Hello everyone! Diamond has released their sales figures for January 2016, so that means it’s time for a new Superior $ales Talk courtesy of your friendly neighborhood number interpreter. January gave retailers a few surprises thanks to a shipping error that caused a number of titles to show up early on the shelves.
Amazing Spider-Man, Spidey, and Spider-Man 2099 all debuted on New Years Day, just two days after 2015’s last round of comics hit the stands. Of the overall market for January 2016, Marvel sold 48.17% of comics moved through Diamond with an overall dollar share of 44.38%. 52.68% of the top 300 sellers. These totals are up from January 2015’s totals of 45.64%. 41.05%, and 51.06% respectively. When comparing totals between all companies, however, January 2015 had 6% more units sold out of the top 300 translating to 9% more in dollar sales out of the top 300. So while Marvel dominated more of the pie in 2016, the size of the pie was a bit smaller than 2015’s. Those with a keen memory will be able to recall that January 2015 was when Star Wars #1 hit the shelves and sold nearly one million copies thanks to a partnership with Loot Crate. According to Comiccron.com, if you were to remove the Loot Crate Star Wars copies (since Loot Crate is a grab-bag service, it’s a slight discredit to refer to those units as titles sold), January in both 2015 and 2016 were roughly even.
Amazing Spider-Man #6 retained most of the readers from #5, implying an equilibrium for now. Because of the shipping error, it’s quite possible that the figures are skewed lower than actual readership would have been for #6; the figures used for the $ales Talk come from Comichron.com, and their figures are based on Diamond’s physical copies moved. We cannot tell for certain how much of that 3% loss could be found in digital sales, since the book hit the shelves on a day where most brick-and-mortar stores were closed. That being said, I do not think there are many people who mix digital issues into their physical collections, so we can treat this number as “within the ballpark” of what Amazing Spider-Man #6 would have sold had it hit the stands on a business day. The downside of getting #6 early is that there is now a significant gap between Amazing Spider-Man #6 and Amazing Spider-Man #7. Looking back at Secret Wars, we can see that gaps can negatively effect sales, even if the title is well received. We’ll have to wait until next month to see if Amazing Spider-Man #7 is able to maintain the numbers of #5 and #6.
Amazing Spider-Man #1.2, the second issue of the “Amazing Grace” story arc, lost about 15% of its readers from #1, which is fantastic for a transition from what is essentially a #1 to #2. Most other titles we’ve seen have lost between 40 – 50% going from their first issue to their second. However, “Spiral”, the last .1 Amazing Spider-Man series, not only retained more readers between its first and second issue, but also sold about ten thousand more units than ASM v4 #1.2. This could be contributed to a lower-profile creative team, the general “who?” factor of the guest stars, or even just the weaker sales of volume 4 in comparison to volume 3.
All-New All-Different Avengers hit its stride with issue #4 selling virtually the same amount as issue #3. #4 also had a much talked about cover teasing a relationship between the new female Thor and Captain America, so it is quite possible that this had something to do with #4‘s figures. We’ll see next month for sure, but maintaining numbers between the end of a story arc and the start of a new arc typically is a very good sign and an indication of continued reader interest. Relationships starting between high profile characters typically generates a boost in sales as non-regulars pick up the title to see what’s up. Hopefully they stick around!
Secret Wars #9 finished with another decline in sales, rather than the upswing I was predicting. This continues the down slide that began with the first wave of delays and continued as All-New All-Different Marvel marched forward, leaching momentum from Secret Wars. That is not to say that any of the Secret Wars titles even came close to selling disappointing numbers; this month’s issue was only outsold by The Walking Dead #150, a title boosted by its milestone issue. For comparison, the last issue of Original Sin, the event prior to Secret Wars, sold about 90,500 issues.
Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 exploded out of the gate selling a whopping 133,813 issues. While I think no one will be surprised this title sold well, it is interesting to note that Spider-Man/Deadpool #1 sold just under the combined total of their respective solo titles. While there are of course the usual footnotes to a #1‘s sales figures, it still implies that there is quite the crossover appeal between Spider-Man and Deadpool fans. Top that off with a high profile and extremely talented creative team and it is easy to say that this is going to be a high selling title for Marvel.
