Comic and graphic novel orders (dollars) ended up 19% in the second quarter vs. 2001, continuing the accelerating trend that began in the second half of last year. As noted last month (see 'May Comic and Graphic Novel Orders Continue Sharp Increases'), the growth rate has been accelerating, with higher growth rates in the second quarter than the first (15%) or the fourth quarter of 2001 (9%). Comics and graphic novels were about even for the quarter, with a 19% growth rate for comics, and a 23% growth rate for graphic novels. The quarter was also up 3% over 2000, but there the growth was entirely attributed to graphic novels, which were up over 50% vs. 2000, while comics actually dropped 1% vs. 2000).
The month of June was the weakest in the quarter, but still strong. Comics and graphic novel orders were up 12% vs. 2001, with an 11% growth rate for comics and a 21% growth rate for graphic novels. This was roughly half the growth rate in the first two months of the second quarter. As noted in our report on piece orders for June, however (see 'Top Comics Drop in June'), June orders were placed before retailers saw May's strong sales, so this drop back to a merely robust growth rate may be temporary.
Marvel led the way again in the second quarter, with a 49% year over year growth rate vs. 2001. Dark Horse was up 3% in the second quarter vs. 2001. DC and Image were both down, 8% and 7% respectively, vs. the year ago quarter.
The dollar estimates discussed in this article are based on ICv2 estimates of initial raw orders to Diamond North America on titles scheduled for shipment in June 2002.
Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and Image distribute 100% of their comic store orders through Diamond. Some other publishers distribute directly to stores or through other distributors and as a result this analysis may underestimate their sales.
Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, and Image distribute some of their titles through channels other than comic specialty stores, e.g., newsstands and bookstores. These quantity estimates do not reflect distribution through those channels.
The quantities above do not include advance reorders, late orders, or reorders.
Most of the titles on this chart are also distributed to Europe by Diamond UK, which can account for significant sales for the publisher, ranging from 3-20% of the US numbers. Sales by Diamond UK are not included in the numbers above.
Even given the above, however, it is probably safe to say that these quantities reflect 80% or more of the total North American sales by the publisher on most periodical comics.
One other factor to consider is that sales through Diamond and other comic distributors are non-returnable to retailers. That means that there is a considerable unknown percentage of books unsold at the retailer level. If that percentage is 10-20% of sales (a reasonable assumption), the estimates above may be quite close to actual sales to consumers.
For the top 300 comics in June, see 'Top 300 Comics -- June 2002.'
For the top 50 graphic novels in June, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels -- June 2002.'
For a list of the top comics in May, see 'Top 300 Comics -- May.'
For a list of the top graphic novels in May, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels -- May.'
For an over-view and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in May, see 'Spider-Man, Batman Up in May.'