Sunday, January 15, 2017

COMICS SALES: Dark Horse Comics for December 2016


According to data from Diamond Distributers, and the monthly sales charts compiled ICv2.com and Comichron.com, Dark Horse Comics is America’s fifth largest comic book company in terms of dollar sales.

In December 2016, Diamond moved $45.05 million in comic books, graphic novels, trade paperbacks, and magazines to North American comic book specialty shops. Oregon-based Dark Horse accounted for 3.17 percent of that tally, or about $1.43 million in product.

The company solicited 26 regular comic books for sale to specialty comic book shops, placing 19 (73.1 percent) in the Top 300. That was good for 2.11 percent of the Top 300 slots, even though its best-selling title only landed at No. 112.

Let’s take a look at their titles.


112. SERENITY: NO POWER IN THE ‘VERSE ($3.99)

07/2005: (49) Serenity #1 — 38,507[32,607]
08/2005: (47) Serenity #2 — 47,091[11,383] (-17.8%)
09/2005: (42) Serenity #3 — 52,307 [4,874]  (-2.2%)
-----------------------------------------
03/2008: (26) Serenity: Days #1 — 62,282[4,310] (+16.5%)
04/2008: (32) Serenity: Days #2 — 56,117        (-15.7%)
05/2008: (41) Serenity: Days #3 — 52,413         (-6.6%)
-----------------------------------------
01/2014: (29) Serenity: Leaves #1 — 47,285*[13,343](+15.7%)
02/2014: (42) Serenity: Leaves #2 — 38,630* [6,862](-25.0%)
03/2014: (45) Serenity: Leaves #3 — 37,516* [5,535] (-5.4%)
04/2014: (41) Serenity: Leaves #4 — 42,269  [2,305] (+3.5%)
05/2014: (42) Serenity: Leaves #5 — 42,606          (-4.4%)
06/2014: (43) Serenity: Leaves #6 — 42,069          (-1.3%)
-----------------------------------------
10/2016: ( 73) Serenity: Power #1 — 39,492[11,596] (+21.4%)
11/2016: (113) Serenity: Power #2 — 24,186         (-38.8%)
12/2016: (112) Serenity: Power #3 — 21,364         (-11.7%)


Huh. That’s a mite more of a drop that we usually get on the third issue into a Serenity series. In the past, our Big Damn Heroes™ have found their level a lot quicker than this. Could this mean the bottom is finally falling out of the ‘verse, just as FOX executives have singled they are not avers to Joss Whedon rebooting the franchise? This is a six-issue series. So, this will probably end up finishing at around 18.5k in sales for the final issue. At that point, will Dark Horse see enough profit in launching another series down the road? 

The bracketed numbers, by the way, are re-orders placed after the final cut-off date for initial release. It does seem odd to me that the current series would have dropped so far, so fast, given the high re-order activity on #1. Of course, it's possible #2 also saw re-orders, just less than 3,954 copies, which would have placed it outside Diamond's Top 300 for December.


160. PREDATOR Vs JUDGE DREDD Vs.ALIENS ($3.99)

07/2016: (131) PvJDvA #1 — 17,170
08/2016: (169) PvJDvA #2 — 13,854 (-19.3%)
09/2016:  ---
10/2016:  ---
11/2016:  ---
12/2016: (160) PvJDvA #3 — 13,287  (-4.1%)

Considering the three-month layoff between issues, I’d call that a remarkably minimal drop-off. My question though — were those orders placed with the expectation of a September release? This was not on Dark Horse’s December solicitation form. Can retailers cancel orders placed with a book goes late, if the book is never resolicited? Me, I’d be kind up upset if I placed an order for September and didn’t get the book until December, by which time a good portion of the customers for this title had given up and moved on to other things.


164. ALIENS Vs PREDATOR: LIFE AND DEATH ($3.99)

12/2016: (164) AvP Life & Death #1 — 12,881

A four-issue limited series. This will probably close around 8k in sales, which is okay, I guess, if you can tell an Alien from a Predator.


170. BLACK HAMMER ($3.99)

07/2016: (117) Black Hammer #1 — 19,775*
08/2016: (153) Black Hammer #2 — 16,201 (-18.1%)
09/2016: (152) Black Hammer #3 — 13,656 (-15.7%)
10/2016: (171) Black Hammer #4 — 13,320  (-2.5%)
11/2016: (169) Black Hammer #5 — 12,950  (-2.8%)
12/2016: (170) Black Hammer #6 — 12,352  (-4.6%)

As I’ve said before, it’s never a good sign when attrition accelerates four-to-six issues into a run. That signals to me that just as the retailer figured out how many customers actually want this, a fair number stopped wanting it. And I do think that, in the modern era of decompressed storytelling, it takes most actual readers at least four-to-six issues to decide, “Okay, this isn’t going anywhere.”


171. BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, SEASON 11 ($3.99)

12/2001: (118) BTVS #40 — 16,874
12/2006: ---
12/2011: ( 61) BTVS Season 9 #4 — 31,157
11/2012: ---
11/2013: ---
12/2014: (151) BTVS Season 10 #10 — 16,448
12/2015: (174) BTVS Season 10 #22 — 13,497 (-2.7%)
-----------------------------------------
01/2016: (160) BTVS Season 10 #23 — 13,121 (-2.8%)
02/2016: (157) BTVS Season 10 #24 — 12,852 (-2.1%)
03/2016: (151) BTVS Season 10 #25 — 12,717 (-1.1%)
04/2016: (163) BTVS Season 10 #26 — 12,570 (-1.2%)
05/2016: (157) BTVS Season 10 #27 — 12,475 (-0.8%)
06/2016: (174) BTVS Season 10 #28 — 12,363 (-0.9%)
07/2016: (175) BTVS Season 10 #29 — 12,255 (-0.9%)
08/2016: (180) BTVS Season 10 #30 — 12,119 (-1.1%)
09/2016: ---
10/2016: ---
11/2016: (160) BTVS Season 11 #1 — 14,855 (+22.6%)
12/2016: (171) BTVS Season 11 #2 — 11,982 (-19.3%)

6 months:  -3.1%
1 year:   -11.2%
2 years:  -27.2%
5 years:  -61.5%
10 years:  ---
15 years: -29.0%

As second issues go, that’s not a bad drop. Generally, I don’t bat an eye at much of anything that comes in less than 35 percent. However, the result is not much above where we might image the title would be anyway, had “Season 10” continued at the average 1.3 percent monthly drop of Issues 23-30.



206./214.. ALIENS: DEFIANCE ($3.99)

04/2016: (132) Aliens Defiance #1 — 16,256
05/2016: (179) Aliens Defiance #2 — 11,089 (-31.8%)
06/2016:  ---
07/2016:  ---
08/2016: (197) Aliens Defiance #3 — 10,459  (-5.7%)
08/2016: (199) Aliens Defiance #4 — 10,012  (-4.3%)
09/2016: (186) Aliens Defiance #5 —  9,719  (-2.9%)
10/2016: (201) Aliens Defiance #6 —  9,346  (-3.8%)
11/2016:  ---
12/2016: (206) Aliens Defiance #7 —  8,434  (-9.8%)
12/2016: (214) Aliens Defiance #8 —  8,084  (-4.1%)

An erratic release schedule probably hasn’t helped this one find its level. It’s an ongoing, but I can’t see this lasting to much past #12, at this rate of attrition.


219. ALIENS LIFE AND DEATH ($3.99)

09/2016 (155) Aliens Life&Death #1 — 13,022
10/2016 (203) Aliens Life&Death #2 —  9,206 (-29.3%)
11/2016 (219) Aliens Life&Death #3 —  8,228 (-10.6%)
12/2016 (219) Aliens Life&Death #4 —  7,692  (-6.5%)

Last of a four-issue series. I dare day Dark Horse has bled the hive dry of Aliens spin-offs.


224. SHADOWS ON THE GRAVE ($3.99)

12/2016 (224) Shadows on the Grave #1 — 7,311*

Richard Corben may be an Eisner Award winner, but that doesn’t seem to matter in terms of sales for the “master of supernatural horror,” as Dark Horse described him in the solicitation copy for this issue. This is supposed to be an eight-issue limited series, but, with this kind of a debut, I’d be surprised to see all eight hit the stands as floppies. Dark Horse might bail halfway and go right to the trade.


236. ETHER ($3.99)

11/2016: (179) Ether #1 (of 5) — 11,720
12/2016: (236) Ether #2 (of 5) —  6,246 (-46.7%)

I have zero idea what this one is all about. With a second-issue drop-off that steep, I’m not sure retailers did either. This looks to finish its run outside the Top 300.


241. BRIGG’S LAND ($3.99)

08/2016: (127) Brigg’s Land #1 — 20,228*
09/2016: (189) Brigg’s Land #2 —  9,487* (-53.1%)
10/2016: (225) Brigg’s Land #3 —  7,757  (-18.2%)
11/2016: (247) Brigg’s Land #4 —  6,635  (-12.5%)
12/2016: (241) Brigg’s Land #5 —  5,947  (-10.4%)

I don’t know anything about this title. It appears to be an ongoing series. But not for long at this rate. Those monthly loses are much bigger than is usual, and while the attrition is slowing, the pace has not abated by nearly enough, I’d say, to keep this on stands for long.


