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Diamond Names Top Direct Market Comic Books, Publisher of 2019

Diamond 2019 year images
Credit: DC

Credit: Jim Lee/Scott Williams/Alex Sinclair (DC)

Despite its $9.99 cover price, Detective Comics #1000, the 80th anniversary of Batman’s debut in Detective Comics #27, was the best-selling comic book published in 2019 in terms of units (which of course means it was tops in dollars too), according to Diamond Comic Distributors.

The oversized all-star jam featuring stories from Brian Michael Bendis, Geoff Johns, Paul Dini, Denny O’Neil, Scott Snyder, Neal Adams, Greg Capullo and others was one of three ‘milestone’ celebration titles in the Top 10 that were not new #1s, the others being Spawn #300 (#2) and Marvel Comics #1000 (#7). The seven #1’s (six of which were published by Marvel) were led by Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men #1 relaunch at #3.

The anniversary celebrations and launch and relaunches helped sales of comic books in the Direct Market rise almost 4% in 2019 over 2018, according to Diamond. 

Sales of graphic novels and trade paperbacks declined by 2%, according to the distributor. 

Credit: DC

The Top 10 graphic novel chart was led by the Watchman graphic novel, still going strong after three decades and in 2019 no doubt aided by the debut of the Watchman sequel series on HBO.

Another pair of graphic novel ‘staples’ – the first volumes of Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga and Gerard Way’s The Umbrellas Academy – were the second and third best-selling, respectively. 

Regular market share chart-topper Marvel was of course 2019’s top publisher in the Direct Market, with a 40.20% dollar market share and a 44.72% unit share. 

Credit: Diamond Comic Distributors

DC was the number two publisher with 29.29% dollar market share and a 30.74% unit market share. In addition to the best-selling Detective Comics #1000, its DCeased #1 ranked #5 for the year. The publisher also accounted for five of the Top 10 graphic novels. 

Image Comics was the year’s third largest comic book publisher with an 8.04% dollar market share and a 7.69% unit market share. It had Todd McFarlane’s Spawn #300 in the comic book Top 10 and also four of the Top 10 graphic novels.  


IDW Publishing was the year’s fourth largest publisher with a dollar market share of 3.55% and 3.29% and Dark Horse was fifth with a dollar market share of 3.19% and a unit share of 2.33%.

Credit: Diamond Comic Distributors


So what was John Jackson’s Miller of Comichron‘s takeaways from Diamond’s year-end report?

One thing to remember is Diamond released this report before they released December 2019’s sales charts…

“Implicit in the report is that December 2019’s performance was, as predicted here, an improvement over the moribund and holiday-shortened December 2018 showing,” reports Miller. “December 2019’s orders appear to have been around $39.5 million, up around 5% and finishing a strong quarter year-over-year.”

And in the bigger picture?

“The performance for 2019 represents a return to growth for this subset of the comics shop market, joining 13 other positive years this century including 20012008 and 20122016; two of the down years, 2011 and 2018, were off by just a single percentage point,” explains Miller. “Last year eclipsed not just last year, but the year before; this century only 2014, 2015, and 2016 have seen more dollars worth of merchandise ordered. Orders in 2019 were 25% above those of 2010, 8% higher when adjusted for inflation.”

Check out Comichron for more details.

The 2019 Top 10 Units Comic Book and Graphic Novels charts and 2019 Market Share charts follows. 


2019 TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

RETAIL MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

40.20%

DC COMICS

29.29%

IMAGE COMICS

8.04%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.55%

DARK HORSE COMICS

3.19%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.56%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

2.16%

VIZ MEDIA

1.45%

ONI PRESS INC.

0.61%

TITAN COMICS

0.60%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

8.34%

 

UNIT MARKET SHARE

PUBLISHER

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

44.72%

DC COMICS

30.74%

IMAGE COMICS

7.69%

IDW PUBLISHING

3.29%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.42%

DARK HORSE COMICS

2.33%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

1.88%

VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC

0.55%

VIZ MEDIA

0.55%

ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS

0.54%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

5.30%


2019 TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

DETECTIVE COMICS #1000

$9.99

DC

2

SPAWN #300

$7.99

IMAGE COMICS

3

X-MEN #1

$4.99

MARVEL COMICS

4

BLACK CAT #1

$4.99

MARVEL COMICS

5

DCEASED #1

$3.99

DC

6

ABSOLUTE CARNAGE #1

$7.99

MARVEL COMICS

7

MARVEL COMICS #1000

$9.99

MARVEL COMICS

8

HOUSE OF X #1

$5.99

MARVEL COMICS

9

POWERS OF X #1

$5.99

MARVEL COMICS

10

WAR OF REALMS #1

$5.99

MARVEL COMICS


2019 TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS

RANK

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

WATCHMEN TP

$24.99

DC

2

SAGA VOLUME 1 TP (MR)

$9.99

IMAGE COMICS

3

UMBRELLA ACADEMY VOL. 1: APOCALYPSE SUITE TP

$17.99

DARK HORSE COMICS

4

MONSTRESS VOLUME 1 TP (MR)

$9.99

IMAGE COMICS

5

MISTER MIRACLE TP (MR)

$24.99

DC

6

DIE VOL. 1: FANTASY HEARTBREAKER TP (MR)

$9.99

IMAGE COMICS

7

BATMAN: WHITE KNIGHT TP

$19.99

DC

8

THE WALKING DEAD VOL. 31 TP (MR)

$16.99

IMAGE COMICS

9

BATMAN: THE KILLING JOKE HC

$17.99

DC

10

BATMAN: DAMNED HC (MR)

$29.99

DC

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