Marvel Comics had the top market share in the comic store channel in 2017, with 36.36% of the market (based on sell-in), vs. DC’s 30.07%, according to information released by Diamond Comic Distributors today.  That 6.29% share lead was less than half the lead Marvel had two years ago, when it topped DC by around 13 share points (see “Comic Store Market Up in 2015”).

As is often the case in down periods in the comics business (comic store sales were down over 10% in 2017, see “DC Wins in Another Weak Month”), the Big Two had a healthy combined share of 66.43%, with small declines in share (vs. 2015) from the remaining publishers in the Top 10.

2017 Top Comic Book Publishers
36.36%                         Marvel Comics
30.07%                         DC Entertainment   
  9.80%                         Image Comics
  4.54%                         IDW Publishing         
  3.12%                         Dark Horse Comics 
  2.10%                         BOOM! Studios       
  1.90%                         Dynamite Entertainment     
  1.15%                         Titan Comics
  1.15%                         VIZ Media
  1.00%                         Oni Press
  8.81%                         Other Non-Top 10     

Marvel had the top comic in comic stores in 2017, with Marvel Legacy #1, a $5.99 book that sold nearly 300,000 copies the first month (*see “Top 300 Comics – September 2017”).  DC and Marvel split the Top 10 equally, with five titles from each, but Marvel had four of the Top Five.  It’s worth noting that Phoenix Resurrection #1, a major Marvel title that shipped near the end of the year, came in at #10, far below the ranks of Marvel titles that were shipping in the first half of 2017. 

2017 Top 10 Comic Books

  1. Marvel Legacy #1
  2. Dark Nights: Metal #1
  3. Peter Parker: Spectacular Spider-Man #1
  4. Secret Empire #0
  5. Secret Empire #1
  6. Dark Nights: Metal #3
  7. Dark Nights: Metal #2
  8. Doomsday Clock #2
  9. Dark Nights: Metal #4
  10. Phoenix Resurrection: The Return of Jean Grey #1

If you had speculated 10 or 15 years ago that there would come a time when Marvel and DC between them had one title in the Top 10 Graphic Novels in comic stores for the year, it would have seemed laughable.  But here we are, with the supposedly dominant publishers able to muster only one title in the Top 10, DC’s Batman Vol. 1 at #5.

Image Comics was the dominant graphic novel publisher at the top of the comic store chart in 2017, with eight of the Top 10, and only two of those The Walking Dead volumes.   Oni’s Rick and Morty is red-hot, placing at #7 for the year.

2017 Top 10 Graphic Novels

  1. Saga Vol. 7 TP
  2. Saga Vol. 1 TP
  3. The Walking Dead Vol. 27 Whisperer War TP
  4. Paper Girls Vol.1 TP
  5. Batman Vol. 1: I Am Gotham TP
  6. Monstress Vol. 1 TP
  7. Rick and Morty Vol. 1 TP
  8. The Walking Dead: Here’s Negan HC
  9. Saga Vol. 8 TP
  10. Seven to Eternity Vol. 1 TP

Note:  We made comparisons above to Diamond’s information for 2015 rather than 2016 because the information for the end of 2016, including top books and year-end market shares, was never released.  Diamond never commented publicly on why that was the case, but we do know that there must be agreement among key players about the information that’s released, so there are a number of sources from which an obstacle to the release could have come.

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during 2017 see "Top 1000 Comic Books--2017, Part 1."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. to comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during 2017 see "Top 1000 Graphic Novels--2017, Part 1."