Sales charts estimates for February were out today and the top seller, GREEN LANTERN, set a record for lowest total ever, writes John Jackson Miller. However, the titles lower on the charts showed STRONGER sales:
We can see the effects of a larger supply of new titles all over the list. Marvel and DC combined to place 19 more titles in the Top 300 in February. There were 130 titles selling more than 10,000 copies in January; that figure swelled to 173 in February. The 300th place title more than doubled in orders from January, rising to 2,860 copies. Trade paperback depth improved as well, up 1% year-over-year in just the Top 300 and 7% when the entire backlist was included. January does appear to be an outlier.
Although the month was up from January, which was an outlier, there were still some weaknesses:
On the other hand, as I warned last week, February also saw the record lowest number of copies ordered for a top-selling title. DC’s Green Lantern #62 had orders of just over 71,500 copies, more than 18,400 copies less than the previous record-holder — a record only two months old! For the first time, we probably cannot say that when all reorders and newsstand sales are added, the total will be above 100,000 — although we certainly would expect its eventual readership to go above that mark given reprint editions (to say nothing of digital).
ICv2″s analysis has similar themes.:
DC’s Green Lantern #62 topped ICv2’s chart of the Top 300 comics sold in February, but its total of 71, 517 was the lowest ever for #1 comic since ICv2 began keeping track of direct market sales back in 2001. Sales were hurt by a lack of major crossover events, and Batman Incorporated and Batman: The Dark Knight, two top Batman titles that didn’t ship in January either were also MIA in February. Sales of Green Lantern have been building nicely and recent issues have included preview stills from the Green Lantern movie starring Ryan Reynolds that debuts this summer.
Sales of those “long tail” titles below the Top 300 masked a weakness at the top of the list. Unit numbers at the top of both the periodical and graphic novel lists were some of the lowest since ICv2 has been tracking comic sales. The effect of the low sales numbers was overcome on the graphic novel side by the high cover prices of a number of the most popular titles including the #1 book, Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne ($29.99). Eleven of the top 25 graphic novels had cover prices of $20 or more, which certainly helped.
Our take? Things are not as bad as January indicated. but we are seeing new sales patterns and a new paradigm which has yet to be identified.
And a warning, as Nick Spencer tweeted:
Never has ICV2 gotten a number more wrong than the Morning Glories trade. Way under, fellas. Way under.
Which is a good reminder for those looking at these charts — they indicate DEGREE and PLACEMENT, not absolutes. So please no “Ohmygod Twisted Tykes sold 299 copies!” type stuff.
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.