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2018 Comic Sales Were Below Average, But Industry Was Buoyed by New Titles

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The top 300 comics per month in 2018 had a high of 7,776,305 units and a low of 6,073,102 units and averaged 6,885,352 units. That average is a little above the 6,629,573 units monthly average for the top 300 comics during the final order era which started in February 2003 when Diamond switched from reporting preorders to reporting invoiced sales to stores. Marvel averaged 2,953,137 units per month in the top 300 in 2018, which is only slightly below the final order era average of 2,997,722 units. DC averaged 2,323,705 units per month in the top 300 in 2018 which is also only slightly below the final order era average of 2,393,322 units.

Looking at the monthly breakdown of the top 300 comics by publisher, we can see that Marvel had the largest portion of the sales every month of 2018 except for January when Doomsday Clock #3, Dark Nights: Metal #5 and Batman #38 and #39 took the top four slots. As should be expected, DC was usually the publisher with the second largest portion of the sales in the top 300 comics, followed by Image. October 2018 was a stronger than usual month for Image thanks to the 15th anniversary variant covers of selected issued of The Walking Dead.

Looking at the monthly breakdown of the top 300 by title status, we see continuing titles which lost sales usual accounted for the largest portion of the top 300 comics sales each month followed by new titles.

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Switching our perspective to how the total of the top 300 comics changed each month, we unsurprisingly see that new titles were the main upwards forces, while the main downward forces were defunct titles, continuing titles which lost sales, and suspended titles. There were the occasional anomalies, such as the increase of non-series units in October followed by the corresponding large drop in non-series units in November. That particular anomaly was the combination of the DC/Hanna-Barbera one-shots, the What If one-shots and the X-Men Black one-shots in addition to the usual True Believer reprints and other non-series items.

Continuing titles which gained sales averaged 967,491 units a month for a total of 11,609,897 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was October with 1,908,013 units while the low point was December with only 456,962 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Batman with 552,368 units in July. The category averaged a 165,776 unit delta per month. The highest delta for this category in 2018 was April with 570,348 units while the low delta was December with only 24,061 units. The highest monthly gain for a title in this category was Action Comics with 398,253 units in April.

Continuing titles which shipped more issues averaged 448,651 units a month for a total of 5,383,815 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was April with 726,744 units while the low point was October with only 90,832 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Amazing Spider-Man with 425,844 units in April. The category averaged 191,301 units delta per month. The high point for this category in 2018 was April with 449,600 units while the low point was December with a drop of 69,354 units. The highest monthly gain for a title in this category was Amazing Spider-Man with 297,655 units in April.

Continuing titles with reasonably stable sales averaged 211,788 units a month for a total of 2,541,454 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was July with 301,368 units while the low point was November with only 85,961 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Detective Comics with 103,629 units in July. The category averaged a drop of 2,869 units a month. The high point for this category in 2018 was November with a drop of 1,910 units while the low point was August with a drop of 4,100 units. The highest monthly gain for a title in this category was Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (2015b) with a drop of 1 unit in June which is the highest possible "gain" for this category.

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Continuing titles which shipped fewer issues averaged 29,5203 units a month for a total of 3,542,431 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was May with 686,435 units while the low point was November with only 90,662 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Amazing Spider-Man with 411,480 units in May. The category averaged a drop of 290,283 units a month. The high point for this category in 2018 was November with a drop of 125,458 units while the low point was July with a drop of 547, 748 units. The highest monthly gain for a title in this category was Amazing Spider-Man with 20,207 units in March.

Continuing titles which lost sales averaged 2,365,867 units a month for a total of 28,390,404 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was November with 3,006,564 units while the low point was October with only 1,721,477 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Batman with 201,706 units in May. The category averaged a drop of 558,523 units a month. The high point for this category in 2018 was May with a drop of 297,719 units while the low point was August with a drop of 1,227,198 units. The highest monthly gain for a title in this category was Mother Panic: Gotham A D with a drop of 252 units in August which is about a good as possible since this category starts at a drop of 251 units.

NEXT PAGE: Mayo Report: What We Can Learn from 2018's Sales Successes and Failures

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