July 2014 Best Month for Comic Books in Recorded History

July 2014 Best Month for Comic Books in Recorded History

Comic book readers bought $53 million worth of product in July 2014.

You might not think it considering their important role in pop and nerd culture, but comic books usually aren't big sellers. There are successful comics, to be sure, but when you look at a movie like Guardians of the Galaxy which was seen by millions and raked in millions, it might come as a surprise to learn that the latest issue of Rocket Raccoon is considered a big success for selling a mere 300,000 copies.

That in mind, you might also be amazed to discover that this same issue of Rocket Raccoon was the best selling book of July, a month that industry monitors are now calling the most profitable in recorded history. Granted, Diamond Comic Distributors, the company recording these figures, has only been tracking comic sales 1997, which leaves out more than a few years. Even so, you'd be hard pressed to turn you nose up at the $53 million in comic sales the industry raked in last month, riding in part on the strength of books like Rocket Raccoon.

Alongside Rocket Raccoon other popular titles like Batman, Amazing Spider-Man and Spider-Man 2099 also delivered solid sales that helped drive up the month's overall numbers. On the graphic novel front meanwhile, the latest volume of The Walking Dead captured the top spot, something that we feel safe saying probably surprised nobody. Let us know what you read last month and be sure to take a look at July's Comic Collection round-ups to get a peek at the titles we bought.

Source: Blastr

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You might not think it considering their important role in pop and nerd culture, but comic books usually aren't big sellers

actually no....this doesn't surprise me at all....comics have a slightly higher barrier of entry than most other media do

I didn't even know people still read comics less than 4 years ago....

The interesting thing to see now will be how much of that readership will still be following Rocket Raccoon in 2 years. My guess is significantly less than half. But even if it's just a fraction it would be an impressive long term bump in profile.

*clears throat* You're welcome. I spent probably over half the money I made last month on comics alone.

klaynexas3:
*clears throat* You're welcome. I spent probably over half the money I made last month on comics alone.

last friday I went out to get a DVD on my lunchbreak...and decided to scoot over to the comicbook store where I bought $70 worth of comics

then I went to another store and bought denaryes from Game of thrones and an Ironman bust...

....then today I spent $40 on old sci fi paperbacks....because I liked the covers...

wait there still doing spider-man 2099? when did that come back?

This reminds me, I need to renew my subscription soon.

This is cool to hear regardless. I'll wager that all the movies coming out are helping these along. Now to go state the obvious elsewhere!

Glad to see the Avatar comic at #2 on the graphic novels chart.

I am sceptical regarding the headline's claim since comics sold almost double the recorded Rocket Racoon sales in the 90's AND let's not forget that MacFarlane's Spider-man, Jim Lee's X-men and Liefeld's X-force all had first issues that sold in excess of a million copies each.

It may be right though since there are more companies with more titles these days so the total number may be higher even though individual titles sold a fraction of what they did back then.

StewShearer:
July 2014 Best Month for Comic Books in Recorded History

Are we uncertain about the number of comic book sales in pre-historic times? :D

I don't really think that qualifier is necessary!

Anyhow, that's kind of cool, and I can't help but wonder how much of aneffect the recent Marvel movies and shows like the Big Bang Theory have had in increasing comic readership.

Hyperstorm:
I am sceptical regarding the headline's claim since comics sold almost double the recorded Rocket Racoon sales in the 90's AND let's not forget that MacFarlane's Spider-man, Jim Lee's X-men and Liefeld's X-force all had first issues that sold in excess of a million copies each.

It may be right though since there are more companies with more titles these days so the total number may be higher even though individual titles sold a fraction of what they did back then.

I don't think anyonmes disputing this....they didn't call it the comicbook crash of the 90's for no reason

Dimitriov:

Are we uncertain about the number of comic book sales in pre-historic times? :D

I don't really think that qualifier is necessary!

I think "Bisons on a cave wall" held the record for some time...

Anyhow, that's kind of cool, and I can't help but wonder how much of aneffect the recent Marvel movies and shows like the Big Bang Theory have had in increasing comic readership.

I imagine it helps some...but I still can't imagine that many casual movie goers picking up a comic, I thourght of it in terms of "could your mum do it?"

