The Exclusive 'Loot Crate' Cover
Comics based on properties from other media helped fuel a major 20.42% rise in year-over-year periodical comic book sales in February according to information on direct market comic sales in North America provided by Diamond Comic Distributors and calculations by ICv2.  Seven titles topped 100,000 copies in February versus just 4 in January, and there were 24 titles over 50K in February versus just 16 in January (see "'Star Wars' #1 Is Big").

IDW’s Orphan Black, which is based on a popular science fiction TV series broadcast here on BBC America (see "IDW Has the #1 Comic In February"), sold a hefty 497,002 copies to lead the February chart by a wide margin.  Orphan Black’s potent debut was powered by 8 variant covers (shipped equally) plus a subscription cover, and a sampling-friendly outreach that included some returnability for retailers who met ordering goals as well as by the book’s inclusion in the March Loot Crate (see this article from last May when Loot Crate already claimed 100,000 subscribers).

Second place went to the debut issue of Marvel’s second Star Wars comic book series.  Darth Vader #1 sold a solid 264,399 copies, more than enough to top the charts in many months.  Marvel placed all three of its February shipping Stars Wars books in the top ten with Star Wars #2 (162,042) a solid #4 and Darth Vader #2 (100,010) at #7.  Three of the top five books in February and four of the top ten are based on non-comic properties.

But "pure" comic book titles also did well in February led by the highly-anticipated Spider-Gwen #1, a Spider-Man spinoff featuring an alternate retconned version of Gwen Stacy who emerged from the recently concluded Spider-Verse story.  Another Spider-Man spinoff, Silk #1 (74,501) came in at #9 and Amazing Spider-Man #14, the final issue of the Spider-Verse arc, garnered orders for 106,778 copes, and finished at #7, while the Spider-Verse epilogue issue, Amazing Spider-Man #15, just missed being this month’s 8th 100K comic with a total of 99,660, good enough for the eighth spot on the chart.  So 3 Star Wars titles and 4 Spider-Man family books gave Marvel a dominant 7 out of the top ten with only Orphan Black at the top, and two DC books defying the Marvel trend.

DC can take some solace in the fact that its two top titles each posted solid gains from January. Scott Snyder’s Batman #39, with Part 5 of the "Endgame" story arc and a cool "Harley Quinn" variant, came in at #5 (118,106 vs. around 110K last month), and Justice League #39, which also benefited from a "Harley Quinn" variant and finished at #10 (72,904 versus round 69K in January).  Also the February-themed Harley Quinn Valentine’s Day Special #1 did well enough (68,611 copies, good enough for #12) that it could become an annual event.

Image Comics put three titles in the top 25 led by The Walking Dead #137 at #13, Spawn #250 at #15 and Saga #25, which came in at number 19.  Marvel also had some success in the bottom half of the top 15 with its "Black Vortex" crossover between the All New X-Men and the Guardians of the GalaxyGOTG and X-Men Black Vortex Alpha #1 came in at #14, followed by Guardians of the Galaxy #24, which includes another chapter of the Black Vortex saga, at #16, and All New X-Men #38, which shipped ahead of the non-Black Vortex All New X-Men #37, and ended up at #21.

Marvel dominated the top 25 with 14 titles versus seven for DC, three for Image and one for IDW Publishing.

Unlike the boffo sales of periodical comics in February, graphic novel sales were basically flat year-over-year.  DC’s original graphic novel Superman Earth One Vol. 3 HC by J. Michael Straczynski led the way with very solid sales of 12,430 copies in North America.  But Image dominated the top ten with 7 titles led by Matt Fraction’s Sex Criminals Vol. 2, which came in at #2 with sales of 8,818.   Three new Image titles made the top 25 with their first graphic novel collections include Fade Out Vol. 1 at #3, Trees Vol. 1 at #6, and Starlight Vol. 1 at #11, and Image placed 11 volumes in the top 25 compared with seven for Marvel, six for DC.

The only volume in the February Top 25 graphic novel list not published by the top three comic publishers was Scott McCloud’s The Sculptor, an ambitious Faustian meditation on life and art, which is published by First Second, and came in at #13.

For an analysis of the dollar trends in January, see "IDW Has the #1 Comic in February."

For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during February, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--February 2015."
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during February, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--February 2015."
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on comic books shipped during January, see "Top 300 Comics Actual--January 2015."
For our estimates of actual sales by Diamond U.S. from comic specialty stores on graphic novels shipped during January, see "Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual--January 2015."
For an overview and analysis of the best-selling comics and graphic novels in January, see "'Star Wars' #1 Is Big."  For an analysis of the dollar trends in January see "Marvel Kills It in Big January."
For our index to our reports on the top comic and graphic novel preorders for January 2000 through February 2015, see "ICv2's Top 300 Comics and Top 300 GNs Index."