Marvel Month-to-Month Sales: October 2009

By Paul O’Brien

Usually, Marvel are the largest publisher in the North American direct market by a comfortable margin. But October was close. Marvel still held on to first place, beating DC by 40% to 38% in unit share, and 36.5% to 34% in dollars. That’s an unusually narrow gap.

What’s more, DC took the top six places on the chart, leaving Marvel’s top book – NEW AVENGERS – to tail in at number 7. Now, normally I’d expect something like this to happen in a month when Marvel’s major titles failed to ship. But there’s really only one book in that category, namely REBORN. In fact, the explanation seems to be simply that DC’s BLACKEST NIGHT crossover is doing very well, and and Marvel’s output for October just didn’t grab the same sort of attention.

Major releases this month include the second wave of DARK REIGN: THE LIST one-shots, the beginning of the “Necrosha-X” crossover between the second-tier X-books, and the launches of WEB OF SPIDER-MAN, DR VOODOO and a third ongoing Deadpool series.

Thanks as always to Milton Griepp and ICV2 for permission to use their figures for these calculations.


10/04  ---
10/05  New Avengers #12 - 127,949
10/06  New Avengers #24 - 136,811
10/07  New Avengers #35 - 111,481
10/08  New Avengers #46 -  99,513  ( -3.7%)
11/08  ---
12/08  New Avengers #47 -  95,703  ( -3.8%)
12/08  New Avengers #48 -  95,688  ( -0.0%)
01/09  New Avengers #49 -  94,291  ( -1.5%)
02/09  New Avengers #50 - 106,831  (+13.3%)
03/09  New Avengers #51 -  95,340  (-10.8%)
04/09  New Avengers #52 -  93,975  ( -1.4%)
05/09  New Avengers #53 -  94,367  ( +0.4%)
06/09  New Avengers #54 -  93,878  ( -0.5%)
07/09  New Avengers #55 -  84,745  ( -9.7%)
08/09  New Avengers #56 -  89,996  ( +6.2%)
09/09  New Avengers #57 -  85,598  ( -4.9%)
10/09  New Avengers #58 -  76,656  (-10.4%)
                           6 mnth  (-18.4%)
                           1 year  (-23.0%)
                           2 year  (-31.2%)
                           3 year  (-44.0%)
                           4 year  (-40.1%)
                           5 year  (  --- )

For a change, an issue of NEW AVENGERS without a variant cover. The last two issues both had variants, as did issues #50-54, so the drop is somewhat exaggerated. Issue #55 is a reasonable comparison, though, so there’s still an underlying decline.

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This weekend: Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival

Burns WebWhile we’re still recovering, physically, spiritually and morally from the brutal fall show schedule, we’re going to man up one more time for what should be the final — and one of the best — local shows of the year, the The Brooklyn Comics and Graphics Festival, to be held this Saturday in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, NY. Though modest in size, the guest list is heavyweight all the way — Charles Burns, Gary Panter, Jililan Tamaki, Ben Katchor. Publishers from France, Italy and Zurich will be there. There’s even a token nerdlebrity, with TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe selling his wares. And best of all… it’s FREE, so you can save your money for that print from Le Dernier Cri you’re buying your Aunt Harriet for Hanukkah.

Given NYC’s many crossing streams of comics genres, the BCGF (oh why couldn’t they have just called it BCAF and been done with it) looks to be the kind of culture-focused, curated show that can be a very effective showcase for this thriving branch of the scene.

Read the entire panel lineup in the jump and download a map and program here. In case you don’t make it to the jump, here are the venues: Exhibitors and Artists:
Our Lady of Consolation Church
184 Metropolitan Ave.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
11 AM – 7 PM

Panel Discussions, Lectures & Art Exhibition:
Secret Project Robot            
128 River @ corner of Metropolitan Ave.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
1 PM – 6 PM

Musical Performances:
Death by Audio
49 S. 2nd St Between Kent & Wythe
Williamsburg, Brooklyn
9 PM onward

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Bluewater solidifies hold on daytime talk show host market with DeGeneres

Fresh from their triumph on The View, with a Babwa Wawa comic, Bluewater has announced another comics bio of a daytime staple: Ellen Degeneres.

Female Force: Ellen Degeneres
Author(s): Sandra C. Ruckdeschel
Artist(s) Pedro Ponzo
Cover Artist(s): cover by Viinie Tartamella
Ellen DeGeneres is taking the world by storm!  Emmy’s!  Endless accolades!  It all seems so easy, but Ellen’s journey to get where she is now was not always a smooth one. She’s felt the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. But through it all, she managed to stay true to herself and prove that she is a female force to be reckoned with!

You know we have been kidding Bluewater a lot over all their Female Force comics and bios and whatnot, but at this point — assaying the final quadrant with their books — you have to give them serious points for marketing chutzpah and for finding a unique winning formula for their own little niche in the comics world.

Let’s rap with Carmine Infantino: Great Comics Surveys of the Past

Beat pal Robert Simpson saw our post on comics surveys and was inspired to recall comics reader surveys of the past. DC Comics surveyed their readers in both 1970 and 1978 — possibly confounded by the emerging youth market and Marvel’s much higher Q. Both are archived online.

The 1970 survey from Comics Treadmill, with the immortal Superman quote “Let’s rap!”.

Adventurequiz Adventurequiz2

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Amazon’s best book covers

Amazon has its nominations for Best Book Cover of the Year up and there are a few familiar friends in the nominees — graphic novels get a category but it’s shared with art books, and the only comics nominee is ASTERIOS POLYP. Readers can vote for their favorites while entering a sweepstakes, so good deal.




