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February 2013 comics sales up, IDW sets new record

Friday, March 8, 2013

by John Jackson Miller

February 2013 orders for comics and graphic novels continued to outpace sales of a year ago, according to preliminary direct market sales data released today by Diamond Comic Distributors. The 10% increase year-to-year is made more impressive by the fact that the comparison month was a very rare leap year February with five shipping weeks.

(The Flashback column for Februaries past is now online here at Comichron: click to read about the best-sellers from February five, ten, 25, and even 50 years ago.)

Retailers ordered around $39.6 million in comic books and collected editions from Diamond in the month, bringing the year-to-date to nearly $80.7 million. Comics sales — helped by the multiple-cover-and-how Justice League of America #1 release — beat their previous performance handily.

The edition had 53 covers (I think!) depicting state flags in addition to the U.S. flag. Wartime American flag covers from the 1940s are a favorite of Golden Age collectors, and this product continues in that tradition. (It also raises the multiple-cover bar for the next publisher: I think the Northern Mariana Islands territory has a flag!)

Graphic novel sales were down, if only just slightly. Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill's Nemo: Heart of Ice hardcover from Top Shelf was the best-selling graphic novel.

The aggregate change figures:


DOLLARS
UNITS
FEBRUARY 2013 VS. JANUARY 2013
COMICS
5.04%
3.73%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-20.37%
-14.28%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-3.53%
2.33%
FEBRUARY 2013 VS. FEBRUARY 2012
COMICS
15.91%
14.75%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-1.47%
0.90%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
10.48%
13.73%
YEAR-TO-DATE 2013 VS. YEAR-TO-DATE 2012
COMICS
18.95%
17.20%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
17.14%
15.04%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
18.39%
17.05%

The top-selling comics for the month:

RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
$3.99

DC
2
Uncanny X-Men #1
$3.99

Marvel
3
Batman #17
$3.99

DC
4
Justice League #17
$3.99

DC
5
Superior Spider-Man #3
$3.99

Marvel
6
Superior Spider-Man #4
$3.99

Marvel
7
Uncanny X-Men #2
$3.99

Marvel
8
Uncanny Avengers #4
$3.99

Marvel
9
Detective Comics #17
$3.99

DC
10
Secret Avengers #1
$3.99

Marvel

The top-selling graphic novels for the month: 
 

RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
$14.95

Top Shelf
2
Batman: The Night of the Owls HC
$29.99

DC
3
Adventure Time Volume 2
$14.99

Boom
4
The Walking Dead Vol. 1: Days Gone Bye
$14.99

Image
5
Saga Volume 1
$9.99

Image
6
Batman: The Black Mirror
$16.99

DC
7
Catwoman Volume 2: Dollhouse
$14.99

DC
8
Star Trek: The Next Generation/Doctor Who: Assimilation2 Volume 2
$17.99

IDW
9
Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection
$14.99

DC
10
Adventure Time Volume 1
$14.99

Boom

IDW set a record dollar share for itself last February, and it seems to have done so again this February, topping 7% for the first time. Click to see more Diamond-era sales records.

The market shares:
 
TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS
PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
Marvel Comics
34.86%
38.46%
DC Entertainment
29.22%
32.89%
Image Comics
7.76%
7.89%
IDW Publishing
7.09%
6.04%
Dark Horse Comics
4.82%
4.16%
Dynamite Entertainment
2.80%
2.55%
Boom! Studios
1.97%
1.75%
Eaglemoss Publications
1.42%
0.30%
Zenescope Entertainment
0.99%
0.73%
Valiant Entertainment
0.94%
0.98%
Other
8.11%
4.25%

Dark Horse's share of comic book and graphic novel sales, it should be noted, may not be as high as its actual share of Diamond's overall sales: as with last month, its national bestseller Legends of Zelda: Hyrule Historia book was the #1 book sold by Diamond. I do not believe that the "Books" category has historically been part of the market share calculations seen above; I don't know if that's changed. The "Magazines" category is counted, which explains Eaglemoss's presence.

The full report should be along next week. In the meantime, check out the February Flashback column, with its reports on Stormwatch #1's number-one performance 20 years ago last month, among many other historical tidbits.

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