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Early DC relaunch sales help erase half 2011's decline

Monday, September 12, 2011

by John Jackson Miller


Diamond Comic Distributors has released the preliminary sales report for August 2011, and as expected, it includes the first taste of what impact DC's relaunch has had on the market. DC's regular series ended, and Flashpoint #5 and Justice League #1 released on the last day of the month.

Click to see the page for August 2011 on Comichron, which include's Diamond's preliminary rankings with order index numbers. Estimates will be along for actual sales later in the week.

Overall, with all comics and trade paperbacks included, it appears to be on the order of a $38 million month; that's just judging from Diamond's comparative sales statistics. The aggregate performance levels are here:


COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

DOLLARS
UNITS
AUGUST 2011 VS. JULY 2011
COMICS
9.00%
7.33%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
24.18%
13.26%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
13.74%
7.79%
AUGUST 2011 VS. AUGUST 2010
COMICS
15.14%
17.55%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
31.17%
20.17%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
20.15%
17.76%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2011 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2010
COMICS
-4.60%
-3.65%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-2.35%
-7.61%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-3.87%
-3.99%

Serenity Volume 2: Better Days and Other StoriesThe numbers are all up double-digits percentage-wise year over year, though this should not be entirely be attributed to DC's relaunch, as trade paperback sales leapt, too, with Dark Horse's Serenity: Better Days and Other Stories leading the top graphic novel list. August 2011 was a five-week month for shipping purposes, and the industry's performance in August 2010 was fairly weak, as well. But as I 'd said before, given the sales levels this year, it only takes a couple of really good months to recover the ground lost against 2010 thus far, and August seems to have erased half the year-to-date loss. Last September presents a somewhat higher hurdle in the overall sales column, but chances are good that the Direct Market could be in positive territory for 2011 by the reports coming in this time next month.

The market shares can be seen here:

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
MARVEL COMICS
37.34%
42.47%
DC COMICS
30.72%
34.84%
DARK HORSE COMICS
5.78%
3.79%
IDW PUBLISHING
4.79%
3.74%
IMAGE COMICS
4.67%
4.64%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
2.23%
2.24%
BOOM! STUDIOS
1.24%
1.21%
VIZ MEDIA
1.14%
0.53%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD
1.11%
0.25%
ARCHIE COMIC PUBLICATIONS
0.88%
1.04%
OTHER NON-TOP 10
10.11%
5.25%

And here are the Top Ten comics for the month:

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS
RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE
ITEM CODE
VENDOR
1
JUSTICE LEAGUE #1
$3.99
JUL110187
DC
2
FLASHPOINT #5
$3.99
JUN110178
DC
3
FEAR ITSELF #5
$3.99
JUN110581
MAR
4
FLASHPOINT #4
$3.99
JUN110175
DC
5
ULTIMATE COMICS FALLOUT #4
$3.99
JUN110611
MAR
6
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #667
$3.99
JUN110622
MAR
7
AVENGERS #16
$3.99
JUN110586
MAR
8
WAR OF THE GREEN LANTERNS AFTERMATH #2
$3.99
JUN110168
DC
9
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #668
$3.99
JUN110624
MAR
10
NEW AVENGERS #15
$3.99
JUN110598
MAR

Again, the full list of 100 is here. IDW's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles launch placed 48th, the highest debut outside of the Big Two.

There will be much interest in in historical comparatives, so here are a couple of charts of interest. Diamond's release said that Justice League #1 was the best-selling comic book of 2011 thus far, and DC has said that the title topped 200,000 copies in orders, and that Action Comics Vol. 2 #1 in September had, with its second printing orders, done the same; it also said that from September, nine titles in total had topped 100,000 copies Action, Batgirl, Batman, Batman and Robin, Batman: The Dark Knight, Detective Comics, Flash, Green Lantern, and Superman. This does not count digital downloads, by the way — DC did not release specific data (and The Comics Chronicles focuses on reporting supply levels of physical books in print, anyway).

To get a sense of where this lands historically, first, here's what the existing top-seller list for 2011 looked like, prior to August:

1. Ultimate Spider-Man #160 (Jun-11) • Marvel • 166,944
2. Fantastic Four #587 (Jan-11) • Marvel • 144,173
3. Fear Itself #1 (Apr-11) • Marvel • 135,746
4. Amazing Spider-Man #666 (Jul-11) • Marvel • 136,568
5. FF #1 (Mar-11) • Marvel • 121,171
6. Fear Itself (May-11) • Marvel • 101,692
7. Flashpoint #1 (May-11) • DC • 95,845

The above figures include any second-or-later-month reorder figures that made the Top 300 and were published by Diamond. Later month orders can (and will) change the totals seen above. Flashpoint #1 had yet to top 100,000 copies with reorders by July, and will be in the curious position of being a first issue in far scarcer supply than its final issue.

