May 2020 Comics Sales through Diamond

Projections for Comics Ordered by North American Comics Shops
from Diamond Comic Distributors

This data refers to sales by Diamond. Click to see those from DC's distributors, and for the Overall market.

#1 Most Ordered Issue
#2 Most Ordered Issue
#3 Most Ordered Issue
#4 Most Ordered Issue
#5 Most Ordered Issue

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In response to supply chain and retail disruptions caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, Diamond Comic Distributors announced on March 23 that that no new comics and graphic novels with an on-sale date of April 1 or later would be shipped until further notice. Free Comic Book Day had already been canceled, earlier in March; Diamond's reorder charts also stopped appearing after the March 23-29 edition.

Those would resume at the beginning of May, with Diamond starting to release new comics starting beginning on May 20. In between, something momentous happened: DC announced on April 17 that a limited slate of titles would be available for late April from UCS Comics Distributors and Lunar Distribution, distribution firms that had been set up for the purpose by sister companies to the mail-order retailers Midtown Comics and DCBS (Discount Comic Book Service) respectively. Previous orders through Diamond for those comics were canceled by DC, and retailers were asked to submit new orders.

In addition to the changing volume of new offerings, many comics were made returnable or deeply discounted by their publishers during the month — all of which would have greatly complicated the chart-generation procedures Diamond has employed for decades. Traditional charting under such conditions would have been both more dificult logistically, and less likely to yield clear-cut results. As such, the distributor has yet to release monthly sales charts for May.

In their absence, Comichron has drawn upon a subset of known retail orders both to determine approximate rankings and to project the relative order volumes of comic-book releases. The subset represents a sizable number of copies, but it is not possible at present to know what portion of the overall population of store orders it represents, particularly as many stores were closed, had their accounts on hold, or had not established accounts with DC's distributors. Only periodicals were examined, and order totals are believed to be as of Final Order Cutoff. No statistical adjustments have been made for returnability and no later returns have been subtracted out.

The chart below features every new comic book released by Diamond into the Direct Market in May 2020. Variant editions have been merged into single entries, following longtime industry practice. The release dates are from Diamond; note that many titles had already been released earlier by DC's distributors. (See the DC distributors' May 2020 orders in isolation here.)

The order volumes are expressed in relation to Justice League #45, which has been chosen as the order index issue this month for Diamond and DC's distributors. (There are Justice League issues without cardstock variants in the May and June lists for both Diamond and DC's distributors, so it's a good choice if you're trying to refer between charts.) For every 100 copies of Justice League #45 ordered in the subset, there were 283 copies ordered of Venom #25.

Note that even though the chart below is for Diamond specifically, reliable breakdowns of which DC copies came from Diamond and which from UCS and Lunar cannot be made for the May-June period where sales overlapped. The DC figures reported (all marked with asterisks) are based on the publisher's industrywide sales; the DC sales just for Diamond would be lower.

DC offered one comic book with a two cardstock variants at a different price, the chart-leading DCeased Unkillables #3; its sales have been fused by default below. You can find the component versions at the bottom of the chart. The dollar rankings are based on the totals of the fused entries. The order index for another comic book, Flash #754, appears lower because the issue's card stock variant didn't ship until June 2.

Market shares: The market share charts, seen in the column at left, are of a variety that has long appeared on Comichron: they refer only to the top-selling comics (just the 91 new issues released in May, in this case), with no graphic novels included. Further, they resemble the charts that appeared before 2003 in that the charts look only at initial and same-month orders for new releases; reorders and reprints of previous months' comics are not included.

Again with the caveat that we're looking industrywide, and not just at Diamond, we project DC's unit share of the Top 91 new comics to be 45%, once orders across distributors are combined; its dollar share is 46%. That nearly doubles Marvel's 24% and 25% respectively. Marvel only had five new comics releases out in the month versus DC's 34, so its performance might have been expected to be a lot worse — but three of those releases projected to be in the Top 5 overall, so it got a lot of mileage out of them. (That would not be the case in June, when DC would lead the market shares running away.)

Graphic novels are, as noted, not included in these tabulations; DC had twice the number of new GN releases in the Direct Market out in May, so its market share lead was even larger overall than it was for new comics.