244. HARROW COUNTY ($3.99)

05/2015: (160) Harrow County #1 — 11,759
12/2015: (246) Harrow County #8 —  7,721
-------------------------------------
01/2016: ---
02/2016: (212) Harrow County  #9 — 7,279 (-5.7%)
03/2016: (210) Harrow County #10 — 7,307 (+0.4%)
04/2016: (230) Harrow County #11 — 7,080 (-3.1%)
05/2016: (237) Harrow County #12 — 7,041 (-0.6%)
06/2016: (250) Harrow County #13 — 7,039 (-0.0%)
07/2016: (244) Harrow County #14 — 6,942 (-1.4%)
08/2016: (255) Harrow County #15 — 6,800 (-2.0%)
09/2016: (231) Harrow County #16 — 6,550 (-3.7%)
10/2016: (248) Harrow County #17 — 6,377 (-2.6%)
11/2016: (257) Harrow County #18 — 6,118 (-4.1%)
12/2016: (244) Harrow County #19 — 5,896 (-3.6%)


This one seemed to level off pretty nicely, but monthly attrition is picking up of late. That does not bode well. Meanwhile, the collected editions, see below, may not be selling well enough to keep this above water much longer.


245. DEAD INSIDE ($3.99)

12/2016: (245) Dead Inside #1 — 5,834*

A five-issue series. Don’t look for any subsequent issues to list inside the Top 300.


250. WORLD OF TANKS ($3.99)

08/2016: (224) World of Tanks #1 (of 5) — 8,056
09/2016: ---
10/2016: ---
11/2016: (258) World of Tanks #2 (of 5) — 6,115* (-24.1%)
12/2016: (250) World of Tanks #3 (of 5) — 5,645   (-7.7%)

As low as this one started out, it’s bound to finish up outside the Top 300. It thought it might rank outside the running this month, but it held on.  Still, it’ll likely finish with less than 4.5k.


259. RISE OF THE BLACK FLAME ($3.99)

09/2016: (199) Rise of the Black Flame #1 — 8,442
10/2016: (247) Rise of the Black Flame #2 — 6,379 (-24.4%)
11/2016: (271) Rise of the Black Flame #3 — 5,641 (-11.6%)
12/2016: (259) Rise of the Black Flame #4 — 5,261  (-6.7%)

A five-issue limited series. If this was an ongoing series, and if the initial orders were higher (by several orders of magnitude), I’d call this a pretty decent attrition curve. As is, I question if we’ll see the last issue chart inside the Top 300.


264. TARZAN ON THE PLANET OF THE APES ($3.99)

09/2016: (205) Tarzan/Planet of Apes #1 — 7,983
10/2016: (257) Tarzan/Planet of Apes #2 — 5,974 (-25.2%)
11/2016: (276) Tarzan/Planet of Apes #3 — 5,455  (-8.7%)
12/2016: (264) Tarzan/Planet of Apes #4 — 5,188  (-4.9%)

Also a five issue series. Also a decent attrition curve but for the low, low, low initial orders — which is a real surprise given the high concept.


288. DEPT. H ($3.99)

04/2016: (195) Dept. H #1 —  9,319
05/2016: (262) Dept. H #2 —  6,189 (-33.6%)
06/2016: (???) Dept. H #3 — <5,596
07/2016: (270) Dept. H #4 —  5,697
08/2016: (???) Dept. H #5 — <5,497
09/2016: (278) Dept. H #6 —  5,056
10/2016: (???) Dept. H #7 — <4,931
11/2016: (???) Dept. H #8 — <4,799
12/2016: (288) Dept. H #9 —  4,342

It’s kind of hard to calculate monthly drops for this one as it keeps bouncing out and in of the Top 300. It does appear to have experienced an uptick in orders for #4, but has been otherwise on a steady decline, shedding 52.4 percent of its orders from #1 to #9. I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer, but it surprises me that this is still being solicited.



293. WITCHFINDER: CITY OF THE DEAD ($3.99)

08/2016: (278) Witchfinder: City Dead #1 —  6,116
09/2016: (282) Witchfinder: City Dead #2 —  4,845 (-20.8%)
10/2016: (???) Witchfinder: City Dead #3 — <4,931
11/2016: (???) Witchfinder: City Dead #4 — <4,799
12/2016: (293) Witchfinder: City Dead #5 —  4,204

Last issue of a limited series, peeks back into the Top 300. This appears to be a case of the rest of the market declining fast enough to meet its level.