The figures for the top sellers from 2010 can be seen here.

Finally, here are the rankings for the top sellers of the 2000s. Readers may remember seeing this chart here, and it comes with some caveats. Before February 2003, it includes only first-month preorders. In the final-order era, it reflects no reorders that didn't make the Top 300 in a month. The latter doesn't change much, but the former is a big deal, because it means Ultimate Spider-Man #1 is shortchanged, among others. As we see below, the top title of 2010, Avengers #1, places 51st in the 21st Century list — and Ultimate Spider-Man #160 places 63rd. 


Title Date Publisher Unit sales
1 Amazing Spider-Man 583 Jan-09 Marvel 530,500
2 Civil War 2 Jun-06 Marvel 341,856
3 Civil War 3 Jul-06 Marvel 337,025
4 Civil War 1 May-06 Marvel 328,524
5 Captain America 25 Mar-07 Marvel 317,713
6 Civil War 4 Sep-06 Marvel 290,994
7 Civil War 5 Nov-06 Marvel 283,863
8 All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder 1 Jul-05 DC 276,017
9 Civil War 7 Feb-07 Marvel 274,451
10 Infinite Crisis 1 Oct-05 DC 269,991
11 Civil War 6 Jan-07 Marvel 263,847
12 Secret Invasion 1 Apr-08 Marvel 262,975
13 Justice League of America 1 Aug-06 DC 250,847
14 House of M 1 Jun-05 Marvel 248,166
15 Superman 204 Apr-04 DC 244,127
16 Identity Crisis 1 Jun-04 DC 242,912
17 New Avengers 1 Dec-04 Marvel 241,530
18 Batman 619 Sep-03 DC 235,122
19 Infinite Crisis 2 Nov-05 DC 225,614
20 Justice 1 Aug-05 DC 223,852
21 Infinite Crisis 3 Dec-05 DC 218,849
22 Astonishing X-Men 1 May-04 Marvel 218,315
23 Dark Tower Gunslinger Born 1 Feb-07 Marvel 213,726
24 Superman 205 May-04 DC 213,414
25 Infinite Crisis 4 Jan-06 DC 211,012
26 Infinite Crisis 6 Apr-06 DC 208,035
27 Blackest Night 1 Jul-09 DC 205,500
28 Infinite Crisis 5 Mar-06 DC 205,117
29 World War Hulk 1 Jun-07 Marvel 204,705
30 Captain America Reborn 1 Jul-09 Marvel 199,900
31 Secret Invasion 2 May-08 Marvel 198,832
32 Infinite Crisis 7 May-06 DC 198,367
33 Superman/Batman 10 May-04 DC 197,619
34 Thor 1 Jul-07 Marvel 196,818
35 JLA/Avengers 1 Sep-03 Marvel 191,887
36 Batman and Robin 1 Jun-09 DC 190,300
37 Fallen Son: Death of Captain America: Iron Man Jul-07 Marvel 189,429
38 Dark Knight Strikes Again 1 Dec-01 DC 188,695
39 Ultimate Fantastic Four 1 Dec-03 Marvel 188,510
40 Dark Knight Strikes Again 3 Feb-02 DC 186,577
41 Secret Invasion 3 Jun-08 Marvel 186,463
42 Identity Crisis 2 Jul-04 DC 185,260
43 All Star Batman & Robin The Boy Wonder 2 Sep-05 DC 184,959
44 Green Lantern 1 May-05 DC 180,453
45 Wolverine: The Origin 6 Jan-02 Marvel 179,251
46 Green Lantern Rebirth 1 Oct-04 DC 178,294
47 Wolverine: The Origin 5 Dec-01 Marvel 178,231
48 All Star Superman 1 Nov-05 DC 176,654
49 Secret Invasion 4 Jul-08 Marvel 175,423
50 House of M 2 Jun-05 Marvel 175,344
51 Avengers 1 2010 Marvel 175,100
63 Ultimate Spider-Man 160 2011 Marvel 166,944


So right out of the gate, Justice League #1 places at least in the Top 30; a book in the 200,000s could go all the way up to sixth. DC's news release said its first printing was higher than any DC title since August 2006's Justice League of America #1; that title had sales with reorders topping 250,000 copies, but note that the initial month's orders were 212,000 copies; we don't know what portion of the 250k the first printing was, but it's at least 212k. That 2006 issue is #13 on the 21st century list.

More figures as they become available, but it is in general an excellent thing to see any numbers that compare favorably with 2006 numbers, which was near the peak of the market's last sustained upswing.

2 comments:

Anonymous,  September 13, 2011 at 1:05 AM  

Could you do an estimation of August 2011, I really cant wait to see the numbers for JL

worldofblackheroes.com November 18, 2011 at 12:45 PM  

Keep up the good work guys I live and Breath and wait with bated breath for each month's sales figures!

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