Comic orders from North American comic shops strengthened in June, with increased sales at all levels of the chart reflecting the retailer confidence associated with the kick-off of the summer selling season and a seemingly strong underlying sales trend. The top four slots were once again held by Marvel's X-Men titles (see 'X-Books, Green Arrow Jump in May'), with two up and two down vs. last month. Over-all, Marvel increased its domination of the top of the chart, picking up two slots and ending up with 19 out of the top 25 titles. Orders on DC's top book -- Green Arrow -- continued to climb, as did orders on most of DC's top sellers. The over-all strength of comic bestsellers is demonstrated by the fact that this month orders on thirty titles topped the orders on Diamond's anchor index title -- Batman -- vs. only twenty-three titles exceeding Batman in May. The bottom of the chart is also considerably stronger, with around thirty titles on the May chart whose orders would not qualify for the top 300 in June. Dollars were also up substantially, with the total value of the top 300 titles increasing 17% in June vs. May. Here are the top 25 comic titles with their estimated North American comic store orders for June.
133,056 New X-Men #115
130,299 Uncanny X-Men #395
114,320 X-treme X-Men #2
100,737 Ultimate X-Men #7
85,966 Punisher #1
82,338 Green Arrow #5
80,736 Ultimate Spider-Man #10
76,976 Amazing Spider-Man #32
70,637 JLA #55
69,901 Daredevil Yellow #1
68,398 Wolverine #165
64,634 Avengers #43
64,301 Battle Chasers #9
63,997 Brotherhood #2
58,270 Daredevil #19
56,515 Ultimate Marvel Team-up #5
55,899 Exiles #1
51,839 Spawn #111
51,285 Peter Parker #32
49,752 Ghost Rider Hammer Lane #1
48,314 Superman #171
44,501 X-Force #117
43,597 Tangled Web the Thousand #3
42,883 Adventures of Superman #593
Let's hope this strengthening trend continues, and carries through when the selling season changes this fall. For the complete list of all 300 top comics with their orders for June, see 'Top 300 Comics -- June, 2001.'
Since we began exposing the size of comic shop orders with 'Top Comics Below 100,000' in March, estimates of various kinds have begun appearing in a variety of other venues. We think it's worthwhile at this point to contrast the way we produce our numbers with those others to ensure that those using them understand the differences. Our analysis is 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. This basic method is used by all of the other news outlets as well. The difference is that since Diamond calculates its indexes based on initial advance orders from its US location only, we use publisher numbers for the same kind of orders to do our calculations. Our numbers check. In other words, when we divide the publisher numbers we use by the Diamond index and multiply by 100, we get almost exactly the same number for Batman each time. Numbers that we've seen produced by other sources use final numbers including non-U.S. sales for the basis of their calculations. Since those are different numbers than those used by Diamond to produce its index numbers, the results will not check, and while they'll be relatively close to total comic store circulations on many titles (they still don't account for other sales channels), they can be off significantly on individual titles due to variations in the percentage of reorder and non-US sales on the various titles. So in summary, our orders are smaller than the final circulation numbers for many US publishers, but they're a very accurate reflection of the actual advance orders from comic stores to Diamond US.
Here are the limitations to our 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.