Comic Book Sales Take Plunge in January 2011

Hickman On FANTASTIC FOUR #587

Diamond Comics Distributors released their first look at comic book and graphic novel sales to the comic book Direct Market in January 2011. Normally this is the space where'd be highlight the top-selling comic book of the month and the market leading publisher, but the big - and sobering - news this month is sales dropped 24.45% in January compared to last month.

Now some of that drop can be attributed to holiday sales during the month of December, but perhaps even more disturbing is comics and graphic novel sales are down 22.91% compared January 2010.

Hickman On FANTASTIC FOUR #587
Hickman On FANTASTIC FOUR #587
 

Marvel's Fantastic Four #587 - featuring the death of Johnny Storm - was the month's bestselling comic book by a considerable margin over DC's Brightest Day #17, and DC/Vertigo's Jack of Fables Vol. 8: The Fulminate Blade trade paperback was the bestselling graphic novel. And as per usual, Marvel took both market share categories in January - 42.37% of Unit sales to DC's 31.80%, and 39.06% of Dollar sales to DC's 26.38%, but the story of the month is the industry-wide dip in sales compared to 2010.

John Jackson Miller, who tracks historical comic book sales at Comichron.com, has this quick analysis of January's figures:

"There’s not enough data inside the lists to say a whole lot yet; just looking at the order index numbers on the Diamond chart, there would appear to be one book in the low six figures, Fantastic Four #587 with the Human Torch's demise.

"We can look at the comparison year, of course. Last January was very slightly up over Jan. 2009, the Obama Spidey month, and it had a couple of things going for it like Siege #1 and Green Lantern #50 on the comics side, and Walking Dead Vol. 11 doing 17,000 copies on the trade side. It’s not clear that we have the same big item on the trade side, and if Fantastic Four #587 was a last-week-in-month book, it’s possible it didn’t have as much sales impact as it otherwise might have had.

"A dollar year-to-year drop of 20.24% wouldn’t be the worst we’ve ever seen, but it would be up there with some of the worst ones. January is always down a huge amount from December, so don’t read too much into that this month to last month drop. It's the least "fair" month-to-month comparison there is. January is always down some amount from December, even in good years — often a huge amount. Any retailers who do close usually do so at the end of the  year so as to put Christmas on the books and not incur another tax year, and the weather is frequently more impactful in January. Here's the estimated change within the Top 300 comics dollar sales from December to January from 1997 to 2009-2010:

December 1996 to January 1997:   -15.3%

December 1997 to January 1998:   -27.7%

December 1998 to January 1999:   -15.2%

December 1999 to January 2000:    -18.5%

December 2000 to January 2001:   -8.9%

December 2001 to January 2002:   -3.6%

December 2002 to January 2003:   -4.8%

December 2003 to January 2004:   -19.9%

December 2004 to January 2005:   -26.7%

December 2005 to January 2006:   -17.0%

December 2006 to January 2007:  -4.8%

December 2007 to January 2008:    -7.0%

December 2008 to January 2009: -24.36%

December 2009 to January 2010: -13.96%

December 2010 to January 2011 (all comics): -27.7%

"Now, the above Diamond category actually reports all comics and trades, not just the Top 300, but we can see that the drop is identical to the one from December 1997 to January 1998, and very close to the one from December 2004 to January 2005. What's interesting about that is that while 1998 was still in the period of collapse, 2005 was a very strong year. The drop is also close to the 2008-2009 difference, and 2009 ended up being flat. So the December-to-January difference isn't often  a factor in performance by the end of the year — nor, indeed, is January, period.

"This is the thing about the Dead Quarter': since publishers know there are fewer customers in the stores, they alter their slates accordingly. The result is very much like watching the stock market during the week between Christmas and New Year's. Yes, the market moves up or down, but on very light volume that is frequently not telling for the rest of the year. Our volumes in this quarter are lighter anyway, so any fluctuation in them will have less effect in the long run. As I’ve written before, “All months in comics  are not created equal. A strong August erases six weeks of winter.”

