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Retro Rules in April

80s Titles Top Comic and Graphic Novel Lists

Published: 04/01/2002 12:00am

Both the top-selling comic and the top-selling graphic novel ordered by pop culture retailers for April are for properties initially popular in the US in the 1980s.  Dreamwave Productions' Transformers Generation One #1 is the top-selling comic for April (see 'Top 300 Comics -- April 2002'), and Dark Horse's perennially powerful Lone Wolf and Cub trade paperback is the best-selling graphic novel (see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels -- April 2002'). 

 

For a publisher out of the top four to crack the #1 slot on Diamond's list is unprecedented, making the Transformers win a big one.  It's especially notable given that Previews covers, position at the front of the book, and other exclusive benefits are bestowed by Diamond on those top four comic publishers (Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Image).  Dreamwave was able to break out from the back of the book on the strength of the license and behind some aggressive promotional activity.   

 

While titles by publishers out of the top four may have sold well enough to win a month at some time in the past when all markets are considered (e.g., manga), this is a first in pop culture stores.   

 

Over-all numbers were solid for the month, with seasonal trends favorable; eleven of the top 25 comic titles were up and nine were down.  All of the Spider-Man books were up to numbers that were the best in recent memory in the run-up to the May 4 release of the movie.  Marvel re-solicited the very late Amazing Spider-Man #40, and got orders for nearly 9,000 more copies than it did the first time around.  We do note that the movie adaptation itself was ordered in fairly modest numbers (less than Marvel Mangaverse #1!) which could end up being a quick sell-out.   

 

The top dollar books were not the top piece books this month.  Marvel's Captain America #1 at $3.99 was the top dollar comic, and DC's Green Lantern Legacy Last Will & Testament Hal Jordan at $24.95 was the top dollar graphic novel. 

 

Marvel held eight of the top ten slots, and 19 of the top 25. DC had four of the top 25, all below #10, and Dreamwave and Image each had one top ten title. 

 

The estimated initial orders to Diamond US from pop culture stores on the top 25 comic titles are:

119,251            Transformers Generation One #1

104,185            New X-Men #125

103,153            Ultimates #4

  99,273            Amazing Spider-Man #40

  95,887            Ultimate X-Men #17

  93,909            Uncanny X-Men #405

  90,567            Captain America #1

  84,485            Ultimate Spider-Man #21

  75,528            Wolverine #175

  72,527            G.I. Joe #5

  71,855            X-Treme X-Men #12

  70,639            Green Arrow #14

  61,929            JLA #65

  53,828            Avengers #53

  48,773            Spider-Man Peter Parker #42

  48,760            Wolverine Hulk #3

  48,473            Spider-Man Peter Parker #43

  48,459            Detective Comics #769

  47,576            Daredevil #32

  46,768            X-Factor #1

  46,565            Marvel Mangaverse #1

  45,189            Spider-Man Movie Adaptation

  44,956            Punisher #11

  44,853            Batman #602

  44,808            Fantastic Four #54

 

The quantities in this chart are ICv2 estimates of initial raw orders to Diamond North America on titles scheduled for shipment in March 2002. 

 

Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Image distribute 100% of their comic store orders through Diamond.  Some other publishers distribute directly to stores or through other distributors and as a result this analysis may underestimate their sales. 

 

Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image distribute some of their titles through channels other than comic specialty stores, e.g., newsstands and bookstores.  These quantity estimates do not reflect distribution through those channels. 

 

The quantities above do not include advance reorders, late orders, or reorders.

 

Most of the titles on this chart are also distributed to Europe by Diamond UK, which can account for significant sales for the publisher, ranging from 3-20% of the US numbers.   Sales by Diamond UK are not included in the numbers above.

 

Even given the above, however, it is probably safe to say that these quantities reflect 80% or more of the total North American sales by the publisher on most periodical comics.  

 

One other factor to consider is that sales through Diamond and other comic distributors are non-returnable to retailers.  That means that there is a considerable unknown percentage of books unsold at the retailer level.  If that percentage is 10-20% of sales (a reasonable assumption), the estimates above may be quite close to actual sales to consumers.

 

For an analysis of the over-all dollar trends for April, see 'Comic and Graphic Novel Orders Surge in April.'

 

For a list of the top comics in March, see 'Top 300 Comics -- March 2002.'

 

For a list of the top graphic novels in March, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels -- March 2002.'

 

For an over-view and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in March, see 'Mundane March Titles Hold Their Own.'

 

For an analysis of the over-all dollar trends for March, see 'Comics and Graphic Novels Complete Q1 Hat Trick.'
 
 
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