Orders for the top comics took an upward tick in April, reflecting the typical seasonal direction now that the doldrums of first quarter are behind us.  Ultimate X-Men #5 even came in above 100,000 in estimated comic store orders, the only title to do so in the last two months (see 'Top Titles Below 100,000').  The top ten titles for April were up an average of about 5.5% from their April levels, with the biggest gains going to the Spider-Man titles.  Here are the top 25 comic titles with their estimated comic store orders for April 2001: 

101,270  Ultimate X-Men #5 

  97,780  Uncanny X-Men #393

  95,696  X-Men #113

  78,028  Ultimate Spider-Man #8

  71,392  Amazing Spider-Man #30

  68,603  JLA #53

  67,457  Wolverine #163

  66,576  Ultimate Marvel Team-Up #3

  64,356  Green Arrow #3

  62,532  Avengers #41

  59,291  Daredevil #16 (Res)

  59,122  Daredevil #17 (Res)

  56,161  Daredevil Yellow #2

  53,107  Spawn #109

  49,156  Tangled Web the Thousand #1

  48,996  Fantastic Four #42

  47,658  Peter Parker #30

  43,370  Universe X #9

  43,274  X-Men Unlimited #31

  40,072  Batman #590

  39,299  JSA #23

  39,182  Thor #36

  38,718  Superman #169

  38,497  Beasts

  38,407  Detective Comics #757

For the complete list of the top 300 comic titles ordered for April, 2001, see 'Top 300 Comics -- April, 2001'.


As we did last month, here are the best-sellers from the first ten publishers to appear on the list:

101,270  Ultimate X-Men #5 (Marvel)

  68,603  JLA #53 (DC)

  53,107  Spawn #109 (Image)

  29,625  Just a Pilgrim #2 (Black Bull)

  24,187  Star Wars Underworld #5 (Dark Horse)

  22,565  Crux #1 (Cross Gen)

  16,690  Lady Death Alive #1 (Chaos)

  16,269  Vampi #9 Underworld (Harris)

  14,226  Simpsons #57 (Bongo)

  14,013  Sailor Moon #30 (Tokyo Pop)

The only change to this list of publishers was the addition of Bongo, replacing Cartoon Books, which had no Bone release this month. 


When ICv2 released the first round of these numbers last month (see 'Top 200 Comics -- March, 2001'), there was a considerable reaction, both to the numbers themselves (some said we were too low) and to our conclusions about the industry (see 'Sturm and Drang in the Comics Industry').   Since that article was written, we've further researched how the monthly order process works and how Diamond calculates its order index number.  In addition to the caveats and points of explanation regarding how our numbers were calculated last month, we've added one additional element -- our numbers include only orders placed with Diamond US.  This is related both to the fact that Diamond calculates its US index numbers on US sales only (not including any UK orders), and how we calculated our numbers.  Since sales made by Diamond UK can add 3-20% to the US numbers, the sales reported here do not reflect all of the sales made by the publisher worldwide.  Accordingly, then, here is the explanation for how these numbers are calculated:


Our analysis was based on a combination of the information Diamond releases in Diamond Dialogue and actual order numbers provided to ICv2 from publisher sources.  By plugging in the circulation numbers we know and using the Diamond order index, all of the circulation numbers for comics ordered through Diamond can be interpolated. 


There are some limitations to this type of analysis:

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 on most periodical comics.