Initial comic and graphic novel orders to Diamond from North American pop culture stores were up 7% (in dollars) over December 2000, capping off a strong year-over-year trend for the fourth quarter.  December comic orders were up 10% vs. 2000, and graphic novel orders were down 16% to produce that 7% aggregate change.  This is similar to the 8% year over year change for last month (see 'November Comic and Graphic Novel Orders Up 8% Over Last Year').  For the fourth quarter, initial North American comic and graphic novel orders were up 9% vs. 2000.  Q4 comic orders were up 12% and graphic novel orders were down 17%.  Since the graphic novel orders are a significantly smaller percentage of the total, the dollars can be affected by a relatively small number of releases, making them more subject to larger fluctuations. 


December 2001 orders were down 9% vs. November, one of the few month-over-month declines we've seen this year.  December comic orders were down 6%, and graphic novels were down 34% vs. November.  This is comparable to the change last year, when the overall numbers were down 8% between November 2000 and December 2000.  Even the split was similar last year, with December 2000 comic orders down 2% vs. November and graphic novel orders down 40%.  Given the similar month-to-month change last year, we're attributing the month-to-month change to how publishers schedule releases -- they try to get their key Q4 releases out before December to take maximum advantage of the holiday buying season.  For our year-over-year analysis from last month, including a look at third quarter, which was basically flat, see 'Q4 U.S. Comic Orders Rocking.' 


Year over year growth was driven nearly equally by Marvel and DC this month.  Marvel was up 13% vs. last year; DC was up 14%.  Last month, the first one in which we did this analysis, Marvel was up 36% and DC was down 10% vs. November 2000, so the impact of DKSA was substantial, but not enough to counter the strong share trend Marvel has been building in recent months (Marvel's 35.2% share for the month was over 4% greater than DC's).  Image orders were down 22% in December 2001 vs. 2000; Dark Horse orders were up 3%.  We estimate these year-over-year changes by publisher by applying market share percentages to total dollars for the top 300 comics, the top 25 graphic novels, and the top 10 magazines.


For information about and analysis of comic and graphic novel orders in December, as well as a more complete description of our methodology, see 'The Return of the Million Dollar Comic.'