Year-over-year dollar sales of periodical comics through Diamond Comic Distributors declined 2.43% in March, while sales of graphic novels plummeted 10.01%. For the first quarter of 2011 comic sales were down by 8.57%, while graphic novel sales dropped 7.24% and combined sales of comics and graphic novels were down 8.14%.
The March year-over-year drop in comics was worse than in February when the decline in comic dollars was just 1.7%, while graphic novels, bolstered by the release of a number of popular higher price books, were actually up 6.92% in February. While the actual sales of comics and graphic novels were up for March of 2011 versus February of 2011, the more important and telling year-over-year trend is not good. The double digit graphic novel sales decline in March is emblematic of the market’s Q1 struggles overall, which are largely the result of a lack of “hits.”
Speaking of “hits,” there may well be one in Marvel’s FF #1, the debut of the new Future Foundation, which was the bestselling comic in March (ICv2’s sales estimates for the Top 300 comics will be up early next week). DC grabbed seven of the top ten spots on the chart (up from six in February), but Marvel was able to maintain its commanding lead in market share (39.63% to 27.62% in dollars). Image Comics share rose slightly (from 5.31% to 5.45%), while IDW (up from 4.6% in February to 5.03% in March) took sole possession of fourth place followed by Dark Horse (4.27%), Dynamite (3.02%), Boom! Studios (2.09%), and Viz Media (1.15%).