U.S. sales for mid-sized comic publishers were a mixed bag in 2002, with big increases and decreases the norm according to our analysis of circulation and dollar data from the last two years. CrossGen and Chaos were the big winners, with 144% and 25% year over year growth rates, respectively. Viz and Dynamic forces showed substantial year over year declines, with Viz down 14% and Dynamic Forces down 31%. After a rough start, Wizard was roughly flat in 2001 vs. 2000.
Looking at the numbers from an industry perspective, there's good news here (as there was in the sales figures for the larger publishers, see 'Marvel the Comic Growth Winner in 2001'). Viz's decline in 2001 vs. 2000 can probably be attributed to the waning of the Pokemon phenomenon, and Dynamic Forces' decline reflects an increasing emphasis on non-comic products by the company. Two out of the three remaining publishers on this chart showed substantial sales gains, and Wizard, the third, showed substantial improvement between the first and second halves. CrossGen has been showing strong growth since launching in 2000, reflecting high quality editorial material, reliable scheduling, and a growing product line.
While initial orders for comics and graphic novels in the U.S. declined slightly in 2001, there was strength at the end of the year (see 'Graphic Novels and Q4 Comics 2001 Bright Spots'), and these numbers reinforce that underlying strength. For some of the reasons why U.S. comic orders are improving after a long decline, see 'Top Comic Stories of 2001.'
Year Over Year Rate of Change--2001 vs. 2000
This analysis was based on comic and graphic novel title indexes and market share information for 2000 and 2001 provided by Diamond Comic Distributors. Using the title indexes and external title-by-title order data, we're able to estimate the advance order quantities for the top 300 comics, top 10 graphic novels, and top 10 comic-related magazines sold by Diamond each month. This allows us to estimate the approximate market size, and applying Diamond's market share percentages gives us dollar estimates by publisher. This methodology applies only to advance orders to Diamond U.S., so this analysis does not take into account reorder activity, differences between advance order and shipment dates that may take products into or out of the period, backlist sales, or sales through other channels. However, this analysis can provide general indications of over-all trends, and accounts for most of the comic and graphic novel sales in the U.S. and Canada.