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The Mayo Report: Spidey’s Sales Stand Above the Rest in a Strong 2014

by  in Comic News Comment
The Mayo Report: Spidey’s Sales Stand Above the Rest in a Strong 2014

2014 had the best-selling comic of recent years with “Amazing Spider-Man” #1 topping the chart with 559,217 estimated units beating out “Amazing Spider-Man” #583 in 2009 which had around 524,943 units. 2014 was the third best year for the top 300 comics during the final order era behind only 2013 and the high water mark of 2007. Marvel took all but one of the top ten slots with that other slot going to Image.

The chart of both the units and dollars from month to month show a reasonable consistent level of sales with a dip in August and a soft year end in November and December:

These charts which split the units and dollars by publisher. The peak in September reflects the Futures End month at DC while Marvel had strong months in April, July and October.

Overall, 2014 was a good year according to the top comics lists but not as good as 2007 or 2013.

The rolling 12 month average has leveled off over the past year with signs of weakening. As I mentioned last year, the short lived nature of titles these days could put the success of the past years at risk. Publishers are rolling over titles on a regular basis which runs contrary to the habitual nature of reading comics. Relaunching titles works against building story momentum and causes readers to have to work to keep track of ever changing titles.

The average and median sales are both on the rise. The average is the total unit sales of the top 300 divided by 300 and the median is the sales at the middle of the list which equates to the average sales of the items at ranks 150 and 151. The average being higher than the median indicates outliers at the items topping the list which are biasing the average upwards. Both are low enough to put a Marvel or DC title are risk on cancellation but are also high enough to be considered fairly successful for a title published by any other publisher.

Looking at the various publishers, “Life with Archie” #36 topped the list for Archie Comics with 57,038 units for the comic book format and another 9,417 units for the magazine format which placed well below the top 1,000 best sellers.

All six issues of “Serenity Leaves on the Wind” topped the list for Dark Horse in 2014. The final half of “Star Wars (Lucas Draft)” were the next best sellers for Dark Horse followed by “Star Wars” #13 through #16. Star Wars has moved over to Marvel with a very high profile launch which stands a good chance of topping the 2015 best-selling comics list. Dark Horse has a strong line-up of titles but few of those titles tend to top the best-sellers charts.

While DC was shut out of the top ten and didn’t place on the list until rank 14 with “Batman” #32 with 132,695 units, the majority of the items from rank 14 to rank 32 were issues of “Batman” with an average of 118,506 units. With 41 of the Futures End 3D covers placing on the list it is a virtual certainly that DC will repeat the cover gimmick again in 2015. In the cases when the Futures End 3D cover issue wasn’t the best-selling issue for a title, it was almost always the second best-selling issue for the title. Frankly, it is a little surprising DC didn’t use the 3D cover gimmick on the first issue of the numerous Convergence titles. DC launched 15 ongoing titles in the DC Universe over the course of 2014. No doubt there would have been more if DC hadn’t decided to go with three weekly miniseries. All three of the concurrent weekly titles at DC are showing attrition with the later ones launching at lower levels.

“The Walking Dead” #132 topped the list for Image with 326,334 units largely because of the Loot Crate distribution. The title dominated the Image portion of list taking 17 of the top 20 best-selling Image comics of the year. “Outcast” #1 sold 93,819 units and was the second best-selling Image comic of 2014 but the title ended the year down around 36,354 units. “Wytches” #1 wasn’t too far behind with 82,005 units. “Saga” placed seven issues on the list with an average of 56,374 units. Image had 16 first issues in the top 1,000 comics for 2014 with most of them in the bottom half of the list.

While it would be easy to knock Robert Kirkman for the ten month gap between “Super Dinosaur” #22 and “Super Dinosaur” #23, that series dropped below the radar of the monthly top 300 comics list around the middle of 2012. Getting 17 issues of “The Walking Dead” out in a single year and maintaining the quality of it over that time was a smart move. A single issue of “The Walking Dead” sold more copies than ten issues of “Super Dinosaur” stood any chance of selling. Creators should focus on the properties which have the best return on the investment, and for Robert Kirkman, “The Walking Dead” is clearly at the top of that list and “Super Dinosaur” is near the bottom. “Invincible,” which is averaging in the ballpark of 13,000 units, is probably somewhere in the middle. Fortunately, Kirkman seems to have gotten very good at time management and is able to keep a surprising number of properties in motion in parallel. The long delay on “Super Dinosaur” is an anomaly and, from a sales and business perspective, an understandable one.

