Now that we've reached the end of the first year of Diamond's new method of calculating its order indexes, it's possible to use the data we develop for the Top 300 Comic list and the Top 50/100 Graphic Novels to determine year over year rates of change for the market as a whole (to the degree that it's represented by the top 300 comic and top 50 graphic novel titles).
Diamond's sales of comics were up a solid 15% in March 2004 over March 2003, reflecting both increases in circulation (see 'Comic Numbers Tick Up in March') and in average cover price. Floppies led the way with a 17% increase over 03, with a more modest 2% increase in graphic novel sales.
Sales of six of the top eight comic publishers were up. Marvel trailed the market slightly with a 12% increase, while DC had a more robust 18% growth rate over 2003. Dark Horse had the largest growth rate of the top publishers, 78%, driven primarily by its Hellboy trade paperbacks. Dreamwave, Tokyopop, and Viz all grew dramatically, at 36%, 39%, and 75% rates, respectively.