Comic orders from specialty stores were generally down for August, with an 8% dollar drop from July. Eight of the top ten titles dropped, with only two of the ten -- Ultimate X-men and Green Arrow -- eking out small gains. The drop was apparent at all levels of the chart, from the top seventy-five to the poorest-selling titles. Some of this may be seasonal. Late August is pretty dead in many pop culture stores, so retailers may be adjusting their orders. Also, as a result of the seasonal effect, publishers tend to mass their strongest releases in the early summer months to give them the best chance to sell well.
Marvel continued to dominate the top of the chart, with nine of the top ten titles and twenty of the top twenty five. This is the exact same share of the top titles as last month (see 'Comic Dollars Up Again in July'). In Diamond's market share report, however, DC passed Marvel in dollars, marking another shift in the lead in what has been a very competitive year for the Big Two.
The estimated advance orders to Diamond for comics shipping in August, 2001 are as follow:
120,414 New X-Men #117
116,247 Uncanny X-Men #397
100,109 Ultimate X-Men #9
95,445 X-treme X-Men #4
80,726 Green Arrow #7
79,558 Amazing Spider-man #34
78,407 Ultimate Spider-man #12
71,224 Elektra #2
70,238 Wolverine #167
70,017 Punisher #3
69,451 JLA #57
62,333 Daredevil Yellow #3
61,572 Avengers #45
60,689 Cyclops #1
58,664 Rogue #1
54,251 Ultimate Marvel Team Up #7
52,810 Daredevil #22
52,642 Daredevil #23
51,898 Jist w/Jim Lee Creating Wonder Woman
51,854 X-Force #119
51,841 Peter Parker Spider-Man #34
50,773 Fantastic Four #46
50,630 Universe #1
49,250 Spawn #113
48,259 Exiles #3
For the complete list of all 300 top comics with their orders for August, see 'Top 300 Comics -- August.'
Our analysis is based on a combination of the information Diamond releases in Diamond Dialogue and actual order numbers provided to ICv2 from publisher sources. By plugging in the circulation numbers we know and using the Diamond order index, all of the circulation numbers for comics ordered through Diamond can be interpolated. Since Diamond calculates its indexes based on initial advance orders from its US location only, we use publisher numbers for the same kind of orders to do our calculations. This produces very accurate estimates of the initial orders for North American shops. It is not an estimate of the total sales by publishers.
Here are the limitations to our analysis:
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 of new releases to consumers.