Batman: The 10-Cent Adventure topped the comic charts for January 2002, with over 650,000 copies ordered from Diamond U.S. prior to any late orders or reorders. The 22-page comic, which is both a primer on the Batman character and the kick-off to a cross-title storyline, is being used by DC and many retailers as an outreach product to introduce new readers to Batman comics. Sixteen retailers took advantage of a special DC program by ordering over 10,000 copies and having their store names printed on the comic. The expected impact showed up in orders on DC's Batman titles, which were ordered substantially higher than they had been in December. But given that over 13 times as many 10 Cent Adventures were ordered as were Batman, if this sampling program is at all successful the Batman books may still be under-ordered. One could question the wisdom of having the storyline in an introductory comic lead into a complicated multi-title adventure, but the underlying goal of introducing new readers to the character using a price promotion is a laudable one. For a full list of the top 300 comics, see 'Top 300 Comics -- January.'
Marvel's Origin continued its unbelievable performance, with orders on #6 coming in another 1% higher than orders on #5. Dark Knight Strikes Again held strong, with orders on #2 coming in at around 89% of the orders on #1. Retailers would not have seen the performance of #1 when #2 was ordered, so DKSA #2 may be under-ordered. The initial orders hold the book comfortably over the $1 million retail mark.
Ultimates #1, the new Marvel team book getting Ultimate treatment, had initial raw orders of nearly 150,000, a strong vote of confidence for the Ultimate franchise. Moment of Silence came in at around 104,000 copies, which is substantially below the 250,000 Heroes that have already been sold. Whether this reflects a lack of confidence in the 'silent story' concept, diminishing returns when it comes to benefit/tribute books, or a massive under-order will be seen soon.
Marvel's dominance of the top of the chart slipped again this month. While Marvel held eight of the top ten books (same as last month), it slipped to 17 of the top 25. The two additional non-Marvel slots over last month were picked up by DC.
Two Dark Horse trade paperbacks -- Star Wars and Lone Wolf -- took the top of the graphic novel chart, with 9-11 Emergency Relief from Alternative Comics coming in at #3 in pieces but #1 in graphic novel/trade paperback dollars (see 'Top 25 Graphic Novels -- January').
For an analysis of the over-all dollars ordered in the comic category for January, see 'Comics Up 18% in January.'
The estimated North American advance orders to Diamond for the top 25 comic titles for January are as follow:
654,128 Batman: 10 Cent Adventure
166,997 Origin #6
155,322 Dark Knight Strikes Again #2
149,289 Ultimates #1
109,246 New X-Men #122
104,275 Moment of Silence
101,145 Uncanny X-Men #402
97,690 Ultimate X-Men #14
90,788 Amazing Spider-Man #39
79,203 Ultimate Spider-Man #17
77,767 X-treme X-Men #9
75,978 Green Arrow #12
75,397 GI Joe #3
71,574 Wolverine #172
63,345 JLA #62
56,009 Avengers #50
54,305 Punisher #8
49,607 Detective Comics #766
48,380 Peter Parker Spider-Man #39
48,012 Daredevil #29
47,714 Fantastic Four #51
47,209 Batman #599
45,670 X-Force #124
44,886 Fathom #13
44,400 Elektra #7
The quantities in this chart are ICv2 estimates of initial raw orders to Diamond North America on titles scheduled for shipment in January 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 last month's top comic list, see 'Top 300 Comics -- December 2001.'
For last month's graphic novel list, see 'Top 25 Graphic Novels -- December 2001.'
For an overview and analysis of last month's numbers, see 'The Return of the Million Dollar Comic.'
For an analysis of the over-all dollar trends for December, see 'December Comic Orders Up 7% Over Last Year.'