The retailer sales numbers that ICv2 has collected for June continue to display the trends that we have seen over the past six months. Expensive hardcovers grabbed the top two spots in the increasingly competitive comic list, while market-specific, comic-based statuary dominated the 'toy' lists, collectible card games took almost all the spots in the 'games' top ten, and DVDs totally dominate the 'anime' and 'movie/TV' category. Let's take a closer look at the individual lists:
Robotech is back with a vengeance. One of the earliest anime series to released in the U.S., where it was originally packaged by Carl Macek, the Robotech/Macross saga is back with new DVD editions taking three out the four top spots. The Tenchi Muyo OVA DVD box set has been out for awhile, but its strong showing demonstrates both the sales power of the high ticket item and the excellence Tenchi Muyo anime series. The Big O DVD shows that even a limited run on the Cartoon Network can generate sales, especially for a stylish property like The Big O with its fan friendly Batman with Giant Robot plotline. See 'Top Ten Cool Anime.'
This is our first month with a top ten anime list composed entirely of DVDs, a trend that is also happening in other channels (see 'DVD Sales Pass VHS in Record Stores'). The transition from VHS to DVD has come more quickly than anyone could have predicted a year ago. While it is not yet time to pitch VHS tapes onto the 'ash heap of history,' most high-spending anime consumers have already made the switch and the trend will accelerate as sales of DVD players continue to blaze through the end of the year.
Two expensive hardcover editions hold down the top spots this month, something that we have seen many times in the past (our lists are based on total dollar sales). Likewise Dark Horse's Akira #3 trade paperback reached number ten on the list due to its substantial cover price and continuing popularity (see 'Dark Horse Retro Manga Boffo'). Marvel made another strong foray into the top ten where X-treme X-Men made it to the number three spot on the strength of its two covers. Daredevil Yellow is also performing very well, and Marvel's New X-Men #115 would have made the list if it hadn't shipped three weeks late. The return of Hawkman has kept the JSA in the top ten, and the surprise showing of the Superman title is due to the success of the 'Our Worlds At War' series. See 'Top Ten Cool Comics.'
Collectible card games totally dominate the list this month, taking all but one of the ten spots. The new Magic The Gathering release, Apocalypse topped the chart followed by Pokemon Neo-Genesis: Discovery, and the latest release from the Mage Knight collectible miniatures game, the one consistent non-CCG product in our top ten games list over the past six months. The moral of this story is 'if you can't beat them, imitate them' since the Mage Knight collectible miniatures game has cleverly incorporated many of the salient features of CCGs (see 'Top Ten Cool Games').
The Farscape in Motion Trading cards top the list this month, demonstrating once again that a solid trading card product can still dominate this list. Though no single one of the many current TV science fiction series dominates in the way that Star Trek once did, Farscape is building a solid following. Note that the Farscape Volume #4 DVD and VHS (our lone VHS representative on any list this month) also made the top ten. Another TV sci-fi entry, Lexx took two spots this month thanks to strong showings from its Season I and Season II DVDs. (see 'Top Ten Cool Movie/TV').
One of the developing patterns we have seen in this category is the consistently strong performance of products made specifically for the specialty market. On months like this the temptation is to switch the name of the category from 'toys' to 'statues and busts.' Not until the seventh spot do we encounter any actual toys and those are directly comic-related. The Buffy Hush 12-inch figure is the first movie or TV-inspired item, while Wave 4 of the Simpsons toys, which came in at number 10, is the only item on the list that has considerable mass market distribution. The appearance of the Bruce Lee Kubricks, imported from Japan by Diamond demonstrates the increasing importance of Diamond's Japanese imports, which certainly rank among the best values for both retailers and consumers among the plethora of toy items listed every month in Diamond's Previews catalog. See 'Top Ten Cool Toys.'