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More than 192,500 comic book and graphic novel circulation figures online!
Welcome to Comichron, a resource for comic book circulation data and other information gathered by
John Jackson Miller and other pop culture archaeologists interested in comics history.


Monday, March 29, 2010

February 2010: Flashbacks to the Past

by John Jackson Miller and T.M. Haley

Following the report on comics orders for February 2010, here's a look back at what was going on in previous years...
February 2009's top seller was once again Marvel's Amazing Spider-Man #583, the top seller for 2009 with estimated Diamond year-end orders of 530,500 copies. Sales for the issue were estimated at 148,778 copies for the month. Check out the detailed analysis of the month's sales here — and sales chart here.

February 2005's top-seller was Marvel's New Avengers #3 with Diamond first-month orders of approximately 149,000 copies. This marked the third consecutive month that New Avengers was at the top of the rankings. Check out the sales chart here.

February 2000's top-seller was Uncanny X-Men #379, with estimated Diamond orders of more than 108,400 copies. Marvel's Punisher relaunch proved one of the better sellers in what was, overall, a down month near the very bottom of the industry's post-1993 recession. Check out the sales chart here.

February 1995's top seller at Diamond and at Capital City Distribution was Marvel's Amazing X-Men #2, continuing the "Age of Apocalypse" storyline. Capital reported preorders of 89,775 copies. The parent title's Statement of Ownership reports monthly sales averaging at 332,889 copies; this one issue was likely higher.

February 1990's top seller at Diamond and Capital City was Legends of the Dark Knight #6, beginning Grant Morrison's "Gothic" storyline. Capital's orders on the issue were 106,650 copies; overall, sales were likely in the 400,000- to 500,000-copy range. The novelty "compuer-generated" graphic novel Batman: Digital Justice was the top-selling trade at Capital City, with orders of 32,500 copies.

Capital City reported sales for 308 comic books and 35 trade paperbacks in the month. The average cover price for new comics was $2.04, and the average comic book actually ordered cost $1.54. All told, Capital reported selling 2.85 million comic books for $4.38 million. Trade sales totaled $1.17 million, mostly copies of Digital Justice.

February 1985's top seller at Capital City was Uncanny X-Men #194, which sold about 6% more copies at Capital City than the slightly more expensive Crisis on Infinite Earths #3.

Dueling auctions continue: Action #1 goes for $1.5 million

by John Jackson Miller and T.M. Haley    Bookmark and Share

Before last month, no comic book had sold for more than $1 million. Since then, there have been three. ComicConnect, which kicked off things last month with a $1 million sale of Action Comics #1 (the first appearance of Superman) announced today that it has sold a higher-graded copy for $1.5 million.

Last month's copy was graded 8.0 (Very Fine) by Comics Guaranty; this copy was graded 8.5 (VF+). That's an incredibly subtle difference in condition, one most civilians (and many people in the business!) wouldn't be able to see. According to the CGC Census, this copy is the highest rated unrestored copy of the book in existence; there is a restored 9.0, but many collectors do not find restored copies as desirable.

This beats the $1,075,500 record set a little over one month ago (and only three days after the first Action #1 sale) by Heritage Comic Auctions for an 8.0 copy of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman.

According to ComicConnect, for 50 years, the comic book was buried in a stack of old movie magazines from the 1930s. “Because it was tucked inside a magazine, it was well protected all those years,” said Stephen Fishler, company founder. “That’s why it’s in such remarkable condition.”

While The Comics Chronicles is not an aftermarket site (although John is an Overstreet advisor), these moments are notable reminders of how the comics of the past continue to attract interest in the present. We are talking, again, of an appreciation rate of more than 1 billion percent over cover price. Not many collectibles have that kind of return on investment after 70 years!

Monday, March 15, 2010

February 2010 comics orders show little movement

by John Jackson Miller    Bookmark and Share

Just back from Midsouthcon, where we had some interesting panels on the past, present, and future of comics. So it'll be a bit before I get all the pieces of the February 2010 report online — the Flashbacks section will be on the way in a bit, and the Overall sales estimate will be refined. But for now, you can see the February 2010 estimates for comics ordered by retailers here on the site.

