It’s fitting that September’s top-selling comic features an image of Wolverine crouching atop a giant turd, because overall, sales were in the crapper, and the whole quarter was in the dumpster, ICv2 tells us. If you think we’re exaggerating, the normally understated ICv2’s use of the word “Sucked” is a strong indicator.
Now that the third quarter of 2010 is over, it’s clear that the negative trends that comic stores have been bucking for the last two years have finally taken their toll: sales of comics and graphic novels were down a combined 12% for the quarter. Comic sales were down 14% and graphic novel sales down 6%. This is the largest year over year quarterly decline we’ve seen since we started tracking these numbers in 2004.
September sales were a continuation of negative trends for the quarter, with a 12% decline in comic sales and a 2% decline in graphic novel sales.
Year-to-date trends are better, with over-all sales down 5% behind comic sales down 4% and graphic novel sales down 8%.
We’ve yet to get the reassuring posts from John Jackson Miller, Spurge and so on that tell us this drop is really just statistics as usual and there’s nothing to get worried about, so in the meantime, we’ll just freak out, bearing in mind that the folks who see the TOTAL statistics have decided things are going so badly that they need to lower prices.
In the meantime, the doomsayers seem to have exhausted their arsenal. At ICv2 retailer Glen Soustek of Westlake Cards, Comics & Coins, Inc. in Roselle, Illinois writes:
I have to wonder how much of the downward trend in comic “sales” is simply comic dealers abandoning the failed concept of ordering 100 of a book in order to get a variant they can dump on eBay for $10 and then selling 10 of the original 100 they ordered and tossing the other 90 in a quarter bin just days after arrival. We see this sort of thing in the Chicagoland area all the time–west-suburban landfills are glutted with this stuff.
UPDATE: Whoops, as I was writing this, Tom Spurgeon came out and found no comfort.
Whereas in some cases the failure to meet certain ostensible goals could be seen as a market shift to different points of emphasis, it’s difficult to build an alternative narrative here.
JJM — hurry, you are our only hope!
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.