Tagged: Diamond Comic Distributors

Diamond stops taking new comics shipments

Diamond stops taking new comics shipments

Diamond stops taking new comics shipments

COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc worldwide, and today the hammer came down on comics: All product distributed by Diamond Comics Distributors and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice.

The chairman of Diamond, Steve Geppi, just sent out a notice, which we reprint here:


CORONAVIRUS EFFECTS ON DISTRIBUTION

As everyone knows, the world faces ever-increasing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its effects on the comics & collectibles and tabletop gaming industries have been felt far and wide. We are hearing from thousands of retailers that they can no longer service their customers as they have in the past, many of them forced to close by government action or resort to in-person or curbside delivery. Even those still open are seeing reduced foot traffic in most cases, a situation that seems likely to worsen with time.

Our publishing partners are also faced with numerous issues in their supply chain, working with creators, printers, and increasing uncertainty when it comes to the production and delivery of products for us to distribute. Our freight networks are feeling the strain and are already experiencing delays, while our distribution centers in New York, California, and Pennsylvania were all closed late last week. Our own home office in Maryland instituted a work from home policy, and experts say that we can expect further closures. Therefore, my only logical conclusion is to cease the distribution of new weekly product until there is greater clarity on the progress made toward stemming the spread of this disease.


EFFECTS ON DIAMOND COMIC DISTRIBUTORS

Product distributed by Diamond and slated for an on-sale date of April 1st or laterwill not be shipped to retailers until further notice. For the time being, however, we have been able to develop procedures with our teams at the distribution center in Olive Branch, MS to safely continue fulfillment of direct ship reorders for the retailers who are able to receive new product and need it to service their customers. It’s unlikely that orders will be filled on the same day they are placed, and these plans are subject to change if at any point we no longer feel that we can safeguard our teams while fulfilling orders.

Product distributed by Diamond UK and slated for an on-sale date of March 25th or later will not be shipped to retailers until further notice. Further updates with regard to reorders and other Diamond UK-specific information will be communicated directly to their customers as information becomes available.

EFFECTS ON ALLIANCE GAME DISTRIBUTORS

Product distributed by Alliance has been shipping from our Fort Wayne, IN and Austin, TX warehouses. Both are closing at the end of the day on Tuesday, March 24th, in the interest of employee safety and to comply with direction from local governments. Any orders not shipped by that time will not be processed until further notice. Your dedicated sales team will still be working remotely and will help you with any orders you’d like to place today or questions you may have.
OUR SHARED PATH FORWARD
With these changes in our distribution strategy, we will work with our publishing partners to develop programs that will address product already in the pipeline and what will happen when we resume distribution. We know that during this time you will face many challenges, and we will direct our energies toward addressing them, rather than fighting on increasingly numerous fronts to get product out.

For those retailers who remain open in various forms, I encourage you let loose your own creativity. For the time being, you will be able to replenish your perennials from Diamond and/or Alliance, but you should also remember the stock you already have in your stores. If your doors remain open, it’s likely you will have customers who will continue to seek diversion from events of the world. Special sales, promotions, and even eBay can help you bring in cash during this trying time. Product for which you’ve already paid may well hold some of your answers. There have been many solid suggestions offered about how to help our retailers, and we will bring many of them together in future communications.

Besides the industry’s most immediate needs, we have been and will continue looking toward the future, when we see stores reopening, bringing staff back onboard, and getting customers in the door. We are looking at issues like debt accrued due to this crisis, what reduced ordering means for your discount tiers, and the availability of credit to help stores through and after this difficult time. We don’t have all those answers today, but we understand the many issues you are facing and look forward to addressing them as partners who all have an interest in the long-term health of the industry we love so much.

As I mentioned in my last update, this industry has been one of the greatest joys of my life, from my days as a collector to a retailer to today. I and my Leadership Team have made these decisions knowing full-well the effect they will have on all of you, as well as our publishing partners and our own team members around the world. At the end of the day, the safety and security of our teams and yours, along with the many customers we all serve, is paramount. I again thank you for your ongoing patience and support.

