Thursday, May 18, 2017

Rogue One Launches Into Low Orbit In April

The Comics Chronicles released the April 2017 estimated sales last week.  The top selling book on Diamond's Top 300 chart was Marvel's summer event kickoff book, Secret Empire #0.  Five issues sold over 100,000 units, an improvement over only two issues in February and two in March.  The main Star Wars title continues to impress.  Again, in April, it was in the top 10 in 8th place and it remains Marvel's top selling ongoing title.

TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Star Wars30870,17572,017-2.56%
Rogue One11364,518N/AN/A
Darth Maul32354,94960,415-9.05%
Doctor Aphra64740,45842,465-4.73%
Poe Dameron135236,99438,696-4.40%

The main Star Wars title saw a standard downward drift in units sold.  With this title participating in the Screaming Citadel crossover event next month, I expect a decent jump in sales.  This title saw an increase of almost 17,000 units for the Vader Down event back in November 2015.  It is not unreasonable to expect an increase of 10,000 to 15,000 units.

Both Doctor Aphra and Poe Dameron saw a significant slip of around 4.5% in units sold.  These numbers for Doctor Aphra have to be disappointing for Marvel and this is only the sixth issue!  Doctor Aphra will be saved, at least for a while, by the Screaming Citadel crossover event next month.  It will be interesting to see how big of an increase it will receive.  While Poe Dameron #13 is not the lowest selling issue for an ongoing series, it is very close.

The Rogue One adaptation debuted with over 64,500 units sold.  In comparison, The Force Awakens #1 sold over 79,500 units or roughly 15,000 more units.  Regardless, Rogue One still took 13th place on the charts whereas The Force Awakens was in 20th place.

As mentioned for the past few months, Darth Maul is selling roughly the same numbers as the Obi-Wan and Anakin mini-series.  Nothing has changed this month.

Next month, we get the debut of the Screaming Citadel event!

There have been a number of articles in the past month concerning Marvel's lagging sales compared to a year ago.  All of the attention has been on the superhero titles and the causes and remedies needed bring those numbers back up.  It is plain to see that the Star Wars line of comics has also suffered from whatever is ailing Marvel and, to a certain extent, the entire industry, which is why I'm not entirely sure some of the remedies being bandied about are going to really have a long term effect on sales.  Marvel has a new series this summer titled Generations which will lead to them bringing back their classic heroes and original numbering in an event titled Marvel Legacy.  I could be wrong, but to me this feels like more of the same; a Marvel event followed by renumbering a large number of titles in their line, except this time they are going to number the titles to where they would be if they hadn't kept rebooting the numbering over the years.  No doubt this will give Marvel another reason to reboot titles in the future with a new #1.  Naturally, this event will boost Marvel's superhero line, but for how long?

I cannot be the only Star Wars collector who is feeling burnt out on the number of ratio'd variants Marvel publishes for these titles.  Marvel, please stop the ratio'd variants!  Publish variants, but don't limit them and give every fan a chance to buy them.  If you want to sell more books to fans, why make it hard for them to buy your product?  Additionally, at least for the main Star Wars title, the recent Yoda story arc was dull.  To be honest, I also think Doctor Aphra's first story arc was weak, but I know this character has a lot of fans who are willing to give the title a chance.  We need to see a return to some decent stories like the main title had up through the Rebel Jail story.  Everything after that has been lackluster with a few exceptions.

One thing that the Star Wars line has that Marvel's superhero line does not is mini-series.  Marvel has recently said the Star Wars line is the only place the mini-series format sells.  I'm glad to hear this as most of these mini-series have been pretty good.  The Lando, Han Solo, and Darth Maul mini-series are some of the best stories to come out of this era of Star Wars comics.

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
March 2017214,603453,650
April 2017274,262554,852

The average sale per issue of 54,852 would rank 23rd on the top 300 chart for the month of April.  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 April 2017 comics sales estimates: Beyond Marvel's slow start, rest of industry growing.

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