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John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.

 

Friday, April 5, 2013

March 2013 comics sales: The beats go on

by John Jackson Miller


Spring arrived in the comics industry with sales up considerably in the Direct Market, according to preliminary data released by Diamond Comic Distributors. Comics shops in North America appear to have ordered $41.3 million worth of comics and graphic novels in March, beating the previous year's total by nearly 23%.

The first quarter of the year wasn't able to top the last quarter of 2012 — that would have been extremely difficult — but it made a good run at it, coming in at around $122 million versus $128 million for the fourth quarter. And it beat the first quarter of 2012 handily, by nearly 20%, or $20 million. That's one of the bigger year-to-year quarterly increases we've seen.

And whereas the first quarter of 2012 had 13 shipping weeks, the first quarter of 2013 only had 12, because the comics that shipped first week of January were invoiced to retailers in December and not counted with this year.

The aggregate sales figures:


 

DOLLARS
UNITS
MARCH 2013 VS. FEBRUARY 2013
COMICS
3.05%
2.78%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
7.77%
17.00%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
4.36%
3.71%
MARCH 2013 VS. MARCH 2012
COMICS
26.28%
21.43%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
14.33%
7.78%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
22.59%
20.31%
FIRST QUARTER 2013 VS. FOURTH QUARTER 2012
COMICS
-4.13%
-3.62%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
-6.00%
-2.09%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
-4.70%
-3.51%
FIRST QUARTER 2013 VS. FIRST QUARTER 2012
COMICS
21.38%
18.62%
GRAPHIC NOVELS
16.22%
12.38%
TOTAL COMICS/GN
19.78%
18.15%

Brian Michael Bendis and Steve McNiven's Guardians of the Galaxy #1 was the top-ordered book by retailers. Every title in the Top 10 had a cover price of $3.99.
 (The Flashback column for Marches past is now online here at Comichron: click to read about the best-sellers from March five, ten, 25, and even 50 years ago.)

The top comics:


RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
$3.99

Marvel
2
Age of Ultron #1
$3.99

Marvel
3
Batman #18
$3.99

DC
4
Wolverine #1
$3.99

Marvel
5
Age of Ultron #2
$3.99

Marvel
6
Justice League #18
$3.99

DC
7
Age of Ultron #3
$3.99

Marvel
8
Superior Spider-Man #5
$3.99

Marvel
9
Justice League of America #2
$3.99

DC
10
All New X-Men #8
$3.99

Marvel

The Batman Vol. 2 City of Owls hardcover topped the graphic novel charts for the month. The top graphic novels:


RANK
DESCRIPTION
PRICE

VENDOR
1
Batman HC Vol. 2 The City of Owls
$24.99

DC
2
Batman SC Vol. 1 The Court of Owls
$16.99

DC
3
Hawkeye SC Vol. 1 My Life as Weapon Now
$16.99

Marvel
4
Avatar Last Airbender SC Vol. 4 Search Part 1
$10.99

Dark Horse
5
Walking Dead SC Vol. 1 Days Gone Bye
$14.99

Image
6
Avengers Vs. X-Men SC
$34.99

Marvel
7
Kick-Ass 2 SC
$19.99

Marvel
8
Kick-Ass 2 Prelude Hit-Girl Prem HC
$24.99

Marvel
9
Saga SC Vol. 1
$9.99

Image
10
Earth 2 HC Vol 1 The Gathering
$22.99

DC

The market shares:


PUBLISHER
DOLLAR
SHARE
UNIT
SHARE
MARVEL COMICS
39.96%
43.78%
DC COMICS
27.09%
29.88%
IMAGE COMICS
8.01%
7.88%
IDW PUBLISHING
6.34%
5.24%
DARK HORSE COMICS
4.72%
4.16%
DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT
2.16%
1.87%
BOOM! STUDIOS
1.68%
1.49%
EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS LTD
0.97%
0.20%
VALIANT ENTERTAINMENT LLC
0.86%
0.84%
AVATAR PRESS INC
0.83%
0.60%
OTHER NON-TOP 10
7.38%
4.06%


It would appear that every publisher in the top three is up in sales over a year ago. Image's March sales are up 47% in dollar terms; Marvel's, up 35%. DC's are up 7.3%. Other publishers have been catching up to DC's blazing pace from late 2011 and early 2012, but DC's sales are, in fact, ahead for 2013 overall. 

The full estimates will be along next week.

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