By Todd Allen
John Jackson Miller has posted the May sales estimates over at Comic Chronicles and, my but May was a healthy month for comics. Miller reports several records were set in May, at least in terms of Diamond exclusivity era. (This would have been an alarmingly low sales month in 1990.)
This biggest news to me is the continued sales surge of Walking Dead. Walking Dead has consistently inched upward, but it reached a new high in May with an estimated 53,733 for issue #97. #98 also shipped in May and dipped a little to 49,974. The television show really seemed to put the comic’s growth into overdrive this season and #97 opened a new story arc. Is 53K going to be the peak for now or will Walking Dead surge even higher? That’s a very good question. The first volume of the tpb had another ~7,500 orders in May. You figure season 3 of the television version will adapt what many people consider the comic’s signature sequence, so there’s a very good chance Walking Dead fever hasn’t peaked yet.
Meanwhile, over at Marvel, Avengers Vs. X-Men continues to be their most successful event in years. Issue 4 is estimated at 178,330 copies and issue 3 at 175,695. Yes, issue 4 sold more than issue 3. You don’t see that too often. AVX Versus #2 is estimated at 98,819, which means it’s into 6 figures after UK sales. The Avengers and X-Men titles are all in the 60K’s. Then you have the reorders. Avengers Vs. X-Men #2 – 23,323; #1 – 16,462. AVX Vs. #1 – 8,477. This is going very well for them.
Over at DC, Night of the Owls is keeping Batman above Justice League’s sales levels.
- Batman, Incorporated – 96,486
- Earth 2 – 86,168
- World’s Finest – 62,578
- X-O Manowar – 42,708
- Dial H For Hero – 40,777
- Ravagers – 39,807
- G.I. Combat – 30,366
- Amazing Spider-Man of Earth – 27,347
- Smallville Season 11 – 27,004
- Exiled – 24,686
- Star Trek TNG Doctor Who Assimilation – 20,940
- Fury Max – 20,620
- Mind the Gap – 20,038
- Frankenstein Alive Alive – 14,692
- Epic Kill – 13,784
- Spider – 12,547
Mark Millar, One Man Imprint
- Secret Service #2 – 28,265
- Supercrooks #3 – 26,969
DC is definitely debuting titles very nicely right now. The better news is seeing non-Big 2 books like X-O Manowar and Mind the Gap launching. The direct market would be well served to have a few more publishers shouldering the load. Remember how we used to talk about how many independent comics were selling over 10K? In May, 11 issues from independent publishers were estimated at over 20K. We’ve been talking about the rising tide of the independents for awhile. That tide keeps rising.
Tune in next month as we see if Walking Dead can break 55K.
Todd Allen wears a lot of hats. At various times he’s been (alphabetically), a bouncer, college professor, humor columnist, Internet producer and an NBA/WNBA Beat Writer, among other things. He’s the author of Economics of Digital Comics. You should probably read it.