Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1 Neff Box Exclusive

Neff Headwear started in 2002 as a maker of beanies for snowboarders and skaters.  They have expanded from selling headwear in a single shop in Utah to selling headwear and other apparel in over 45 countries and online.  In December 2016, they offered licensed apparel for Rogue One available in a limited edition box which includes an exclusive cover for Doctor Aphra #1.  This is the only Neff Box offered to date and despite being limited, this box can still be order at neffbox.com.  In the months this box has been available, there have been online coupons which makes the price more appealing to purchase, especially if you are only interested in the comic.

The Rogue One items are packed in an attractive black box clearly branded for Rogue One and Neff Headwear.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Collector's Neff Box
Each box contains:
  • 1 of 3 Neff Headwear Rogue One t-shirts
  • 1 of 3 Neff Headwear Rogue One baseball caps
  • 1 of 3 Neff Headwear Rogue One beanies
  • 1 of 3 Funko Rogue One bobbleheads
  • A signed copy of Star Wars Catalyst: A Rogue One Novel
  • Doctor Aphra #1 Neff Box exclusive
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Collector's Neff Box opened
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Collector's Neff Box empty
Overall, I was only interested in the comic book and the novel, but I will definitely wear the t-shirt and the baseball cap.  Since I live in Phoenix, there won't many opportunities to use the beanie as it does not get cold enough here.  I also do not collect the Funko bobbleheads.  Overall, the $99 price for this box is about twice what I would spend on the items I wanted and will use, so it was definitely prudent to use a coupon before making the purchase.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Collector's Neff Box content
The Doctor Aphra #1 exclusive cover is by David Nakayama.  Nakayama's first comic work was penciling the 6 page story The Apprentice in Star Wars Tales #17.

Star Wars: Doctor Aphra #1j - Marvel Comics, U.S. (December 2016)
NEFF Box exclusive
Not many of these comics have sold on eBay, but one is currently listed at $80.  Since this is still available from the source, it would be cheaper to use a coupon to purchase the box to get the comic, plus you will also receive other items.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Half a Million Star Wars Comics Ship in June

Comichron released the June 2017 estimated sales last week.  Darth Vader returned to shelves and the second volume debuted at #3 on the chart.  Star Wars remains Marvel's best selling ongoing title.

TitleIssueMonthly RankEstimated SalesLast Estimated SalesPercent Change
Darth Vader13118,644N/AN/A
Star Wars321170,18470,907-1.02%
Darth Vader21266,416118,644-44.02%
Darth Maul41758,24054,949+5.99%
Doctor Aphra83050,21643,763+14.75%
Droids Unplugged15935,918N/AN/A
Poe Dameron166134,82632,658+6.64%
Poe Dameron Annual16732,888N/AN/A
Rogue One38428,25631,966-11.61%

The big news for June is the return of an ongoing Darth Vader title to the Star Wars line of books.  Issue #1 sold over 118,000 copies, but issue #2 fell 44% to move just over 66,000 copies.  In comparison, the lowest selling issue from the first volume was #24 which sold over 75,000 units.  I suspect retailers under ordered Darth Vader #2 and we'll see higher numbers for the third issue.

Sales on the main Star Wars title remain relatively flat despite issue #32 being part of the Screaming Citadel event.  Despite a modest gain last month, Doctor Aphra saw a much better 14.75% gain in unit sales this month due to the event.  If the Doctor Aphra title can hold on to some of these gains next month, this will be very positive for this title which had been drifting down into Poe Dameron numbers.

Poe Dameron #16 saw a slight rebound off last month's all time low.  The Poe Dameron Annual which reads like a slightly longer version of a standard issue sold in similar numbers.  I'm predicting this title will survive until The Last Jedi movie is released in December, but I anticipate it will be either replaced or have a completely new direction at that time.  The Droids Unplugged one-shot which contains reprints of backup droid stories sold just as well as this ongoing title.

Darth Maul #4 saw an increase in units sold of approximately 6%.  This mini-series has been very well received, on par with the Han Solo mini-series from last year.

Rogue One #3 sold over 3,000 less units this month.  There is a Cassian & K2SO one-shot coming based on characters from the movie which should sell better.

In a couple of months, IDW will begin selling an all-age Star Wars title, Star Wars Adventures.  With Marvel ramping up the number of Star Wars comic offerings (Mace Windu, Captain Phasma, and Thrawn mini-series as well as a Doctor Aphra and Star Wars Annual are forthcoming), it will be interesting to see if there is demand for the increased number of Star Wars comic offerings.  While Star Wars Adventures is aimed at a younger reader than Marvel's line, a large number of Marvel's readers will be trying the IDW title.

The following table shows the total number of Star Wars units sold per month since January 2015 along with the average number of sales per issue.

