It may have been expected, but the Marvel ‘Star Wars’ comic reboot has been the most successful comics run, in terms of sales, in more than a decade. Star Wars and all of its related titles, such as Darth Vadar and Lando, are selling astronomical numbers, both because they are giving a “premium” treatment to the expanded universe, as well as matching the new Force Awakens film coming with a new expanded continuity.
- Let’s quickly look at the sales record for the Star Wars comics this year:
- Star Wars #1 sold over a million copies its first month on release.
- Star Wars #1 has gone through five printings at this point.
- Since January Marvel has moved over 5 million Star Wars comics on the Direct Market alone. All of their comics are selling in Direct Market shops only, leaving out “news stands” entirely.
- All the Star Wars series so far have debuted at more than 100,000 copies for the first month, as well as being in the top ten.
Right now the average Marvel Comics trade collection, which collects a story-arc of anywhere from three to seven or eight issues(six seems to be standard), sells at about 30-50,000. This is about in line with other publishers, yet it doesn’t dominate the trade market as much as it does the single issue market simply because indie and alternative publishers tend to do much better on trades sold in bookstores. With this in mind, the projection that ‘Star Wars’ could reach 250,000 means that it is about five times more popular than the most popular Marvel titles(approximately).
This is a trend that shows no sign of stopping now, and will likely get only more intense in the next year as Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens is released in theaters, has merchandizing, and then comes to the home markets. Star Wars has always been a hot property in the world of comics, but the Dark Horse interpretation that we had for years was often very far into the expanded universe. This meant that it focused on characters we didn’t know, and events we never saw. This changed a bit with the Brian Wood Star Wars books, but it quickly was made known that Disney was wiping away the entire expanded universe of the comics and prose books to open up creative space for the new movies. Now the Marvel Star Wars comics “really happened” in the Star Wars continuity of today, and that is exciting for all the Jedi Masters out there.
So will these numbers continue? It is likely that the first Star Wars trade will be a bestseller for several years, and all of the Star Wars trades will show a similar trajectory of all the other series. You can expect sales numbers comparable to 25-30% of the sales of the first issue for the trade, so you can imagine just how well these books will do. Marvel is set to continue releasing them, along with a new Chewbacca miniseries and Star Wars-Darth Vadar Crossover Event.