Saturday, March 12, 2016

Star Wars Titles In February Have Lowest Average Sales Per Issue Since License Moved to Marvel

The Comics Chronicles released the February 2016 estimated sales earlier this week.  The main two Star Wars titles took second and seventh place and two of the four issues rose in sales, but the average sale per issue is the lowest it has been since Marvel took over publishing Star Wars comics.

TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Star Wars162110,407107,855+2.37%
Darth Vader16781,14798,405-17.54%
Obi-Wan and Anakin21758,431102,861-43.19%

Last month, we saw the Star Wars title lose over 15,000 units when comparing the issue prior to the Vader Down event and the issue after.  It recovered almost 2,000 units this month.  Also this month, the Darth Vader title lost just under 9,000 units when comparing November's Darth Vader #12, the issue prior to Vader Down, to Darth Vader #16, the issue after the event.  Like the Star Wars title last month, that is a higher loss than the title has been trending.  Overall, Marvel sold more issues with the event than they would have without the event, but at a slight loss to the ongoing sales numbers.  I suspect Marvel is okay with that, because if sales drop too low, they can always use another event or restart the numbering on the titles to recover sales.  To show how weak the comic market was in February, despite these drops, Star Wars #16 ranked second, up from fifth for the previous issue and Darth Vader #16 ranked seventh, up from ninth for the previous issue.

Obi-Wan and Anakin #2 saw a standard second issue drop.  Recall from last month, this mini-series had the lowest debut of the Star Wars mini-series to date.  I expect this has a lot to do with the characters and the upcoming Han Solo mini-series will sell better.  What is not known is how the upcoming The Force Awakens mini-series will sell.  Movie adaptation have traditionally not been strong sellers.  There is an trend with first appearances however that may help, and as long as the ongoing Poe Dameron title set to start in April does not contain more than a few first appearances, there may be some demand for The Force Awakens based on those movie characters who do see their comic book debut in the adaptation.  But, there is also a stigma against comics based on movie properties.  It will be interesting to see how that plays out.

Kanan #11 rose an inconsequential number of units.  Kanan #12 will be the final issue of this title which will be replaced by the Poe Dameron ongoing.

The following table shows the total number of Star Wars units sold per month since January 2015 along with the average number of sales per issue.  Note this chart does not include reprints.

Month/YearTotal Estimated Sales# IssuesAverage Sale per Issue
January 2015985,9761985,976
February 2015526,4513175,484
March 2015596,2994149,075
April 2015537,8124134,453
May 2015324,8353108,278
June 2015396,931499,232
July 2015597,0235119,404
August 2015430,241586,048
September 2015551,8805110,376
October 2015953,2891095,329
November 20151,003,9548125,494
December 2015507,545684,591
January 2016465,698593,139
February 2016288,355472,088

The average sale per issue would rank 11th on the top 300 chart for the month of February which is the same as last month.  The Star Wars titles saw a large decrease in the average sale per issue from last month however.  It is possible March will see another drop in this average due to no new event or a #1 being released.  I do need to point out, that while this is true for pamphlets, this is not the complete picture for Star Wars comic book sales.  The Star Wars trade paperbacks are selling well and reorders are strong.

Please read the blog posting February 2016 comics sales estimates online: Dark Knight III #3 tops 146k copies.

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