The Comics Are All Right: It’s the Top 300 Stupid

During Bill Clinton’s 1992 Presidential campaign, the motto “It’s the economy stupid” become a driving force of the campaign as a reminder to focus on what mattered and not get distracted. Here at “The Comics Are All Right” I’m taking some of that advice leaving opinions and biases at the door in an attempt to suss out what might be going on in the comic book industry. In short, what do the numbers tell?

While much of the blame of 2017’s downturn is focused on Marvel, when you look at the overall numbers, you notice a story of a different sort, blame sits at the feet of the “top 300.”

Via data published on Comichron, I’ve been crunching numbers to see what, if anything, stands out. For this report, I’m going to focus on the last five years of data.

Lets first look at the yearly numbers. From 2013 we see an increase across the board until 2017 where the overall dollars drops to the second lowest amount in five years.

Here’s what stands out between 2016 and 2017’s numbers:

  • Overall Diamond drop $58,660,000
  • “Dollars sales for All Diamond’s Comics” dropped $36,000,000
  • Diamond’s Top 300 Comics dropped $35,870,000

That means dollars earned from what’s not in the top 300 only dropped $130,000.

But, the unit sales tell us an even more interesting story.

Here’s the key takeaways:

  • Unit Sales for All Diamond’s Comics dropped 9,610,000
  • Unit Sales for Diamond’s Top 300 Comic Books dropped 9,610,000

Wait…. what?

Yes, according to the data, the unit sales lost from 2016 to 2017 is solely focused on the top 300. Unit sales not in the top 300 remained the same from 2016 to 2017.

We can see this in the monthly trend below which is the same information of units broken down by month.

While we can see units not in the 300 has dropped in months like overall comics, the trend increases over time.

Maybe it’s not comics overall that are struggling after all?

So, knowing the “top 300” is the problem, the question is, what exactly within the top 300? That’s an exploration for another time.