To underscore, graphic novels are not included in these projected shares. Actual market shares would differ considerably.

Other things to remember: The retail order subset represents a sizable number of copies, but it is not possible at present to know what portion of the overall population of store orders it represents, particularly as many stores were closed, had their accounts on hold, or had not established accounts with DC's distributors. For example, Justice League had been seeing Diamond orders of more than 40,000 copies per issue in North America the first quarter of 2020, but we do not advise using that number to extrapolate overall sales for other titles — not until we have a better idea how the market size has changed.

We're sticking with whole numbers until we have a better handle on the margin of error. As such, note that a difference of a single point on the chart may not be meaningful, due to rounding. Projections for issues at the lower extremes are thus subject to more error due to the small quantities involved; while we rank such titles, we usually mark them with "no estimate" for that reason. Projected relative sales levels here are likely most reliable for regular series issues in the middle of the chart: orders for the highest sellers and first issues may tend to show more variation.

Rankings in these charts should also be expected to differ — often significantly — from the sales-to-consumers charts available at other outlets. Those report sell-through and not sell-in, and different retailers are sampled in each, with no known overlap in reporting stores as of the generation of the below charts.

As is the case with all data on Comichron, it is subject to revision without notice in the event more authoritative and complete information about orders becomes available.

—John Jackson Miller

This list includes all items on Diamond's Top 500 chart. If you don't see a book, Diamond released no data for it.
The Order Index by each comic book indicates how many copies were ordered within a known subset of retailer orders for every 100 Justice League #45s that were ordered.
The stats for DC items are based on industrywide totals; Diamond's totals would be lower.
Differently priced variants appear fused together by default near where they'd have ranked if together.
The component variants are sorted to the bottom of the chart by default.
Distributor charts are regional commodity reports, not measures of a work's total reach. Read our FAQ.
Title links below lead to current listings for the issues on eBay. As an eBay Partner, this site may be compensated if you make a purchase.

