Aided by a slew of variants, Marvel’s Uncanny Avengers #1 posted the biggest circulation number since the record-setting performance of The Walking Dead # 100 in July. According to ICv2’s calculation the new Marvel NOW title topped the October charts with 303,722 copies shipped to direct market retailers. This massive sell-in was powered by an impressive array of 20 variant covers (including some designs that are exclusive to comic shops). Marvel showed some real ingenuity in coming up with the Uncanny Avengers #1 variants, which range from a “Blank Cover Variant” to a “Skottie Young Baby Cover Variant,” a “Deadpool Call Me Maybe Variant,” as well as “Avenger” and “Uncanny Variants,” plus art-centric variants from Sara Pichelli, Olivier Coipel (sketch & regular), Adi Granov, and John Cassaday.
Due to the happy confluence of the end of its successful Avengers vs. X-Men event and the debut of its Marvel NOW! line, Marvel placed five titles in the top ten compared with four for DC and one for Image. Regaining some dominance at the top of the comic book chart was crucial in allowing Marvel to recapture the marketshare crown decisively in October (see “Graphic Novels Up 53.9% in October”). In addition to the previously mentioned Uncanny Avengers #1 variants, Marvel also utilized the technique on a number of other titles, some of which got “Final Issue” variants, while others received pink “Susan G. Komen” variants.
Even though most of DC’s top titles dipped slightly from their “0” issues in September, many of them posted gains over their #12 issues in August. With Jim Lee no longer penciling Justice League, Scott Snyder’s Batman is easily the publisher’s top title, and the strong debut of the “Death of a Family” storyline in issue #13 indicates that the situation is not likely to change anytime soon. Also showing great promise in October was Green Lantern #13, which actually posted a gain over its “0” issue thanks to the start of the “Rise of the Third Army” saga in issue #13. John Layman (Chew) took over as the writer of Detective with issue #13 and his tenure is off to a strong start.
Overall five titles in the top 25 showed growth in circulation in October (seven if the DC “0” issues are disregarded), while sixteen posted declines (there were four #1’s in the top 25).
Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead #103, the title that posted the biggest circulation increase from September to October, also cracked the top 10 for the first time (with the obvious exception of its #100 issue, the bestselling comic of the year so far). Aided by the debut of the new season of The Walking Dead on AMC, the black-and-white Image comic moved up from #24 in September to #9 in October as it posted a 28% increase in sales, which grew to 74,378.
The Walking Dead was also an integral part of a truly extraordinary performance on the graphic novel side in October. The Walking Dead Compendium #2, a $60 book, came in third in unit sales, but first in dollars. The first three volumes of Kirkman’s zombie saga also made the graphic novel top 25 in October along with the first volume of the compendium, which came in at #12 in unit sales, but was actually the #3 book in dollar sales.
But it wasn’t all just The Walking Dead that drove graphic novel sales in October. DC’s Superman Earth One HC Vol. 2, which was written by Joseph Michael Straczynski, sold in over 20,000 copies to seize the lead in unit sales, ahead of Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples’ Saga. The first collection of the new Image science fiction series sold-in over 15,000 copies. Saga is potentially an extremely influential title, since if it continues to be this successful and demonstrate that it is possible for start-up creator-owned series to become major hits, it will provide an incentive for top creators to demand ownership rights to the properties they create.
DC put five titles in the graphic novel top ten followed by Image with four and Marvel with one. Mention should be made of Charles Burns’ Hive from Random House, which came in at #22, a very strong direct market showing for an alternative/literary graphic novel from a mainstream publisher.
The top manga title in October was Bleach Vol.48 from Viz Media, which came in at #43 on the list.
Here are ICv2’s estimates of the direct market North American sales of the “top 25” comics sold through Diamond Comic Distributors in October.
303,722           Uncanny Avengers #1
171,142           Avengers vs. X-Men #12
148,205           Batman #13
117,752           Justice League #13
105,420           A Plus X #1
 91,814           Green Lantern #13
 76,392           Detective Comics #13
 75,298           AVX vs. #6
 74,378           Walking Dead #103
 73,272           AVX Consequences #1
 69,606           Marvel Now Point One #1
 67,241           Action Comics #13
 65,981           Uncanny X-Men #20
 65,271           Batman The Dark Knight #13
 63,097           Batman and Robin #13
 62,799           AVX Consequences #2
 62,495           Avengers #31
 61,529           Earth 2 #5
 60,888           Batman Incorporated #4
 59,896           AVX Consequences #3
 59,283           Uncanny X-Men #19
 58,527           AVX Consequences #4
 58,185           Amazing Spider-Man #695
 57,950           Amazing Spider-Man #696                

For an analysis of the dollar trends in October, see "Graphic Novels Up 53.9% in October."
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during October, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--October 2012."

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

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

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

For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in September, see "'Zero' Issues Spark Market in September."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in September, see "Comics Dip in September."

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