Marvel Dominates 2015 Comic Sales with Help From Star Wars

Posted by at 9:24 am on December 29, 2015

Star Wars 8 CoverMarvel dominates the top 10 best-seller list for 2015’s comic books, thanks to Disney sibling ‘Star Wars.’Compared with last year’s list, Marvel Entertainment might have misgivings about the list of the best-selling comic books of 2015. For one thing, it “only” has seven slots on the top 10, compared with nine in 2014; for another, more than half of those titles come from a licensed property, instead of its own Marvel Universe.

The comparison is somewhat misleading, however; it should be noted that all 10 of 2015’s best-selling titles outsell five of last year’s top 10, with six of this year’s list outselling all but one of last year’s. Overall, sales were up compared with last year — around 5.5 percent — thanks to a number of new high-sellers offsetting a general drop in sales at the lower end of the market, something which is itself in part due to a number of titles being included in alternate outlets such as Lootcrate and Marvel’s Collector Corps in addition to specialist comic book stores.

Here, with sales estimates from John Jackson Miller’s ComicChron website, are the top 10 comic books of January through November, 2015 (December’s sales data will not be released until mid-January):

Star Wars No. 1 (985,976) (Marvel Entertainment) January
Secret Wars No. 1 (527,678) (Marvel Entertainment) May
Bravest Warriors: Tales From The Holo John No. 1 (502,737) (BOOM! Studios) May
Orphan Black No. 1 (497,002) (IDW Publishing) February
Dark Knight III: The Master Race No. 1 (440,243) (DC Entertainment) November
Star Wars: Vader Down No. 1 (384,969) (Marvel Entertainment) November
Invincible Iron Man No. 1 (279,514) (Marvel Entertainment) October
Darth Vader No. 1 (264,399) (Marvel Entertainment) February
Spider-Gwen No. 1 (254,074) (Marvel Entertainment) February
Princess Leia No. 1 (253,655) (Marvel Entertainment) March

The big success of the year, of course, was also Marvel’s: the Star Wars comic book relaunch didn’t just result in the top-selling book of the year, but a new consistent best-seller for the publisher. Unusually, orders for the core Star Wars series stayed above 200,000 for four months, with multiple spinoff titles maintaining a similar sales velocity in the first half of the year. While retailer orders began to slow towards the end of the year — somewhat counterintuitively, given the December release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, although budgets were likely stretched with Marvel’s line-wide All-New, All-Different Marvel relaunch also taking place during the period — the launch issue of Marvel’s first Star Wars crossover event, Star Wars: Vader Down, were high enough to warrant a late entry into the top 10.

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