For everyone that’s proclaiming that comics are dying, take a seat to the back there. The guy who actually crunches numbers for a living has the floor now. All of you predicting that we’re all going to comic book hell can calm down now. Because let’s face facts, shall we? A bad February in comics is nothing new. February is lousy for any business. For most retailers, it’s the end of the fiscal year. For comics, it’s the dumping ground. So, outrage merchants, chill out.
I’m only doing the top twenty five for one reason, and one reason alone. Because to prove my point that people are overreacting too much to this February’s numbers… I’ve pulled up the Comichron for the last FIVE years. That Umbrella Guy suggested a one year standard. Larry King suggested we go FIVE. Much like this site and Larry’s least liked wrestler, three ain’t enough. We need FIVE. So, here you are.
This chart is for February 2018, as recorded with the now Comichron 500. Yes, there’s one six figure book. However, the books are strong, in retrospect. Two almost hit the six figure mark if they only could have hit that 100,000 mark. X-Men Red 1 almost pulled it off. But don’t expect X-Men Red 2 to do that, because Tom Taylor is horrible at everything after issue 1.
So, you think this is bad and horrible, right? Not even close, folks. It’s a market trend. Because, let’s drop 2017.
Even though there are two books that are hitting six figures in 2017, from a numbers perspective… This is about on the same track. The numbers are only slightly higher in retrospect, as well. While the lowest book from 2017 to 2018 is about a 5000 book difference, factor in the over ordering phenomenon that started on January 2017 by Marvel. Also, the Star Wars Line was red hot before The Last Jedi killed all the heat.
Three books in the six figures for 2016, however, the books below them follow the same trend. And between the 25th ranked book from 2016 to 2017? Less than 1000 books between them. And still withing that 5000 book gap between 2016 to 2018. Also, the kicker. There’s less shops in 2017. There’s even less in 2018. Less shops pushing the same numbers, reader. However, I’m going to present to you something in statistics that’s always expected. The anomaly.
This was IDW‘s strongest year ever, on paper. Before the financial crisis of Quarter 3 in 2017, IDW had a jump on the competition. In fact, there were seven six figure books in this February showing. However, this is the anomaly effect. Because five of those books are Marvel, to be precise. This was when the over ordering drama began. They started doing the overshipping this year, give or take. As much as people deride Dan Didio, the legit book in that pile was DC with the old stalwart, Batman. And there was another hitch to that impossible to reach number 1 for IDW…
Did you see the dagger? You should have. That’s important to note. IDW was in a promotion with Loot Crate that year. So, when it comes to it, between Loot Crate and Diamond overshipping books… 2015 was not a boom year, either. Without promotions or gimmicks, it would have continued on the same trend, because the last year I’ll bring up…
2014 was the same business we’ve seen every February. There’s about a 6000 book gap between 2014 and 2018 on the number 25 book. All the other books are above 50000, yes. Factor in these final things. There were more stores to distribute product in 2014. If we go by the decline listed by everyone that harps about it, we lose over 20 stores a year. However, let’s go ahead and let out the elephant in the room.
It’s not the bad stories alone that’s killing comic books. They certainly aren’t helping. You do need a good product to sell, and the bad purveyors of stories need to be run out of comics forever. But, you can’t exactly argue that intersectionality is a bad thing if you’ve still got the same archaic business model of doing things. As David himself has said on our show, Diamond is 20 years behind and archaic.
However, before the outrage merchants go hating the players on their channels… How about you look at the real problem. The game itself. As Booker T loved saying, “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” Diamond has run a corrupt game since Marvel botched Hero’s World and had to go back to kiss the ring of Diamond’s Don Corelone.
As far as February goes, find a new horse to beat. This Seabiscuit is innocent.