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Diamond Releases List of Best-Selling Comics of 2014

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Marvel is far and away the most popular publisher in comic shops, both through sales and unit market share quantities. (Those are different because someone could sell a lot of, say, $2.50 comics (if those still existed) and not make as much money as someone who sold fewer $5.99 comics.) While DC sells in the same range of quantity, they’re making less money, perhaps because they offered more $2.99 comics. I expect to see prices continue to rise based on this, as DC seeks to close the gap (which is going to be difficult until they get their now-West-Coast-located house in order).

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Top Comic Publishers
PUBLISHER DOLLAR SHARE UNIT SHARE
MARVEL COMICS 34.38% 36.78%
DC COMICS 28.86% 32.47%
IMAGE COMICS 9.23% 10.41%
IDW PUBLISHING 5.69% 4.34%
DARK HORSE COMICS 5.07% 4.25%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT 2.57% 2.41%
BOOM! STUDIOS 2.23% 2.16%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS 1.30% 0.29%
AVATAR PRESS 0.97% 0.83%
RANDOM HOUSE 0.95% 0.30%
OTHER NON-TOP 10 8.75% 5.75%

Otherwise, this list is not particularly surprising. The top five publishers are those that get front-of-Diamond-catalog placement. Eaglemoss puts out Fact Files and character guides that come with pretty nifty figures and/or chess pieces — I wouldn’t consider them a proper comic publisher, but they’re popular in comic shops since they have cool toys. Random House is also Kodansha, with the popular Attack on Titan manga, as well as Vertical.

Top Comic Books
RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE
1 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #1 $5.99
2 WALKING DEAD #132 $2.99
3 ROCKET RACCOON #1 $3.99
4 DEATH OF WOLVERINE #1 $4.99
5 DEATH OF WOLVERINE #4 $4.99
6 THOR #1 $3.99
7 ORIGINAL SIN #1 $4.99
8 DEATH OF WOLVERINE #2 $4.99
9 DEATH OF WOLVERINE #3 $4.99
10 SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN #31 $5.99

Marvel had nine of the ten top comics in 2014. (The tenth was an issue of The Walking Dead. Bad year for DC, with no top titles.) Death of Wolverine was very popular, with everything else a #1 or, in place #10, the last issue of a series which returned Peter Parker as Spider-Man. (Dr. Octopus had previously taken over as the superhero personality in an “only in comics” storyline.) It continued into Amazing Spider-Man, the top-selling comic, written by Dan Slott and illustrated by Ramon K. Perez.

I am stunned to see how many of these comics are $4.99. I hadn’t realized how much Marvel was depending on that price point for event books, and that helps explain the bigger gap between them and DC on dollar share. For the longer list, Marvel had 53 of the top 100 best-selling comics of 2014.

DC’s top comic was Batman #32 by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, which came in at #14; overall, DC had 43 of the top 100 comics for the year. That’s 96 total out of 100, demonstrating a continuing duopoly in comic shop comics.

In good news for comic shop, annual sales rose 4.39% over the previous year. Comic book sales were up 4.03%, while graphic novel sales rose by 5.18%. It would be helpful to have some idea of the actual numbers, but that’s not done in the industry, so we can’t tell for sure whether the top-selling book was 100,000, 500,000, or in the millions.

The graphic novel chart looks very different from the periodical listing, with clear dominance by Image Comics, and more, Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga.

Top Graphic Novels and Trade Paperbacks
RANK DESCRIPTION PRICE
1 SAGA VOL 03 $14.99
2 SAGA VOL 01 $9.99
3 WALKING DEAD VOL 20 ALL OUT WAR PT 1 $14.99
4 SAGA VOL 02 $14.99
5 WALKING DEAD VOL 01 DAYS GONE BYE $14.99
6 WALKING DEAD VOL 21 ALL OUT WAR PT 2 $14.99
7 SEX CRIMINALS VOL 01 $9.99
8 WALKING DEAD VOL 22 A NEW BEGINNING $14.99
9 BATMAN VOL 01 THE COURT OF OWLS $16.99
10 SAGA VOL 04 $14.99

All of these are marked for Mature Readers except for Walking Dead Volume 1 (probably an oversight, given how the series progresses) and the Batman book, demonstrating a division in the comic market as adults buy books. It’s also interesting to note that Walking Dead placed both the newest volumes and the starting point.

Note that they’re all also collections of continuing series, not original works or stand-alone stories — the serialization builds up audience awareness, and that it’s continuing gives people something to want to be part of.



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