Radioactive Spider-Gwen #4 lost another 11%, though it did climb up in the rankings. Last month, RSG #3 was the 36th highest selling title, but the new year saw the title move up to 29th, a trend we saw with a lot of titles this month. While it’s never great to lose sales per issue, the silver lining is that Radioactive Spider-Gwen represented a stronger sale against other titles this month than it did the previous. It will be interesting to see how Marvel handles this title if the sales continue to fall and whether or not they will try to bail it out with bigger exposure and relaunches like they have with Captain Marvel, or if they will let it quietly sputter and fall into obscurity like the alternate universe stories before it.
Speaking of alternate universe tales that might be in trouble, Spider-Man 2099 #5 dropped sales to the tune of 12.24%. Still in its first arc, I have no idea when Spider-Man 2099 is going to find its audience or even where Peter David is going with the title. Until that becomes clear this book will continue to lose sales. Solicits show Spider-Man 2099 eventually tying in with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the greater Inhuman story lines, but neither of those two really sell comics. However, AoS and the Inhumans are both part of a big marketing push from Marvel, so ties to those two franchises might be enough to save Spider-Man 2099 from the chopping block.
Spidey #2 performed similarly to other #2s in the spider-family, losing roughly half of the sales from #1 to #2. The biggest factor in its sales will be its quasi-relationship with the main universe. Clearly this book is meant to show us a different Spider-Man than the Earth Prime/616 Spider-Man, even if it was originally solicited otherwise. If I were to guess, I would say that the Spider-Man from Spidey and the Spider-Man we’re going to see in May’s “Captain America: Civil War” are going to be similar, if not one-in-the-same. It would certainly help tie this title to something a little more solid than retelling the early Spider-Man years again, something I do not think would be substantial for the long run.
Silk #3 represented the second largest (not counting Ultimate Spider-Man: Spider-Verse) jump in ranking, climbing up 11 positions in Diamond’s top 300 charts, despite posting a 13% loss of sales. So, like Radioactive Spider-Gwen, Silk did comparatively better than last month, even if it sold fewer copies. Similarly, Spider-Woman #3 rose in the ranks despite lower sales. The difference being that while Silk still sits at a decent 33,585, Spider-Woman #3 is at a concerning 25,054, just barely coming in at the lowest selling Spider-title out of Marvel’s main imprint. Though Spider-Woman did post a loss, it posted one of the smallest percentages lost seen this month out of the Spider-office, so there’s hope for the book yet. Spider-Woman is crossing over with Silk and Radioactive Spider-Gwen in April, which will most likely see a boost in sales that might save this book from the chopping block.
Web Warriors and Venom: Space Knight posted almost identical sales for the second month in a row with Venom selling only around 300 copies more than Web Warriors. Both titles lost nearly 20% of their sales from December putting them at just a few hundred north of what Spider-Woman sold. Both of these titles are solicited through April, so it is safe to assume we’ll at least be seeing up to a #8 so that two trades can be collected. Unless the numbers pick up I’m not sure anything past an eighth issue will happen.
Carnage #4 sold a tepid 31,687. Certainly not a gangbuster number, but much stronger than the other symbiote book. It posted one of the smaller losses at a 9.08% decrease, but also had the highest ascension in ranking for a Spider-Man related book in the main Marvel imprint. Now that the book has set up its pieces and kicked into gear, I believe that the totals will level out. It would be disappointing to see another drop in units sold after Conway’s buildup has begun its payoff.
Last but not least is our single entry from the Marvel Universe imprint, Ultimate Spider-Man: Spider-Verse #3 which actually did chart this month, selling 4,844 titles, which is within the normal range that this title sells. At this number, charting or not is really dependent on how many titles are slated for a given month. Crowded months might see Ultimate Spider-Man pushed out of the 300 while sparser months will see it higher on the list.
That’s it for January. February we’ll be seeing quite a few double shipments, including Spider-Man 2099, Silk, and of course, Amazing Spider-Man. Without a doubt the biggest star will be the debut of Miles Morales in main continuity with the blockbuster Spider-Man #1. As always, thanks goes out to John Jackson Miller over at Comichron.com for putting all these numbers together! Catch you next month with the latest in Superior $ales. Excel$ior!