Any retailers who do close usually do so at the end of the year so as to put Christmas on the books and not incur another tax year; this January also had some crappy weather."

Comichron has more at http://blog.comichron.com/2011/02/january-2011-bad-but-light-trading-day.html

Look for much more in-depth analysis here soon on January's 2011 sales. The publisher's Market Share, Comparative Sales, Top 100 Comic Books and Top 100 Graphic Novels charts follow below...

TOP COMIC BOOK PUBLISHERS

PUBLISHER

DOLLAR

SHARE

UNIT

SHARE

MARVEL COMICS

39.06%

42.37%

DC COMICS

26.38%

31.80%

IMAGE COMICS

7.60%

6.45%

DARK HORSE COMICS

4.82%

3.70%

IDW PUBLISHING

4.75%

4.60%

DYNAMITE ENTERTAINMENT

2.82%

2.51%

BOOM! STUDIOS

2.01%

1.80%

EAGLEMOSS PUBLICATIONS

1.40%

0.31%

VIZ MEDIA

1.28%

0.58%

WIZARD ENTERTAINMENT

0.68%

0.62%

OTHER NON-TOP 10

9.19%

5.25%

COMPARATIVE SALES STATISTICS

 

DOLLARS

UNITS

JANUARY 2011 VS. DECEMBER 2010

COMICS

-27.70%

-23.75%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-32.41%

-31.09%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-29.35%

-24.45%

JANUARY 2011 VS. JANUARY 2010

COMICS

-21.98%

-23.23%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-16.53%

-19.36%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-20.24%

-22.91%

CURRENT 12-MONTHS ROLLING VS. PREVIOUS 12-MONTHS ROLLING

COMICS

-6.64%

-8.40%

GRAPHIC NOVELS

-1.81%

-2.83%

TOTAL COMICS/GN

-5.09%

-7.93%

TOP 100 COMIC BOOKS

Based on Total Unit Sales of Products Invoiced in January 2011

 