Thank You,

Steve Geppi

Mark Wheatley Teams with Will Eisner for CBM Retailer Exclusive

CBMYB-15 Spirit cover by Mark Wheatley and Will EisnerFor the conclusion of Diamond Comic Distributors Retailer Summit and for the opening of Geppi’s Entertainment Museum’s new exhibit 75 Spirited Years: Will Eisner and The Spirit on Friday, September 25, 2015 – four top creators were asked to provide their interpretations of a concept sketch that had been created by Eisner but never before finished.

One of those creators was Mark Wheatley, the Inkpot, Mucker, Gem, Speakeasy, and Eisner award-winning writer-artist perhaps best known for his successful and often cutting-edge collaborations with fellow writer-artist Marc Hempel. Wheatley will see his piece based on Eisner’s sketch featured on the cover of a limited edition of Overstreet’s Comic Book Marketplace Yearbook 2015-2016. This version will be given to retailers who attend the closing party for the Retailer Summit, which is also the official kick-off of the Eisner exhibit.

“I’m thrilled to have been asked to posthumously collaborate with Will Eisner on this project. Will’s sketch left a lot open to interpretation, but really evoked the tone of The Spirit to me,” Wheatley said.

Wheatley will sign copies of the limited edition cover at Geppi’s Entertainment Museum on Friday, September 25, from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Retailers attending the opening will receive one copy each free of charge and will be able to purchase additional copies. The two standard versions of Overstreet’s Comic Book Marketplace Yearbook 2015-2016 are scheduled to go on sale at shops on October 7, 2015. The 192-page, full-color, trade paperback-size publication carries a $12.95 cover price.

(more…)

Mike Gold: Free Comic Books, Now!

This is Wednesday, so perhaps you have finished reading all those free comic books you copped last Saturday – in time for today’s new releases, of course. I hope you tried some new stuff; that, after all, is the purpose of the exercise.

I hope you got your free comics at all. Fans are limited by their proximity to a comic book store; despite the (slow) growth in outlets, finding a store remains a trauma exacerbated in less urban environs. Of course, if you are within distance of a comics shop, your friendly neighborhood retailer has to participate in Diamond Comic Distributors’ Free Comic Book Day program – and that’s a fairly expensive proposition.

No criticism is intended here: it’s a good program, and all Diamond is asking is that retailers pay their share of the expenses. Nonetheless, some retailers find the cost is prohibitive. Running a comic book store is a scary proposition: every month, the owner stares at the order form and literally bets the rent on his non-returnable choices. If you’ve made some bad calls, you might not have the coin for this promotion. And if you’re doing okay, you might know from previous experience that there is an insufficient return on investment. That’s called “business.”

One of the benefits of the convention circuit is that I get to see friends from all over the country. In the two weeks prior to Free Comic Book Day, I was at AwesomeCon in Washington DC and C2E2 in Chicago. Several retailer friends told me in Washington that they weren’t participating in FCBD, usually for the reasons I noted above. Hmmmm, I said.

The following week I was in Chicago and I asked several other retailer friends if they were playing in. Their general response was “What? Of course I am! Do you think I’m nuts?”

Well, I just might, but not over FCBD. It’s each retailer’s decision, and he or she makes that decision based upon the balance sheet and prior experience. If, ultimately, it expands their sales it’s a good idea and if it does not expand their sales, it’s a bad idea. It’s just that simple.

I like FCBD because it gives me, as a reader, the opportunity to sample stuff that I have overlooked. There are roughly 500 new comic books published each month, not counting direct-to-digital, and even if I have the Sultan of Brunei’s bank account I don’t have time to read even a small fraction of the total output. Plus, I’m an old newspaper strip fan and, as Mark Wheatley says, this is the golden age of newspaper reprints. Let’s face it, I’ve got a life. And that life has a television set.

The coolest part for me is coming across something unexpected. For example, the 2014 FCBD edition of 2000 AD contained a Judge Dredd story by my pal Chris Burnham, who neglected to tell me he did this job when I saw him the previous week. I forgive him, and respect the fact that he’s capably following in the footsteps of Carlos Ezquerra, Brian Bolland, Mick McMahon, Ian Gibson and other top-rank Dredd artists. As I moved into the guts of the book I was pleased to see Jan Duursema’s art on the Durham Red story. Pretty damn cool.

