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Top Comics Down Over 1M in February, with Lowest Sales in Eight Years

February 2019 had 5,368,978 units in the top 300 comics list, a decrease of 1,029,541 units from last month. This is the lowest aggregate total for the top 300 comics since May 2011. Only eight other months have had a lower total number of units for the top 300 since Diamond first started reporting invoiced sales with the February 2003 data set. Four of those eight months were January, February, April and May of 2011. (March 2011 had 5,939,157 total units for the top 300 comics.) This month was 1,252,897 units below the average total of 6,621,884 units for the top 300 comics. The total was 3,986,068 units below the record high sales of 9,355,046 units from August 2016 and only 966,240 units above the record low of 4,402,738 units from January 2011.

The premiere publishers accounted for 97.28% of the total units for the top 300 comics this month while all of the other publishers with items in the top 300 accounted for 2.72% of the total units for the top 300 comics.

Marvel Comics placed 2,497,294 units in the top 300 comics, a decrease of 410,161 units and accounted for 46.51% of the total units. DC Comics placed 1,783,359 units in the top 300 comics, a decrease of 599,570 units and accounted for 33.22% of the total units. Image Comics placed 480,031 units in the top 300 comics, an increase of 49,899 units and accounted for 8.94% of the total units. Dark Horse placed 121,034 units in the top 300 comics, a decrease of 23,892 units and accounted for 2.25% of the total units. Dynamite Entertainment placed 114,392 units in the top 300 comics, an increase of 26,293 units and accounted for 2.13% of the total units. BOOM! Studios placed 113,677 units in the top 300 comics, an increase of 19,811 units and accounted for 2.12% of the total units. IDW Publishing placed 112,976 units in the top 300 comics, a decrease of 61,112 units and accounted for 2.10% of the total units. Other than February and June of 2018, this is the lowest number of units in the top 300 comics for IDW since November 2007.

The up-swing of 1,197,226 units from new and increased sales was not enough to compensate for the down-swing of 2,226,767 units from lost sales for the net decrease of 1,029,541 units. Defunct titles cause the largest part of the down-swing followed by continuing titles which sold fewer issues and continuing titles which lost sales with suspended titles and annuals/specials trailing by quite a bit. Unsurprisingly, new titles was the bulk of the up-swing with returning titles being a meaning part of the up-swing and continuing tiles with gained sales, reorders and continuing titles which shipped more issues having a much less of an impact.

The 13 titles across the 5 publishers in the continuing titles which gained sales category accounted for 523,772 units in the top 300 comics with an upswing of 52,822 units.

Marvel Comics accounted for 54.27% of the change in this category.

DC Comics accounted for 37.17% of the change in this category.

Venom had the largest increase in sales and accounted for 49.38% of the change in this category with an increase of 26,081 units for the title from last month. Batman gained in sales because of "The Price" storyline which crossed over with Flash.

Sonic the Hedgehog from IDW sold 22,966 units, an increase of 10,933 units and was the only item in the continuing titles which shipped more issues category.

The 21 titles across the 11 publishers in the continuing titles with reasonably stable sales category accounted for 275,614 units in the top 300 comics with a downswing of 2,595 units.

There were five shipping weeks in January and four in February.

The 24 titles across the 4 publishers in the continuing titles which shipped fewer issues category accounted for 967,270 units in the top 300 comics with an upswing of 9,535 units, a downswing of 704,275 units for a net a decrease of 694,740 units.

While DC had more titles which sold more units than Marvel, the two publishers had a roughly similar impact on this category. DC accounted for 49.71% of the change in this category while Marvel accounted for 46.49%. Oni and Titan had a comparatively minor impact on the category.

Conan the Barbarian and Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man both launched last month and this sort of second month drop is common, particularly when fewer issues are released and on Marvel titles in particular.

Heroes in Crisis lost 82,232 units from last month because two issues were release versus the single issue this month. Heroes in Crisis #6 sold 79,006 units and was down only 2.28% from the previous issue.

Flash gained in sales with fewer issues thanks to "The Price" storyline which crossed over with Batman.