QTY

RANK

DOLLAR

RANK

INDEX

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

1

191.68

FANTASTIC FOUR #587

$3.99

MAR

2

8

120.94

BRIGHTEST DAY #17

$2.99

DC 

3

9

119.69

BRIGHTEST DAY #18

$2.99

DC 

4

2

108.66

SPAWN #200

$3.99

IMA

5

4

107.70

AVENGERS #9

$3.99

MAR

6

5

107.28

X-MEN #7

$3.99

MAR

7

15

102.58

BATMAN AND ROBIN #19

$2.99

DC 

8

6

101.56

NEW AVENGERS #8

$3.99

MAR

9

17

100.00

BATMAN #706

$2.99

DC 

10

7

94.22

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #651

$3.99

MAR

11

3

89.96

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN #500

$4.99

MAR

12

10

89.77

UNCANNY X-MEN #532

$3.99

MAR

13

20

89.07

GREEN LANTERN CORPS #56

$2.99

DC 

14

11

86.42

AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #652

$3.99

MAR

15

12

85.31

UNCANNY X-FORCE #4

$3.99

MAR

16

13

84.26

SECRET AVENGERS #9

$3.99

MAR

17

22

78.19

JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA #53

$2.99

DC 

18

16

78.12

AGE OF X ALPHA #1

$3.99

MAR

19

14

77.90

WOLVERINE #5

$3.99

MAR

20

27

72.17

GREEN LANTERN EMERALD WARRIORS #6

$2.99

DC 

21

18

71.22

THOR #619

$3.99

MAR

22

19

69.93

CAPTAIN AMERICA #614

$3.99

MAR

23

28

69.47

SUPERMAN #707

$2.99

DC 

24

33

66.73

X-MEN LEGACY #244

$2.99

MAR

25

32

65.56

BUFFY VAMPIRE SLAYER #40

$2.99

DAR

26

21

64.13

AVENGERS PRIME #5

$3.99

MAR

27

35

63.78

DETECTIVE COMICS #873

$2.99

DC 

28

37

59.57

BATMAN BEYOND #1

$2.99

DC 

29

23

59.34

ULTIMATE COMICS CAPTAIN AMERICA #1

$3.99

MAR

30

36

58.62

GREEN ARROW #8

$2.99

DC 

31

24

56.96

DAREDEVIL REBORN #1

$3.99

MAR

32

39

55.79

WONDER WOMAN #606

$2.99

DC 

33

34

55.59

ULTIMATE COMICS SPIDER-MAN #152

$3.99

MAR

34

25

55.57

WOLVERINE BEST THERE IS #2

$3.99

MAR

35

26

55.54

ULTIMATE COMICS AVENGERS 3 #6

$3.99

MAR

36

41

53.35

ACTION COMICS #897

$2.99

DC 

37

43

53.18

SUPERIOR #4 (MR)

$2.99

MAR

38

29

53.09

AVENGERS CHILDRENS CRUSADE #4

$3.99

MAR

39

42

52.49

BIRDS OF PREY #8

$2.99

DC 

40

30

51.46

INCREDIBLE HULKS #620

$3.99

MAR

41

31

51.40

INCREDIBLE HULKS #621

$3.99

MAR

42

44

51.26

JUSTICE LEAGUE GENERATION LOST #17

$2.99

DC 

43

45

50.72

RED ROBIN #19

$2.99

DC 

44

46

50.57

JUSTICE LEAGUE GENERATION LOST #18

$2.99

DC 

45

47

50.41

SUPERMAN BATMAN #80

$2.99

DC 

46

48

49.93

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #47

$2.99

DC 

47

50

49.06

SUPERBOY #3

$2.99

DC 

48

49

49.02

WALKING DEAD #80 (MR)

$2.99

IMA

49

52

48.43

DEADPOOL #31

$2.99

MAR

50

53

48.39

DEADPOOL #32

$2.99

MAR

51

56

46.25

X-23 #5

$2.99

MAR

52

57

45.61

BLACK PANTHER MAN WITHOUT FEAR #514

$2.99

MAR

53

38

44.05

THANOS IMPERATIVE DEVESTATION

$3.99

MAR

54

58

44.02

THUNDERBOLTS #152

$2.99

MAR

55

62

42.24

TEEN TITANS #91

$2.99

DC 

56

64

42.18

X-FACTOR #213

$2.99

MAR

57

63

41.82

BATGIRL #17

$2.99

DC 

58

65

41.70

X-FACTOR #214

$2.99

MAR

59

40

41.00

CHAOS WAR #5

$3.99

MAR

60

68

40.23

LEGION OF SUPER HEROES #9

$2.99

DC 

61

69

39.87

AVENGERS ACADEMY #8

$2.99

MAR

62

70

39.47

NEW MUTANTS #21

$2.99

MAR

63

74

38.21

HEROES FOR HIRE #2

$2.99

MAR

64

72

37.89

ADVENTURE COMICS #522

$2.99

DC 

65

75

37.47

SUPERGIRL #60

$2.99

DC 

66

51

36.60

ULTIMATE COMICS DOOM #2

$3.99

MAR

67

54

36.54

SCARLET #4 (MR)

$3.95

MAR

68

77

36.11

TITANS #31

$2.99

DC 

69

79

35.85

BATMAN STREETS OF GOTHAM #19

$2.99

DC 

70

81

35.45

WOLVERINE & JUBILEE #1

$2.99

MAR

71

84

33.75

SECRET SIX #29

$2.99

DC 

72

59

32.61

ASTONISHING THOR #2

$3.99

MAR

73

88

32.15

MAGNETO #1

$2.99

MAR

74

55

32.03

BOYS #50 (MR)

$3.99

DYN

75

61

31.94

DEADPOOLMAX #4 (MR)

$3.99

MAR

76

93

31.85

FABLES #101 (MR)

