman: The Killing Joke, hit #1 in comic stores in May, just as it did in the book channel (see "28 Years Later, 'The Killing Joke' Is #1"). Although not as closely tied to the release of Suicide Squad as Moore’s Watchmen was to its film adaptation, the sales patterns on The Killing Joke look similar to those on Watchmen (albeit at a lower level, so far), with a steady build-up over a long period of time, and then a period of dominance as an entire generation is exposed to one of the great works of superhero comics. Looks like this could be the new top dog in graphic novels for some period of time, as the movie doesn’t release until August. A second Joker title, The Joker: Endgame, was DC’s other graphic novel in the Top 10.
A Marvel perennial, Civil War, was its top graphic novel in May, at #3. Interesting that a DC title loosely connected to a movie coming out in August beat a Marvel tied to a hugely successful movie that released in May.
Three other Marvels and four Image titles rounded out the Top 10.
Top 10 Graphic Novels – May 2016
- Batman: The Killing Joke Special Edition HC
- Descender Vol. 2
- Civil War
- Black Science Vol. 4: Godworld
- We Stand on Guard Deluxe HC
- Chew Vol. 11: Last Suppers
- The Joker: Endgame
- Star Wars: Kanan Vol. 2--First Blood
- Spider-Gwen Vol. 1: Greater Power
- Spider-Man/Deadpool: Don’t Call It a Team Up
For an overview and analysis for May, see "Comics Over 100K Drop to Four in May"
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during May, see "Top 300 Comics Actual -- May 2016."
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during May, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels -- May 2016."
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during April, see "Top 300 Comics Actual -- April 2016"
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during April, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels -- April 2016"
For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through May 2016, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."