Thursday, February 18, 2010
by John Jackson Miller
The Comics Chronicles nearly three years ago, one of the major missions was to get all my earlier research into Diamond's monthly comics sales online. Now, with the assistance of T.M. Haley, that mission is finally complete. Estimates from every month, from September 1996 forward, are now online. That's 160 months of sales charts for comic books and trade paperbacks — and it brings the number of sales figures reported on the site well over 60,000.
Put another way, the Comichron charts now detail the sales of more than 1 billion comic-book copies, representing more than $3 billion in business to the industry. With the added information from Diamond's first-month sales of more than 12,000 trade paperbacks and what we know of Overall sales from 2003 to present, we have the detailed disposition of an additional billion dollars at full retail.
While some of those 60,000 items are reported more than once, they're reporting different sales. Blackest Night #1 makes the list in its initial month and in some reorder months, for example, but those are all sales of different copies.
The final batches of numbers added in our last update were from 2002, 2001, and 1998 — that last year in the news today with the announcement that Jim Lee and Dan DiDio had been named co-publishers at DC Comics. The biggest industry story of 1998, many recall, was Lee's departure from Image to join DC with his Wildstorm studio. It was an important move in DC's market-share race with Marvel — and it perhaps had a greater immediate effect on the standing of Image, which had previously posted dollar shares in the double digits on a regular basis. The publisher would later invite more creators with outside projects to join under the Image umbrella.
January 2010 estimates coming soon. Sorry for the delay, but we wanted to get the larger project done with...