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Marvel holds comic book dominance, tops June comic book sales

A scene from "Avengers: Age of Ultron"
Source: Marvel
A scene from "Avengers: Age of Ultron"

Who's king of the comic book nerds? Marvel Comics, that's who.

The creative powerhouse behind The Avengers, X-Men and Spider Man has led resurgence in both movies and comic books. In June, Marvel maintained its dominance as the top comic publisher with a market share of just over 44 percent, according to figures released on Friday by Diamond Comic Distributors, Inc. Marvel's dollar sales comprised more than 40 percent of the total market, the data showed.

Marvel's dominance was bolstered by "Civil War II," a new Marvel Universe story arc that has already ushered in the demise of two major characters associated with The Avengers.

DC Comics was a distant second, with June unit share of under 32 percent and a dollar share of 29.93 percent. Sales during the month were helped by DC's own universe-altering "Rebirth" storyline; two related Batman titles landed in the month's top 5 most popular comics.

June was a mixed bag for comic producers, which reported double-digit monthly gains versus a year ago, but appeared to suffer in other comparisons.

Year to date, comic sales are down more than 8 percent from the same period in 2015, Diamond reported, with dollar sales off by nearly 4 percent. For the second quarter, comic book sales tumbled by more than 8 percent vs. Q2 of last year—but those losses were partly offset by strong graphic novel sales, which are comparatively more expensive.

The Batman v. Superman trailer leaked.
Source: Warner Bros.
The Batman v. Superman trailer leaked.

The sales underscore the changing economics of the comics business. For publishers, book sales have largely taken a backseat to the increasingly lucrative world of movie blockbusters, especially as the fan boy (and girl) audience has aged. Marvel is owned by Disney, while DC's parent company isTime Warner.

Marvel's "Captain America: Civil War" was a runaway critical and commercial hit when it was released in the spring, and has earned more than $1 billion worldwide since it was released,according to Box Office Mojo.

DC Entertainment's "Batman vs. Superman" was widely panned by critics, yet is the year's best performing earners. The film has pulled in about $873 million globally, and will set up the widely anticipated big screen debut of the Justice League—a band of super-beings that routinely save the universe and are DC's answer to The Avengers.