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Comic Numbers Slip in November

October Had an Extra Shipping Week

Published: 12/22/2003 12:00am
Tops in November

One of the problems in generating comic book numbers under Diamond's new reporting system, which is based on comics shipped rather than on preorders, is the fact that some months (like October) have an extra shipping week.  Add in the distortion caused by the fact that a title appearing in the first week of a month has three weeks of reorder activity to add to its total, while a book shipping in the last week of the month has none, and you can understand that there are certain intractable problems with these 'snapshots' of comic book sales numbers.  Still it is clear that while comic book sagged in October, they slipped even more in November.

 

Only one new title (Wolverine: The End #1) debuted in the Top 25 for November.  The other 24 titles in the Top 25 all suffered declines.  While there were ten books over the 100,000 mark in October (and 12 in September), only six topped that number in November.

 

Marvel's dominance of the Top 25 increased, with 21 titles versus 18 of the Top 25 last month.  DC Comics had three books in the top 25 while Dreamwave had one.  November's lone Top 25 debut, Wolverine: The End #1, debuted at #3, a testament to the strength of the property.  Although DC's Teen Titans was down versus its October total, it came in above its September total as did JLA.

 

Marvel's dominance did not extend to the Top 25 graphic novels, where DC led the pack with 12 books, including Alex Ross's oversized JLA Liberty & Justice, which sold an amazing 41,201 -- four times as many copies as its nearest competitor, Image's Vampires Christmas.  Dark Horse had four graphic novels in the Top 25 as did Marvel.  Image had two while Tokyopop and Viz each had one.

 

The Top 25 comics, with our estimates of the quantities sold during November, are:

 

148,196                      JLA/Avengers #3 (of 4)

122,683                      Marvel 1602 #4

116,209                      Wolverine: The End #1 (of 6)

105,978                      Ultimate Six #4 (of 6)

105,737                      Ultimate X-Men #39

102,591                      New X-Men #149

  96,784                      Batman #621

  96,707                      Ultimate Spider-Man #49

  94,558                      Amazing Spider-Man #501

  90,764                      Uncanny X-Men #433

  78,734                      Wolverine #7

  77,040                      Wolverine #8

  71,620                      Supreme Power #4

  68,078                      Teen Titans #5

  67,633                      Spectacular Spider-Man #6

  66,065                      Spectacular Spider-Man #7

  61,574                      X-Treme X-Men #34

  60,093                      JLA #90

  58,177                      Avengers #73

  57,557                      Daredevil #54

  57,557                      Avengers #74

  56,135                      Hulk: Gray #3

  54,935                      Transformers/GI Joe #3 (of6)

  53,357                      Incredible Hulk #63

  51,721                      Fantastic Four #506

 
We are estimating actual sales by Diamond U.S. (primarily to North American comic stores) rather than pre-orders (as we did for the past several years) because Diamond recently changed its reporting and began basing its indexes on actual sales (see 'ICv2 Kicks Off New Top 300 Reporting').  We use those indexes and publisher sales data to estimate a sales number for Batman (the anchor title diamond uses in its calculations), and use that number and the indexes to estimate Diamond's sales on the remaining titles.  We can check the accuracy of our numbers by comparing the Batman number that we calculate using multiple data points; our numbers for Batman are within 1/10 of 1% of each other, ensuring a high degree of accurcy.
 
Because of that change, we will not be able to do year over year comparisons until February of 2004, but in general, it's an improvement to have actual numbers to work with rather than preorders, which have significant differences from sales. 

 

For our estimates of actual orders to Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books scheduled to ship during November, see 'Top 300 Comics Actual--November 2003.'

 

For our estimates of actual orders to Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels scheduled to ship during November, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels Actual--November 2003.'

 

For our estimates of actual orders to Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books scheduled to ship during October, see 'Top 300 Comics Actual--October 2003.'

 

For our estimates of actual orders to Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels scheduled to ship during October, see Top 50 Graphic Novels Actual--October 2003.'

 

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through November 2003, see 'ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 50 GNs Index.'

 
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