I guess for me, the whole Free Comic Book Day thing addresses that inner-fanboy that all too often is pushed aside by “professional considerations.” So, as a consumer, FCBD is a very good thing.

Besides. I like Rocket Raccoon. Hey, we’ve all got something to promote!

 

Marc Alan Fishman: The Diamond Exchange

Fishman Art 131005The other day I was conversing with a friend on the ol’ Facebook chat (can I call it the ol’ Facebook chat?), and he lamented to me that he recently took on a pro-bono position designing a video game largely due to the inspiration of me and Unshaven Comics. I was floored. I was touched. I had a hard time not laughing. Not in jest mind you, but because after seven years of making books… it doesn’t feel like I’m in all that different a place. Why? Well, let’s look at the cold hard facts:

Unshaven Comics sells its wares exclusively at conventions. It’s not to increase the collectibility either. It’s because we couldn’t possibly afford to tackle the direct market. At all. Don’t believe me? Well, about the only way one can get their books offered on the racks of the local comic shop is to be in the Previews catalog put out by the Diamond Comic Distributors company. Diamond makes it insanely easy to do this. A publisher simply makes up a preview (heh!) of their issue they want to solicit in the catalog, and submit it, alongside some paperwork, to their headquarters. Then, the publisher sells their stock, wholesale, to Diamond with 60-75% discount off of the cover price. How many issues? Well, Diamond doesn’t say exactly… but you must ultimately meet their sales expectations in enough time in order to continue working with them. And that’s only after they approve your application. Still with me?

It takes roughly six months between the time a publisher first contacts Diamond to when you actually receive monies back from an order. Now, in simplest terms, this means Unshaven Comics would have to have the capital to pay for whatever orders come through the Previews catalog and then wait another month to see about 40% of our cover price come back in the door. And for those not familiar with printing these days, allow me to be blunt: Unless you’re printing thousands of books, your per-book price for a full color, 36 page book, where you charge a fan $5, leaves you with less then half of that coming back as profit. Suffice to say, we put out comics because we love connecting with fans, and are hopeful that it will one day lead to something bigger and better. If we tried to go to Diamond with our current printer, we’d see about twenty-five cents for every comic we sold.

And we haven’t even talked about marketing and promotion! Just because your publishing company is accepted into Diamond does not mean you get a big flashy full-page ad in Previews, enticing comic shops to order. In fact, we would have to sell 2000 books in order to break even with the smallest possible ad. It’s a sad fact: A comic shop in LA, New York, or hell… even our own damn backyard (Chicago, baby) wouldn’t have any clue who we are. We’re not a name to the common comic shop frequenter. While we’ve attended about 40 – 50 conventions in the time we’ve been a company, there’s no chance in hell we’ve saturated even the pit stains of the market. And that translates into the cold hard truth: A comic shop that hasn’t heard of us (even with an ad) is unlikely to purchase anything from Previews from us.

So now, in order to sell to those retailers, we have to market ourselves to them as well. If we took out a small bank loanand marketed ourselves properly, we might just stand a chance.

Are you as excited about all this as I am?

The reality is this: Almost a decade ago, I attended the then-beloved Wizard World Chicago show. I waited until the end of the DC previews panel and boldly walked up to Dan DiDio and asked what it would take in order to write for him and DC. He smiled and said “Well, get noticed. We don’t really look for writers.” I figured a great way to get noticed would be to capture the zeitgeist on my own. Well, seven years later, and that still feels far out of touch.

That being said, Unshaven Comics is not without the teeniest bit of clout. We’ve grown our gross sales by 86% in the past year. And the year before that? 69%. That’s actual calculated growth. We’ve been to the largest conventions in the Midwest, and in another week we’ll be at the second largest convention of the nation – New York Comic Con (at the ComicMix table, nyuck, nyuck, nyuck). We successfully funded our own Kickstarter. All in all, we’re doing pretty well for ourselves, even if we are in fact a spec on a blip on a fart cloud somewhere around the outskirts of the industry we love so much. And we’ve done all of that without tackling the only player in the distribution game.

