Robot 6

Obama and Spider-Man win again (But is it ‘unprecedented’?)

Amazing Spider-Man #583

Amazing Spider-Man #583

The fourth and fifth printings of Amazing Spider-Man #583, with their Barack Obama covers, sold an estimated 148,805 copies in February, driving the issue to the top of Diamond’s sales list for the second month in a row.

ICv2.com calls this a first since the website began tracking direct-market sales in 2001; Diamond says it’s unprecedented.

However, John Jackson Miller pointed out last week that while it’s certainly rare for the same comic to be No. 1 two months in a row it’s probably not unheard of — at least if we’re counting later printings.

“One problem is that before February 2003, reorders did not appear in the sales charts — so a comic book would pointedly not appear twice,” Miller writes. “Were there comics that might have? I took a look at August and September 1991, when X-Men Vol. 2 #1 was cycling; readers may recall its release was staggered across multiple weeks with covers abbreviated A-E. (DC did the same thing with Legends #1.) The top book in September was Spider-Man #16, which Todd MacFarlane had returned to write — but would the reorder numbers for #1 have been enough to top its sales? Very possibly: Capital City sold 228,900 copies of Spider-Man #16, but 1.87 million copies of the five covers of #1. With today’s reporting, we might find that book topping the charts for both months, due to reorders.”

The Obama overflow seems to have helped overall comics sales, which declined just 2 percent in February. However, graphic-novel sales tumbled 9 percent — the first decline in that category since May 2008.

Unsurprisingly, Watchmen led the graphic-novel list again with an estimated 12,466 copies — almost twice that of the No. 2 book, the Batman R.I.P. Deluxe Edition hardcover.

Top 300 comics, February 2009
Top 300 graphic novels, February 2009

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