$2.99

DC 

77

94

31.09

STEEL #1

$2.99

DC 

78

160

31.08

CAPTAIN AMERICA HAIL HYDRA #1

$2.99

MAR

79

76

30.97

STAR WARS DARTH VADER & LOST COMMAND #1

$3.50

DAR

80

67

30.86

DARK TOWER GUNSLINGER LITTLE SISTERS ELURIA #2

$3.99

MAR

81

91

30.69

ZATANNA #9

$2.99

DC 

82

90

30.65

SPAWN #201

$2.99

IMA

83

92

30.54

SHAZAM #1

$2.99

DC 

84

95

29.75

JSA ALL STARS #14

$2.99

DC 

85

80

29.63

STAR WARS LEGACY WAR #2

$3.50

DAR

86

71

29.52

CHAOS WAR X-MEN #2

$3.99

MAR

87

60

29.11

VAMPIRELLA #2

$3.99

DYN

88

97

28.91

WONDER GIRL #1

$2.99

DC 

89

99

28.17

AMERICAN VAMPIRE #11 (MR)

$2.99

DC 

90

100

27.93

POWER GIRL #20

$2.99

DC 

91

66

27.80

INFESTATION #1

$3.99

IDW

92

102

27.72

GENERATION HOPE #3

$2.99

MAR

93

78

27.27

CHAOS WAR DEAD AVENGERS #3

$3.99

MAR

94

103

27.10

BOOSTER GOLD #40

$2.99

DC 

95

104

26.76

DEADPOOL CORPS #10

$2.99

MAR

96

108

26.15

STARMAN CONGORILLA #1

$2.99

DC 

97

85

25.40

PUNISHER IN BLOOD #3

$3.99

MAR

98

114

25.20

NAMOR FIRST MUTANT #6

$2.99

MAR

99

86

24.84

WEIRD WORLDS #1

$3.99

DC 

100

89

24.12

X-MEN TO SERVE AND PROTECT #3

$3.99

MAR

 

TOP 100 GRAPHIC NOVELS

Based on Total Unit Sales of Products Invoiced in January 2011

 

QTY

RANK

DOLLAR

RANK

INDEX

DESCRIPTION

PRICE

VENDOR

1

7

6.50

JACK OF FABLES TP VOL 08 THE FULMINATE BLADE TP (MR)

$14.99

DC 

2

35

4.95

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 01 DAYS GONE BYE

$9.99

IMA

3

5

4.82

DARK TOWER GUNSLINGER JOURNEY BEGINS PREM HC

$24.99

MAR

4

10

4.80

GOON TP VOL 10 DEATHS GREEDY COMEUPPANCE

$16.99

DAR

5

22

4.58

BATMAN JOKERS ASYLUM TP VOL 02

$14.99

DC 

6

24

4.19

INVINCIBLE IRON MAN TP VOL 04 STARK DISASSEMBLED

$15.99

MAR

7

2

3.96

STARMAN OMNIBUS HC VOL 06

$49.99

DC 

8

27

3.86

HOUSE OF MYSTERY TP VOL 05 UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT (MR)

$14.99

DC 

9

23

3.82

MADAME XANADU TP VOL 03 BROKEN HOUSE OF CARDS (MR)

$17.99

DC 

10

29

3.64

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 02 MILES BEHIND US (NEW PTG)

$14.99

IMA

11

21

3.49

RAT CATCHER HC (MR)

$19.99

DC 

12

6

3.48

DEADPOOL CLASSIC TP VOL 04

$29.99

MAR

13

28

3.39

HULK END TP

$16.99

MAR

14

12

3.37

SAGA OF THE SWAMP THING HC BOOK 04 (MR)

$24.99

DC 

15

58

3.36

FULLMETAL ALCHEMIST TP VOL 24

$9.99

VIZ

16

66

3.36

ARTIFACTS TP VOL 01

$9.99

IMA

17

11

3.18

STAR WARS LONG TIME AGO OMNIBUS TP VOL 03

$24.99

DAR

18

15

3.13

AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS PREM HC VOL 01

$24.99

MAR

19

70

3.08

HACK SLASH MY FIRST MANIAC TP VOL 01 (MR)

