ICv2 has posted its sales estimates for May,  and AVENGERS led the pack with a strong number as overall periodical sales went up by a healthy margin.

163,867 Avengers #1
113,752 Siege #4
108,534 Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #1
106,750 Secret Avengers #1
103,326 Brightest Day #1 (*)
93,606 Batman: Return of Bruce Wayne #2
90,245 Brightest Day #2 (*)
88,292 Green Lantern #54
84,843 Batman and Robin #12
77,056 Uncanny X-Men #524
76,918 New Avengers Finale #1
76,560 Flash #2
71,509 Dark Avengers #16
68,826 Green Lantern Corps #48
64,850 X-Men Legacy #236
62,509 X-Force #27
62,465 Justice League of America #45
62,377 Batman #699
61,779 Thor #610 Epilogue
60,883 Sentry: Fallen Sun
57,969 Amazing Spider-Man #630
57,239 Amazing Spider-Man #631
56,723 Amazing Spider-Man #632
56,518 Astonishing Spider-Man Wolverine #1
55,428 Astonishing X-Men: Xenogenesis #1

Complete charts:
Dollar Trends — May 2010
Top 300 Comics Actual–May 2010.
Top 300 Graphic Novels Actual–May 2010

Graphic novel sales continue to erode, even as the “WATCHMEN Effect” has run its course. The reasons for the fall aren’t entirely clear. Manga softening? No big movie tie-ins for a while? Something else?


  1. I’ve had slow TPB/GN sales for a few years now. All the classic stories have long been reprinted, and the price of a tpb is the same, or more, than the single issue comics. There’s no doubt that tpbs are selling well through big discounters like Amazon, but most are extremely slow sellers through my store, at least.

    Indie juggernauts like Walking Dead, Invincible, Scott Pilgrim, Fables, and others sell amazing well, but the average Marvel/DC collection doesn’t sell a single copy in the collected format. I can sell 100+ copies of Batman & Robin, but can’t move more than 3 copies of the first hardcover volume.

  2. Interesting, John Jackson Miller notes here that

    “The average comic book ordered in the Top 100 cost $3.49; the median and most common cost of comics in the Top 100 is actually back at $2.99.”

  3. I’ve been buying my trades online for years now – at prices that are one-third or more off the retail price, with free shipping over a certain amount, and no sales tax.

    Why would you pay more at a store if you didn’t have to?

  4. About graphic novels – I wonder if it’s not an overall slump in booksales in general. What’s the deal lately with Barnes & Noble (BKS)? They down to 16.53 as of this posting and have been in a slump for about a month?

    Heidi, they’ve got an earnings call on June 29 – is that the sort of thing you would cover?

  5. There was a bit of a Watchmen effect last year… Alan Moore in May 2009 sold:
    #1 LOEG III CENTURY #1 1910 $7.95 36,546 ($290,540.70) (index of 40.98!)
    while May 2010 saw:
    #1 EX MACHINA TP VOL 09 RING OUT THE OLD $14.99 4,864 ($72,911.36) (index of 7.80)

    LOEG sold FOUR TIMES the dollars of Ex Machina.

    Looking at previous reports for May:
    2008 compared to 2007, down 17%
    2009 compared to 2008, down 13%
    2010 compared to 2009, down 13%

    Watchmen May 2008, #43, 2384 copies
    (Trailer hits July 2008, #1 in April 2009, lackluster box office results in low sales, comics shops don’t reorder in May as they have sufficient stock to sell)
    Watchmen May 2009, #277, 464 (international edition)
    Watchmen May 2010, #181, 657 copies

    Of course… these numbers are for the Direct Market. Anyone got any access to BookScan?

  6. One thing to remember about buying online… those retailers do not pay sales tax. So you might have an awesome collection of stuff you found online, but there might not be enough police patrols to prevent someone from breaking into your home because the city council had to cut the budget due to low sales tax revenues. Or cut programs to keep kids off the streets. Or cut the budget which keeps your local library open and stocked with graphic novels.

  7. Wonder if this is graphic novel sales moving outside the DM or a drop off in general. Ryan’s point that the low hanging fruit in terms of reprint material has all been scooped up by now, and that’s likely a big chunk of it.

    Now to be fair, I haven’t bought a copy of the BATMAN AND ROBIN hardcover because I’ve been up to my gills in awesome reprint material (particularly the IDW release of TORPEDO, which everyone should be getting if you haven’t already) and am not as interested in current material, by and large.

    Though there’s exceptions such as the new SCALPED and CRIMINAL trade which are on the way from Amazon because, well, they were under-ordered by retailers in range of me (and discounted, even figuring postage.)