UnitDollarComic-book TitleIssuePriceOn salePublisherOrder Index
23Amazing Spider-Man43$3.9905/27/20Marvel263
32DCeased Unkillables3 (All)$4.9905/26/20DC224
67Star Wars Doctor Aphra1$3.9905/27/20Marvel136
75Joker Harley Criminal Sanity4 $5.9905/26/20DC133
88Justice League44$3.9905/26/20DC119
99Justice League45$3.9905/26/20DC100
1011Ludocrats1 $3.9905/27/20Image94
1112Wonder Woman755$3.9905/27/20DC94
1213Green Lantern Season 23$3.9905/26/20DC92
1314Mercy2 $3.9905/27/20Image89
1510DC Super Stars17 Facs. Ed.$4.9905/19/20DC78
1616Vengeance of Vampirella7 $3.9905/27/20Dynamite76
1717Daphne Byrne4 $3.9905/19/20DC70
1818Rogue Planet1 $3.9905/27/20Oni69
1919Red Sonja15 $3.9905/27/20Dynamite68
2020Harley Quinn72$3.9905/26/20DC64
2121Basketful of Heads7 $3.9905/19/20DC61
2222Plunge3 $3.9905/26/20DC60
2424Year Zero1 $3.9905/20/20AWA58
2525Unsacred5 $3.9905/20/20Ablaze57
2626Dollhouse Family6 $3.9905/26/20DC56
2727Suicide Squad5$3.9905/26/20DC53
2828Lois Lane10$3.9905/26/20DC53
2929Buffy The Vampire Slayer14 $3.9905/20/20Boom49
3030Justice League Odyssey20$3.9905/26/20DC47
3131Teen Titans41$3.9905/26/20DC46
3232Batman and the Outsiders12$3.9905/19/20DC44
3333He Man and the Masters of the Multiverse6 $3.9905/26/20DC43
3434Low Low Woods5 $3.9905/26/20DC43
3537King of Nowhere2 $3.9905/20/20Boom41
3638Outer Darkness Chew2 $3.9905/27/20Image40
3739Goon10 $3.9905/20/20Albatross39
3941Go Go Power Rangers31 $3.9905/20/20Boom39
4042Batman Beyond43$3.9905/19/20DC38
4244Supermans Pal Jimmy Olsen10 $3.9905/26/20DC37
4335Disaster Inc1 $4.9905/20/20Aftershock34
4445Five Years9$3.9905/20/20Abstract34
4647Frankenstein Undone2 $3.9905/20/20Dark Horse33
4736Batman Giant4$4.9905/19/20DC33
4848Metal Men6$3.9905/26/20DC31
4951Farmhand15 $3.9905/27/20Image27
5052Outcast45 $3.9905/27/20Image27
5153Books of Magic19 $3.9905/19/20DC26
5254Deadly Class44 $3.9905/27/20Image26
5355Alienated3 $3.9905/20/20Boom25
5456Star Wars Adventures Clone Wars1 $3.9905/27/20IDW25
5557Red Hood Outlaw45$3.9905/26/20DC25
5659Doctor Who 13th Season Two4 $3.9905/27/20Titan24
5749Wonder Woman Giant4$4.9905/27/20DC24
5860Savage Dragon248 $3.9905/27/20Image24
5950Dead Day1 $4.9905/20/20Aftershock22
6062Butcher of Paris5 $3.9905/20/20Dark Horse22
6163House of Whispers20 $3.9905/26/20DC21
6265Jim Henson Storyteller Ghosts2 $3.9905/20/20Boom20
6358Flash Giant4$4.9905/26/20DC20
6467Marvel Action Avengers10 $3.9905/27/20IDW20
6568TMNT Urban Legends23 $3.9905/27/20IDW20
6661Our Fighting Forces Giant1$4.9905/26/20DC18
6864Zombie Tramp69 $4.9905/20/20Action Lab17
6970Sera & Royal Stars7$3.9905/27/20Vault16
707120XX4 $3.9905/27/20Image16
7172G.I. Joe6 $3.9905/27/20IDW16
7273Grimm Fairy Tales37 $3.9905/27/20Zenescope16
7374Marvel Action Captain Marvel5 $3.9905/27/20IDW16
7475Red Agent Island of Dr Moreau4 $3.9905/27/20Zenescope16
7566Sherlock Scandal In Belgravia5 $4.9905/27/20Titan16
7676Exorsisters6 $3.9905/27/20Image15
7777Dungeons & Dragons Infernal Tides3 $3.9905/27/20IDW13
7878Belle Oath of Thorns6 $3.9905/27/20Zenescope12
7979Ghosted In L.A.10 $3.9905/20/20Boom12
8080Kill Whitey Donovan5 $3.9905/20/20Dark Horse11
8181Blackwood Mourning After3 $3.9905/20/20Dark Horse10
8282Green Dante Green Virgil One-Shot$4.0005/20/20Aardvark-Vanaheim10
8385Cat Shit Vol. 12 $3.9905/20/20Antarctic8
8486Cosmo Mighty Martian5 $3.9905/20/20Archie7
8587Exciting Comics6 $3.9905/20/20Antarctic7
868321st Centurions2$5.9505/20/20AC5
8788Storm Kids Monica Bleue Werewolf Story5 $3.9905/27/20Storm King5
8884Betty & Veronica Jumbo Comics Digest282$7.9905/20/20Archieno est.
8989Gold Digger272$3.9905/20/20Antarcticno est.
9090Killswitch4 $3.9905/20/20Action Labno est.
9191V Card4 $3.9905/20/20Antarcticno est.
n.a.n.a.DCeased Unkillables3 Card Stock$5.9905/26/20DC124
n.a.n.a.DCeased Unkillables3 $4.9905/26/20DC100

May 2020 Graphic Novel Sales to Comics Shops

Diamond did not release monthly totals of its graphic novel sales, but it is known that the number of graphic novels released to the Direct Market grew significantly in May. At least 132 new graphic novels were released, which was well over number of new comic books released. That disjoint would grow further in June; book distributors had not paused during the initial Coronavirus outbreak, leading to a bottleneck of graphic novels shipping to the Direct Market during the spring.

The Batman: Last Knight on Earth hardcover, released May 20 at Diamond, is a good bet to have been the top ordered new graphic novel in May.

Some more information about Diamond's graphic novel sales during the month can be found in its reorders, recorded here.