$9.99

IMA

20

16

3.07

NEW AVENGERS BY BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS PREM HC VOL 01

$24.99

MAR

21

25

3.02

SIEGE DARK AVENGERS TP

$19.99

MAR

22

43

3.01

SECRET SIX CATS IN THE CRADLE TP

$14.99

DC 

23

45

2.93

CASANOVA TP LUXURIA VOL 01 (MR)

$14.99

MAR

24

17

2.91

SIEGE NEW AVENGERS TP

$24.99

MAR

25

19

2.87

SECRET AVENGERS PREM HC MISSION TO MARS VOL 01

$24.99

MAR

26

39

2.81

ASTOUNDING WOLF MAN TP VOL 04

$16.99

IMA

27

46

2.78

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 13 TOO FAR GONE (MR)

$14.99

IMA

28

31

2.74

HALO TP HELLJUMPER (MR)

$19.99

MAR

29

30

2.73

SUPERMAN LAST STAND OF NEW KRYPTON HC VOL 02

$19.99

DC 

30

75

2.67

BATTLE ANGEL ALITA LAST ORDER TP VOL 14

$9.99

VIZ

31

59

2.67

GANTZ TP VOL 15 (MR)

$12.99

DAR

32

18

2.55

LAST UNICORN HC

$24.99

IDW

33

53

2.49

SIEGE MIGHTY AVENGERS TP

$15.99

MAR

34

4

2.48

MMW UNCANNY X-MEN HC VOL 07

$54.99

MAR

35

8

2.48

BPRD PLAGUE OF FROGS HC VOL 01

$34.99

DAR

36

32

2.44

SIXTH GUN TP VOL 01

$19.99

ONI

37

38

2.42

SANDMAN TP VOL 04 SEASON OF MISTS NEW ED (MR)

$19.99

DC 

38

61

2.41

BATMAN VS THE UNDEAD TP

$14.99

DC 

39

54

2.40

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 03 SAFETY BEHIND BARS

$14.99

IMA

40

65

2.30

SPIDER-MAN GAUNTLET VOL 04 JUGGERNAUT TP

$14.99

MAR

41

60

2.29

SERENITY SHEPHERDS TALE HC

$14.99

DAR

42

9

2.27

SPIDER-MAN COMPLETE CLONE SAGA EPIC TP BOOK 05

$39.99

MAR

43

44

2.25

JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL TP VOL 05

$19.99

DC 

44

1

2.24

MIGHTY THOR OMNIBUS HC VOL 01

$99.99

MAR

45

72

2.22

SCOTT PILGRIM GN VOL 01 PRECIOUS LITTLE LIFE

$11.99

ONI

46

71

2.12

X-FACTOR TP VOL 10 SECOND COMING

$14.99

MAR

47

51

2.09

STEVE ROGERS PREM HC SUPER-SOLDIER

$19.99

MAR

48

121

2.09

TANK GIRL WE HATE TANK GIRL TP (MR)

$9.99

IMA

49

63

2.08

COWBOY NINJA VIKING TP VOL 02

$16.99

IMA

50

167

2.07

SMURFS GN VOL 04 SMURFETTE

$5.99

NBM

51

36

2.06

SPIDER-MAN ORIGIN OF SPECIES PREM HC

$24.99

MAR

52

105

2.01

NGE CAMPUS APOCALYSE TP VOL 02

$10.99

DAR

53

64

1.94

SUPERMAN NIGHTWING AND FLAMEBIRD TP

$17.99

DC 

54

119

1.93

INU YASHA TP VOL 56

$9.99

VIZ

55

123

1.92

CLAYMORE TP VOL 17

$9.99

VIZ

56

37

1.91

AGE OF REPTILES OMNIBUS VOL 01

$24.99

DAR

57

76

1.91

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 05 BEST DEFENSE (NEW PTG)