The thing that actually surprises me about it is that they printed 300,000 copies of the comic to sell... unless of course this is including digital which makes it less surprising.

That said, with all the movies, and growing awareness, it doesn't shock me that the movie success is trickling down to the various books. The big question in terms of prolonged success is if the comics industry can avoid it's previous mistakes such as underprinting issues so people following the comic eventually get tired of missing parts of it, stop buying it, which leads to smaller print runs until it dies.. etc.. What's more given the amount of space needed to seriously carry comics another big question is whether or not we'll see enough specialty shops (or regular stores dedicating the needed space) appearing to feed, and/or encourage the demand.

Skottie Young deserves it. His art is fantastic, especially when he gets to do it in his own style. His run on the Wizard of Oz with Eric Shanower remains a favourite of mine.

200,000 - 250,000 copies of Rocket Racoon issue 1 were sold to Loot Crate (http://www.lootcrate.com/)

So that's the reason for the surprisingly high numbers.

There was a bit of a flap about it in comic circles with some claiming they were given away free to Loot Crate for promotional use and shouldn't be counted in sales numbers.

Still August's numbers will get the distinction of having one of the highest ever issue to issue drops.

Therumancer:
The thing that actually surprises me about it is that they printed 300,000 copies of the comic to sell... unless of course this is including digital which makes it less surprising.

That said, with all the movies, and growing awareness, it doesn't shock me that the movie success is trickling down to the various books. The big question in terms of prolonged success is if the comics industry can avoid it's previous mistakes such as underprinting issues so people following the comic eventually get tired of missing parts of it, stop buying it, which leads to smaller print runs until it dies.. etc.. What's more given the amount of space needed to seriously carry comics another big question is whether or not we'll see enough specialty shops (or regular stores dedicating the needed space) appearing to feed, and/or encourage the demand.

This is physical copies only and over 200,000 copies were sold to 1 customer Loot Crate months before it was printed so that's why it's print run was higher than normal.

Dimitriov:

StewShearer:
July 2014 Best Month for Comic Books in Recorded History

Are we uncertain about the number of comic book sales in pre-historic times? :D

I don't really think that qualifier is necessary!

Anyhow, that's kind of cool, and I can't help but wonder how much of aneffect the recent Marvel movies and shows like the Big Bang Theory have had in increasing comic readership.

Hahaha. I dropped it in there just because Diamond's records only extend back to 1997 and there was a period in a ways before now where comics sold like crazy.

kat-pottz:
wait there still doing spider-man 2099? when did that come back?

Issue #1 came out last month. He got "stuck" in the modern day several months back, and now he's got his own ongoing. 1st issue was fairly solid. It's still somewhat related to his 90's book, as Liz Osbourne and Tiberius Stone have founded what will eventually go on to become Alchemax.

youji itami:

There was a bit of a flap about it in comic circles with some claiming they were given away free to Loot Crate for promotional use and shouldn't be counted in sales numbers.

I can see the argument, buying them in such massive bulk would make it so they got each individual issue for practically nothing.

Vault101:

klaynexas3:
*clears throat* You're welcome. I spent probably over half the money I made last month on comics alone.

last friday I went out to get a DVD on my lunchbreak...and decided to scoot over to the comicbook store where I bought $70 worth of comics

then I went to another store and bought denaryes from Game of thrones and an Ironman bust...

....then today I spent $40 on old sci fi paperbacks....because I liked the covers...

Comics get expensive quick, one of my biggest issues with the medium. It wouldn't be such a bigger deal if every series wasn't stitched together from every possible angle with tie-ins, forcing you to buy outside you usual pulls if you want the "full" story.

Still always good to hear success from something I've enjoyed for for years but I have to admit it would be really strange to see comics get true mainstream success, I really don't see it happening.

Oh man, I want to read that new Rocket Raccoon comic so badly. Almost makes me reconsider only buying trades, almost.

But no, I'll be patient. I hope we'll get to see the first Rocket Raccoon trade this year.

