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
INDEXDESCRIPTIONPRICEVENDOR
11161.27JUSTICE LEAGUE SUICIDE SQUAD #1$3.99DC
23150.55IVX #1$5.99MAR
32106.93DARK KNIGHT III MASTER RACE #7$5.99DC
47100BATMAN #12$2.99DC
5997.32BATMAN #13$2.99DC
6494.85CIVIL WAR II #8$4.99MAR
71093.87STAR WARS #26$3.99MAR
8588.94STAR WARS DOCTOR APHRA #1$4.99MAR
91180.63HULK #1$3.99MAR
10678.48ALL STAR BATMAN #5$4.99DC
111276.72WALKING DEAD #161$2.99IMA
12874.05JUSTICE LEAGUE SUICIDE SQUAD #2$3.99DC
131672.96INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #2$3.99MAR
141866.12JUSTICE LEAGUE #10$2.99DC
151964.21JUSTICE LEAGUE #11$2.99DC
164863.64HAWKEYE #1$3.99MAR
172259.59DETECTIVE COMICS #946$2.99DC
182358.43DETECTIVE COMICS #947$2.99DC
193858.38GAMORA #1$3.99MAR
202457.88FLASH #12$2.99DC
213057.71AVENGERS #2$3.99MAR
221356.88AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #22 CC$3.99MAR
236456.86GUARDIANS OF GALAXY #15$3.99MAR
242656.38FLASH #13$2.99DC
251455.14STAR WARS DOCTOR APHRA #2$3.99MAR
262754.75SUPERMAN #12$2.99DC
272853.83SUICIDE SQUAD #8 (JL SS)$2.99DC
282953.32SUPERMAN #13$2.99DC
297553.24ROCKET RACCOON #1 NOW$3.99MAR
308152.42NOVA #1 NOW$3.99MAR
311750.38CLONE CONSPIRACY #3$3.99MAR
323449.95WONDER WOMAN #12$2.99DC
333649.01WONDER WOMAN #13$2.99DC
346947.82MIGHTY CAPTAIN MARVEL #0 NOW$3.99MAR
357447.51STAR-LORD #1$3.99MAR
362145.41UNWORTHY THOR #2$3.99MAR
374945.13TRINITY #4$2.99DC
384744.77HARLEY QUINN #9$2.99DC
395244.38NIGHTWING #10$2.99DC
405543.64TITANS #6$2.99DC
415443.43HARLEY QUINN #10$2.99DC
425642.89NIGHTWING #11$2.99DC
434042.63CHAMPIONS #3$3.99MAR
445841.81ACTION COMICS #969$2.99DC
456141.17ACTION COMICS #970$2.99DC
469440.41BLACK PANTHER WORLD OF WAKANDA #2$3.99MAR
476639.6TEEN TITANS #3$2.99DC
483139.44SPIDER-MAN DEADPOOL #12$3.99MAR
496739.17SAGA #41 (MR)$2.99IMA
503238.72AMAZING SPIDER-MAN RENEW YOUR VOWS #2$3.99MAR
517237.92GREEN LANTERNS #12$2.99DC
523337.9OLD MAN LOGAN #15$3.99MAR
532037.51HARLEYS LITTLE BLACK BOOK #5$4.99DC
547637.02HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #10$2.99DC
557736.89GREEN LANTERNS #13$2.99DC
566236.4INFAMOUS IRON MAN #3$3.99MAR
578236.01HAL JORDAN AND THE GREEN LANTERN CORPS #11$2.99DC
583935.91SPIDER-MAN #10$3.99MAR
594135.5DOCTOR STRANGE #15$3.99MAR
604235.18DEADPOOL #23$3.99MAR
614435.12BLACK PANTHER #9$3.99MAR
624534.87STAR WARS POE DAMERON #9$3.99MAR
634634.66CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #8$3.99MAR
646334.65JESSICA JONES #3$3.99MAR
652534.58BATMAN TMNT ADVENTURES #2 [*]$3.99IDW
668634.58GREEN ARROW #12$2.99DC
673534.15VENOM #2$3.99MAR
688933.89AVENGERS #2.1$3.99MAR
695033.78MIGHTY THOR #14$3.99MAR
708733.54GREEN ARROW #13$2.99DC
715333.43UNCANNY X-MEN #16$3.99MAR
7211033.41GHOST RIDER #2$3.99MAR
734333.12DEADPOOL BACK IN BLACK #5$3.99MAR
745132.96REBORN #3$3.99IMA
755732.2SPIDER-MAN #11$3.99MAR
769031.93AQUAMAN #12$2.99DC
775931.67EXTRAORDINARY X-MEN #17$3.99MAR
786031.59THANOS #2$3.99MAR
799331.08AQUAMAN #13$2.99DC
806530.15PUNISHER #7$3.99MAR
818029.84GWENPOOL HOLIDAY SPECIAL MERRY MIX UP$5.99MAR
8213329.7SLAPSTICK #1$3.99MAR
8312529.6OCCUPY AVENGERS #2$3.99MAR
849729.55BATMAN BEYOND #3$2.99DC
859829.5RED HOOD AND THE OUTLAWS #5$2.99DC
869929.2DEATHSTROKE #8$2.99DC
877328.54ALL NEW WOLVERINE #15$3.99MAR
8817628.43MOSAIC #3$3.99MAR
8910228.3DEATHSTROKE #9$2.99DC
903728.11DOCTOR STRANGE PUNISHER MAGIC BULLETS #1$4.99MAR
9110428.09BATGIRL #6$2.99DC
9210627.87SUPERGIRL #4$2.99DC
937827.85UNCANNY AVENGERS #17$3.99MAR
947927.63DAREDEVIL #14$3.99MAR
958326.99UNCANNY AVENGERS #18$3.99MAR
968426.66ALL NEW X-MEN #16$3.99MAR
977026.28WONDER WOMAN 77 BIONIC WOMAN #1$3.99DE
988526.22MOON KNIGHT #9$3.99MAR
9911125.9BATGIRL AND THE BIRDS OF PREY #5$2.99DC
1008825.05SPIDER-GWEN #15$3.99MAR

 

 

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

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