It’s nothing to hang a beard on, but it’s enough to inspire our friends to do great things. I don’t think we could ask for more.

If you want to help Unshaven Comics, do us a solid by voting for us in the Intuit Small Business Big Game Contest. If we win? We actually get a commercial about us during the Super Bowl! No e-mail hoarding. No registration necessary. Just click here for a vote.

 SUNDAY: John Ostrander

MONDAY: Mindy Newell

 

Mike Gold: Let’s Get Small!

Gold Art 130814First, the bad news: According to Diamond Distributors, Marvel and DC combine to dominate about two-thirds of the total comic book hardcopy sales.

And now, the good news: According to Diamond Distributors, Marvel and DC combined possess only about two-thirds of the total comic book hardcopy sales.

Everybody else shares in that last third: Diamond, Image, Dark Horse, IDW, Archie, Boom and about, I dunno, maybe three thousand others. But they’ve achieved something that a decade ago would have daunted Sisyphus. Even at one-third of the market, these folks have torn down the wall. It wasn’t that long ago when DC and Marvel enjoyed a duopoly in excess of 80% of the market.

The really cool thing about this news is that these “other” publishers have succeeded by doing the types of comics that The Huge Two haven’t done successfully in decades. Dynamite’s line of pulp and pulp-inspired characters is exciting and largely of solid quality. Image brings to life the independent comics myth, often with material produced by some of The Huge Two’s top talent. Dark Horse and IDW have pulled a couple chapters out of the old Dell Comics textbook. Archie continues to let their renown characters grow and adapt to contemporary times; they don’t compete with Marvel, they cooperate with Glee. And Boom has the courage to industriously pursue the younger end of the market, establishing a desperately needed next generation for our medium.

Of course, timing is everything and the Little Guys are thriving as The Huge Two are pissing their readers off left and right. I believe the only Marvel Comic published in the past six months that didn’t feature Captain America, Wolverine and/or Iron Man was the Modeling With Millie Summer Spectacular… and somehow they manage to publish what seems like 75 monthlies with the word “Avengers” in the title that read exactly the same.

DC’s Few52 has become a dizzying game of musical chairs, with talent not being allowed to put any substantial creative investment in their work. Of course, we all read about Paul Pope being told by Co-Publisher Dan DiDio DC produces comics for 45 year olds, as though such a ridiculously narrow focus is the way things should be. Correct me if I’m wrong, but hasn’t DC launched 104 titles in the Few52 line over the past two years? It sure seems like it.

All this is great news for American comics readers. We have a greater diversity of material in the stores and available for e-books. Add the graphic novel publishers and we’re finally approaching the broad spectrum of material we’ve seen in Europe and Asia the past 70 years.

We’ve got a long way to go, but I’m finally beginning to feel as though the promise of the so-called independent comics movement that started in the early 1980s is finally planting some roots. Maybe this whole thing has a future after all.

 (A tip of the brainpan to my pal JimWiz for inadvertently supplying the art.)

THURSDAY MORNING: Dennis O’Neil

THURSDAY AFTERNOON: Martin Pasko

 

A Doctor A Day – “Tooth and Claw”

Using the new Doctor Who Limited Edition Gift Set, your noble author will make his way through as much of the modern series as he can before the Christmas episode, The Snowmen.

Kung-Fu Monks, a werewolf, and Queen Victoria.  Rest assured that when someone threatens his friends, The Doctor will fight them…

TOOTH AND CLAW
by Russell T Davies
Directed by Euros Lyn

“Am I being rude again?”

Aiming for 1979 and an Ian Dury concert, The Doctor lands in 1879, and in Scotland.  The TARDIS lands in the course of Queen Victoria, who is on the way to have the Koh-I-Noor, the prize diamond of the crown jewels, recut.  Quickly presenting his psychic paper, he and Rose join the party as it stops off at Torchwood House, home of Sir Robert MacLeish and his family.  What the royal coterie don’t know is that the house has been taken over by a band of monks who are in possession of a honest to Harry werewolf.  They plan to have the beast bite the Queen, infect her, and through her, take over the nation, and the Empire.  Sir Robert is forced to cooperate as the monks have taken his wife and most of the female house staff hostage, and if he disobeys they will be slaughtered,

It’s revealed that Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father were friends for years, and shared an affinity for both science and folktales.  Sir Robert’s father had designed what appears to be a massive telescope, but The Doctor quickly notices it’s oddly designed – too many mirrors and prisms.  As the evening proceeds, Sir Robert desperately tries to clue the party to the danger, and over dinner, as he tells the tale of the werewolf that’s been haunting the moors for almost 300 years does the Doctor make the connection.  As the full moon rises overhead, the werewolf begins his transformation, and the monks, posing as the staff, overpower the soldiers.

