Marvel announced today that it has shipped 100,000 copies of the Kick-Ass Premiere Hardcover by Mark Millar and John Romita, Jr. with nearly 40% of the copies going to direct market outlets. Driven by the surge of publicity surrounding the release of Matthew Vaughn’s movie adaptation, which debuts in North America this Friday, sales of Kick-Ass have grown in recent weeks in all channels. As ICv2 reported yesterday (see “Blackest Night Ends on Top”), the $24.99 Kick-Ass hardcover was the bestselling graphic novel for Diamond Comic Distributors in the month of March. Diamond actually sold more copies of the book in February, the month in which it debuted (see “Top 300 Graphic Novels-February”).
The fact that Marvel has sold nearly 40% of the first 100,000 copies in the direct market indicates that Kick-Ass could be in for an extended run in the bookstore channel, which tends to lag behind the direct market in the selling of movie-related titles. Last year the Watchmen trade continued to dominate bookstore graphic novel sales for months after it virtually disappeared from the direct market GN charts after the Watchmen movie finished its run. A lot depends on how the Kick-Ass movie is received, but one thing is clear already, the movie has already been responsible for more sales of a single graphic novel than the entire Spider-Man series, which earned billions at the box office, but generated little in the way of focused traffic at the bookstores. Clearly the early returns indicate that if things fall into place, Kick-Ass has a chance to become another movie-driven publishing phenomenon.