$14.99

IMA

58

57

1.87

SUPERMAN EARTH ONE HC

$19.99

DC 

59

33

1.84

CAPTAIN AMERICA WAR & REMEMBRANCE PREM HC

$29.99

MAR

60

84

1.84

QUESTION PIPELINE TP

$14.99

DC 

61

41

1.84

SPAWN ENDGAME COLLECTION TP

$24.99

IMA

62

85

1.83

THOR RAGNAROK TP

$14.99

MAR

63

83

1.81

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 12 LIFE AMONG THEM

$14.99

IMA

64

87

1.76

DARK IVORY TP

$14.99

IMA

65

97

1.76

GARTH ENNIS BATTLEFIELDS TP VOL 06 MOTHERLAND

$12.99

DYN

66

86

1.76

SPAWN ORIGINS TP VOL 09

$14.99

IMA

67

78

1.75

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 04 HEARTS DESIRE (NEW PTG)

$14.99

IMA

68

82

1.70

HAWKEYE & MOCKINGBIRD TP GHOSTS

$16.99

MAR

69

50

1.68

FANTASTIC FOUR RESURRECTION GALACTUS PREM HC

$24.99

MAR

70

96

1.66

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 09 HERE WE REMAIN (MR)

$14.99

IMA

71

117

1.65

CHILL TP (MR)

$12.99

DC 

72

200

1.65

SHREK ONCE UPON A SLIME TP

$6.95

APE

73

99

1.65

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 06 SORROWFUL LIFE (NEW PTG) (SEP088207)

$14.99

IMA

74

68

1.62

TRANSFORMERS DRIFT TP

$17.99

IDW

75

122

1.61

NANCY IN HELL TP

$12.99

IMA

76

81

1.60

FABLES TP VOL 14 WITCHES (MR)

$17.99

DC 

77

73

1.59

GFT INFERNO TP

$15.99

ZEN

78

34

1.58

ART OF RED SONJA HC

$29.99

DYN

79

103

1.57

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 11 FEAR THE HUNTERS (MR)

$14.99

IMA

80

74

1.57

AVENGERS COMING OF BEAST PREM HC

$19.99

MAR

81

91

1.56

DEATH NOTE BLACK ED TP

$14.99

VIZ

82

55

1.56

MMW UNCANNY X-MEN TP VOL 03

$24.99

MAR

83

56

1.55

AVENGERS ACADEMY PREM HC PERMANENT RECORD

$24.99

MAR

84

94

1.55

X-MEN FOREVER 2 TP VOL 01 BACK IN ACTION

$16.99

MAR

85

42

1.52

BLACKEST NIGHT HC

$29.99

DC 

86

226

1.52

BRODYS GHOST BOOK 02

$6.99

DAR

87

93

1.50

DARKCHYLDE TP VOL 01 LEGACY & REDEMPTION (MR)

$16.99

IMA

88

108

1.47

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 10 WHAT WE BECOME

$14.99

IMA

89

90

1.47

DOOM PATROL BROTHERHOOD TP

$17.99

DC 

90

69

1.45

DOCTOR WHO ONGOING TP VOL 03 FINAL SACRIFICE

$19.99

IDW

91

109

1.44

SECRET WARRIORS TP VOL 03 WAKE BEAST

$15.99

MAR

92

118

1.43

BATMAN DARK KNIGHT RETURNS TP

$14.99

DC 

93

111

1.43

WALKING DEAD TP VOL 07 THE CALM BEFORE

$14.99

IMA

94

49

1.41

WHAT IF CLASSIC TP VOL 07

$29.99

MAR

95

112

1.39

SIEGE TP THOR

$15.99

MAR

96

48

1.37

KILLER HC VOL 03 MODUS VIVENDI (MR)

$24.95

ARA

97

140

1.37

FABLES TP VOL 01 LEGENDS IN EXILE

$12.99

DC 

98

3

1.37

WALKING DEAD OMNIBUS HC VOL 03

$100.00

IMA

99

89

1.34

WATCHMEN TP

$19.99

DC 

100

185

1.31

BRIDE OF THE WATER GOD TP VOL 07

$9.99

DAR

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