Right Hook:
Comics get expensive quick, one of my biggest issues with the medium. It wouldn't be such a bigger deal if every series wasn't stitched together from every possible angle with tie-ins, forcing you to buy outside you usual pulls if you want the "full" story.

Yeah that's the reason why I go for trades. I decided to get into the New 52 Batman comics because I really liked the art of it, and I found out soon that they have bits and bobs of the story all over the freakin' Bat-family. But if you're patient they usually publish a trade, like Batman: Night of the Owls, that neatly picks all the bits from all the different comic lines and puts them in one book. Saves so much money.

youji itami:
200,000 - 250,000 copies of Rocket Racoon issue 1 were sold to Loot Crate (http://www.lootcrate.com/)

So that's the reason for the surprisingly high numbers.

There was a bit of a flap about it in comic circles with some claiming they were given away free to Loot Crate for promotional use and shouldn't be counted in sales numbers.

Still August's numbers will get the distinction of having one of the highest ever issue to issue drops.

I heard Loot Crate only bought 100,000 issues, but your numbers could be more accurate the site doesn't really say.

Regardless I hope RR sells well this month as well and continues to do so. Its a solid comic with good writing/art (since when could Young write?) and its nice seeing Cosmic Marvel get more attention.

Now if only we can get someone other than Bendis on the current GOTG run, then we'll be getting somewhere.

Cowabungaa:
Oh man, I want to read that new Rocket Raccoon comic so badly. Almost makes me reconsider only buying trades, almost.

But no, I'll be patient. I hope we'll get to see the first Rocket Raccoon trade this year.

Right Hook:
Comics get expensive quick, one of my biggest issues with the medium. It wouldn't be such a bigger deal if every series wasn't stitched together from every possible angle with tie-ins, forcing you to buy outside you usual pulls if you want the "full" story.

Yeah that's the reason why I go for trades. I decided to get into the New 52 Batman comics because I really liked the art of it, and I found out soon that they have bits and bobs of the story all over the freakin' Bat-family. But if you're patient they usually publish a trade, like Batman: Night of the Owls, that neatly picks all the bits from all the different comic lines and puts them in one book. Saves so much money.

Yea, but sometimes its good to vote with your dollar. The individual issue sales will pop up sooner than the trade sales. Its also what is being used to judge whether a series will get cancelled or not.

guise709:
Yea, but sometimes its good to vote with your dollar. The individual issue sales will pop up sooner than the trade sales. Its also what is being used to judge whether a series will get cancelled or not.

Understandable, but I don't have that much disposable income, so I have to make a hard choice in that part.

I also want my comics to be a bit more sturdy and individual issues are way too flimsy for my taste. I'm not exactly graceful, so to speak. I'll lose 'em, I'll tear 'em, whathaveyou. My trades are already at risk, so I ain't taking more chances.

That's something of a fallacious statement.
Yes, it's made more money than anything since 97, but the early-90s industry was by far its peak of profitability.
Granted it was completely unsustainable, but still.

StewShearer:
You might not think it considering their important role in pop and nerd culture, but comic books usually aren't big sellers.

I'd believe it. Comic writers don't know how to write comic books anymore, they just write for the trade paperback.

Or to put it another way, "one-off adventures sprinkled with overarching storylines good, four-part mini-series after four-part mini-series bad."

Therumancer:
The thing that actually surprises me about it is that they printed 300,000 copies of the comic to sell... unless of course this is including digital which makes it less surprising.

That said, with all the movies, and growing awareness, it doesn't shock me that the movie success is trickling down to the various books.

The reason this is a surprise is that by and large previous movies haven't really led to sales bumps in associated titles. (And based on the rest of this thread, this bump was due to LootCrate buying a bunch of copies for their subscribers rather than moviegoers specifically going after it) Mostly neither DC nor Marvel has done a terribly good job of converting movie fans into comics fans.

Personally I blame how poorly digital is set up - Marvel has Unlimited, which is great if you have a tablet and know it exists, but they don't do a great job of advertising it and the PC client is pretty bad. DC doesn't have anything similar and buying digital backlogs at $2-$4/issue is not something easy to get into.

I bet if DC and Marvel both sold Unlimited subscriptions and advertised them well they'd see a massive increase in revenue.

 

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