The picture was a lot bleaker on the graphic novel side where only two titles managed to make it over the 4,000 copy mark. Led by Mike Carey’s Harry Potter-influenced fantasy The Unwritten Vol. 3, DC/Vertigo had five of the top ten graphic novel releases, while Marvel and Image had two each. Neither of Image’s two top ten titles debuted in March. Robert Kirkman’s The Walking Dead remains the hottest graphic novel property in the direct market, but that’s because the TV-driven property has 13 steady-selling volumes (and 20 skus). The fact that Vol. 1 in the series made #8 in March testifies as much to the weakness of the March new releases as to the strength of The Walking Dead property. Image’s other top ten book, Nick Spencer’s Morning Glories was the #2 book in February, and has to qualify as one of the true GN hits of 2011. Retailers reported to ICv2 that if they had been able to get more copies in March, Morning Glories might have finished even higher than #8.
In dollars, things were also crap:
Sales of the Top 300 graphic novels through Diamond Comic Distributors in March were down a substantial 18.6%, while sales of the Top 300 periodical comics fell 4.28%. Combined sales of the Top 300 Graphic Novels and Comics in March were off by 7.58%.
HOWEVER, ICv2 does note that Diamond’s analysis of their entire market is a little healthier than just the Top 300 analysis:
Note that the year-over-year declines in the Top 300 comics calculated by ICv2 are substantially more pronounced than Diamond Comic Distributors’ March year-over-year totals, which include totals from comics and graphic novels below the Top 300 that ICv2 reported on Friday (see “Comics Decline Again in March”). Periodical comics were down just 2.43% in the Diamond numbers versus 4.28% for the Top 300. Diamond reported overall graphic novel sales declined by 10.01%, while ICv2 calculated that Top 300 graphic novel sales were down 18.6% for March, 2011 versus March 2010.
The poor GN showing is troubling, but you can’t manufacture a SCOTT PILGRIM or FABLES program out of thin air. Hop to it, people!!!