Although both sales charts seemed to show incremental gains in March and April for comics periodical sales, everything at the top seems to have slid back in May, ICv2 reports. Comics sales were down a whopping 17.3 percent and NO comic — not even the debut of DC’s highly touted FLASHPOINT mini – topped 100k copies sold. Although FLASHPOINT did very well in reorders, the low initial orders show that event fatigue is very real where comics retailers are concerned.
After nearly pulling even in year-over-year sales in April, the Top 300 periodical comics plummeted 17.3% in May as the top titles exhibited unusual weakness. The situation doesn’t appear to have been quite as bad on the graphic novel side with year-over-year sales of the Top 300 books down just 6.2%, but in this case appearances are deceiving, the drop in comic sales was not quite as bad as it looks and graphic novel sales in May of 2011 were even worse than they appear at first glance.
ICv2 attributes this to periodicals being compared to an unusually robust May 2010, while GN’s are being compared to a very anemic May 2010.
Indeed, it’s been a while since we’ve had a GN sales breakout — the lack of obvious tie-ins for this summer’s movie slate being one example.
John Jackson Miller crunches the numbers and finds, as we’ve been seeing, that the bottom remains stable, although modest numbers-wise:
The 300th place title, a key indicator of sales levels, was Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword #2 at 2,913 copies, the second-highest total for that placement for the year and almost the same as the 300th place title sold last May. So the market has the same depth as this time last year — it’s the volumes higher on the list that have been shaved off.
We advise careful reading of all these links carefully — with DC’s relaunch around the corner, every sales figure is going to be examined in even greater detail.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.