Marvel, Image dominate 2015 comic sales

Comics distributor Diamond has released its sales figures for 2015. Along with Comichron’s own numbers, it looks like Marvel by a light year dominated 2015’s comic sales, thanks to “Star Wars.”

The top 10 selling comics

Here’s the top 10 selling comics via Diamond (i.e., mainly at comic book shops) for 2015:

  1. Star Wars #1, $4.99 (Marvel)
  2. Secret Wars #1, $4.99 (Marvel)
  3. Bravest Warriors: Tales From Holo John #1, $4.99 (Boom)
  4. Orphan Black #1, $3.99 (IDW)
  5. Dark Knight III: The Master Race #1, $5.99 (DC)
  6. Star Wars: Vader Down #1, $4.99 (Marvel)
  7. Darth Vader #1, $4.99 (Marvel)
  8. Spider-Gwen #1, $3.99 (Marvel)
  9. Invincible Iron Man #1, $3.99 (Marvel)
  10. Princess Leia #1, $3.99 (Marvel)

The top 10 selling trade paperbacks

Here’s the top 10 trade paperbacks/graphic novels via Diamond (again, mainly at comic shops) for 2015.

  1. Saga Vol. 4, $14.99 (Image)
  2. Saga Vol. 1, $9.99 (Image)
  3. Saga Vol. 5, $14.99 (Image)
  4. Civil War, $24.99 (Marvel)
  5. The Walking Dead Vol. 23: Whispers Into Screams, $14.99 (Image)
  6. Batman: The Killing Joke Special Edition (HC), $17.99 (DC)
  7. Saga Vol. 2, $14.99 (Image)
  8. The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye, $14.99 (Image)
  9. Saga Vol. 3, $14.99 (Image)
  10. Star Wars Volume 1: Skywalker Strikes, $19.99 (Marvel)

Image dominates TPB sales for 2015 on the strength of “Saga,” taking seven of the top 10 slots, while Marvel takes two slots. Meanwhile, DC’s sole top 10 trade is a repackaging of a nearly 30 year old Batman story.

Market share

The market share for the top five companies, by dollar share/unit share:

  1. Marvel: 38.74%/41.82%
  2. DC: 25.75%/27.35%
  3. Image: 9.93%/10.70%
  4. IDW: 5.59%/4.87%
  5. Dark Horse: 3.79%/3.10%

Other analysis

Overall, 2015 was one of the strongest years in awhile for Diamond-sold comics, and I suppose comics overall. Sales were up 7.17% from 2014 for all types of comics. Periodicals (read: comics) were up by 8.99%, while graphic novels/trade paperbacks rose by 3.14%.

“Star Wars” #1 in particular is the best-selling comic in the last 20 years, thanks to its multiple variant covers and the franchise’s massive popularity. The fact the best selling book in years is a non-superhero title (albeit from one of the Big Two) while six of the top 10 comics sold were non-superhero titles might point to the future of comics being a variety of genres.

On the other hand, Comics Beat and some others note that outside of “Star Wars” and the various variant cover/crossover gimmicks, the core DC/Marvel superhero titles aren’t doing as well as they should. Also, recent changes at DC/Marvel show a doubling down by Warner Bros. and Disney of treating their comics arms as mainly intellectual property farms. Comic shop owner Brian Hibbs feels that if comic shop owners haven’t already, now would be a wise time to start diversifying what they sell beyond the Big Two.

Some discount “Orphan Black” and “Bravest Warriors” for having their sales figures boosted by being Loot Crate titles. Still, those books weren’t given to Loot Crate for free—somebody paid for those. Never mind getting into the top 10 on the strength of a dozen variant covers doesn’t exactly sound “fair” either.

I assume later this year we’ll see more figures about the comics market overall, not just Diamond-related venues. I’m interested in seeing what sales were like for bookstores and other areas outside of comic shops.

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