Sales of periodical comics were up 14% in 2006 over 2005 -- a major improvement over the 4% gain from 2004 to 2005, in fact the strongest year-over-year gain the market has posted since ICv2 began tracking sales in 2001. Marvel's Civil War, Astonishing X-Men and New Avengers, DC's Infinite Crisis, 52 and Justice League of America all contributed to a very special year for comic book sales that featured plenty of potent event comics as well as the constant reinvigoration of continuing series by a the addition of great writing talent from both inside and outside the industry.
Comic book sales for the fourth quarter were up 14%, with December registering a 10% gain after November's breathtaking 27% boost over sales in the same month of 2005. Graphic novel sales were up 10% for the fourth quarter and the combined comics and graphic novel total was up a very strong 13% for Q4 and 14% for the year.
Graphic novel sales were up 8% for the year and 10 % for the quarter. December graphic novel sales were down 1% and November's were down 2%, but October's total, which was driven by a number of potent hardcovers including Fables 1001 Nights of Snowfall, Infinite Crisis, Absolute Sandman, Wolverine Origin, and Marvel Zombies, was up an astounding 38% over October 2005. Because of the growing number of releases and the importance of backlist sales, the 9% growth rate for graphic novels sales in 2006 definitely masks a good deal of sales growth in the format because the 9% number is based only on the Top 100 best-selling graphic novels each month, which means that it is likely that real growth rate in graphic novels sales is substantially higher than 9%.