Graphic novel sales in comic stores rose a dramatic 21% in the first half of 2005, dragging a near-flat 2% growth rate in comic periodicals to a 5% over-all growth rate for the comics and graphic novel category.
We also took a look at which companies drove growth, but in a Lake Wobegon-like region of the comic statistics world, all of the six companies we looked at were above average. The year over year growth rates of the top six comic publishers looked like this:
Company 1st Qtr. Growth 2nd Qtr. Growth 1st Half Growth Tokyopop 81% 12% 40% DC 0% 26% 13% Viz 16% 5% 10% Marvel 18% 2% 9% Image 8% 7% 8% Dark Horse 1% 12% 6% Total 6% 3% 5%
The top two superhero comic publishers and the top two manga publishers had the strongest growth rates, with Tokyopop leading the pack with a blistering 40% growth rate for the first half of the year. The next three were fairly closely clustered; DC grew 13%, Viz grew 10%, and Marvel grew 9%. Image grew 8% and Dark Horse had the slowest growth rate of the top publishers, at 6%. The Dark Horse percentage growth rate is surprising, given the strength of the Sin City and Star Wars franchises during the period, but it looks like a slow first quarter dragged down the average.
Based on the growth rates of the top publishers and the over-all growth rate, the rest of the comic publishers (i.e., companies #7 through the smallest), as a group, had to be down substantially.
The biggest source of dollar growth was from DC, which despite its smaller share, had a higher growth rate, all in the second quarter, and contributed more dollars to the over-all growth than any other company. Marvel came in a close second, and Tokyopop came in third. Image and Dark Horse, with higher market shares than Tokyopop, had slower growth so contributed fewer dollars to the over-all growth of the category.
For more details on second quarter sales and on the source of these numbers, see 'Comics and Graphic Novels Both Up Double Digits.'