It turns out that the house has been prepared for this assault.  The library has been warded with the oil of the mistletoe plant, which the werewolf cannot bear to touch.  And the telescope is just the opposite – it’s a light cannon, powered by moonlight, and the Koh-I-Noor is the focusing device.  So with the help of the planning of Prince Albert and Sir Robert’s father, the monster is defeated.  Queen Victoria is happy to have been saved, but is horrified at The Doctor and the life he leads. She banishes The Doctor from England, and founds the Torchwood Institute to study the stars and defend the Empire from its threats… including The Doctor.

As opposed to last season where the arc plot was barely mentioned, just nearly subliminal mentions of the “Bad Wolf” phrase, this season the concept is in plain sight. Torchwood was mentioned as a plot point in The Christmas Invasion, and now we see its inception.  Not a bad start for a word that was nothing more than an anagram to disguise the tapes going back to the BBC.

Of COURSE when The Doctor has to pick a Scottish name, he’s going to pick Jamie McCrimmon. Jamie was a Companion during the Troughton years, and came back for both the twentieth anniversary adventure, and the Colin Baker adventure The Two Doctors.  The other half of the joke is not as obvious to American viewers – “Balamory” is a BBC children’s show set in the titular town, on an island off the coast of Scotland.  And of course, David Tennant is Scots, so we actually hear his proper accent in this episode when The Doctor is “affecting” one.

This is the second time that a diamond was used as the focus of a light weapon, as opposed to a more scientifically accurate ruby.  The Horror of Fang Rock featured a cruse laser cannon made from a lighthouse and a diamond by the fourth Doctor.

That mad crazy Crouching Tiger stunt near the beginning of the episode took a full day to film.  Quite an extravagance for a TV show, but well worth it for the moment.

Diamond announces August 2012 Best Sellers

Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 from Marvel Comics, the best-selling comic book to specialty retailers in August 2012, according to information provided by Diamond Comic Distributors, the world’s largest distributor of comics, graphic novels, and pop culture merchandise.

DC Entertainment was August’s leading publisher in Retail Dollars, leading Marvel Comics 33.32% to 32.42%. Meanwhile, Marvel Comics edged DC Entertainment on the Unit Market Share for the month, 37.18% to 37.12%.

For the second month in a row, Geoff Johns and Gary Franks’ Batman: Earth One, the original graphic novel that reimagines the early days of Batman, was the best-selling graphic novel to retailers.

Based on Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment’s best-selling Batman: Arkham Asylum video game, Square-Enix’s Batman: Arkham Asylum Play Arts ~Kai~: Harley Quinn Action Figure was the best-selling toy product to comic book specialty retailers in August.

Earth’s most powerful heroes join the HeroClix campaign with the DC HeroClix: Justice League Expansion from WizKids/NECA, the best-selling games product to comic book specialty retailers in August.

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER

DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

DC COMICS

33.32%

37.12%

MARVEL COMICS

32.42%

37.18%

IDW PUBLISHING

5.88%

4.64%

IMAGE COMICS

5.75%

5.37%

DARK HORSE COMICS

4.92%

3.89%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

3.19%

3.16%

EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD

1.83%

0.40%

BOOM! STUDIOS

1.52%

1.48%

VIZ MEDIA

0.96%

0.41%

ARCHIE COMICS

0.85%

0.82%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

9.35%

5.52%

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

AUGUST 2012 VS. JULY 2012

COMICS

6.49%

6.38%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

22.13%

19.48%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

11.23%

7.43%

AUGUST 2012 VS. AUGUST 2011

COMICS

19.27%

14.22%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

14.95%

24.74%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

17.80%

15.09%

YEAR-TO-DATE 2012 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2011

COMICS

20.51%

17.97%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

14.13%

12.78%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

18.41%

17.54%

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #9

$3.99

JUN120592-M MAR

2

AVENGERS VS X-MEN #10

$3.99

JUN120599-M MAR

3

BATMAN #12

$3.99

JUN120177-M DC

4

JUSTICE LEAGUE #12

$3.99

JUN120142-M DC

5

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #692

$5.99

JUN120622-M MAR

6

BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH #1 (MR) [*]