    Yeah, I’m still hurting comics…

  8. Caveat… employed by B&N…but not as a spokesperson.

    If you search Google Finance for BKS, and then compare the Dow Jones Industrials and other bookstore chains, everyone is down on a percentage basis, some more than others.

    B&N is at a 52-week low. It’s still issuing dividends, and has decent financials. I can’t give specifics, but this year seems better than last.

    Anyone can listen to the webcast.
    Go to barnesandnobleinc DOT com and click on the “For Investors” tab. It will be archived for one year.

  9. >>Why would you pay more at a store if you didn’t have to?

    *you like some spontaneity to your shopping

    *you want to peruse more than the preview pages you see online

    *you want your books the day they’re released

    *you get good recommendations from the staff

    *you like to support local businesses

    Just a few of many possibilities.

  10. “there might not be enough police patrols to prevent someone from breaking into your home because the city council had to cut the budget due to low sales tax revenues. Or cut programs to keep kids off the streets. Or cut the budget which keeps your local library open and stocked with graphic novels.”

    Don’t worry. That’s gonna happen anyway because retail is down everywhere and a lot of cities are not bringing in even close to the level of tax revenue they used to.

    Buy what you can online because plenty of taxed items can’t or shouldn’t be bought online.

  11. I’ll celebrate when sales are up due to new readers and not due to gimmicks (variant covers and crossovers).

    It’s totally due to shutting down that piracy site.

    Lapsed shopperss sheepishly slinked into the comic shops last Wednesday. The owners looked at them with a snarl and said, “You were pirating for the last decade you weren’t here, weren’t you?” After the awkward silence, the shop owner smirked, “C’mere yah little scamp! I forgive yah!” and gave our former pirate a hug and a noogie.

    The former pirate bought all of those first issues that just came out to stick in their plastic bags for the inevitable huge ebay sales a few years down the road. On the way out the door to their three hour bus ride back home, they turned to make eye contact with the shop owners. Tears welling in their eyes, they cried out, “I promise to never seek out cheaper, more convenient alternatives again…”

    And thus, the direct market was saved.

  12. >>Why would you pay more at a store if you didn’t have to?

    *you like some spontaneity to your shopping

    Spontaneity sure can be expensive.

    *you want to peruse more than the preview pages you see online

    Most of the trades I buy are collections of the single issues which I’ve already perused in the store when they were published.

    *you want your books the day they’re released

    I don’t need instant gratification.

    *you get good recommendations from the staff

    I can get those recommendations and then go home and order those books online and save money.

    *you like to support local businesses

    I do support local business, including my local comic book store. If they are able to offer me the same or better deal than I get online, I’ll suppport them even more.

    Just a few of many possibilities.

    I’m a consumer. I look out for me and my own economic interests, just as the retailer is looking out for hers/his.

  13. It was inevitable that the Trade market would cool off once it caught up to where it naturally lies in relation to comics. People predicting the death of the “Pamphlet” at the hands of Trades, I think missed out on the power of the comic medium in the DM. Yes, people will buy collections of important stories (to them) or out of print stuff they want, but when push comes to shove, people like *comics*. They like going in on Wednesday and getting *comics*. And when the budget for entertainment tightens, I would think people will cut the $30 trade over the $4 comic if they had the choice.

    That’s not to say the trades don’t sell like gangbusters outside of the DM (or even in the DM), but in the DM itself, I think comics will always have the edge.

  14. Whatever. Single issue comics are a joke. If they were profitable and competitive products, they wouldn’t be restricted to the DM market. There’s a spike in estimates for orders now…sure…and there’ll be a decline of equal measure somewhere down the line.

  15. The only thing I really buy in trade as compared to single issues is The Walking Dead. In Australian dollars each single issue is (with discount for orders) $4.85. I can get a TPB which comprises six issues for $14.95 with free shipping. That is just too huge a difference to ignore.

    I also don’t buy 22-page $3.99 comics, save for The Boys, an increase that was brutal
    and unexpected.

  16. I buy every single one of my trades online, for the stated reasons (deep discount, free shipping). The online store (Tales of Wonder) I buy from is located locally, though, so I do pay sales tax.

    I don’t buy ANY new stuff in trade, though. I still buy single issues for that stuff, because I like going to the comic shop every Wednesday to get the new stuff (even if I am weeks behind on reading it). The trades I buy are almost exclusively collections of old stuff (mostly Essentials and Masterworks, with some Marvel Premiere or Classic trades – often collections of stuff I actually own but like having in a collected form), and timeliness isn’t really an issue – I’m years behind in reading in general anyway.