Month/YearTotal Estimated Sales# IssuesAverage Sale per Issue
January 2015985,9761985,976
February 2015526,4513175,484
March 2015596,2994149,075
April 2015537,8124134,453
May 2015324,8353108,278
June 2015396,931499,232
July 2015597,0235119,404
August 2015430,241586,048
September 2015551,8805110,376
October 2015953,2891095,329
November 20151,003,9548125,494
December 2015507,545684,591
January 2016465,698593,139
February 2016288,355472,088
March 2016355,554571,110
April 2016533,9765106,795
May 2016299,189474,797
June 2016545,833690,972
July 2016359,166571,833
August 2016322,499564,500
September 2016174,420358,140
October 2016339,778567,956
November 2016269,975553,995
December 2016303,886475,972
January 2017161,014353,671
February 2017262,889465,722
March 2017214,603453,650
April 2017274,262554,852
May 2017285,363647,560
June 2017495,588955,065

The average sale per issue of 55,065 would rank 20th on the top 300 chart for the month of June.  Star Wars trade paperbacks, reprint titles, and reorders are not accounted for with these numbers.  The Star Wars trade paperbacks are strong sellers.

Take a look at the Star Wars Sales Estimate Chart and please read the blog posting June 2017 comics estimates: Average comic offered tops $4 for first time; our 250th consecutive monthly report!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Modern Marvel: Star Wars #15 (2nd print) and Star Wars: Darth Vader #16 (2nd print)

The Vader Down event sold very well for Marvel increasing the number of copies sold for the tie-in issues.  In fact, the two Star Wars and three Darth Vader tie-in issues went back to print.  Usually, after an event, subsequent issues see a decrease in sales.  The issues immediately after the Vader Down story arc ended, Star Wars #15 and Darth Vader #16, went back to print as well.  From the numbers published by Comichron, it appears retailers scaled back the number of issues ordered by too much and these issues were under-ordered.

Star Wars #15a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 2016)
Star Wars #15 has another tale of Obi-Wan Kenobi on Tatooine.  The standard cover shows Obi-Wan.

Star Wars #15e - Marvel Comics, U.S. (January 2016)
The 2nd print cover is a variant of the same art, except the background has now been replaced with a star field.  Many of the 2nd prints from Marvel have used a star field background.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #16a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 2016)
Darth Vader #16 jumps back into the narrative by returning Vader to Shu-Torun to quell a rebellion.  The cover is a nice piece showing Darth Vader's head.  His polished armor is emitting a lot of shine.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #16b - Marvel Comics, U.S. (February 2016)
The 2nd print cover is the same artwork, except Darth Vader is lit by red light.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Retro Foreign: British Star Wars Annual 1979

Brown Watson published the first Star Wars Annual for British readers in 1978.  In 1979, the Star Wars Annual was published by Grandreams.  The contents of this hardcover book includes Star Wars #13 and 14

Star Wars Annual 1979 a - Grandreams, England (Spring 1979)
contains Star Wars #13 and 14.
I don't recall the cover artwork being used in a U.S. comic.  We know Carmine Infantino produced more covers for the Star Wars Weekly comic, so it is possible this was entirely new artwork just for this book.  This artwork was re-used by the publisher Siam Sports Publishing for their Thai translation of the Star Wars movie adaptation.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Retro Marvel: Star Comics Magazine #5

Star Comics Magazine #5 is the final issue in the anthology digest to contain an Ewoks reprint.  It reprints Ewoks #5.

Star Comics Magazine #5a - Marvel Comics, U.S. (August 1987)
reprints Ewoks #5
Star Comics Magazine #5 contains reprinted stories for Heathcliff, Top Dog, and the Care Bears in addition to Ewoks.  The cover shows Heathcliff riding a rocket past an asteroid containing Wicket, a pair of Care Bears, and Top Dog.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Retro Dark Horse: Star Wars: Dark Times - A Spark Remains #1

The San Diego Comic-Con started out as the Golden State Comic-Con in 1970 and drew approximately 300 people.  In 1972 it was named San Diego's West Coast Comic Convention and in 1973 it settled on the name San Diego Comic-Con when attendance broke 1000 people.  By 1995 the attendance had grown to over 30,000, with attendees coming from around the world.  That year, the convention changed it's name to San Diego Comic-Con International and the familiar convention logo debuted.  In the early years, this convention's focus was comic books.  But, as the number of attendees grew (in 2015, the convention drew over 150,000 attendees), the focus shifted to include not only comics, but video games, movies, television shows, animation, toys, and other entertainment items; it now showcases any form of pop culture entertainment.  In recent years, events at the convention have been broadcast for non-attendees to view.  For many comic fans, the loss of focus on comic books has been noticed and long time convention dealer Mile High Comics has decided to not setup a booth this year due to the dwindling number of comic book enthusiasts attending the event each year.  Despite the convention's focus shifting away from comic books, most comic publishers still setup booths at this event.

At the 2013 convention, Dark Horse distributed a convention exclusive version of Dark Times - A Spark Remains #1.

Star Wars: Dark Times - A Spark Remains #1a - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 2013)
The convention version of the comic book uses the same art.  It is a closeup of Vader with the artwork pixelated.

Star Wars: Dark Times - A Spark Remains #1b - Dark Horse Comics, U.S. (July 2013)
2013 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Modern Marvel: Darth Vader (2017) #1 Legends Comics/Classic Comic Con Exclusive

The Classic Comic Con takes place from October 27 - 29 in Modesto, California.  Despite being a few months away, a Classic Comic Con exclusive is already available to purchase.  Legends Comics of Fresno has joined with the convention to publish a Darth Vader #1 exclusive.

Star Wars: Darth Vader #1l - Marvel Comics, U.S. (June 2017)
Legends Comics/Classic Comic Con exclusive
This comic is limited to 3000 copies.