$3.99

JUN120129-M DC

7

AVX VS #5

$3.99

JUN120590-M MAR

8

BEFORE WATCHMEN: DR. MANHATTAN #1 (MR) [*]

$3.99

JUN120134-M DC

9

GREEN LANTERN #12

$2.99

JUN120196-M DC

10

DETECTIVE COMICS #12

$3.99

JUN120181-M DC

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

BATMAN: EARTH ONE HC

$22.99

MAR120234 DC

2

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 1: DAYS GONE BYE TP

$9.99

JUL068351 IMA

3

SWAMP THING VOL. 1: RAISE THEM BONES TP

$14.99

MAY120280 DC

4

SUPERMAN: ACTION COMICS VOL. 1: SUPERMAN MEN OF STEEL HC

$24.99

APR120245 DC

5

BATMAN VOL. 1: THE COURT OF OWLS HC

$24.99

JAN120300 DC

6

HULK SEASON ONE PREMIERE HC

$24.99

MAY120746 MAR

7

SCOTT PILGRIM VOLUME 1 COLOR HC

$24.99

MAY121234 ONI

8

STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS: SITH HUNTERS TP

$7.99

APR120041 DAR

9

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 2: MILES BEHIND US TP

$14.99

SEP088204 IMA

10

FEAR ITSELF TP

$29.99

JUN120721 MAR

TOP 10 TOYS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM PLAY ARTS KAI: HARLEY QUINN ACTION FIGURE JAN128132 SQU

2

BATMAN: ARKHAM ASYLUM PLAY ARTS KAI: ARMORED BATMAN ACTION FIGURE JAN128131 SQU

3

TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES RETRO COLLECTOR FIGURES APR121769 PLA

4

MARVEL SELECT: AVENGERS MOVIE ENEMY FIGURE JAN121705 DST

5

ALICE: THE MADNESS RETURNS SELECT FIGURE JAN121700 DST

6

BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE: DARWYN COOKE APR120307 DC

7

AVENGERS MOVIE: IRON MAN MK VII ARTFX STATUE MAR121684 KOT

8

BATMAN BLACK & WHITE STATUE: DICK GRAYSON BY JOCK MAY120346 DC

9

FORBIDDEN PLANET: ROBBY THE ROBOT 12-INCH FIGURE FEB121668 X P

10

MARVEL UNIVERSE ACTION FIGURES JUN121848 HAS

TOP 10 GAMES

RANK

DESCRIPTION

ITEM CODE

VENDOR

1

DC HEROCLIX: JUSTICE LEAGUE APR121984 NEC

2

MARVEL HEROCLIX: CHAOS WAR BOOSTER BRICK APR121987 NEC

3

DOCTOR WHO ACTION BOARD GAME OCT101791 DIA

4

DC HEROCLIX: JUSTICE LEAGUE FAST FORCES 6-PACK APR121985 NEC

5

WONDERLAND BOARD GAME APR121345 ZEN

6

THE WALKING DEAD TV BOARD GAME JUL112137 CRY

7

THE WALKING DEAD COMIC BOARD GAME JUL112185 Z-M

8

MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: 2013 CORE SET EVENT DECK APR121978 WIZ

9

MAGIC THE GATHERING TCG: 2013 CORE SET BOOSTERS APR121977 WIZ

10

PATHFINDER BATTLES: RISE OF THE RUNELORDS BOOSTER BRICK MAY128110 NEC

Data for Diamond’s sales charts — which include the monthly market shares and all top product charts — are compiled by Diamond Comic Distributors from a universe of over 3,500 comic book specialty shops located in North America and around the world. The account base includes brick-and-mortar comic book specialty shops, Internet merchants, and other specialty stores.

