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Comic Numbers Dip in January

Dark Horse Has 4 of the Top 10 Graphic Novels

Published: 02/13/2004 12:00am
Ultimate FF takes the
top spot again

Sales of periodical comics in January 2004 dipped slightly across the board, with only three titles registering gains versus December totals, while the numbers for 19 titles fell.  The biggest drop was registered by the Ultimate Fantastic Four #2, which fell by almost 50,000 copies from its December total of 173,441, the highest total for regular monthly title from Marvel in more than two years -- but a major fall-off between the first and second issues is fairly common.  Most of the other declines in the top 25 titles were small and well within the parameters of the normal post-holiday drop-off, which actually indicates that the drop in comic book sales was less than normal for January.  The second issue of the six-issue Wolverine: The End mini-series only declined some 16,000 copies from 116 thousand to 100 thousand.  The two New X-Men issues, buoyed by the start of artist Marc Silvestri's run on the book, posted solid gains as did Daredevil #56.

 

Marvel dominated the Top 25 even more than it normally does, placing 22 titles on the list, while DC Comics took the other three places with Batman in the tenth spot, the Teen Titans at #14, and the JLA at #17.  Marvel placed eight X-Titles in the Top 25 along with four Spider-Man books. 

 

The situation with the Top 10 graphic novels was quite a bit different.  Marvel had only one title (Ultimate X-Men Vol. 7) in the Top 10, while DC Comics had four, including the Superman: Red Son trade paperback, which took the number one spot, outselling its nearest competitor by 30% in spite of a hefty $17.95 cover price.  Dark Horse had its best showing ever, with four titles in the Top 10 including Trigun Vol. #2, which came in at number two.  With all the talk of manga selling in bookstores, it is easy to forget that manga sales doubled (or better) in comic shops during 2003.  ICv2 has paid great attention to which manga titles are selling in the bookstores, because we can get such good sales data (from BookScan), and because we want to point out the best-selling titles from the increasingly huge horde of manga releases.  Many of the titles doing well in the bookstores such as Trigun are also finding favor with comic shop retailers--three of Dark Horse's four Top 10 books were manga titles, with the other being the Chronicles of Conan Vol. 3.  Image grabbed the final Top 10 spot with Frank Cho's Liberty Meadows: Creature Comforts hardcover.

 

The Top 25 with our estimates of the number sold by Diamond during January are:

 

126,693       Ultimate Fantastic Four #2

124,012       New X-Men #151

118,099       New X-Men #152

109,132       Marvel 1602 #6 (of 8)

100,111       Wolverine: The End #2 (of 6)

  99,532       Ultimate X-Men #41

  95,854       Ultimate Spider-Man #52

  94,189       Ultimate Six #6 (of 7)

  89,897       Uncanny X-Men #437

  89,051       Batman #623

  88,490       Uncanny X-Men #438

  87,341       Amazing Spider-Man #503

  71,374       Wolverine #10

  68,142       Teen Titans #7

  67,340       Supreme Power #6

  58,711       Spectacular Spider-Man #9

  58,008       JLA #92

  57,523       X-Treme X-Men #39

  56,351       Daredevil #56

  56,334       The Punisher #1

  55,034       X-Treme X-Men #40

  53,413       Spider-Man Unlimited #1

  50,260       Fantastic Four #509

  49,183       The Punisher #2

  49,049       The Incredible Hulk #65

 

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 January, see 'Top 300 Comics Actual--January 2004.'

 

For our estimates of actual orders to Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels scheduled to ship during January, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels Actual--January 2004.'

 

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

 

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

 

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through January 2004, see 'ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 50 GNs Index.'

 
 
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