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'Justice League' Stays on Top

'Batman: Noel' Helps Revive GNs

Published: 12/12/2011, Last Updated: 12/13/2011 12:41am
DC Comics retained its hold on the top spots in November direct market sales rankings released by Diamond Comic Distributors, but buoyed by aggressive marketing (including free matching copies on Point One) Marvel narrowed the market share gap during the penultimate month of 2011 (see “Comics Turn Positive”).  Justice League topped the charts for the second month in a row—in fact the quartet of DC Comics at the top that also includes Batman #3, Action Comics #3, and Green Lantern #3 remained locked in place for the second month in a row (the first issue of the revamped Justice League shipped in August or it would be a case of 3 months in a row at the top of the charts for the flagship “New 52” titles from DC).
 
Interestingly the top four DC titles are all non-returnable, which is not the case for about 41 of the DC titles that shipped in November. In the case of the returnable books (designated by an asterisk), Diamond applies a return reserve of 10% against the sell-in numbers and uses that to calculate its indexes, which are how we calculate our sales estimates.  That means the numbers shown in our sales estimates for those returnable books are lower than the actual sell-in numbers, but could be higher (or lower) than the final numbers.
 
Marvel mounted something of a comeback in November with three number one titles that made the top ten, along with the second issue of Wolverine and the X-Men.  The numbers for Marvel’s top book, the $5.99 Point One were seriously inflated after Marvel shipped retailers 100% of their initial orders as free copies.  The new Spider-Man team-up book, The Avenging Spider-Man #1, which came in at #6, came polybagged with a digital code that could be used to redeem a digital copy of the book, and was aided by numerous variant covers.  Marvel’s revamped (and renumbered) Uncanny X-Men #1 also benefited from a number of cover variants.
 
Marvel’s dollar share was also aided by some high-priced comics.  In addition to Point One, the anniversary issue #600 of The Fantastic Four carried a $7.99 price tag, and provided readers with 100 pages of all new FF stories (and also included the return of Johnny Storm).  Marvel was also aided by two Fear Itself epilog books, Fear Itself #7.1 and Fear Itself #7.2, which both made the “Top 25.”  Marvel placed 4 titles in the top ten in November (versus 3 in October) and reduced DC’s share of the “Top25” from an overwhelming 19 to 6 advantage in October to a16-9 ratio in November.
 
DC’s original hardcover Batman: Noel, which brought in more than twice as many dollars in sales than any other November GN release, helped revive the graphic novel category, which was up 12% for the month.  Written and drawn by Lee Bermejo, who illustrated the popular Joker hardcover that came out in 2008, Batman: Noel is a seasonal saga with potent sales prospects in both the direct and bookstore markets. 
 
With the success of The Joker hardcover and now Batman: Noel it is clear that DC has found another way to profit from its Batman franchise with these high quality original graphic novel hardcovers.
 
Dark Horse got in on the hardcover action with a new Hellboy: House of the Living Dead collection, which finished second, ahead of Dynamite Entertainment’s The Boys Vol. 9: The Big Ride, which ended up third (another indication that Garth Ennis’ saga remains a very popular property, especially on the GN side).
 
The effects of the smashing ratings for the late October debut of Season 2 of The Walking Dead were manifested by the presence of three volumes of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead in the “Top 25” led by Volume 1 (more new readers for the 14 and counting volume series), which finished at #4 for the month.
 
Kodansha USA’s Sailor Moon Vol. #2 was the top manga on the Diamond GN list coming in at number 8. The fact that the second volumes of both Sailor Moon and the prequel Codename Sailor V both made the “Top 25” testifies to the continued potency of that property.
 
Here are ICv2’s estimates of the sales the “Top 25” comic titles sold through Diamond Comic Distributors in November:
 
158,700     Justice League #3
150,984     Batman #3
134,875     Action Comics #3
122,644     Green Lantern #3
113,352     Point One #1
112,153     Avenging Spider-Man #1
109,911     Uncanny X-Men #1
100,077     Detective Comics #3
  90,417     Flash #3
  83,356     Wolverine & X-Men #2
  80,143     Incredible Hulk #2
  78,240     Batman: The Dark Knight #3
  77,747     Superman #3
  77,678     Batman & Robin #3
  73,809     Fantastic Four #600
  72,485     Uncanny X-Men #2
  65,621     Wonder Woman #3
  62,974     Batgirl #3
  62,223     Aquaman #3
  61,997     Batwoman #3
  60,758     Teen Titans #3
  60,562     Fear Itself #7.1
  59,774     Green Lantern New Guardians #3
  58,854     Green Lantern Corps #3
  58,006     Fear Itself #7.2

For an analysis of the dollar trends in November, see "Comics Turn Positive."

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

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

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

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

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in October, see "'New 52 #2s Down Only 6%."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in October, see "DC Crushes Marvel."

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