DC tops Marvel in March unit sales

Diamond Distributors has released its March sales data for comic books and related product shipped to North American specialty shops, and DC has bested Marvel for the first time since August, and only the fourth time in the last 12 months, at least in terms of single issues sales.

Because DC continues to hold the line at $2.99 — at least for its bi-weekly books — Marvel still comes out on top in terms of dollar sales, however. Still, this is the first time DC has beat Marvel head-to-head on equal footing, the previous three victories coming from June to August, at the start of DC’s Rebirth event, which garnered stratospheric sales numbers.

According to Comichron.com, in March Diamond shipped $45.79 million in comics, books (defined as graphic novels, archive collects, and trade paperbacks — basically, most anything with a spine), and magazines. That’s down 2 percent from March 2016, and down 3 percent for the first quarter of 2017 versus the first three months of 2016. However, it’s still up whopping 36 percent from where the market was five years ago, and up 37 percent from 2007, just before the start of the Great Recession.

For March, DC commanded 35.46 percent of the total units sold for all printed material, and 28.75 percent of all dollars realized. Of course, by “realized” we mean retail value of items shipped. A lot of this product may well be sitting on retailer shelves still.

Marvel, on the other hand, dropped in behind DC in terms of units, with 34.34 percent of the market, but still managed to nail down 35.41 of the dollars, thanks in large part to Amazing Spider-Man #25, which though it rang in at a colossal $9.99 per issue, still ended up being the top comic of the month.

Here’s some quick charts tracking the past year in terms of DC v. Marvel market share in terms of the total units and dollars, and then again accounting for only the Top 300 comic books sold each month trough February (as we await final March estimates)

Marvel and DC each shipped 92 comics books during March, while DC put out 31 books, verses 39 from Marvel.

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And just for the record, the Top 25 comic books for March 2017, at least in terms of unit volume ordered by North American retailers, were as follows, with sales estimates from ICv2.com (which lists the full Top 300):

  1. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #25 (Marvel, $9.99) — 113,934
  2. DARK KNIGHT III: THE MASTER RACE #8 (DC, $5.99) — 107,892
  3. BATMAN #18 (DC, $2.99) —98,100
  4. BATMAN #19 (DC, $2.99) — 97,501
  5. IRON FIST #1 (Marvel, $3.99) — 89,652
  6. X-MEN PRIME #1 (Marvel, $4.99) — 83,689
  7. STAR WARS #29 (Marvel, $3.99) — 72,107
  8. ALL-STAR BATMAN #8 (DC, $4.99) — 71,809
  9. THE WALKING DEAD #165 (Image, $2.99) — 70,422
  10. JUSTICE LEAGUE #16 (DC, $2.99) — 62,515
  11. JUSTICE LEAGUE #17 (DC, $2.99) — 61,165
  12. X-O: MANOWAR #1 (Valiant, $3.99) — 60,524
  13. STAR WARS: DARTH MAUL #2 (Marvel, $3.99) — 60,415
  14. DETECTIVE COMICS #952 (DC, $2.99) — 59,722
  15. DETECTIVE COMICS #953 (DC, $2.99) — 59,160
  16. SUPERMAN #18 (DC, $2.99) — 57,879
  17. SUPERMAN #19 (DC, $2.99) — 56,439
  18. THE FLASH #18 (DC, $2.99) — 54,959
  19. BATWOMAN #1* (DC, $2.99) — 54,849
  20. THE FLASH #19 (DC, $2.99) — 53,918
  21. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #2* (DC, $2.99) — 53,349
  22. IVX #6 (Marvel, $4.99) — 52,811
  23. SPIDER-MAN/DEADPOOL #15 (Marvel, $3.99) — 50,691
  24. INHUMANS PRIME #1 (Marvel, $4.99) — 50,422
  25. JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #3* (DC, $2.99) — 48,504
    — an asterisk (*) denotes an item that was returnable —

So, there you have it, DC landed 14 of the Top 25 comics, or 56 percent. Not bad. We’ll return later in the week to begin parsing the sales number by DC family group to see how each title is faring.

 

 

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Duke Harrington

A newspaper reporter since 2004, Duke Harrington currently writes for the Kennebunk Post and the South Portland Sentry. He lives in Western Maine with one wife, one dog, two cats, and 19,237 comic books.