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Thursday, September 14, 2017 

Sales this autumn were at least a quarter less than last year's

Bleeding Cool looked at Diamond charts and found that this year's sales for August were less than last's:
Diamond has released their sales statistics for August 2017 for products sold in the North American direct market. And it makes a worrying read.

August was a five-Wednesday month. Five weeks of new product rather than four. Usually that means the dollars spent on comics and graphic novels for that month is around 20% higher than a four-week month. But August was only up 10% on July, which is not good. And from August 2016, also a five-week month? Down 25% — that’s a whole quarter less spent on comics in the direct market in a comparable timeframe.

This is a game-changing drop; sales have fallen over a cliff. Overall, year on year, that’s almost 7% down on 2016 at the same time. July’s figure was 3% down. Things are getting worse, not better. 2017 looks like it may be an annus horribilus for the comic book direct market.
Well, they could always try to abandon the pamphlet format, for example, and turn to paperbacks instead, rather than spend so much on two formats simultaneously. And sites like BC could even write op-eds urging that too (can't say I've seen them do that, unfortunately). But alas, they keep on with ambiguous directions, putting their love of the medium in serious doubt.

Since we're on the subject, Inverse, on the other hand, tried to sugarcoat this news by claiming Marvel's transformation of Steve Rogers into a nazi "sold shocking well". Ugh! Here's what they're blabbering:
In a time when American fascism looks less like a dystopian trope and more like a plausible reality, comic book fans were mighty uncomfortable when Captain America became a puppet for the evil Nazi-esque occultists known as Hydra. Still, something about Marvel’s Secret Empire, written by Nick Spencer, clearly worked, because Secret Empire issues eight, nine, and ten landed in the Top 10 selling comics of August this year, based on new reports from Diamond Comic Distributors. [...]

However, there are a lot of caveats and asterisks to Marvel’s success with Secret Empire. As some experts have pointed out, Marvel has a vast market share over its competitors, and Marvel still lost DC for the tippy-top number one spot. (Dark Knights: Metal #1 was the absolute best-selling comic of last month.) Still, it is telling that in spite of harsh reviews and lethargic apathy towards Secret Empire, Marvel still managed to sell a lot of issues of a fascist Captain America.
The Diamond reports are difficult to figure out easily. The ICV2 charts give clearer information, and show that the miniseries' last parts sold well below 100,000 copies, and you can be sure that was largely at store level, not units sold to consumers. It's a disgrace they're sugarcoating the topic, to say nothing of being so fuzzy about the exact picture. Being in the top ten these days is more like moldy cheese being on the top shelf of the refridgerator.

That's the reality Inverse's writers sadly won't acknowledge, and they're clearly in the tank for the Marvel editors' direction with Cap, otherwise, they wouldn't have gone out of their way to fawn over such an alienating storyline that was only written as a publicity stunt so they could get attention for all the wrong reasons. Inverse is decidedly one of the crummiest sites of their kind. Secret Empire is nothing more than the kind of crossover that's precipitating the demise of superhero comicdom.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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