Saturday, March 17, 2018

Thrawn Leaves Wild Space in February

There are currently two publishers of Star Wars comics in the U.S., Marvel and IDW.  I will analyze the numbers from just Marvel this month since IDW had no offerings.

Comichron released the February 2018 estimated sales earlier this week and only one title, Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt #1 sold more than 100,000 copies.  The main Star Wars title did return to the top 10 list in the 8th position, but considering only an estimated 55,000 units sold places a book in the top 10, this isn't shocking.  Marvel's Legacy initiative continues, but despite the competition, the main Star Wars title remains Marvel's best selling ongoing title.


TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Star Wars43856,04553,710+4.35%
Darth Vader111153,27553,420-0.27%
Darth Vader121749,13453,275-7.77%
Doctor Aphra176030,39830,365+0.11%
Poe Dameron248624,93725,379-1.74%

The main Star Wars title saw an increase after double shipping last month.  It is easy to see why Marvel continues to double ship; the individual issues sales decline a little during the month the title double ships, but rebound the following month.  This month, the Darth Vader title double shipped and the title dipped.  I expect the sales to rebound next month.

Doctor Aphra and Poe Dameron are little changed from last month.  Next month, Poe Dameron #26 catches up to the events of The Force Awakens, so expect an uptick in sales for that issue.

The first issue of the Thrawn mini-series came out with the lowest sales yet for the first issue of a modern Star Wars mini-series, selling less than Jedi Republic - Mace Windu's 62,543 estimated unit sales debut.  There are a few factors working against the Thrawn mini-series: it is not an original story but is based on a 2017 novel by Timothy Zahn, the character is not from a live-action Star Wars movie, and comic sales are weak.  Thrawn was introduced in Timothy Zahn's Heir to the Empire novel way back in 1991.  This novel was the first of three that make up the Thrawn Trilogy and, along with Dark Horse's Dark Empire mini-series, kicked off the Expanded Universe.  The character is quite popular and the decision was made to re-introduce Thrawn in current canon during the first episode of Star Wars Rebels season three.

Part of the problem with comparing Thrawn to previous mini-series arises from the fact that comic sales overall are down considerably.  Even though Thrawn has the lowest debut of a Star Wars mini-series, it still ranked 13th on the monthly chart, meaning only 12 other titles sold better initially in February!  This needs to be considered in the comparison.  Mace Windu #1 was released only 6 months prior, but even Star Wars #34 from 6 months ago sold an estimated 66,628 initial units and was ranked 9th for the month of August.  Compared that to Star Wars #43 which sold over 10,000 units less but is ranked 8th.

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
October 2017299,174742,739
November 2017330,496747,214
December 2017252,923742,153
January 2018263,320643,887
February 2018266,084644,347

The average sale per issue of 43,887 would rank 22nd on the top 300 chart for the month of February.  Marvel's Star Wars trade paperbacks, reprints, 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 Estimates Charts and please read the blog posting February 2018 comics sales estimates online; Wild Hunt's 101k lowest for bestseller since 2011 .

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