Batman topped the rankings of U.S. orders from comic stores for January, with over 120,000 copies ordered -- up over the second Jim Lee issue, which was up over the first.  Marvel's Ultimate franchise was the strongest title grouping, with five of the top ten titles.  Ultimate War #3 held strong at over 106,000 ordered. 


Other than the #1 slot, Marvel continued to re-assert its dominance, with nine of the top ten titles, and 19 of the top 25.  DC had three in the top 25, Dreamwave two, and Image one. 


Orders on most titles continued to decline vs. the previous month, which is fairly typical for January.  Twenty of the top 25 titles were down.


Retro titles continued to slide, with only three of the top 25 titles drawn from that trend, down from five in December (down from six in November). 


In graphic novels, IDW's 30 Days of Night took the #1 slot, the first time we can remember a title from a publisher that small topping the list.  Various Marvel Daredevil titles took the #2 through #4 slots, in the run-up to the movie.  Tokyopop's red-hot Love Hina and Chobits series both appeared in the top 10 graphic novels.


Here are the initial raw orders to Diamond U.S. from pop culture stores on the top 25 comic titles for January 2003:


120,042            Batman #611

106,417            Ultimate War #3

  93,789            Ultimate Spider-Man #34

  93,477            Ultimate Spider-Man #35

  93,453            New X-Men #136

  90,032            Amazing Spider-Man #49

  84,594            Ultimate X-Men #27

  84,414            Ultimate X-Men #28

  83,921            Uncanny X-Men #417

  83,657            Uncanny X-Men #418

  68,532            Transformers Armada #7   

  66,107            Ultimate Daredevil & Elektra #4

  62,770            Daredevil #42

  62,218            Wolverine #185

  60,525            X-Treme X-Men #20

  60,405            JLA #77

  59,253            Transformers War Within #4      

  55,447            Avengers #63

  54,955            Captain America #8

  53,431            Truth #3

  52,554            Green Arrow #21

  51,498            Hulk/Wolverine 6 Hours #1

  49,589            Spider-Man Peter Parker #52

  49,133            Fantastic Four #65

  49,013            Masters of the Universe #3

Notes on this chart:

Some titles have been truncated or abbreviated for space reasons.

Publisher abbreviations have also been used.

Mar = Marvel

Dar = Dark Horse

Dre = Dreamwave

Ima = Image

Bla = Black Bull

Car = Cartoon Books

Har = Harris

Cro = Crossgen

Bon = Bongo

Tok = Tokyo Pop

Cha = Chaos


The quantities in this chart are ICv2 estimates of initial raw orders to Diamond North America on titles scheduled for shipment in January 2003.  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 analysis of the dollar trends in January, see 'Comic Dollars Down for January.'


For the top 300 comics in January, see 'Top 300 Comics--January 2003.'


For the top 50 graphics novels in January, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels--January 2003.'



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


For the top 50 graphics novels in December, see 'Top 50 Graphic Novels--December 2002.'


For an overview and analysis of the dollar orders for December, see 'Top Comics Still Soft in December.'


For an analysis of the dollar trends in December, see 'Weak Finish to a Strong Comics Year.'



For links to all of the Top 300 Comic and Top 300 Graphic Novel orders, see our 'ICv2's Top 300 Comics & Top 50 GN's Index.'