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Welcome to the new reality of the comic book market: Star Wars is the most powerful force in the world.
Since debuting in January after Marvel re-aqcuired the license from independent comic book publisher Dark Horse Comics following parent company Disney’s acquisition of LucasFilm, the now-canon line of Star Wars comic books has utterly dominated monthly sales charts. The first issue sold nearly a million copies, clocking in at a mind-blowing 985,976 copies sold at a distributor level. While a great deal of that was due to the copious number of variant covers, subsequent debuts of tie-in series have proven that the line has major-league legs.
None of Marvel’s Star Wars comics has debuted any lower than #8 on Diamond’s Top 300, with Princess Leia and Darth Vader debuting at #1 and #2, respectively. Kanan: Last Padawan, the most recent entry to the line, was the weakest performer, debuting at #8, but that was in a market crowded by event comics Convergence and Secret Wars. Kanan still clocked an extremely respectable 108,167 copies sold, an impressive feat for a character who doesn’t enjoy the name recognition of Princess Leia or Darth Vader.
For the month of April, Star Wars-related titles combined for over half a million copies sold at 537,812 issues sold. In terms of dollars and cents, the Star Wars line grossed over $1.7 million dollars for Marvel. While that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the purchase price Disney paid for the franchise, it comes on top of the astronomical sum that the films are expected to earn when the franchise returns to the big screen next year. The fact that the comics are earning over a million a month for the franchise is merely icing on the cake.
Whether Star Wars’ success will continue over the long term remains to be seen, but the early results would suggest that the high quality and huge fan support will keep the franchise at the top of the charts.