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'Justice League' Laps the Field in August

A Stellar Debut for the 'New 52'

Published: 09/13/2011, Last Updated: 09/14/2011 04:24am
The first book in DC Comics’ “New 52,” Justice League #1 written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee and Scott Williams, nearly lapped the field in August with initial North American sales estimated by ICv2 at 171,344.  Add in the 14,432 copies of the Justice League Combo Pack (that includes a code for a digital copy) and the total for Justice League is nearly double that of the #2 title Flashpoint #5.  DC has announced that Justice League has sold over 200,000 copies (see “Big Numbers for DC Premieres”), but as ICv2 pointed out that 200K figure includes non-U.S. orders and orders through channels not handled by Diamond Comic Distributors, the source of ICv2’s data.  Also, since Justice League shipped on the last day of August, no reorders are included in the ICv2 number and the book is currently on its third printing (see “'Justice League' #1 Second Printing Allocated”), so when all the printings have shipped the final number for Justice League will be well north of 200K.
 
But the initial order total (including combos) of 185,776 is the highest single monthly total registered by ICv2 since the debut of Captain America Reborn #1 in July of 2009, which clocked in with just over 193 thousand copies shipped.  Justice League was aided by DC’s impressive marketing campaign that included TV ads and targeted Internet and print advertising as well as by a special rare variant edition for retailers who order 200 copies.  All things considered Justice League and apparently the entire “New 52” are off to a boffo start (see “Justice League is Top Comic of 2011 So Far”), and September looks like it is shaping up as one of the best months in years for periodical comic book sales.
 
The final issue of DC’s Flashpoint, which set up the events leading to the “New 52” (and was aided by DC shipping retailers a percentage of free promotional copies) finally topped Marvel’s competing “event” title Fear Itself and finished second for the month, just ahead of its Marvel competitor.  However Fear Itself managed to place three tie-in books in the top 12 titles, whereas the first of Flashpoint’s many tie-in mini-series, Flashpoint: Batman Knight of Vengeance #3 came in 34th place.  The most disappointing aspect of this summer’s comic “events” was the performance of these “tie-in” series, and when retailers talk about “event fatigue” in the comic market, it’s these ancillary books that they are talking about.  The action in these “side series” mirrors what is happening in the primary event book, but it usually doesn’t matter much in the outcome, and fans are increasingly resistant to these miniseries that try to ride the coattails of the main event book.
 
DC took three of the top four spots, but Marvel had sixteen of the top 25 and maintained its marketshare dominance (see “Comics & GN Sales Up Bigtime in August”).  The DC titles were basically wrapping up their storylines in August in preparation for the big changes slated for September.  Four titles posted circulation gains in August, while 18 declined and there were three number one issues.
 
On the graphic novel front Dark Horse dominated with three of the top four titles led by Serenity HC Vol. 2 Better Days and Other Stories, which sold over 4 thousand copies.  While there were no huge winners on the graphic novel side in August, there was solid strength throughout as 25 titles sold more than 2,000 copies.  DC Comics placed ten titles in the top 25 followed by Marvel with six, Dark Horse with four, and Image with 2 volumes of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead, the first book in the series, and Volume 14, which debuted in July and finished at #8 in August.  Top Shelf Productions, Pocket Books, and Archie Comics each had one title in the Top 25.  The bestselling manga release in the direct market in August was Viz Media’s Yu-Gi-Oh! GX Vol. 7, which came in at #38.

Here are ICv2’s estimates of the sales of the Top 25 comic titles though Diamond Comic Distributors in August:
 
171,344         Justice League #1
94,547           Flashpoint #5
90,914           Fear Itself #5
86,216           Flashpoint #4
73,764           Ultimate Comics Fallout #4
71,235           Amazing Spider-Man #667
60,295           Avengers #16 (Fear)
57,707           War of the Green Lanterns Aftermath #2
57,533           Amazing Spider-Man #668
56,035           New Avengers #15 (Fear)
54,840           Uncanny X-Men #542 (Fear)
54,384           Captain America #2
54,270           Kick-Ass 2 #3
53,904           Uncanny X-Force #13
53,481           Batman Incorporated #8
53,372           Green Lantern Corps #63
52,908           Batman: The Dark Knight #6
52,704           Batman and Robin #26
51,917           FF #8
51,760           Batman #713
50,770           Uncanny X-Force #14
50,147           X-Men Schism #3
47,620           Ultimate Comics Ultimates #1
46,317           Secret Avengers #16
44,725           Punisher #1

For an analysis of the dollar trends in August, see "Top 300 Shows Less Growth in August."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during August, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--August 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during August, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--August 2011."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during July, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--July 2011."

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in July, see "'Amazing Spider-Man' #666 Tops July Sales."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in July, see "Comics Down Again in July."

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through August 2011, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."
 
 
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