ICv2’s May Sales figures are up and it isn’t all that fab:

Sales of periodical comics declined in May for the fourth month in a row posting a 6% drop compared with sales in May of 2007 when, led by the Death of Captain America, some 15 titles sold over 100,000 copies (versus just 7 in May 2008). Still periodical comics posted a 7% gain from April, though it was not enough to compete with May 2007. For the second month in a row graphic novel sales declined and actually dropped more precipitously than periodical comics.

More charts and graphs:
Top 300 Comics May 2008
Top 100 Graphic Novels May 2008
Top 300 sales analysis

John Mayo’s monthly sales analysis is also up at CBR, and SECRET INVASION #2 beat FINAL CRISIS #1 200,344 to 159,036 by his estimates. That is not good news for DC.


  1. ICV2’s numbers seem more realistic that the too high ones at CBR:
    SECRET INVASION #2 – 182,443
    FINAL CRISIS #1 – 144,826

  2. My back-of-the-envelope swing at the figures shows overall sales — that’s including all comics and trades Diamond sold in May — were right on $40 million: off by 2%, or less than $1 million, versus a strong May 2007. (Underscoring just how things were last May, that month’s overall sales were nearly $6 million above June 2007.) I suspect I’ll find the same wider losses in the narrower categories like Top 300 comics and Top 100 trades, but if I’m figuring it right the DM is still running slightly ahead for the quarter when you include the backlist.

    I’ll have all the various measures on Comichron.com and Newsarama soon.

  3. “ICV2’s numbers seem more realistic that the too high ones at CBR:”

    John and I were just talking about that — he’s looking again at his data set. I have SI #2 close to 182,500 across all variants.

  4. I think I sound like a broken record, but American superhero comics are *dead*. There are no new readers and they can’t keep the ones they have forever. I don’t see how these numbers surprise anyone.

  5. The CBR numbers are too high for the “prev issue” column as well, as compared to JM’s numbers in his previous column (and icv2/JJM’s numbers for last month). Whatever’s happened, it’s happened early on in the calculations.

  6. The health (or lack of it) of the business does pretty much depend on the measure you’re viewing, the range of information you’re looking at, and what your expectations are for it.

    One doesn’t look at a rainy day and say the drought is over — so by the same token, I find it hard to locate the end of civilization in a couple of flat months, when overall the market is up 43% over the same period five years ago. But if you’re looking to restore readership to what it was in the 1950s, yeah, you’d be searching for growth at a much different pace.

  7. For some reason, two things jumped out at me:

    1. Marvel may be kicking DC’s butt, but the Big Two are basically still crushing everyone else. They control 83 percent of the monthly sales. The only independently published comic to sell anywhere near the top was a four-color version of TV’s popular “Buffy the Vampre Slayer,” by Dark Horse. The first Image comic didn’t appear until no. 101; and Image controls a tiny 2.5 percent of the monthly market, which still makes it a leading indie publisher. ONI Press controls 0.04 percent of the monthly market.

    2. The WATCHMEN trade sold more than 2,600 copies last month. It always interests me to see this comic continue to sell so well 20-plus years after it first appeared. And wait until the publicity for the movie really cranks up.

  8. Kenny does sound like a broken record, but he’s still right.

    These numbers don’t surprise me. Do they expect the 40 year old fan (Babyman?) to still be reading this stuff when they are 80? Get some new blood in there and make these comics all ages and story accessible! I stopped reading this shit years ago. I buy trades and MAYBE 6 monthly books, and all of them are mostly Marvel Adventures stuff. I’ve been saying this for over 10 years…it’s not going to be any better. I’ve seen well run comic stores that have no kids in them except for FCBD and that’s one day per year…sad.

  9. One thing no-one seems to have commented on is the steep 27.1% drop in Secret Invasion sales between the first and second month. For reference, Civil War recorded an 2.7% drop and WWH had a 12.9% drop.

  10. Kenny, you are a broken record because you post the same nonsense in just about every sales article. If superhero comics are as “dead” as you would apparently like them to be, why are 38 of the top 40 comics for May 2008 superhero comics? (The other two being THE DARK TOWER: LONG ROAD HOME and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER)

  11. Let’s be honest for a minute. If it wasn’t for stunts/gimmicks, the Big 2’s sales would be even worse then they are now.

    I said it before, and I’ll keep saying it until the people running the Big 2 get it. Marvel and DC need to RETURN to making ALL of their IN CONTINUITY INTERCONNECTED MU AND DCU SUPERHERO TITLES (AND RELATED TITLES) both suitable for and appealing to a wide kids/all ages audience WITHOUT SUGAR COATING AND TALKING DOWN TO THE READERS.

  12. The estimates are up at Comichron…


    My initial “overall” guess for the month was high — it’s the year-to-date for which the DM is off about 2%. Something new is that we’re now able to do 10-year comparatives for the trade paperbacks; the Top 25 trades in May 2008 outpaced the Top 25 in May 1998, $2.25 million to $934,000. There’s some inflation in there and the product mix has changed some, but it shows the category’s growth very visibly.

  13. There is some good news out there. Am I allowed to say so on the internet?

    Check out the new issue of Entertainment Weekly, in which they rank their top 100 “books” of the past 25 years. The list includes several comics, including Maus (#7), Watchmen (#13), Persepolis (#37), and Sandman (#46).

    EW regularly mentions comics–a couple weeks ago there was even a reference to DC’s new Trinity series. You know, one of those American superhero comics….