Unit and dollars sales are calculated based upon orders invoiced and shipped to Diamond accounts during any given month, which comprises initial pre-orders, advance reorders, and reorders, minus any copies that are received back from a title marked as returnable.

Please note that comics marked with an asterisk have had their reported quantities reduced due to retailer returnability, and thus may rank lower on the charts than their actual sales would reflect.

Six Most Important Comics Stories From San Diego Comic-Con

We’ve all had a chance to recover and step back a bit, and we can now look at what are the most important pure-comics stories out of San Diego Comic-Con. (No, not movies, or movies based on comics, or video games based on comics, those are all for other posts.) So what are the ComicMix Six Comic Stories from Comic-Con International?

1. Neil Gaiman returns to write “Before Sandman”.

Neil Gaiman is returning to his most famous comics creation, The Sandman, one more time, for a prequel miniseries to be released next year to be drawn by J.H. Williams (Promethea, Batwoman). “When I finished writing THE SANDMAN, there was one tale still untold. The story of what had happened to Morpheus to allow him to be so easily captured in THE SANDMAN #1, and why he was returned from far away, exhausted beyond imagining, and dressed for war. It was a story that we discussed telling for SANDMAN’s 20th anniversary… but the time got away from us. And now, with SANDMAN’s 25th anniversary year coming up, I’m delighted, and nervous, that that story is finally going to be told,” said Gaiman.

Get More: MTV Shows

Comics sales for first half of 2012 18% ahead of last year

The Diamond Comic Distributors sales report for the middle of the comics year always hits right before Comic Con International: San Diego, which itself is about the future of the business; we see where we’ve been right before we see where we’re going. Last year, the industry arrived in San Diego with the first half of 2011 off 8% versus the year before; this year, orders by Direct Market comics shops in North America are up more than 18% year-to-date. It’s quite the turnaround. Retailers have already ordered more material through June — nearly $223 million in retail dollars— than they did in last year through July.

Marvel’s Avengers Vs. X-Men #6 led the charts, with four DC Before Watchmen debut issues landing in fifth through eight place. Click to see the preliminary top sellers for June. June 2011 was a five-week month versus four shipping weeks for June 2012, and the beats were a little smaller than we’ve seen — but periodical units and dollars were still up double-digits. All the comics in the Top 10 were priced at $3.99.

On the trade paperback side, the release of Walking Dead Vol. 16: A Larger World both topped the charts. There was a slight year-to-year drop in graphic novel units, but not dollars — suggesting that maybe with the DC hardcovers and a new Walking Dead release priced higher than some of the earlier backlist releases, the average price for each graphic novel ordered increased some.

Retailers appear to have ordered $40.5 million in comic books and trade paperbacks from Diamond in the month, a sum that brings the second quarter orders to more than $20 million higher than the same three-month period last year. For the year to date, all Direct Market sales are more than $34 million ahead of the first half of 2011.

But the comparison observers may be more interested in isn’t between the first six months of this year and the first six months of 2011 — but rather, with the last six months, which included the DC reboot. Direct Market orders were $224.92 million from July 2011 to December 2011 — so even with the reboot titles reaching double-digit issue numbers, the market is down less than 1% from that blockbuster six-month period. The reasons are several: Marvel has Avengers Vs. X-Men on the playing field, and graphic novels are rebounding with the DC hardcovers and Walking Dead. But the fact we can compare at all is significant, because the second half of the year has outperformed the previous first half every year for the last 10 years — and by an average of 10%.

May 2012 comics sales break more records

The full report of comics orders for May 2012 has been released by Diamond Comic Distributors, and as the initial report here found, the market is hitting on all cylinders. It’s also breaking records, according to estimates compiled here at The Comics Chronicles. Click to see the comics sales estimates for May 2012.

As reported on Friday, led by Avengers Vs. X-Men #4, the comic book Direct Market’s orders of $44.68 million in comics and graphic novels (at full retail value) is the largest sum seen in a single month since Diamond began reporting Final Order data in February 2003, and it’s probably a higher figure seen in any month since 1995 in un-inflation-adjusted dollars.

