A first look at the Top Ten Cool lists for January--based on sales to consumers by specialty stores--shows a return to more traditional buying patterns after the holiday season. This trend has been reinforced by a change in the Top Ten Cool format here at ICV2. We are responding to suggestions from retailers and simplifying our categorization. Toys and statues will now only appear in the 'Toy' category. Only comics and graphic novels will be included in the 'Comics' category, and the 'Anime' top ten list will include only anime videos and DVDs. Our 'Games' list will continue to cover collectible card games (CCGs), role-playing games (RPGs), and miniature games, while the 'Movie/TV' category will include non-anime videos, movie/tv licensed books and apparel, but it will not cover licensed toys and statues, which are now only listed in the Top Ten Cool Toys list. All categories continue to be ranked by total dollar sales.
Thanks to the new retailers who provided numbers for January. We are still looking for additional retailers to provide us with sales numbers. The more stores that we have reporting, the more accurate and useful the information is for everyone. Interested retailers are urged to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. In the future we plan to publish new Top Ten Cool Lists by the twenty-first day of the month following the sales period, which should optimize the value for retailers who fill out monthly order forms. Here are some observations about this month's lists.
Statues of comic characters dominate the toy list this month. This reflects the fact that the major toy companies are not releasing new product in January, so products created especially for the specialty market dominate. Even the action figures on the list, the twelve-inch Star Wars Luke Skywalker, the Buffy figures, Aquaman, Saturn Girl, etc., are aimed squarely at the collector's market.
Gundam grabbed the top two spots this month, in spite of the fact that Gundam won't return to the Cartoon Network on a regular basis until April. This shows the power of the property, which should get another boost when the original series and the 08 series are shown on the Cartoon Network later this year. Though there was quite a bit of turnover on this list from last month, note that the Princess Mononoke DVD moved up from #10 to #8. This title is an 'evergreen,' you should have it in stock.
With the exception of Mage Knight, collectible card games rule the roost this month. Pokemon fever maybe over, but the cards continue to sell -- and Magic: The Gathering continues to have the power to generate sales. The Dragon Ball Z game from Score continues to do well and Star Wars: Reflections II from Decipher is a clever recapitulating of some of the best cards from previous Star Wars issues. Other than those two and Mage Knight, it's all Pokemon and Magic.
Once again an expensive hardcover edition tops the list, but with no big trade paperback releases and no holiday sales, periodical comics dominate the list led by JLA #50 and the Defenders #1. Two number one issues made the top ten this month along with two number threes and the second issue of the Ultimate X-Men. This does seem to indicate that relaunches do boost sales, at least temporarily.
DVD is the collector's medium, and it is starting to dominate this list. The X-Men Movie DVD remains strong and the collector-targeted Green Hornet DVD outsold the VHS version in our stores. The Simpsons remains a strong license in the specialty market thanks to the long-running, but still vital, TV series and the excellent comics published by Bongo. Inkworks has done a stellar job with the trading card license, and stores that carried the Simpsons cards reported strong sales. The Art of the Matrix is another holdover from last month, which demonstrates again the power of that property. This book and the Matrix DVD are solid catalog sellers.