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

New titles averaged 1,232,190 units a month for a total of 14,786,274 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was May with 1,951,196 units while the low point was January with only 585,466 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Amazing Spider-Man with 403,046 units in July.

Returning titles averaged 367,298 units a month for a total of 4,407,581 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was December with 620,584 units while the low point was February with only 238,192 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Dark Nights: Metal with 187,583 units in March.

Suspended titles averaged a drop of 514,703 units a month. The high point for this category in 2018 was September with a drop of 275,537 units while the low point was May with with a drop of 982,478 units.

Defunct titles averaged a drop of 591,837 units a month. The high point for this category in 2018 was March with a drop of 255,047 units while the low point was June with only a drop of 1,206,540 units.

Annuals/Specials averaged 79,248 units a month for a total of 950,972 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was December with 198,587 units while the low point was March with only 4,004 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Batman Annual with 68,207 units in December. The category averaged a 13,756 unit delta per month. The high point for this category in 2018 was August with 187,963 units while the low point was September with only a drop of 165,351 units.

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Non-Series averaged 401,548 units a month for a total of 4,818,575 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was October with 1,151,544 units while the low point was November with only 72,333 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt with 101,373 units in February. The category averaged a drop of 4,421 units a month. The high point for this category in 2018 was October with 537,490 units while the low point was November with a drop of 1,079,211 units.

Reorders averaged 86,895 units a month for a total of 1,042,740 units over the course of 2018. The high point for this category in 2018 was June with 162,062 units while the low point was October with only 25,452 units. The highest monthly total for a title in this category was Action Comics with 52,129 units in May. The category averaged a 2,381 unit delta per month. The high point for this category in 2018 was January with 107,933 units while the low point was July with a drop of 120,496 units.

The rolling 12 month average shows sales of the top 300 comics has been declining for the past two years but seems to have leveled off over the last quester of 2018.

What we can learn from 2018 is that the new title sales continue to be a key factor in maintaining and growing sales from month to month. But new titles are often supported with numerous incentive covers which means this category measures a mix of the interest in the new titles and the interest in the incentive covers. If there is a speculator bubble of people buying inventive covers for sell them for a profit and that bubble bursts then we could see a very different sales in short order. The average up-swing per month in 2018 was 2,168,921 units and the average down-swing per month was a drop of 2,158,856 units for an average net change of 10,065 units up per month. That 10,065 units average increase per month factors in not only incentive covers on first issues but all of the incentive covers for items in the top 300 comics list. If interest in those covers declines then obviously so will the sales of them. It clearly won't take much for the monthly average delta to go an increase of around 10,000 units a month to a drop in sales every month. Hopefully that won't happen but given the reliance on incentive and variant covers there is a very real risk that it could.

For a more in-depth discussion of the sales data, check out the Mayo Report episodes of the Comic Book Page podcast at www.ComicBookPage.com. The episode archived cover the past decade of comic book sales on a monthly basis with yearly recap episodes. In addition to those episodes on the sales data, every Monday is a Weekly Comics Spotlight episode featuring a comic by DC, a comic by Marvel and a comic by some other publisher. I read around 200 new comics a month so the podcast covers a wide variety of the comics currently published. If you are looking for more or different comics to read, check out the latest Previews Spotlight episode featuring clips from various comic book fans talking about the comics they love. With thousands of comics in Previews every month, Previews Spotlight episodes are a great way to find out about new comic book titles that 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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