Saturday, November 11, 2017

IDW's Star Wars Adventures Debuts In September

In September, IDW shipped their first Star Wars title to retailers.  This is new territory for Star Wars; having two different publishers in the U.S. publishing comic pamphlets for the franchise.  It is also new territory for my analysis; I decided to analyze the Marvel and IDW titles separately for now.  If you have a preference on if I should analyze them together or separate, please let me know.

Comichron released the September 2017 estimated sales last month and again the Star Wars titles held steady.  The top selling Marvel book was Marvel Legacy #1 in 1st place and the top selling DC issue was Dark Nights Metal #2 in 2nd place and no Star Wars comic placed in the top 10 due mostly to the Dark Nights Metal tie-in books.  The top selling Star Wars comic was Journey to Star Wars Last Jedi - Captain Phasma in 11th place and the main Star Wars title, placing 13th, remained Marvel's top selling ongoing title.  For IDW, Star Wars Adventures double shipped and was their best selling title for the month in 33rd and 73rd place.  The next closest IDW comic, TMNT Ongoing #74, was in 156th place.


TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Captain Phasma11171,339n/an/a
Star Wars361364,89965,943-1.58%
Darth Vader51559,47758,380+1.88%
Star Wars Annual33448,926n/an/a
Captain Phasma23845,90671,339-35.65%
Jedi Republic - Mace Windu25238,84462,543-37.89%
Doctor Aphra125835,47036,472-2.75%
Poe Dameron197531,88733,443-4.65%
Rogue One611022,02522,372-1.55%

As expected, there was little movement on the main Star Wars title.  Darth Vader, Doctor Aphra, and the final issue of the Rogue One mini-series were also little changed.  Like last month, Rogue One fell just outside the top 100 comics for the month.

Captain Phasma debuted to better sales than last month's Jedi Republic - Mace Windu start with a separation of just under 9,000 estimated units.  Captain Phasma has the advantage of being associated with the upcoming Star Wars movie while Mace Windu has the disadvantage of being attached to the frequently maligned prequel trilogy.  Captain Phasma double shipped and the 2nd issue saw a standard drop.  Mace Windu's 2nd issue also saw a standard drop.  Captain Phasma will have the advantage of wrapping up in October when the final two issues of the 4-part mini-series ship, while Mace Windu's 5-part mini-series is shipping monthly.  Mace Windu has not received positive reactions, mostly due to the artwork.

Star Wars Annual #3 only sold an estimated 48,926 units, well below the main Star Wars title's estimated 64,899 units.  August's Doctor Aphra Annual #1 and June's Poe Dameron Annual #1 had sales inline with their ongoing titles' numbers.  Maybe because the main Star Wars title sells better than both those titles by quite a bit, retailers feel comfortable order those annuals closer in numbers to those ongoing titles.

The only significant movement with an ongoing title was with Poe Dameron which fell 4.65%.  Poe Dameron #19 supplanted Poe Dameron #15 as the lowest selling issue in the title.

Next month, the final Jason Aaron Star Wars issue ships and, in November, Kieron Gillen takes over.  His inaugural arc on the title is The Ashes of Jedha which sees the original trilogy heroes interact with the consequences of events from Rogue One.

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
May 2017285,363647,560
June 2017495,588955,065
July 2017326,062746,580
August 2017425,473947,274
September 2017418,023946,447

The average sale per issue of 46,447, the lowest so far, would rank 38th on the top 300 chart for the month of September.  Marvel's Star Wars trade paperbacks, reprints, and reorders are not accounted for with these numbers.  The Star Wars trade paperbacks are strong sellers.


TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Star Wars Adventures13349,184n/an/a
Star Wars Adventures27332,13449,184-34.67%

Star Wars Adventures debuted with numbers that would be considered low for a Marvel Star Wars title, but I imagine for IDW these are strong numbers.  IDW is the fourth largest comic publisher in the U.S. behind Marvel, DC, and Image.  Dark Horse, publisher of Star Wars comics for over 20 years, at one time was the third largest publisher but they were clearly impacted by the loss of the Star Wars license.  Could IDW see significant sales movement up now that they have a license to publish Star Wars comics and possibly challenge Image for third place?

Unfortunately for them, unlike Dark Horse, they are not the only publisher of Star Wars comics and in many fans' opinion, they are not the most significant publisher due to them being confined to all-age comics.  In fact, with the initial issue, there are already fans questioning whether or not these comics are considered canon.  When it comes to big franchises like Star Wars, many fans cannot afford all the published material available and prefer stories in canon over stories that are not.  IDW would be better served creating comics with compelling tales that, while not as sophisticated as a Marvel multi-issue story arc, readily fit into canon.  They should be creating single issue stories along the line of Marvel's single issue stories, but with characters that look like they came from a Star Wars cartoon.  With an anthology title, they have an advantage Marvel does not have, they can tell stories from any era using any character.

It isn't clear if Star Wars Adventures will be the only ongoing Star Wars title that IDW will publish.  There has been an announcement of a Rogue One graphic novel akin to The Force Awakens graphic novel they published in August.  Additionally, a series of one-shots based on the Forces of Destiny sub-brand have been announced.

Month/YearTotal Estimated Sales# IssuesAverage Sale per Issue
September 201781,318240,659

The average sale per issue of 40,659 would rank 50th on the top 300 chart for the month of September.

Take a look at the Star Wars Sales Estimates Charts and please read the blog posting Marvel up 14% year-over-year in September as Legacy #1 tops charts; overall market pares losses.

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