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Comic Sales Back on Track in April

With 16% Year-Over-Year Gain

Published: 05/04/2012, Last Updated: 05/07/2012 06:21pm
The #1 Book in April
Demonstrating that last month’s year-over-year decline in sales of periodical comics was an anomaly created by a reduced number of ship weeks, Diamond Comic Distributors reports a substantial 16.3% gain in dollars for April 2012 over sales in April of 2011 when Marvel’s Fear Itself event debuted and a seven-month decline in comic sales slowed.  The number of ship weeks in a month can make a difference, which is why quarterly figures provide a more reliable indicator of market trends.  It turns out that April’s 16% gain in comic sales is pretty much in line with the year-to-date (4 months) sales trend, which shows comic sales up 15.94% for the first third of 2012 versus the first third of 2011.
 
Graphic novels also posted solid year-over-year gains in sales dollars in April as they grew 12.56% over April of 2011, which was a pretty good month for GN sales led by Fables Vol. 15, which sold a very respectable 11,604 copies.  But what is really amazing about graphic novel sales in the direct market in April is how closely they mirror bookstore graphic novel trends, something that actually doesn’t happen very often, but which in this case reflects the overriding dominance of Image’s The Walking Dead, sales of which are driven by the hyper-successful AMC TV adaptation.  Seven volumes of The Walking Dead were in Diamond’s top 10, just as there were seven TWD titles in the top ten of BookScan’s list of graphic novels sold in bookstores in April (see "'The Walking Dead' Dominates Bookstore GN Sales Again").  If anything Kirkman’s zombie epic was even more dominant in the direct market where it took 15 spots out of the top 20, versus "just" 12 of the top 20 in the bookstores.  The release of the first "New 52" collections in May and the fact that Season 2 of The Walking Dead ended in March should erode the property’s dominance somewhat next month.
 
Combined sales of comics and graphic novels were up 15.09% for April versus April of 2011, while combined year-to-date sales of comics and graphic novels were up a healthy 13.84% for 2012 to date versus the first four months of 2011.
 
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Marvel’s event book Avengers vs. X-Men #2 took the top spot for the second month in a row, but DC Comics still placed six titles in the top ten. Marvel remained the marketshare leader with a 34.64% dollar share, but its lead over DC continued to shrink from 6.45% in February to 5.26% in March to 4.52% in April.  Aided by the strong performance of The Walking Dead on the graphic novel side, Image Comics was a solid #3 with an 8.6% dollar share, followed this month by Dark Horse Comics, which was entrenched at #4 with 5.37%.  IDW publishing was next with 4.22% followed closely by Dynamite Entertainment at 3.89% (Dynamite was actually ahead of IDW for the number 5 spot in unit share, 3.9% to 3.4%).

For an overview and analysis of comic sales in April, see "Article Coming."

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 2012."

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 2012."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during March, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--March 2012."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during March, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--March 2012."

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in March, see "'AvX' #1 Ends 'Justice League's' Reign."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in March, see "Streak Stopped at 7--Comics Slip in March."

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through April 2012, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
 
 
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