By Todd Allen
ICV2 has their December 2011 Diamond sales estimates up and the downward correction would appear to be continuing.
The big debating point here would be DC returnability. IIRC, Diamond’s been adjusting the numbers to allow for returns (10%?), but relatively few people believe that retailers are returning that much, when taken across the industry. So anything returnable is probably a little under-reported.
So how bad is the correction? Justice League’s still #1 with an estimated 142K copies ordered, but only 3 other titles (Batman, Action and Green Lantern) are over 100K. Detective #4 was reported at 89K as a returnable book, and since Detective #1 still charted in December (4K copies), I’m thinking there may not have been many returns on that and it will probably be in the mid-to-high 90s once the returns are over.
Marvel couldn’t manage a 100K seller, topping the charts with just under 86K for Defenders #1. Marvel’s next highest book is Uncanny X-Men #3 with a hair over 64K copies. Avenging Spider-Man went from 112K in November to 60.6K in December. Incredible Hulk relaunched with 106K in November and is down to 46K in December. Marvel’s best selling book that _hasn’t_ had a new #1 in the last 6 months? Avengers #20 at 57K. Marvel’s #5 title.
With DC, the drop from #3 to #4 is looking a bit more like the drop from #2 to #3. Marvel… they’re living off relaunches and things are falling back down to Earth rapidly.
Back to the 52 soap opera – how low can it go?
Men of War #4 is estimated just shy of 15K with return adjustment. Figure… 16.5K with 10% return reduction? That’s… not great.
Fables sets the Vertigo pace with an estimated 17.6K. How many of the new 52 are selling less than Fables and in Vertigo numbers range?
With Diamond’s return adjustment intact: Men of War, Blackhawks, Static Shock, Mister Terrific and OMAC.
Bumping the these numbers 10% to wipe out the return adjustment (unless these low sellers are getting returned at a higher rate than, say, Batgirl): Men of War, Blackhawks and Static Shock.
Ironically, I, Vampire is up at 19K — it’s the most Vertigo-esque of all the new 52 and it’s up at least 2K on Fables.
Best selling creator-owned book: Kick Ass 2 at 45K.
Best selling creator-owned independent not written by Robert Kirkman: Lady Mechanika from Aspen with 21K. Very healthy numbers for creator-owned!
Number of indies over the 10K sales line: 31.
Shade watch: Down to just under 19K.
Eyeballing the bottom of the charts, it does seem like the indies are trending up, though a lot of activity in the 10K+ range is on licensed properties. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, in particular, seems to have a new lease on life.
Over on the graphic novel side… well, if you heard if was kind of a slow month, think how much slower it would be without 21K-worth of a new Walking Dead volume, as Kirkman charts with 3 volumes of his franchise in the top 10. Where would graphic novels be without Kirkman? Much lower, that’s where.
Fables V. 16 comes in at #2 with 11K. Sales drop of drastically from there, but Walking Dead and Fables are two of, if not _the_ two, largest tpb titles still in active production.
Marvel’s highest selling graphic novel isn’t really a Marvel book. The latest volume of Criminal is technically an Icon book. Criminal V. 6 outsells the X-Men: Schism hardcover 3.6K to 3K.
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.