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Comic & Graphic Novel Sales Drop in August

4-Week Month to Blame

Published: 09/06/2013, Last Updated: 09/10/2013 05:35am
At first glance it might appear that the long-running boom in comic book and graphic novel sales had come to a screeching halt in August with year-over-year sales of periodical comics down 10.39% and graphic novels down 24.55% according to statistics supplied by Diamond Comic Distributors.  But August of 2012 had five shipping weeks versus just four in August of 2013 so the decline (at least in terms of periodical comics) turns out to be an illusion, as was the case with last month’s 5-week driven gaudy year-over-year numbers, which also need to be taken with a grain of salt (see "DC Wins July"). 
 
 The August numbers brought the total year-over-year average for the first 8 months of 2013 down a bit, but this longer term (and more accurate) barometer of sales so far in 2013 is still up a robust 9.82%.  Year-over-year sales increases appear to be slowing after a torrid Q1 were up 21.38% and graphic novels up 16.22%, though conclusions about the overall 2013 trends are probably best left until the end of the third quarter numbers are in next month.
 
Once again Diamond has included the number of titles shipped during the month from the top publishers, and once again DC shipped many more periodicals (83) than Marvel (67), while Marvel shipped 34 graphic novels and DC countered with 23.  Given DC’s dominance in graphic novel sales and Marvel’s in periodical comics, these numbers may have retailers scratching their heads as they realize once again that “fewer” can indeed to equate to “more” in the right circumstances.
 
Marvel took back its marketshare lead from DC Comics in no uncertain terms with 33.7% of dollar sales versus 30.16% for DC.   Image Comics slipped back a point from last month, but its 7.86% share made it a solid #3 yet again.  IDW Publishing also slipped a bit, but still came in at #4 just ahead of Dark Horse, which was number 5 followed by Dynamite at #6 and Boom! Studios at #7.
 
Marvel’s new event book, Jonathan Hickman’s Infinity #1 was the bestselling comic in August, but DC took five out of the top six slots as its new Superman Unchained and Batman/Superman series in the top six along with another relative newcomer to "New 52" Justice League of America plus the two long term dominant titles of the "New 52," Batman and Justice League.
 
Given the vagaries of publishing schedules the hit-driven graphics novel market can vary widely from month to month depending on what gets released, and August did not see the release of a bevy of hit titles.  Three of the top five titles are evergreen perennials, and while Image’s The Walking Dead remains the most potent of graphic novel properties, having volume 1 of The Walking Dead as the bestselling graphic novel of the month, means that there wasn’t a major top tier GN release in August, especially since AMC's The Walking Dead TV series was not on the air during the month.   Image Comics, which also placed the latest volume of Chew at #2 plus both volumes of the hit series Saga by Bryan K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples, led all publishers with 4 volumes in the top ten compared with three for Marvel (including a volume featuring the increasingly popular Deadpool and the $7.99 Rocket Raccoon "GN"), and one each for DC, Dark Horse, and IDW Publishing (which had a My Little Pony comic digest at #6).
 
Once again WizKids’ HeroClix releases dominated game sales to the direct market with two Marvel HeroClix  and the Kick-Ass 2 HeroClix in the top five game releases through Diamond along with  BioShock Infinite HeroClix and the Pathfinder Battles: Skull & Shackles Booster Brick.

For an overview and analysis of comic sales in August, see "'Infinity' #1 a Million Dollar Book."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during August, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--August 2013."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during August, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--August 2013."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during July, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--July 2013."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during July, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--July 2013."

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in July, see "Five Comics Top 100K."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in July, see "DC Wins July."
 
For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through August 2013, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
 
 
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