Now, with the estimates out, we can see that two other Diamond Exclusive Era records have been set. Diamond’s Top 300 comics had orders totaling $25.72 million, an increase of 44% over last May and the highest total since Diamond became the sole distributor in 1997. It beats the total of $25.37 million set in December 2008.

Trade paperbacks and hardcovers were exceptionally strong, too, with the DC reboot volumes topping the charts; the Top 300 accounted for $8.27 million, just missing the one-month record from November 2008. That combined with the comics figures to break the other record this month: the Top 300 comics plus the Top 300 graphic novels combined for sales of almost exactly $34 million, beating the previous record from December 2008 by nearly $2 million.

These are dollar sales and not unit sales — though the unit figures came close to setting records, and inflation is not really a huge factor in comparisons over the last two or three years. As we can see on this table of average comics prices, that December 2008 peak found the average weighted price of comics in the Top 300 to be $3.31; this month, the average weighted price was $3.53. That’s less than a 7% increase over three and a half years.

The 300th place issue didn’t set a record, but it was the second-highest total for issues at that rank since 1996, with more than 4,800 copies sold. We’ve also now gone a full year where all first place issues each month topped 100,000 copies. So we are, as they say on CNBC, well “off the lows” for the decade.

Again, the Diamond Exclusive Era records are exactly that — they don’t take into account the mammoth sales of the early 1990s, the Golden Age, or anything earlier than 1997.

The aggregate totals for the month:

TOP 300 COMICS UNIT SALES

May 2012: 7.3 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: +42%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -6%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +27%
Versus 15 years ago this month: -8%
YEAR TO DATE: 31.29 million copies, +20% vs. 2011, -11% vs. 2007, +13% vs. 2002, -27% vs. 1997

ALL COMICS UNIT SALES
May 2012 versus one year ago this month: +44.24%
YEAR TO DATE: +20.89%

TOP 300 COMICS DOLLAR SALES

May 2012: $25.72 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +44%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +5%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +60%
Versus 15 years ago this month: +36%
YEAR TO DATE: $108.66 million, +20% vs. 2011, -2% vs. 2007, +39% vs. 2002, +8% vs. 1997

ALL COMICS DOLLAR SALES
May 2012 versus one year ago this month: +45.12%
YEAR TO DATE: +21.77%

TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES

May 2012: $8.27 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +47%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -17%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 50 vs. the Top 50: +47%
YEAR TO DATE: $33.16 million, +28% vs. 2011

ALL TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
May 2012 versus one year ago this month: +41.14%
YEAR TO DATE: +16.22%

TOP 300 COMICS + TOP 300 TRADE PAPERBACK DOLLAR SALES

May 2012: $34 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +45%
Versus 5 years ago this month, counting just the Top 100 TPBs: +1%
Versus 10 years ago this month, counting just the Top 25 TPBs: +36%
YEAR TO DATE: $141.83 million, +22% vs. 2011

ALL COMICS AND TRADE PAPERBACK  SALES
May 2012 versus one year ago this month: +43.76%
YEAR TO DATE: +19.95%

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)

May 2012: approximately $44.68 million (subject to revision)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +44%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +9%
YEAR TO DATE: $182.49 million, +20% vs. 2011, +4% vs. 2007

The average price of comics in Diamond’s Top 300 was $3.53 as was the cost of the average comic book retailers ordered. $3.50 was the median price of all comics offered in the Top 300, while the most common price remained $2.99.

The numbers already show it, but there’s increasing anecdotal evidence of a turnaround out there — including this piece in yesterday’s Ventura County Star. The headline alone is of a sort we haven’t seen in the business in a long time. Brian Jacoby from Secret Headquarters in Tallahassee, Fla., also provides a very positive view in the comments thread of this ComicsBeat post. “My subscriber list has grown 20% in the past 9 months, beginning on the strength of the excitement for the New 52, and bolstered by other great launches since, like (Miles Morales as) Ultimate Spider-Man and Saga, and the continued influx of Walking Dead– and Avengers-curious people brought in by other media.” That’s how recoveries have worked in the past: one thing leads to the next.

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