A Indepth Look At How Overships Distorted Marvel Comics’ Numbers For December 2016

Posted by January 13, 2017 Comment

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Bleeding Cool has been covering the increase in overships from Marvel to comic stores in depth of late. Ostensibly, they encourage retailers to find the actual instore demand for Marvel titles, if Marvel think that the books may have been underordered. The idea goes that if more customers can buy them, then maybe they will want to buy future issues as well. It also allows retailers to run promotions, encourage sampling of comics, or even run giveaways. And because adding a few extra thousand onto a printrun is a relatively inexpensive action, everyone should win.

It also has the side benefit of Diamond Comic Distributors counting overshipped comics as unit sales (though not dollar sales. as they are free).

Here are examples of one store’s experience from the top fifty comics chart that we ran earlier.

  • #7 Star Wars #26 – 50% overship
  • #9 Hulk #1 – 50% overship
  • #13 Invincible Iron Man #2 – Overship to match to order for #1
  • #16 Hawkeye #1 – 100% overship
  • #19 Gamora #1 – 100% overship
  • #21 Avengers #2 – Overship to match to order of #1
  • #23 Guardians of the Galaxy #15 – 100% overship
  • #29 Rocket Raccoon #1 – 100% overship
  • #30 Nova #1 – 100% overship
  • #34 Mighty Captain Marvel #0 – 100% overship
  • #35 Star Lord #1 – 100% overship
  • #43 Champions #3 – Overship to match order to #2

And looking at the Top 100 table below you can see the difference this makes. We have bolded the Marvel titles that show the greatest disparity between sales position and expected dollar position.

What this means is that even though Marvel’s comics generally cost more than DC’s comics – around a third more – and they have greater reported unit sales across the board, the gap between Marvel’s dollar share and DC’s dollar share is lesser. Without the free overships, with the higher prices, Marvel traditionally have enjoyed a greater dollar share difference.

Indeed, if you were to remove overships entirely, it looks like DC Comics would have a higher unit sales marketshare than Marvel. And far fewer titles in the top fifty.

But that might not take into account another promotion Marvel runs with many launch titles, giving greater discounts if retailers increase their orders, compared to previous orders.

We have the top hundred below – and have bolded the titles with the greatest disparity comparing their unit sales and dollar sales, taking into account the retail price of the comic. Some like IVX #1 benefitted from those discounts. But most are down to free overships. And the greatest disparate figures when both happen at once.

The natural state of things would see, say, Teen Titans #3 at $2.99 be in 47th place for sales and 66th place for dollars raised, while just below it in 48th place for sales is Spider-Man/Deadpool #12 at $3.99 at 31st place for dollars. That makes sense, yes?

But what can only be explained by free overships is the likes of Flash #13 at $2.99. 34th place on the unit sales chart and 26th place on the dollar amount. Makes sense. But Guardians Of The Galaxy #15 at $3.99 above Flash at 23rd on the unit sales chart and 64th on the dollar sales despite costing 1/3 more. Take out the overships and factor for the $3.99 price and the unit sales would see it much further down the chart. It might not even be in the Top 100.

While Hawkeye #1 got both. First, stores who exceeded 125% of their numbers for All-New Wolverine #12 got a 15% discount on their order, reducing the dollar ranking. And then Marvel sent double the ordered numbers, upping the unit sales ranking.

Which is how it made the top twenty in unit sales at 16th place, but despite having a $3.99 price only scored 48th place in the dollar chart.

While at 17th place on the unit chart was Detective Comics #946 at only $2.99, and at 22nd place on the dollar chart.

Bleeding Cool continues to call for the Diamond unit share charts not to count overships, just as it doesn’t count comics priced below a dollar, how it reduces the reported amount for comics made returnable and how it refused to count the Cowboys & Aliens graphic novel sales that Platinum Studios paid stores to order back in the day. Marvel’s overships do have valid marketing reasons, and should be encouraged, but not when it comes to distorting the charts of what comic stores actually order. It gives the impression that Marvel is doing this just to game the charts and look better for Marvel Comics in the civil war between Marvel Films and the rest of Marvelat Disney, and the e-mails between different departments and Disney highlighting poor performance of the other departments. And yes, that does happen.

