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Marvel Regains Top Spot in December

By Less Than a Percentage Point

Published: 01/06/2012, Last Updated: 01/10/2012 12:06am
Justice League #4
Led by Justice League #4, the latest release in its juggernaut series, DC had the top four comics in December according to information released by Diamond Comic Distributors.  But for the first time since the launch of DC’s “New 52” in September, Marvel regained its marketshare dominance, though its dollar share lead was wafer thin, 34.43% to 33.74%.  
 
Comic book sales in December of 2011 continued the positive trend that began in September as they outpaced sales in December of 2010, though the supernova of sales growth from the “New 52” appears to be dimming as comics in December posted only a 2.66% growth over the final month of the previous year.  Unfortunately the picture was not nearly as bright on the graphic novel side (any sales bonus from the first GN collections of the “New 52” is still months away), which saw a sizable 16.2% decline versus December of 2010.  The steep drop in GN sales pulled the combined comics and graphic novel sales into negative territory by 3.94%.
 
After spending most of 2011 far behind 2010, combined sales of comics and graphic novels surged ahead in the year-over-year comparison in November (see “Comics Turn Positive”), only to fall back to near parity in December with periodical comics finishing in positive territory (+1.16%), while graphic novels languished (down 5.01%), which pushed the overall category into negative territory (down just .89%).
 
The reason that the comics category was able to overcome what was clearly as late as July a dismal year-over-year sales performance was a strong rebound in the last four months of the year.  Fourth quarter numbers released by Diamond show that periodical comics were up 7.82% over 2010, while graphic novels held their own (down just .85%), which yielded an overall gain of 5.1% for the quarter.
 
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After crushing Marvel by 13 points in October (see “DC Crushes Marvel”), DC’s marketshare lead shrunk to just over one point in November (see “Comics Turn Positive”) before returning in December to familiar pre “New 52” territory—close monthly contests that typically ended with Marvel on top.  In December Image Comics was a solid #3 in marketshare (6.75% in dollars), followed by IDW (5.26%), Dark Horse (3.97) and Dynamite Entertainment (3.35%).
 
DC’s quartet of Justice League, Batman, Action Comics, and Green Lantern once again took the top four spots on the chart in December, while Image’s The Walking Dead dominated the graphic novel charts taking three spots in the top ten including a chart-topping performance from Volume 15, the latest release in the series.

For an overview and analysis of comic sales in December, see "'Justice League' Remains at #1 in December."

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

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

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

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

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in November, see "'Justice League' Stays on Top."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in November, see "Comics Turn Positive."

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through November 2011, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
 
 
Live Action Frazetta Movie
From Dynamite Entertainment