DC Shipped Most, Marvel Sold Most Comics In 2014


The final 2014 sales numbers for comics and graphic novels are in from Diamond Comic Distributors, and the news was good in terms of comparisons to 2013. Overall sales for the industry were up 4.39 percent, with graphic novels up 5.18 percent and periodicals up 4.03 percent.

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As usual, Marvel led the way among all comic book publishers, capturing just over 34 percent of the dollar share and just under 37 percent of the unit share of the overall market. DC was second, with 28.86 percent and 32.47 percent, respectively, while Image gained a bit on the Big Two, finishing with just over 10 percent of the unit share for the year. IDW and Dark Horse were a bit further back, each earning a tad over four percent of all units sold.

While Diamond doesn’t give absolute numbers of individual issues sold, it did give the top 10 in single issues — a list that Marvel dominated, taking nine of the top 10 spots. Here they are:

  1. Amazing Spider-Man #1
  2. Walking Dead #132
  3. Rocket Raccoon #1
  4. Death of Wolverine #1
  5. Death of Wolverine #4
  6. Thor #1
  7. Original Sin #1
  8. Death of Wolverine #2
  9. Death of Wolverine #3
  10. Superior Spider-Man #31

I see a couple of talking points here. The first is that both Walking Dead and Rocket Raccoon were part of Loot Crate promotions, going out to all of the service’s subscribers. For now, copies sold that way “count” the same way as those sold through more traditional means, but it’s hard to blame Marvel or Image for partnering with Loot Crate since there’s virtually no way those comics end up in the top three for the year without those deals.

DC didn’t manage to place a single issue in the year-end top 10 despite shipping 1107 individual issues to Marvel’s 953. Yet Marvel continues to be curiously weak, comparatively speaking, in sales of its collected works, with Image claiming all of the top 10 spots on the graphic novels and trade paperbacks chart (people love Saga and The Walking Dead), save for a single volume of Batman by DC.

This also wasn’t a great year for “event comics,” at least in their traditional sense. An argument could definitely be made that Death of Wolverine was an event, and it sold extremely well. But only the first issue of Original Sin made the list, and there’s no sign of AXIS or DC’s Forever Evil (which started in 2013 but carried into the first half of 2014) at all. Fans and industry watchers always wonder if we’ll reach a point of event fatigue, and perhaps this was the start of that.

Then again, I wouldn’t be stunned to see Secret Wars or Convergence in the top 10 issues for 2015, simply because we comic fans are creatures of habit. Check out Diamond’s full year-end report when you have a chance, and draw your own conclusions.

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