Diamond should take itself out of that fight.

UNIT
SALES
DOLLAR
SALES
INDEX DESCRIPTION PRICE VENDOR
1 1 161.27 JUSTICE LEAGUE SUICIDE SQUAD #1 $3.99 DC
2 3 150.55 IVX #1 $5.99 MAR
3 2 106.93 DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #7 $5.99 DC
4 7 100 BATMAN #12 $2.99 DC
5 9 97.32 BATMAN #13 $2.99 DC
6 4 94.85 CIVIL WAR II #8 $4.99 MAR
7 10 93.87 STAR WARS #26 $3.99 MAR
8 5 88.94 STAR WARS DOCTOR APHRA #1 $4.99 MAR
9 11 80.63 HULK #1 $3.99 MAR
10 6 78.48 ALL STAR BATMAN #5 $4.99 DC
11 12 76.72 WALKING DEAD #161 $2.99 IMA
12 8 74.05 JUSTICE LEAGUE SUICIDE SQUAD #2 $3.99 DC
13 16 72.96 INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #2 $3.99 MAR
14 18 66.12 JUSTICE LEAGUE #10 $2.99 DC
15 19 64.21 JUSTICE LEAGUE #11 $2.99 DC
16 48 63.64 HAWKEYE #1 $3.99 MAR
17 22 59.59 DETECTIVE COMICS #946 $2.99 DC
18 23 58.43 DETECTIVE COMICS #947 $2.99 DC
19 38 58.38 GAMORA #1 $3.99 MAR
20 24 57.88 FLASH #12 $2.99 DC
21 30 57.71 AVENGERS #2 $3.99 MAR
22 13 56.88 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #22 CC $3.99 MAR
23 64 56.86 GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #15 $3.99 MAR
24 26 56.38 FLASH #13 $2.99 DC
25 14 55.14 STAR WARS DOCTOR APHRA #2 $3.99 MAR
26 27 54.75 SUPERMAN #12 $2.99 DC
27 28 53.83 SUICIDE SQUAD #8 (JL SS) $2.99 DC
28 29 53.32 SUPERMAN #13 $2.99 DC
29 75 53.24 ROCKET RACCOON #1 NOW $3.99 MAR
30 81 52.42 NOVA #1 NOW $3.99 MAR
31 17 50.38 CLONE CONSPIRACY #3 $3.99 MAR
32 34 49.95 WONDER WOMAN #12 $2.99 DC
33 36 49.01 WONDER WOMAN #13 $2.99 DC
34 69 47.82 MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #0 NOW $3.99 MAR
35 74 47.51 STAR-LORD #1 $3.99 MAR
36 21 45.41 UNWORTHY THOR #2 $3.99 MAR
37 49 45.13 TRINITY #4 $2.99 DC
38 47 44.77 HARLEY QUINN #9 $2.99 DC
39 52 44.38 NIGHTWING #10 $2.99 DC
40 55 43.64 TITANS #6 $2.99 DC
41 54 43.43 HARLEY QUINN #10 $2.99 DC
42 56 42.89 NIGHTWING #11 $2.99 DC
43 40 42.63 CHAMPIONS #3 $3.99 MAR
44 58 41.81 ACTION COMICS #969 $2.99 DC
45 61 41.17 ACTION COMICS #970 $2.99 DC
46 94 40.41 BLACK PANTHER WORLD OF WAKANDA #2 $3.99 MAR
47 66 39.6 TEEN TITANS #3 $2.99 DC
48 31 39.44 SPIDER-MAN DEADPOOL #12 $3.99 MAR
49 67 39.17 SAGA #41 (MR) $2.99 IMA
50 32 38.72 AMAZING SPIDER-MAN RENEW YOUR VOWS #2 $3.99 MAR
