OUCH. After staying ahead of the pace in the floundering retail economy, the comics “fantasy economy” crashed hard in May, ICv2 reports. It isn’t pretty.
After rebounding in April, comic sales dropped a staggering 19% in May versus May 2008, while graphic novel sales declined by 13%, leading to an overall drop-off for the month of 18%. A lack of potent #1 issues as well as the absence of Dark Avengers certainly didn’t help comic sales this May, a month in which no single title even came close to breaking the 100K barrier. In contrast in May of 2008, which boasted seven titles over 100,000, comic sales were boosted by Final Crisis #1, Avengers/Invaders #1, Invincible Iron Man #1, and Giant Size Astonishing X-Men #1, all of which made the top ten along with 4 Secret Invasion titles and two issues of Batman RIP. The paucity of big event titles and strong #1s, the continuing deep recession, and the financial drag of higher cover prices all worked together to help produce the steep decline in comic numbers in May.
John Jackson Miller has his own analysis at Comichron:
The top of the chart, again, was the main factor. Diamond’s Top 50 were off 28%, or 1 million copies, from last May, and that’s the lion’s share of the shortfall. Last May had Secret Invasion #2, Final Crisis #1, and three other #1s in the Top 6. Meanwhile, the highest ranking premiere this May was in 20th place, New Mutants #1. This month’s top-seller at Diamond, New Avengers #53, only sold around half the issues of last year’s top-seller.
Too many stunts? Not enough stunts? Not enough regular periodical sales? Too many webcomics? Everyone will trot out their favorite theory, no doubt.
There are more #1s in June, so hopefully, the market will rebound. This kind of drop makes the “Doomsday Scenario” look not quite so farfetched.