295. TOMB RAIDER 2016 ($3.99)

02/2016: (191) Tomb Raider 2016  #1 —  8,867
03/2016: (239) Tomb Raider 2016  #2 —  6,039
04/2016: (255) Tomb Raider 2016  #3 —  6,075
05/2016: (269) Tomb Raider 2016  #4 —  5,812
06/2016: (???) Tomb Raider 2016  #5 — <5,596
07/2016: (292) Tomb Raider 2016  #6 —  5,199
08/2016: (???) Tomb Raider 2016  #7 — <5,497
09/2016: (285) Tomb Raider 2016  #8 —  4,761
10/2016: (295) Tomb Raider 2016  #9 — <4,931
11/2016: (295) Tomb Raider 2016 #10 — <4,799
12/2016: (295) Tomb Raider 2016 #11 —  4,154

Also peeking in and out of the Top 300. The collected edition of #1-6 sold 828 copies to retailers in its October debut, landing at No. 136 on Diamond’s books chart. If it moved additional copies in November and December, it did not make the Top 300.

----------------

Among titles that charted in November, LADYKILLER 2 #4 was solicited for December, but has yet to come out, so far as I can tell. The same goes for CONAN THE SLAYER #6. Meanwhile, GROO: FREY OF THE GODS #4, the final issue in that series, was solicited for release in October, but just came out Jan. 11.

----------------

Here now, are the comics solicited by Dark Horse for release in December that did not crack the Top 300 in sales, or else, as with those just above, failed to make their intended release dates:

CALL OF DUTY: ZOMBIES #2 (of 6)
CHIMICHANGA: THE SORROW OF THE WORLD’S WORST FACE #3 (of 4)
DARK HORSE PRESENTS #29
RESIDENT ALIEN: THE MAN WITH NO NAME #4 (of 4)
SPELL ON WHEELS #3 (of 5)
THE STRAIN: MISTER QUINLAN, VAMPIRE HUNTER #4 (of 5)
USAGI YOJIMBO #160

--------------

Now, Dark Horse did place eight items on Diamond’s Top 300 for books (i.e. graphic novels, trade paperbacks, and reprint collections). The ones marked with an asterisk (*) below are hardcovers. I’ve also listed one more Comichron took note of, for whatever reason, though it landed WAY outside the Top 300.

 70. BTVS SEASON 10, Vol. 6: OWN IT ($18.99) — 1,363
103. NEW LONE WOLF AND CUB, Vol. 11 ($13.99) — 1,095
109. CONAN OMNIBUS, V.1: BIRTH OF A LEGEND ($24.99) — 1,037
141. BALTIMORE, Vol. 7: EMPTY GRAVES* ($24.99) — 865
169. BLADE OF IMMORTAL OMNIBUS, Vol. 1 ($19.99) — 749
188. ESSENTIAL KURTZMAN, V.2 TRUMP COMPLETE* ($29.99) — 674
209. HARROW COUNTY, Vol. 1: COUNTLESS HAINTS ($14.99) — 613
257. GUN THEORY* ($24.99) — 521
543. BERSERK, Vol. 1: BLACK SWORDSMAN ($14.99) — 254

And below are books Dark Horse solicited for release in December, which did not chart in the Top 300. In some cases, as with Groo, they have not have actually come out yet.

ANGEL CATBIRD, Vol. 2: TO CASTLE CATULA* ($14.99)
BOUNTY, Vol. 1 ($9.99)
THE EC ARCHIVES: VALOR* ($49.99)
EERIE ARCHIVES, Vol. 23* ($49.99)
ERB’s TARZAN, THE JESSE MARCH YEARS OMNIBUS, V.1 ($29.99)
FATE/ZERO, Vol. 4 ($11.99)
GROO: FREY OF THE GODS ($17.99)
HATSUNE MIKU: RIN-CHAN NOW!, Vol. 1 ($10.99)
HE-MAN/MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE: THE COMIC STRIPS* ($29.99)
HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON: THE SERPENT’S HEIR ($10.99)
MASS EFFECT OMNIBUS, Vol. 2 ($24.99)
MOBY DICK* ($24.99)
SABERTOOTH SWORDSMAN, Vol. 1* ($17.99)
TOMB RAIDER ARCHIVES, Vol. 1* ($39.99)
TREKKER: RITES OF PASSAGE ($12.99)
VAMPIRE HUNTER D, Vol. 25: UNDEAD ISLAND ($11.99)
WEIRD DETECTIVE: THE STARS ARE WRONG ($17.99)
WILL SAVE THE GALAXY FOR FOOD ($12.99)


Welp, that’s tat! Got comments, questions, alternate theories, awful things to say about my parentage? Don’t be shy, buddy! Hit the comments button, below!








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