51 72 37.92 GREEN LANTERNS #12 $2.99 DC
52 33 37.9 OLD MAN LOGAN #15 $3.99 MAR
53 20 37.51 HARLEYS LITTLE BLACK BOOK #5 $4.99 DC
54 76 37.02 HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #10 $2.99 DC
55 77 36.89 GREEN LANTERNS #13 $2.99 DC
56 62 36.4 INFAMOUS IRON MAN #3 $3.99 MAR
57 82 36.01 HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #11 $2.99 DC
58 39 35.91 SPIDER-MAN #10 $3.99 MAR
59 41 35.5 DOCTOR STRANGE #15 $3.99 MAR
60 42 35.18 DEADPOOL #23 $3.99 MAR
61 44 35.12 BLACK PANTHER #9 $3.99 MAR
62 45 34.87 STAR WARS POE DAMERON #9 $3.99 MAR
63 46 34.66 CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #8 $3.99 MAR
64 63 34.65 JESSICA JONES #3 $3.99 MAR
65 25 34.58 BATMAN TMNT ADVENTURES #2 [*] $3.99 IDW
66 86 34.58 GREEN ARROW #12 $2.99 DC
67 35 34.15 VENOM #2 $3.99 MAR
68 89 33.89 AVENGERS #2.1 $3.99 MAR
69 50 33.78 MIGHTY THOR #14 $3.99 MAR
70 87 33.54 GREEN ARROW #13 $2.99 DC
71 53 33.43 UNCANNY X-MEN #16 $3.99 MAR
72 110 33.41 GHOST RIDER #2 $3.99 MAR
73 43 33.12 DEADPOOL BACK IN BLACK #5 $3.99 MAR
74 51 32.96 REBORN #3 $3.99 IMA
75 57 32.2 SPIDER-MAN #11 $3.99 MAR
76 90 31.93 AQUAMAN #12 $2.99 DC
77 59 31.67 EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #17 $3.99 MAR
78 60 31.59 THANOS #2 $3.99 MAR
79 93 31.08 AQUAMAN #13 $2.99 DC
80 65 30.15 PUNISHER #7 $3.99 MAR
81 80 29.84 GWENPOOL HOLIDAY SPECIAL MERRY MIX UP $5.99 MAR
82 133 29.7 SLAPSTICK #1 $3.99 MAR
83 125 29.6 OCCUPY AVENGERS #2 $3.99 MAR
84 97 29.55 BATMAN BEYOND #3 $2.99 DC
85 98 29.5 RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #5 $2.99 DC
86 99 29.2 DEATHSTROKE #8 $2.99 DC
87 73 28.54 ALL NEW WOLVERINE #15 $3.99 MAR
88 176 28.43 MOSAIC #3 $3.99 MAR
89 102 28.3 DEATHSTROKE #9 $2.99 DC
90 37 28.11 DOCTOR STRANGE PUNISHER MAGIC BULLETS #1 $4.99 MAR
91 104 28.09 BATGIRL #6 $2.99 DC
92 106 27.87 SUPERGIRL #4 $2.99 DC
93 78 27.85 UNCANNY AVENGERS #17 $3.99 MAR
94 79 27.63 DAREDEVIL #14 $3.99 MAR
95 83 26.99 UNCANNY AVENGERS #18 $3.99 MAR
96 84 26.66 ALL NEW X-MEN #16 $3.99 MAR
97 70 26.28 WONDER WOMAN 77 BIONIC WOMAN #1 $3.99 DE
98 85 26.22 MOON KNIGHT #9 $3.99 MAR
99 111 25.9 BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #5 $2.99 DC
100 88 25.05 SPIDER-GWEN #15 $3.99 MAR

 

 

(Last Updated January 18, 2017 5:16 pm )