Thursday, March 9, 2017

Darth Maul Has His Revenge in February

The Comics Chronicles released the February 2017 estimated sales on Monday.  The top selling book on Diamonds Top 300 chart was Darth Maul #1, although there is a caveat.  Over 750,000 copies of the $0.25 The Walking Dead #163 were ordered by retailers, but because Diamond does not rank comics that sell for under a dollar, Darth Maul is the top ranking comic in February for units sold.  Marvel's next top selling comic is Star Wars #28 at #8 on the chart.  Only two comics (three if you count The Walking Dead) shipped over 100,000 units.

TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Darth Maul11105,177N/AN/A
Star Wars28874,00272,331+2.31%
Doctor Aphra43343,47548,592-10.53%
Poe Dameron114040,23540,091+0.36%

The main Star Wars title increased unit sales slightly in February.  If you consider the over-shipping by Marvel last month, Star Wars actually saw a bigger increase in units sold to retailers than shown.  Did retailers adjust down orders last month anticipating the 10% overage or was this month a correction?  Regardless, it is nice to see the title holding steady.

Doctor Aphra continues to disappoint with regards to units sold.  It fell another 5,000 units or 10% of last month's sales.  With it's 4th issue, it is only selling approximately 3,000 more units than Poe Dameron #11.  With this being the 3rd month since issue #1, retailers would have adjusted their numbers upwards if they had underestimated sales on this title.  Like last month, Doctor Aphra is only beating the numbers of The Force Awakens 4th issue and that is not good since movie adaptations generally sell poorly.  Did Marvel overestimate the demand for this character?  Or is the direction of the story to blame for the lukewarm sales?  I tend to believe the demand is there for the character and this initial story arc is not exactly what fans were clamoring for.  Marvel is finding out what Dark Horse had learned; Star Wars titles starring the major characters do much better than comics starring original characters.  Marvel will get another chance for readers to sample Doctor Aphra with the upcoming The Screaming Citadel event.

Poe Dameron saw another slight increase this month, making that back to back increases.  Hopefully this title which ties into the newest Star Wars trilogy holds steady and survives until the next installment of the franchise in December.

The first issue of the 5-part Darth Maul mini-series debuted with numbers roughly equivalent to the Obi-Wan and Anakin mini-series.  Expect this title to have a similar trajectory as the series continues.

Marvel's over-shipment program seems to have had minimum effect on Star Wars sales.  I tend to believe retailers adjusted their orders down last month to save money by using the extra copies Marvel sent out to fulfill their subscriptions and rack copies.

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.

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
March 2016355,554571,110
April 2016533,9765106,795
May 2016299,189474,797
June 2016545,833690,972
July 2016359,166571,833
August 2016322,499564,500
September 2016174,420358,140
October 2016339,778567,956
November 2016269,975553,995
December 2016303,886475,972
January 2017161,014353,671
February 2017262,889465,722

The average sale per issue of 65,722 would rank 10th on the top 300 chart for the month of February, a significant increase from last month thanks to the sales of Darth Maul #1.  Star Wars trade paperbacks, reprint titles, and reorders are not accounted for with these numbers.  The Star Wars trade paperbacks are strong sellers.

Take a look at the Star Wars Sales Estimate Chart and please read the blog posting February 2017 comics sales estimates now online.

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