Print View

Top 300 Comics Down 17.3 % in May

Graphic Novels Drop 6.2%

Published: 06/14/2011 01:19am
After nearly pulling even in year-over-year sales in April, the Top 300 periodical comics plummeted 17.3% in May as the top titles exhibited unusual weakness.  The situation doesn’t appear to have been quite as bad on the graphic novel side with year-over-year sales of the Top 300 books down just 6.2%, but in this case appearances are deceiving, the drop in comic sales was not quite as bad as it looks and graphic novel sales in May of 2011 were even worse than they appear at first glance.
 
Not to say that comic sales in May were strong.  They weren’t, as evidenced by the fact that there was no title that sold over 100,000 copies (see “No Title Over 100K Again”).  But as always it’s a case of “compared to what.”  Aided by the launch of Avengers #1, which sold over 163,000 copies, periodical sales were up 15% in May of 2010 versus 2009, and there were five titles over the100,000 mark, with the sales of the #25 book almost 10K higher than the #25 book in May of 2011.
 
May 2010 not only benefited from the launch of the new Avengers and Secret Avengers titles, but also from Marvel’s Siege event, and DC’s launch of Brightest Day (with 2 releases) and Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne #1, which put four strong #1 issue releases in the top five titles.  This compares with just 3 Fear Itself titles, one issue of the core Flashpoint miniseries, and three Green Lantern “War of the Lantern” issues in May of 2011. So there is some truth to the notion that 2011’s comic events are lagging behind 2010’s timewise, though it should also be pointed out that so far at least they aren’t selling as well as their 2010 counterparts.
 
So, if the situation with periodical comics is not quite as dire as a 17.3% drop makes it look, the trend in graphic novels is worse than it appears.  Graphic novel sales in May of 2010 were down 13% from May of 2009 (and the drop can’t be blamed on Watchmen sales in May of 2009 since returns from consignment deals that month offset new sales).  No graphic novel sold 5000 copies in May of 2010, so the fact May of 2011’s top 300 graphic novel sales was down 6.2% from that dismal performance means that the graphic novel sales in May were even worse that they might appear in a quick glance at the year-over-year numbers.

Marvel maintained its dominant marketshare in May with a 42.45% dollar share compared with DC Comics’ 26.68%.  Dark Horse nosed out Image in dollar share 4.89% to 4.88% for third place with IDW close behind at 4.6%, followed by Dynamite Entertainment at 2.83% and BOOM! Studios at 2.33%.

For an overview and analysis of comic sales in May, see "No Titles Over 100K Again."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during May, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--May 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during May, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--May 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during April, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--April 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during April, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--April 2011."

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in April see "'Fear Itself' Debut Boosts Comic Sales."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in April see "Comic Sales Decline Slows in April."

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through May 2011, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
 
 
Top 10 'M:TG--Khans of Tarkir' Cards Before and After the Prerelease
Column by Frank Lepore
Frank Lepore looks at the prices paid for M:TG--Khans of Tarkir singles.