New TCJ.COM in previews

The new, online version of The Comics Journal is in beta testing today, and, in accordance with the evolution of early 21st century media outlets, it looks mostly like a blog. But a blog with Noah Berlatsky on Junko Mizuno, Gavin Lees on Ball Peen Hammer, Marc Sobel considering the Reichian allusions in Gilbert Hernandez’s erotic BIRDLAND, and Anne Ishii on the back formation of the word “Kamibashi.” If that kind of stuff is your cup of tea, you’re going to do a lot of teabagging.

Future additions include assimilating the blogs Guttergeek and The Hooded Utilitarian.

We’re especially heartened to see Anne Ishii’s armor-piercing attack added to the blog roll, and the lineup of future bloggers and columnists is certainly very, very strong. (Eric Milliken is another good catch.)

In short, The Comics Journal just got incredibly more accessible and influential on the platform in which most people get their daily reading. We’ll be back every day.

2010 shopping list: Backing Into Forward by Jules Feiffer

Come March, Random House will publish Backing Into Forward a memoir by Jules Feiffer, master cartoonist, playwright, screenwriter and all around renaissance man. According to an early review, it includes much material on his time as Will Eisner’s assistant and other matter from the comics business of the period. As well as a fantastic resource for comics history buffs, Feiffer’s life is compelling material in general and he’s as strong and insightful a raconteur as we’ve ever encountered.

2010 shopping list: The Maxx: The Complete Series

Themaxxdvd ’90s nostalgia alert! All 13 episodes of The Maxx, the ultra quirky cartoon based on Sam Kieth’s mega-quirky comic book, will be out next year on DVD-R. The disc includes interviews with Kieth and director Gregg Vanzo as well as audio commentary.

It’s not quite a done deal though — no release date is given and the Amazon listing mysteriously says “This product is manufactured on demand using DVD-R recordable media.’s standard return policy will apply.

Hopefully this gem will be released and we will remember a time when MTV was not just the network of boob jobs and faux-lebrities.

Kibbles ‘n’ Bits — 12/1/09


§ High school mash-up of the Red Skull and Batman? No. Golden Bat, a Japanese superhero who predated Batman and Superman.

He was first seen in 1931 (seven years before Superman first took flight and eight before that Gotham City fellow who dressed like a bat) and his exploits were told in kamishibai, which was street theater that used painted illustrations.

The LA Times’ Liesl Bradner explores kamishibai, the Japanese street paper theatre that had a powerful influence on manga. The intriguing medium is explored in the new book Manga Kamishibai: The Art of Japanese Paper Theater.

§ Wired has the latest on that Grant Morrison documentary that has been in the works for a while. The blog post mischaracterizes the effort as a “biopic” which implies some sort of film starring James MacAvoy covering the artist’s triumph over drug addiction and a distant father with the help of a good woman.

§ The New York Times has a graphic novel gift guide curated by George Gene Gustines.

§ DC’s VP of creative services, Ron Perazza, has collated his tweets on making comics, breaking in, and so on into a blog called Perazza. Some of it’s pretty 101:

Don’t paste someone’s art or design into your own; for example as a movie poster, picture in a frame, logo on a t-shirt, photo of a skyline in the background, etc. If you don’t have the permission of the copyright holder of that art or logo then it’s infringement.

Some is a little more inside baseball:

Distorting anatomy or picking specific camera angles simply for the sake of making certain parts of women bigger or more prominent is rarely actually needed in storytelling and usually comes across as sexist objectification – which is probably not the kind of reputation you want to build.

…but click around…you’re sure to find something of use, including many links to other resources.


§ Rob Martin reviews the new collection of Alex Raymond’s Rip Kirby, Volume One: 1946-1948

The naturalism on display is astonishing; there’s none of the hammy gesticulating one sees in less capable hands. Raymond’s character effects are occasionally so subtle that one may stare at a panel over and over again, wondering just how he pulled it off. In one scene, Kirby is beset upon by two children who insist on sitting in his lap and pestering him about his gun. Raymond shows Kirby in medium shot, and he isn’t doing anything but sitting, but his annoyance comes through hilariously. The effect is achieved primarily by the suggestion that Kirby is staring blankly past the children, and Raymond’s precision is extraordinary: Kirby’s face takes up less than half an inch on the page. Raymond’s handling of lighting effects is also superb, and his attention to detail in the clothing designs and set decoration is all but incomparable.

To which I’ll add, in this random panel from Google images, you see all that makes a master artist: the precise contrast keeping everything in the very busy composition clear, even the complicated shape of the hands holding the gun against the doorway several feet back. And that’s in a crappy scan. The guy was good.

§ Chris Butcher finishes his live blogging of this month’s Previews and finds many products he feels are overpriced. Click the link to find out why!

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Hype Alert!

4142597384 9395A622BcWe try not to overly hype Future Mr Beat aka Ben McCool’s projects here, but his upcoming book with Ben Templesmith CHOKER, is in Previews this month, and Ben T. has created a handy flyer, should you wish to purchase it. Proceeds help maintain Stately Beat Manor’s infrastructure, so it’s all for a good cause.



The 12th month is upon us, and all our usual end-of-year tasks are coming due — the Beat’s annual year-end survey. the PWCW’s critics poll, our own “Best of” lists, other people’s requests for “Best of” lists, the gift guide someone suggested we do a month ago, and, oh yes SHOPPING. Plus…HOLIDAY PARTIES. Beware the eggnog! Somewhere out there is a fruitcake with our name on it, and we’re got to stay alert.

Also, we’ll be doing a Christmas art countdown as we did for Halloween, so get us your links and piccies. We’ll be firing that up in a week or so.