Comic and graphic novel orders (dollars) were up 5% in July vs. 2001, continuing the trend that began in the second half of last year.  July orders were up 1% over June, with almost all the gains coming from comics, since orders for graphic novels declined slightly from June to July.  July comic orders reached the highest level yet (in dollars) for 2002. The gains in comics came largely from the top of the list where newly re-launched retro titles debuted strongly and many of Marvel's top books (especially the Spider-Man titles) posted solid increases. 
Sales continued a slow steady rebound, but have yet to reach 2000 levels.  Orders for July still fell 3.2% short of orders from July 2000, with the 7% deficit in comic orders mitigated considerably by a 51.45% gain in orders for graphic novels.


Marvel was the only publisher of the Big Four comic publishers that grew vs. either of the last two years, with a 12% growth rate over 2001 and a 27% growth rate vs. 2000.


The dollar estimates discussed in this article are based on ICv2 estimates of initial raw orders to Diamond North America on titles scheduled for shipment in July 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 an examination of trends in July ordering based on the number of pieces ordered, see Retro Rules Again in July.


For the top 300 comics in July, see 'Top 300 Comics -- July 2002'


For the top 50 graphic novels in July, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels -- July 2002'


For a list of the top comics in June, see 'Top 300 Comics -- June 2002.'


For a list of the top graphic novels in June, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels -- June 2002.'


For an over-view and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in June, see 'Top Comics Drop in June.'