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September 2012 sales beat first DC relaunch month on GN strength

Friday, October 5, 2012

by John Jackson Miller

Question #1 all year has been how the industry's fall sales would compare with those of 2011, once the Direct Market began comparing its sales with those of the DC relaunch. With the release of the preliminary September 2012 comics sales data from Diamond Comic Distributors, the answer is: so far, so good.

While retailer orders of periodicals couldn't quite match the gangbusters sales from last September, a healthy rise in graphic novel and trade paperback orders made up the difference. September dollar orders overall rose 1.02%, to nearly $39 million.

Marvel had the top periodical with Avengers Vs. X-Men #11. But DC, with its "Zero Month" promotion, took all the other slots in the Top 10:

TOP 10 COMIC BOOKS
RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
Avengers Versus X-Men #11
$3.99

Marvel
2
Batman #0
$3.99

DC
3
Justice League #0
$3.99

DC
4
Green Lantern #0
$2.99

DC
5
Detective Comics #0
$3.99

DC
6
Action Comics #0
$3.99

DC
7
Batman: The Dark Knight #0
$2.99

DC
8
Batman and Robin #0
$2.99

DC
9
Earth 2 #0
$2.99

DC
10
Batman Incorporated #0
$2.99

DC

Marvel also had an entry topping the trade list — the one-shot Thanos Quest #1, which benefited in the unit sales rankings from its $7.99 price. Trade paperback orders were up a whopping 20.18% in units, partially thanks to the number of low-cost offerings in the charts.

TOP 10 GRAPHIC NOVELS & TRADE PAPERBACKS
RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
Thanos Quest #1
$7.99

Marvel
2
The Judas Coin HC
$22.99

DC
3
The Walking Dead Volume 8 HC
$34.99

Image
4
Avatar The Last Airbender Volume 3: Promise Part 3
$10.99

Dark Horse
5
Aquaman Volume 1: The Trench HC
$22.99

DC
6
The Tower Chronicles Vol. 1: Geisthawk
$7.99

Legendary
7
The Manhattan Projects Volume 1: Science Bad
$14.99

Image
8
Thief of Thieves Volume 1
$14.99

Image
9
Batman: Arkham City
$16.99

DC
10
Batman: Knightfall Vol. 3: Knightsend
$29.99

DC

The market comparatives for the month, quarter, and year:
COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

DOLLARS
UNITS
SEPTEMBER 2012 VS. AUGUST 2012
COMICS
-11.89%
-9.62%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-14.31%
-15.83%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-12.69%
-10.17%
SEPTEMBER 2012 VS. SEPTEMBER 2011
COMICS
-4.42%
-8.72%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
14.43%
20.18%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
1.02%
-6.85%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2012 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2011
COMICS
17.12%
14.26%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
14.16%
13.60%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
16.16%
14.21%
THIRD QUARTER 2012 VS. SECOND QUARTER 2012
COMICS
2.36%
0.41%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
1.46%
8.75%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
2.07%
1.06%
THIRD QUARTER 2012 VS. THIRD QUARTER 2011
COMICS
11.50%
6.06%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
15.37%
21.21%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
12.71%
7.19%

(Note: The 3Q 2012 dollar change figures have been revised upward from the initial press release, after Comichron alerted Diamond to an issue with a formula.)

The market shares:


TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
DC COMICS
36.41%
41.10%
MARVEL COMICS
31.04%
33.65%
IDW PUBLISHING
6.36%
4.82%
IMAGE COMICS
6.09%
5.56%
DARK HORSE COMICS
4.49%
3.69%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
2.97%
2.97%
BOOM! STUDIOS
1.40%
1.50%
AVATAR PRESS
1.11%
0.87%
ZENESCOPE ENTERTAINMENT
0.96%
1.00%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS
0.92%
0.18%
OTHER NON-TOP 10
8.25%
4.67%

DC led both the dollar and unit sales categories, and even appears to have bested its own dollar sales for September 2011 slightly.

With sales to date in 2012 at approximately $346.6 million, the Direct Market is running nearly $48 million ahead of the first nine months of 2011. "Gravy Day" for comics — the day when we pass 2011's sales — continues to look as if it'll come just before Black Friday. (Which, when you think about it, is as it should be!) Current projections peg final 2012 sales at approximately $460 million.

The full data will be available next week. Get it quickly by following Comichron on Twitter and Facebook!

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