June was a heck of a month for Marvel in the comics market, and they have Spider-Man to thank.
Diamond Comic Distributors, the largest distributor of comic books and graphic novels in North America, has released distributor-level sales for June.
The debut issue of Spectacular Spider-Man, which retailed at $4.99, dominated single-issue sales, clocking in at nearly a quarter of a million issues sold. DC and Marvel split the rest of the top ten evenly. Image mainstay The Walking Dead rounded out the rankings at number 10.
Marvel massively outnumbered DC in the amount of total titles released, despite both publishers going to double-shipping for many of their core titles. Marvel shipped 101 new comics in June compared to DC’s 84. The surge helped push the House of Ideas to a 38.54% market share. DC came in second with 30.61%.
The top 100 slots were taken over all-but completely by Big Two titles. Their dominance is almost entirely a result of double-shipping. The coastal giants released more than half of all books in the top 300.
The Big Two publishers are likely to continue dominating both unit share and dollar share, as their output makes it simply impossible for smaller publishers to catch up.
Are Prices Too D&%n High?
For the first time this year, the average cover price of comics in the top 300 rose to $4.01 per book. This marks this highest average for the comics market since April of last year, when prices hit an average of $4.16. Much of that change was driven by the nearly five-dollar price point of Spectacular Spider-Man. Trends suggest that the price should fall again in July.
Prices have flirted with the four-dollar threshold for much of 2017. Overall the year has seen publishers keeping costs down as the market struggles to retain readers.
The market overall sold just over 7.1 million individual issues for the month of June. Of that, top ten books comprised over 1 million issues. This means that the top 3% of books account for 14% of overall sales. The trend worsens somewhat as we expand the view into the top twenty-five titles. Those issues sold just over 1.9 million copies, and all sold over 50,000 copies. Once we move outside of the top twenty-five, sales drop off dramatically. This all means that the top 8% of books account for over 25% of total sales. The comics market is relying almost entirely on mainstream titles to lead the pack. The Walking Dead is the only non Big-Two book in that list.
DC and Marvel are still the bellweathers of the comics market’s health. Despite poor to middling critical responses, books from the Big Two utterly dominate the market today. This suggests that the vast, silent majority of comic book fans are still heavily focused on traditional cape-and-cowl books, while critical darlings from indie publishers languish with the rest of the pack.