Marvel's Ultimate line was the strongest presence in the top ten comics ordered by U.S. pop culture stores for September, with four of the top ten.   Dreamwave's two Transformers titles came in at #1 and #9 in the ranking of the top comic orders for September from US pop culture stores, continuing the strong retro trend we've seen this year (see 'Retro Influence Growns on Top Comic Sellers').  Spider-Man and X-Men were the other top performers.  Those four trends (Ultimates, retro, Spider-Man, and X-Men) accounted for all of the top 15 books.  The DC Universe did not make its first appearance on the list


Orders for most titles dropped for September, reflecting normal seasonal trends.  Only two of the top 25 titles were up -- both X-Men titles.  Marvel had eight of the top ten titles and Dreamwave two.  DC had only four of the top 25 books and Image two, with Marvel dominating the top of the list with 17 of the top 25. 


Lone Wolf and Cub sold more pieces than any other graphic novel, but came in at half the dollars of the second place book, the Marvel Encyclopedia (at $29.99).  The top graphic novels came from a disparate list of publishers, with five publishers represented among the top ten titles, and another four companies in the next ten. 


Here are the initial raw orders from pop culture stores on the top 25 comic titles for September:


119,533            Transformers Generation One #6

103,998            Ultimates #8

  99,001            New X-Men #132

  98,817            Amazing Spider-Man #45

  94,749            Spider-Man Black Cat #4

  94,104            Ultimate Spider-Man #26

  94,056            Ultimate Spider-Man #27

  92,199            Ultimate X-Men #22           

  89,944            Transformers Armada #3

  85,261            Uncanny X-Men #412

  85,030            Uncanny X-Men #413

  76,907            Thundercats #2

  69,503            Wolverine #181

  65,710            Spider-Man Blue #5

  64,227            X-Treme X-Men #18

  63,011            Captain America #6

  61,977            GI Joe #10

  60,778            JLA #72

  60,743            Battle of the Planets #3

  60,608            JLA #71

  58,685            Weapon X #1

  56,662            Spider-Man Peter Parker #48

  56,645            Green Arrow #17

  55,040            Fantastic Four #61

  54,765            Avengers #58

  53,248            Captain Marvel #1

The quantities in this chart are ICv2 estimates of initial raw orders to Diamond North America on titles scheduled for shipment in September 2002.  They do not include orders placed with Diamond UK, late orders, advance reorders, distributor over-orders, or reorders. 


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 overview and analysis of the dollar orders for September and Q3, see 'Comic Growth Rate Slows in Q3').


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


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


For analysis of the dollar trends in August, see 'Comic Orders Awesome in August.'


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


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