February usually finds comics sales in a deep freeze. This month had at least something going on in that both Marvel and DC's main event titles, Siege and Blackest Night, had new issues out, but in sum it was the weakest month for Top 300 comics unit and dollar orders since last March, and the worst February for unit sales since 2004. And while the Top 300 trade paperbacks actually topped the dollar value reported last February — that even during a huge Watchmen month — that month's sales are suspected to have been underreported due to Diamond's warehouse move.

The full backlist, as with last month, is believed to have pushed Overall Comics, Trade Paperbacks, and Magazine dollar orders into positive territory, but that again is a preliminary figure. I suspect the final total may come in a bit lower, but in any event we're probably looking at another month where the total difference from last year isn't that large. (Update: The final estimates are in, with slight downward revisions as expected — less than 1% difference, overall. The estimates appear below.)

The aggregate figures:

February 2010: 5.38 million copies
Versus 1 year ago this month: -4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: -8%
Versus 10 years ago this month: -1%
YEAR TO DATE: 11.01 million copies, -2% vs. 2009, +2% vs. 2005, unchanged vs. 2000

February 2010: $18.70 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -3%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +12%
Versus 10 years ago this month: +29%
YEAR TO DATE: $38.06 million, -1% vs. 2009, +24% vs. 2005, +32% vs. 2000

February 2010: $5.1 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: +1%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: -5%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +33%
YEAR TO DATE: $10.35 million; -8% versus 2009

February 2010: $23.81 million
Versus 1 year ago this month: -2%
Versus 5 years ago this month, just the Top 100 vs. the Top 100: +9%
Versus 10 years ago this month, just the Top 25 vs. the Top 25: +30%
YEAR TO DATE: $48.42 million; -2% when just comparing just the Top 100 each month

OVERALL DIAMOND SALES (including all comics, trades, and magazines)
February 2010: $29.98 million ($33.16 million with UK)
Versus 1 year ago this month: +4%
Versus 5 years ago this month: +13%
YEAR TO DATE: $61.99 million, +3% vs. 2009, +24% vs. 2005

The average comic offered in the Top 300 cost $3.54; the average comic ordered cost $3.47. The median price — the middle price of all 300 comics — was $3.50. $2.99 was the most common price of comics appearing in the Top 300.

Twilight: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 (The Twilight Saga)March holds some added interest in that the first Yen Press Twilight manga is in the mix. It's unclear what the Direct Market impact will be, and at $10, the market will have to move quite a few to move the needle significantly. But March 2009 was, as noted, a lighter month overall, with the top comic book selling under 100,000 copies for the first time in comics history — and there remain issues about how complete the reporting of trades were that month. So there's room for a book making a big splash to make a bigger difference year-to-year.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Blackest Night #7 tops February 2010 comics charts

 by John Jackson Miller    Bookmark and Share

This time last year, the Obama inaugural issue of Amazing Spider-Man was doing something likely unprecedented for a single issue of a comic book by repeating in the top slot, two months in a row. That didn't happen this time out, but we did have another repeat of sorts: DC's Blackest Night, after a month with no new issue on the racks, retook the top position in February. Click to see the Top 10 comics for February 2010, released today by Diamond.

Every issue of the DC series has ranked #1 in comics shops for the month in which it was released. It's not the first time a series has had every issue top the charts with a one-month hiatus in the middle: as we can see here, the first seven issues of Secret Invasion consecutively topped the monthly charts in 2008 only to miss a month before Secret Invasion #8 closed out in the top position.

Marvel's Siege, which topped the charts in January, placed second with its second issue. Four of the top ten comics were priced at $3.99, with the rest at $2.99.

The latest Fables trade paperback by Bill Willingham topped the comics and graphic novels charts. On the market share side of things, the ranking was the same for both unit and dollar sales: Marvel, followed by DC, Dark Horse, Image, and IDW.

Diamond's full Top 300 tables and our estimates should be along in a few days.

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