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'Justice League' Remains at #1 in December

'The Walking Dead' Nearly Laps GN Field

Published: 01/09/2012, Last Updated: 01/10/2012 01:52am
After a major expansion that coincided with the launch of DC’s "New 52" in December the pace of the sales growth in periodical comics slowed a bit in December, though DC’s quartet of Justice League, Batman, Action Comics, and Green Lantern remained firmly entrenched in the top four spots.  In fact they were the only comics to break the 100K mark in December.  Sales of Justice League #4 were aided by 1:25 and 1:200 variants.  Note that the Scott Snyder-penned Batman remains the solid #2 title overall.
 
While the top four DC books are all non-returnable, over 40 of DC’s "New 52" are returnable (designated by an asterisk), which means that the numbers shown in our estimates could be higher or lower than the actual sales numbers.  Diamond applies a return reserve of 10% against the sell-in number and our estimates are based on the Diamond numbers that include the reserve, which means that the actual sell-in numbers of the DC returnable titles is higher than we show.
 
DC actually took eight of the top ten spots in December (up from six in November), but still lost the marketshare battle (by a whisker) to Marvel (see “Marvel Regains Top Spot in December”), which continues to pump more titles into the market than DC. Marvel’s top title, Avengers X-Sanction #1, which leads in to the big Avengers Vs. X-Men event, was aided by no fewer than five variant covers.  Marvel’s only other top ten title was Defenders #1 another debuting book, which was aided by 4 variant covers and promotional copies, though it should be said that the book looks pretty awesome.  The highest ranked, non-initial Marvel book was Uncanny X-Men #3, which came in at #12. Avenging Spider-Man #2, which sold 60,682 and came in at #13, suffered a precipitous drop from its strong debut at over 112,000.
 
While comics have been booming, graphic novels definitely did not hold up their end of the bargain in December as they slipped a jaw-dropping 16.2% versus December of 2010, which was a fairly typical month for GN sales, which makes the drop even more noticeable.  Imagine how dire the graphic novel sales picture would be without Image’s The Walking Dead, sales of which were buoyed by the tremendous success of Season 2 of the TV adaptation of the series, which debuted on AMC in October (see “The Walking Dead Best Ever!”).  Volume 15, the latest collection of Robert Kirkman’s zombie epic, topped the charts with a performance that was almost double that of the #2 title (Vertigo’s Fables Vol. 16, which sold a very respectable 11,137 copies)—and there were two other volumes from The Walking Dead series, Volume 1 (at #3) and Volume 2 (at #8) in the top ten in December.
 
Ed Brubaker’s Criminal Vol. 6 (Marvel) came in at #5, while Viz Media’s Naruto Vol. 53 was the bestselling manga title at #6.  The trade paperback version of DC’s Brightest Day Vol. 1 #1 came in at #7, while Marvel’s X-Men: Schism hardcover finished at #9.
 
Here are ICv2’s estimates of the sales of the “Top 25” comic titles sold through Diamond Comic Distributors in December:
 
142,248     Justice League #4
133,781     Batman #4
112,839     Action Comics #4
104,199     Green Lantern #4
  93,380     Avengers X-Sanction #1
  89,429     Detective Comics #4
  85,969     Defenders #1
  77,336     Flash #4
  70,820     Batman: The Dark Knight #4
  68,879     Superman #4
  68,400     Batman & Robin #4
  64,112     Uncanny X-Men #3
  60,682     Avenging Spider-Man #2
  58,465     Aquaman #4
  58,438     Wolverine & the X-Men #3
  57,765     Wonder Woman #4
  57,145     Avengers #20
  55,333     Uncanny X-Force #19
  54,929     Teen Titans #4
  54,652     Amazing Spider-Man #675
  54,274     Uncanny X-Force #18
  54,001     Amazing Spider-Man #676
  53,975     Batgirl #4
  53,305     Green Lantern New Guardians #4
  52,915    New Avengers #19

For an analysis of the dollar trends in December, see "Marvel Regains Top Spot 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 December 2011, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
 
 
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