Marvel had 84 first issues in the top 1,000 comics. A number of them were one-shots or miniseries, but 48 of them with the first issue of an ongoing title. There was at least one case of an “ongoing” title which was relaunched and the relaunched again within 2014 with a new volume of “Wolverine and the X-Men” which started in March 2014 and was replaced by “Spider-Man and the X-Men” in December after the death of Wolverine. Marvel launched 48 ongoing title in 2014 which is a staggering number. Each new title is a jumping on point but far too many of them also reflect a jumping off point with the end of the previous volume or title they replaced.

Titan Comics only placed three items on the list with the first issue of “Doctor Who: The 11th Doctor” with 45,247 units, “Doctor Who: The 10th Doctor” with 43,546 units and “Doctor Who: The 12th Doctor” with 35,187 units. “Turok Dinosaur Hunter” #1 was the sold item from Dynamite Entertainment with approximately 31,061 units. “Rai” #1 was the only Valiant item on the list with 30.790 units. The only item from IDW on the list was “Transformers vs G.I. Joe” #1, with an estimated 30,142 units.

With the exception of “Ultimate Spider-Man” #200 from Marvel, the only publisher to put a three digit issue number in the top 1,000 comics in 2014 was Image, with the 17 issues of “The Walking Dead.” The next highest issue number was “Wolverine and the X-Men” #42, a series which was relaunched twice in 2014. After that, the longest running ongoing titles on the list are “Deadpool,” “Avengers,” “Life with Archie” and the surviving first wave titles from the New 52 relaunch in September 2011. “Avengers” has been announced as ending, but is likely to be relaunched before too long. While some of the titles on the list this year are likely to make the best-seller list for 2015, few of them are likely to be around for the 2016 list. So enjoy what you are reading while it is still being published, and keep an eye out for new things to be adding to your reading list.

TOP COMICS OF 2014

January, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 2,059,730 units across 81 items for a total of $7,534,357.70

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,546,472 units across 80 items for a total of $10,164,020.28

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,495,749 units across the 403 items on the list for a total value of $24,533,598.71 at cover price.

February, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 1,992,459 units across 81 items for a total of $7,352,173.41

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,381,374 units across 75 items for a total of $9,270,797.26

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,223,779 units across the 404 items on the list for a total value of $23,344,269.62 at cover price.

March, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 1,990,119 units across 83 items for a total of $7,055,152.81

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,597,123 units across 82 items for a total of $10,084,923.21

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,582,603 units across the 412 items on the list for a total value of $24,363,134.59 at cover price.

April, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 2,048,729 units across 72 items for a total of $7,099,491.71

Marvel sold a combined total of 3,282,504 units across 86 items for a total of $14,882,261.52

The top comics list sold a combined total of 7,415,638 units across the 417 items on the list for a total value of $29,527,966.65 at cover price.

May, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 2,396,615 units across 86 items for a total of $8,392,081.85

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,693,567 units across 88 items for a total of $11,030,816.25

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,984,972 units across the 413 items on the list for a total value of $26,362,270.80 at cover price.

June, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 2,247,134 units across 70 items for a total of $7,556,769.66

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,561,289 units across 80 items for a total of $10,255,832.11

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,561,957 units across the 337 items on the list for a total value of $24,155,844.97 at cover price.

July, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 2,774,659 units across 83 items for a total of $9,841,149.41

Marvel sold a combined total of 3,549,434 units across 91 items for a total of $14,143,418.66

The top comics list sold a combined total of 8,238,333 units across the 334 items on the list for a total value of $31,177,548.41 at cover price.

August, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 2,232,062 units across 75 items for a total of $7,601,486.56

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,572,705 units across 80 items for a total of $10,472,411.95

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,500,941 units across the 336 items on the list for a total value of $24,321,257.45 at cover price.

September, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 3,645,348 units across 115 items for a total of $13,802,195.92

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,929,940 units across 80 items for a total of $12,591,144.72

The top comics list sold a combined total of 8,046,235 units across the 342 items on the list for a total value of $31,774,329.02 at cover price.

October, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 2,937,878 units across 90 items for a total of $10,318,490.59

Marvel sold a combined total of 3,531,625 units across 86 items for a total of $14,772,921.52

The top comics list sold a combined total of 8,560,049 units across the 335 items on the list for a total value of $32,564,402.69 at cover price.

November, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 2,369,079 units across 82 items for a total of $8,051,187.00

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,870,977 units across 79 items for a total of $11,697,807.91

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,852,623 units across the 339 items on the list for a total value of $25,644,869.95 at cover price.

December, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 2,673,793 units across 90 items for a total of $9,310,192.34

Marvel sold a combined total of 2,571,993 units across 77 items for a total of $10,646,783.96

The top comics list sold a combined total of 6,848,576 units across the 327 items on the list for a total value of $25,971,432.23 at cover price.

TOP TRADES OF 2014

January, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 83,874 units across 80 items for a total value of $1,669,617.54 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 71,317 units across 65 items for a total of $1,884,544.91 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 290,936 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $5,798,064.47 at cover price.

February, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 69,216 units across 59 items for a total value of $1,396,776.41 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 117,403 units across 137 items for a total of $2,693,915.33 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 301,951 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $6,177,041.83 at cover price.

March, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 80,881 units across 58 items for a total value of $1,646,710.19 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 138,135 units across 123 items for a total of $3,575,621.00 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 413,951 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $8,654,511.70 at cover price.

April, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 100,859 units across 74 items for a total value of $2,053,205.41 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 82,385 units across 61 items for a total of $2,189,822.15 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 392,313 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $7,580,724.63 at cover price.

May, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 108,078 units across 78 items for a total value of $2,297,857.39 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 75,868 units across 61 items for a total of $2,012,011.95 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 347,623 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $7,262,261.12 at cover price.

June, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 109,790 units across 102 items for a total value of $2,545,977.44 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 67,541 units across 54 items for a total of $1,738,542.59 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 327,290 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $6,929,028.70 at cover price.

July, 2014

DC sold a combined total of 119,807 units across 81 items for a total value of $2,626,768.78 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 90,991 units across 67 items for a total of $2,571,887.46 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 418,470 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $8,642,579.59 at cover price.

August, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 102,920 units across 91 items for a total value of $2,136,856.57 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 75,167 units across 57 items for a total of $1,837,774.77 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 316,763 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $6,261,358.32 at cover price.

September, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 101,792 units across 77 items for a total value of $2,399,977.08 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 63,678 units across 55 items for a total of $2,110,639.68 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 332,470 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $7,392,529.23 at cover price.

October, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 120,127 units across 71 items for a total value of $2,621,267.73 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 112,594 units across 71 items for a total of $2,803,709.38 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 422,036 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $8,822,445.06 at cover price.

November, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 103,047 units across 72 items for a total value of $2,452,231.40 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 109,160 units across 86 items for a total of $2,775,460.95 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 403,652 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $8,799,531.67 at cover price.

December, 2014

DC sold sold a combined total of 92,716 units across 85 items for a total value of $2,140,616.18 at cover price.

Marvel sold a combined total of 65,964 units across 60 items for a total of $1,645,424.92 at cover price.

The top trades list sold a combined total of 315,406 units across the 300 items on the list for a total value of $6,507,981.89 at cover price.

If you’d like to listen to an in-depth discussion of the sales data, check out the Mayo Report episodes of the Comic Book Page podcast at www.ComicBookPage.com. In addition to those episodes, every Monday is a Weekly Comics Spotlight episode featuring a comic by DC, a comic by Marvel and a comic by some other publisher. Once a month is the Previews Spotlight episode which features clips from various comic book fans talking about the comics they love. With thousands of comics in Previews every month, Previews Spotlight episode s are a great way to find out about things which may have flown under your comic book radar.

As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to email me at John.Mayo@ComicBookResources.com.

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