The 112 titles across the 9 publishers in the continuing titles which lost sales category accounted for 2,105,919 units in the top 300 comics with a downswing of 487,303 units. Marvel accounted for 60.79% of the change in this category while DC accounted for 23.52%.

Captain Marvel had a second issue drop of 74,011 units from last month. Captain Marvel #2 sold 37,380 which was down 85,777 units from the first issue which is a 69.65% second issue drop. The difference of 11,766 units from the monthly drop on the title and the second issue drop is because of the 11,766 units of reorder activity for Captain Marvel #1 at rank 143.

Guardians of the Galaxy dropped 61,254 units from last month. Guardians of the Galaxy #2 sold 43,662 which was down 71,875 units from the first issue which is a 62.21% second issue drop. The difference of 10,621 units from the monthly drop on the title and the second issue drop is because of the 10,621 units of reorder activity for Guardians of the Galaxy_ #1 at rank 156.

The 37 titles across the 13 publishers in the new titles category accounted for 866,486 units in the top 300 comics with an upswing of 866,486 units. Marvel accounted for 71.41% of the change in this category while DC accounted for 10.47%. Marvel titles usually have large drops on second issues and most of the new titles at the top of this list are Marvel titles.

The 41 titles across the 10 publishers in the returning titles category accounted for 227,563 units in the top 300 comics with an upswing of 227,563 units. Image accounted for 37.94% of the change in this category with Magic Order, Seven to Eternity, East of West and other titles returning to the top 300 comics list this month.

The 23 titles across the 10 publishers in the suspended titles category had a down-swing of 193,018 units. No single publisher dominated this category. IDW accounted for 23.74% of the change in this category which helps explain the drop in sales they had this month. Image accounted for 21.20% of the change in this category. DC Comics accounted for 20.26% of the change in this category. Perhaps more importantly, no top selling title was in this category this month.

The 33 titles across the 9 publishers in the defunct titles category had a downswing of 705,331 units.

Marvel accounted for 66.77% of the change in this category. Some of these were limited series like Man Without Fear which bridges the gap between volumes of Daredevil and Marvel Knights 20th which celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Marvel Knights imprint. Some of the other items were various one-shots like the Star Wars: Age of the Republic: Jango Fett and Star Wars: Age of Republic: Obi-Wan Kenobi which were assigned unique series codes which normally indicates the titles is an ongoing title.

The 7 titles across the 3 publishers in the annuals/specials category accounted for 14,581 units in the top 300 comics with an upswing of 14,581 units, a downswing of 119,906 units for a net a decrease of 105,325 units. DC accounted for 91.5% of the drop in the category this month because of the annuals which shipped last month while none shipped this month. Since annuals and specials aren't expected to be recurring sales, large swings in either direction for a publisher are to be expected.

The 40 titles across the 3 publishers in the non-series category accounted for 276,671 units in the top 300 comics with an upswing of 276,671 units, a downswing of 315,126 units for a net a decrease of 38,455 units. Marvel accounted for all of the up-swing and 89.9% of the down-swing in the category this month.

The True Believers line continues to be a major factor in this category. This month the sales of 135,526 units for the various Captain Marvel reprints outsold the 105,471 units for the Conan reprints last month.

The 20 titles across the 4 publishers in the reorders category accounted for 88,136 units in the top 300 comics with an upswing of 80,004 units, a downswing of 40,582 units for a net an increase of 39,422 units. Marvel accounted for 71.4% of the up-swing and 41.52% of the down-swing.

The New 52 reboot of the DC Universe was a response to the low sales and generate reader apathy of early 2011. Batman Who Laughs #3 sold 101,771 units and was the only item over 100,000 units. Outside of the top 20, Superman #8 which sold 50,475 units and Green Lantern #4 which sold 50,176 units were the only items to sell over 50,000 units. Green Arrow #49 which was at rank 100 sold 17,694 units with Spider-Man/Deadpool #46 right above it sold 17,828 units. A decade or so back, sales under 20,000 units at Marvel was grounds for cancellation with the line of death at DC being a little bit lower.

One month, particularly a month in the first quarter, isn't enough to cause panic but the lowest sales in nearly eight years isn't something to ignore either.

On the upside, we can expect Detective Comics to have a major bump in sales next month with the released of Detective Comics #1000.

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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