Justice League’s reign as the bestselling American comic book, which began last August with the advent of the “New 52,” was ended emphatically in March by Marvel’s Avengers vs. X-Men #1, which posted the extremely impressive total of 203,181.  There is a certain amount of controversy over the inclusion of AvX #1 in March.  Although the book shipped to retailers in March, they were not supposed to sell it until the first week in April.  But it is not as if Justice League lost out on a technicality—Avengers vs. X-Men #0, which was actually sold in March, also sold in more copies than Justice League #7.
The strong performance of the first two AvX titles validates Marvel’s “event” strategy.  Retailers and fans may continue to complain about the apparently unending stream of crossover events, but until they stop ordering and buying “event” books, it is silly to expect publishers to abandon a successful strategy.  Off course Marvel provided a fair amount of incentives for retailers including deep discounts and special variants that went to stores that declared themselves “Avengers” stores and different variants that were exclusive to stores that declared for the “X-Men.”  Marvel also supported the launch with unprecedented marketing for a Marvel event, including heavy advertising and public relations,
Marvel, which was shut out of the “Top Ten” in February and January, actually placed three titles in “Top Ten” in March thanks to the debut of Avengers Assemble #1, which managed to debut over the 100K mark.  With a cast that resembles the superhero team in Joss Whedon’s The Avengers movie, the Avengers Assemble comic, which is written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Mark Bagley, was designed to appeal to new readers intrigued by the film, which most experts expect will be a major success when it opens on May 4th.
Marvel’s success at the top of the charts should not blind us to the continued strong performance of DC’s “New 52.”  Sales of the seventh issue of Justice League, which was the first non-Jim Lee issue, were off just a bit, while sales of the Scott Snyder-penned Batman #7 were almost identical with those of the previous issues.  DC still had seven titles in the “Top 10,” and 12 of the “Top 25” just like last month—and DC actually narrowed Marvel’s marketshare lead by over a point in March, which demonstrates that what happens at the top of the charts can be a bit deceiving.
In a month where there wasn’t a lot of movement, only three ongoing titles posted gains.  Both issues of Marvel’s Amazing Spider-Man and Avengers X-Sanction #4 ticked upward, while 18 titles declined, and four titles debuted in the “Top 25.” The top non-Marvel and DC title was Image Comics’ The Walking Dead #95, which came in at #54.
The first volume of Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead also dominated the graphic novel chart, as pure a testimony to the power of AMC’s Walking Dead TV series, which wrapped up its second season with record ratings during March (see “The Walking Dead Season 2 Finale Sets New Records”), as one could imagine since it was the first volume of the series that topped the charts, indicating that many new consumers were jumping on to the series.  Dark Horse’s Hellboy Vol. 12 took the second spot, followed by the tenth collection of Dynamite’s The Boys written by Garth Ennis.  The trade paperback edition of DC’s Flashpoint, which chronicles the events leading up to the birth of the “New 52,” came in fourth, and the best of the Flashpoint side-stories, Flashpoint: World of Flashpoint Batman finished at #8. The Flashpoint title might have been expected to top the charts this month, but the fact that it was released first in hardcover could have hurt sales. 
Other titles worthy of mention include Marvel’s jump-on friendly X-Men: Season One hardover at #5, and two Brian Wood-penned Vertigo titles, DMZ Vol. 11 at #6 and Northlanders Vol.6 at #9.  Dark Horse’s younger-skewing Star Wars Clone Wars Vol. 7, which came in at #7, remains a remarkably consistent seller.
The top manga release was Viz Media’s Naruto Vol. 55 at #11, while Kodansha’s Sailor Moon Vol. 4 was next at #17.
Here are ICv2’s estimates of the direct market North American sales of the “Top 25” comics sold through Diamond Comic Distributors in March:
203,181                       Avengers vs. X-Men #1
134,509                       Avengers vs. X-Men #0
131,697                       Justice League #7
127,402                       Batman #7
100,883                       Avengers Assemble #1
  91,822                       Action Comics #7
  90,232                       Green Lantern #7
  89,891                       Detective Comics #7
  75,297                       Batman the Dark Knight #7
  66,588                       Superman #7
  64,975                       Flash #7
  62,345                       Aquaman #7
  61,209                       Batman and Robin #7
  57,568                       Uncanny X-Men #8
  57,143                       Amazing Spider-Man #682
  56,976                       Uncanny X-Men #9
  56,426                       Age of Apocalypse #1
  55,677                       Avengers X-Sanction #4
  54,559                       Wolverine and the X-Men #7
  52,242                       Avengers #24
  52,164                       Avengers #24.1
  52,143                       Amazing Spider-Man #681
  51,697                       New Avengers #23
  51,402                       Teen Titans #7
  51,314                       Wonder Woman #7

For an analysis of the dollar trends in March, see "Streak Stopped at 7--Comics Slip in March."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during March, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--March 2012."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during March, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--March 2012."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during February, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--February 2012."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during February, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--February 2012."

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in February, see "DC Sweeps Top 10 Again in February."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in February, see "Comic Sales Boom in February."

For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through March 2012, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."