Two of the sales charts analyses came out last week; at Newsarama, John Jackson Miller does his thing, charting Marvel’s big month. However here’s something we noted — the ten year comparison chart, from the near-depths of the last comics sales depression:
Sept. 2008 final orders versus Sept. 1998 preorders (est.)
Top 300 units: -9% (6.77 million copies vs. 7.44 million copies)
Top 300 dollars: +21% ($21.96 million vs. $ 18.18 million)
Top 25 trade paperbacks: +49% ($1.7 million vs. $1.14 million)
Top 300 comics plus top 25 trades: +22% ($23.66 million vs. $19.32 million)
Interestingly, although total units are down, the chart shows more strength overall:
Nine items were above the 100,000-copy preorder mark, with 131 items over 20,000 copies and 209 items over 5,000 copies. Titles in the midlist tended to sell more strongly, but the chart doesn’t have nearly the depth we see today. The 300th-place item had preorders of 1,761, compared with this September’s 2,889.
Meanwhile, John Mayo also looks at charts, and flags late shipping as a problem:
When I first started reading comics, titles shipped each and every month. Some titles would always come out on the first week of the month, others always on the second week, etc. If a comic didn’t ship the week it normally did, it was considered late. In most cases, it would ship a week or two later. These days, complaining about a comic shipping a week or two late is tantamount to nitpicking. Shipping a comic late is considered acceptable behavior for a publisher. How often have we heard things along the lines of “do you want it good or do you want it now?” from publishers? It is too much to ask for both? Late comics equate to missed sales.
Sort of related, Brian Hibbs looks at SECRET INVASION vs FINAL CRISIS, and although he feels FC is better artistically, it hasn’t flourished:
Let me tell you a little story about my audience: I was, for the LONGEST time there, the prototypical “DC store” — DC comics ALWAYS sold better than Marvels for us. This has ABSOLUTELY changed in the wake of “One Year Later” and COUNTDOWN. New DC series are largely non-starters for us, with anything that isn’t “A-List” having the lowest rack sales I’ve ever seen, including my first month of business 19 years ago! Things like RANN/THANAGAR WAR or DC DECISIONS are having rack sales of ONE OR TWO copies for us. I could stop racking 80% of the DC line today, and I don’t think it would have a significant negative impact on my sales. That’s really painfully ugly. If it weren’t for Morrison and Geoff Johns, DC would have nothing at this stage. That makes me deeply sad.