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Comic Sales Soar in May

Extra Ship Week Helps

Published: 06/08/2012, Last Updated: 06/11/2012 06:17pm
May's Top Book
What a difference a year makes!  Last May the comic market was struggling, down 17% year-over-year with not a single title selling a hundred thousand copies in spite of the launch of DC’s Flashpoint.  But May 2012 was a different story entirely.  Thanks in part to five ship weeks and the continued success of Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men and DC’s Batman: Court of Owls, year-over-year sales were up a whopping 45.12%; while graphic novels, buoyed by the release of the first wave of DC’s "New 52" titles, bounded up 41.24% in dollar sales.  Combined dollar sales of comics and graphic novels were up a jaw-dropping 43.76% in May.  

It is easy to get giddy over these increases, but it should be remembered that May 2012 had five ship weeks and that May 2011, which did not, was a very weak month for both comic and graphic novel sales.
In sales charts for May released by Diamond Comic Distributors, Marvel took the top two spots with its Avengers vs. X-Men #3 and #4, while the House of Ideas’ throwdown book AvX: Versus #2 came in at number six.  The fact that issue #4 of Avengers vs. X-Men outsold its predecessor is a good sign for Marvel.  But DC took seven out of the top 10 spots, a strong reminder that the continuing success of the "New 52" titles remains the foundation of the current bull market in comics.  For the second month in a row Scott Snyder’s Batman was the top DC book, nosing out Justice League.
The situation in graphic novels was reversed with the first Justice League collection topping the charts followed closely by Batman. Interestingly in the book store market the situation was reversed with the Batman collection coming out on top of Justice League in May (see "'Avengers Guide' Tops Bookstore GN Sales").  DC managed to place four of its "New 52" collections in the Graphic Novel "Top 10" in May.  

In spite of the continuing TV-driven success of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, the graphic novel market has been anemic since the advent of the "New 52" largely because DC’s role was reduced since the pre "New 52" collections lack relevance.
As for The Walking Dead, its total dominance of the graphic novel market is waning a bit as we get farther and farther away from the end of the show’s second season in March.  In April the Image Comics series took just three spots in the "Graphic Novel Top 10," versus an amazing seven spots in April.
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DC’s strong performance on the graphic novel side where it put six titles in the "Top10" helped the publisher narrow the marketshare gap with Marvel Comics.  Marvel remained at number one with 35.32% dollar share, but DC narrowed the distance between the Big Two from 4.52% in April to just 2.59% in May.  Image Comics was a solid #3 with 7.19% followed by IDW with 4.8%, Dark Horse with 4.75% and Dynamite Entertainment with 2.55%.  The dominance of the "Big Two" increased from 64.76% of the market in April to 68.05% in May.

For an overview and analysis of comic sales in May, see "'Avengers Vs. X-Men
 Dominate in May

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 2012."

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 2012."

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 an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in April, see"'Avengers vs. X-Men' on Top Again in April."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in April, see "Comic Sales Back on Track in April."
For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through May 2012, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
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